I wrote to Adriana Trigiani for the first time prior to the publication of my debut novel The Thin Pink Line. I was in the blurb-gathering process and thought that if I could get an endorsement from the bestselling author of such sweetly beloved books as Big Stone Gap it might widen the audience for my dark comedy about a woman who fakes an entire pregnancy. Almost immediately I heard back that she'd be willing to give it a look. Now I began feeling apprehensive, a rare feeling for me, because my book was so much darker than the books she was known for. So I didn't send the book right away. Instead I wrote back, asking tentatively if she was sure, and explaining that the book was acerbic. She wrote back that she liked acerbic. That's when I wrote to inform her that the very first line of the book reads, "Have you become a fuckwit, Jane?" For the first time, I felt as though I could literally sense a pregnant pause over the Internet airwaves, and then came the reply, "Oh. That is acerbic." After which she told me to send it anyway but to hurry; she was due to give birth soon.
Within a week I received a blurb that made me ecstatic: "Here, written with humor and scathing honesty, is the diary of a (mad) pregnant woman chronicled with acid glee by Lauren Baratz-Logsted in a debut novel to share with every girlfriend you know before, during or after the baby comes. It's a winner!" ~ Adriana Trigiani
Within a week she gave birth to her own baby and appeared on the Today show to promote her latest book. She had all that going on and yet she found time to help me, an unknown writer who she didn't even know? What a woman!
In July of 2004 the sequel came out, Crossing the Line. The month before that saw me in Chicago at Book Expo America to promote the book. The hour before my signing Adriana was scheduled to do one in her publisher's booth so I got in line with hundreds of other people. When I got to the front of the line, I put my name tag on the counter. One thing about my ridiculously long name, I'm the only person in the universe with it, so I figured there was a chance she'd remember me, but I wouldn't have been upset if she hadn't. I'm not exactly famous. But she did recognize it, let out a little shriek - or as much as someone who's a deep alto can shriek - and then came around the corner to envelop me in a big hug. It felt like Old Home Week! She asked me what I was there to sign, I told her about the sequel, then she announced to her crowd of waiting fans that I'd written The Thin Pink Line, that she thought I was a great writer and to head on over to my signing next. What a woman!
Over the years, I've met so many authors I can't even put a head count on the figure. But there are very few at Adriana Trigiani's level of success that are as consistently kind and gracious to every single person they meet. Watching her work her line that day at BEA, it wasn't just me she made feel like it was Old Home Week; it was every single person who came through. Some people, it's easy to begrudge their success because they're, well, fuckwits. But some people, you look at their success and see how it's matched with their goodness and you think, "Hmm...for once the universe got it right."
This coming September Adriana will add YA novelist to all of her other writing accomplishments - she's also a playwright, television writer and documentary filmmaker - with the publication of VIOLA IN REEL LIFE. Here's the short description: When fourteen-year-old Viola is sent from her beloved Brooklyn to boarding school in Indiana for ninth grade, she overcomes her initial reservations as she makes friends with her roommates, goes on a real date, and uses the unsettling ghost she keeps seeing as the subject of a short film—her first.
I know people are going to love it.
Be sure to order your copy today and I'll be sure to do more features here on Writers Who Rock. In the meantime, I've got a new piece over at BiblioBuffet about the first men to walk on the moon *and* the secret to happpiness: I Had a Crush on Neil Armstrong.
How about you? Got any thoughts to share on the moonwalk, outer space in general, or writers who you think have rocked in particular?
Be well. Don't forget to write.