My books are pretty personal, even though they’re fiction. Imaginary Girls was inspired by, and written for, someone special to me, someone I’ve loved since she took her very first breath in the upstairs bedroom of the farmhouse she was born in and I saw her open her eyes.*
Of course that person is my little sister, Laurel Rose. (Our family likes to call her Rose.) I’ve written before about Rose—for example, here, looking back on a photograph of the day I left for college. Since then, I grew up, and she grew up, and though we live in different cities we’re still very close, inside, where it counts. You’ll find her name on the dedication page of Imaginary Girls.
I should say that Imaginary Girls is actually told through the voice of the little sister—Chloe—about her mysterious and almost mythical older sister, Ruby. In real life, I’m more Chloe than Ruby—when you read the book, and read more about Ruby, you’ll see why—though Rose and I do share some of the sister traits Ruby and Chloe share in the novel. But what’s absolutely true to life and not at all fictionalized is the love the sisters share, especially how Ruby feels about her baby sister, Chloe, who she pretty much raised herself.**
So you can imagine that I wanted Rose to have a copy of my book!
Here’s the photo my sister sent me from Philadelphia after she opened the package and found the ARC inside:
I think she has the most beautiful dark brown eyes. (My sister, not the ARC.)
Rose said, and I quote:
“The first time I saw it I jumped up and down (my dog Marley did too) and I cried and sashayed and discoed a little. Then I came home and pulled it together.”
During these moments she and I also exchanged many exhilarated exclamation-point-ridden communications via text message, and I can’t even tell you how happy it made me to be able to give her an ARC.
(Btw: I have a couple more ARCs, and right now the giveaway to win a signed one is still open… So YOU could be the one opening a package with my ARC inside and then sashaying and discoing a little! Just leave a comment on this post and I’ll pick a winner Monday night. Photos of discoing and sashaying fully optional.)
More about my sister: If you happen to live in the Philadelphia area, and like to eat food (uh, who doesn’t!), you should read her writing for City Paper, for the What’s Cooking? column, and for the food blog Meal Ticket! Every week, my favorite thing she writes is the Snack Time roundup, in which she cracks me up.
This post will eventually have a sequel, even if the book doesn’t, because there’s someone else*** who made Imaginary Girls possible. Unfortunately, he doesn’t like to be photographed… But more on him soon, I’m sure.
So… tell me: Who’s your book for?
* In Imaginary Girls, it’s said that Ruby witnessed her little sister, Chloe, be born at home on the futon. My little sister was born at home, too, and I actually did witness it. Then, I seem to remember that my mom had a big party—or maybe the whole day was a party… perhaps she can clarify. I remember it as an exciting, wondrous event—most of all because I was gifted with a baby sister.
** Imaginary Girls is clearly fiction—and the magical realism aspect of the story is just one element of that. Another is the fact that, in reality, Rose and I have the most adorable, fantastic mom, so we weren’t left to our own devices while growing up. You should meet our mom! My first book was dedicated to her, and in fact, the fierce loyalty and selfless love Ruby has for Chloe is a mirror of how our mom is for her three kids—me, my brother, and my sister. My mom does very important work helping many people, and I know I’m not the only person who thinks she’s magic. Here’s a photo of me, Rose, and Mom at a book signing in my hometown.
*** You’ll also find a certain someone on the dedication page of both my books: E. But that’s a love story I’ll save for another day.