Saturday, June 23, 2007

Once upon a time...

...there was a 30something woman named Robin Palmer living in Los Angeles who had a very cool career at a cable television network. Although she made good money which allowed her to buy fancy shoes and eat out at good restaurants on an expense accound, she wasn't having that much fun anymore, so despite most of her friends and family thinking she had completely lost her mind, she chucked the fancy stuff to pursue her original dream of becoming a writer. The next few years after that were really, really hard--as hard as what you read about in any Grimms fairy tale (and everyone knows how dark and twisted those Grimms brothers could be...) While most of her friends were getting married and buying houses, she was selling her Manolos on eBay to pay the rent. And although she wrote and wrote and wrote, no one would give her a book deal. Ms. 30something (who most of the time now felt like 30nothing because we live in a world that glorifies material achievement over personal satisfaction but that's a whole OTHER post) tried very hard to keep her spirits up, but it was tough.

And then, during the spring of 2005, things got worse. Like way worse. Her boyfriend dumped her and her latest book made the rounds of publishers and didn't sell. Knowing that this was the last straw for Ms. 30nothing, her fairy godmother--a wonderful woman named Laura Clark who used to be a fashion editor at Harper's Bazaar under Diana Vreeland which meant she had the coolest stories on the planet--called her from NYC and offered her her apartment free of charge for the summer which was a very fairy godmother-thing to do. Wanting to get as far away from her life as possible, Ms. 30nothing jumped at the opportunity. Unfortunately, as she soon learned (and continues to learn over and over again), wherever you go, you end up taking yourself with you so even though she was in an nice air-conditioned one-bedroom on the Upper East Side, it didn't take the sadness away, a fact to which her ink-blurred-with-tears Moleskine journal can attest.

Then one very humid night in July, Ms. 30nothing was having dinner at a Mexican restaurant with Kate Lee, her fairy godsister literary agent, when Kate asked her if she had ever thought about writing a Young Adult book.

"A Young Adult book?" said Ms. 30nothing. "Hmm...well, obviously, when I was a Young Adult, I loved Young Adult books--especially Judy Blume--but seeing that it's been a very long time since I've been a young, not really."

"Well, think about it," said Kate the Fairy Godsister Literary Agent. "I think you might be good at it."

The next morning, as Ms. 30nothing was walking up Madison Avenue on her way to yoga--which was (and still is) her favorite way to avoid writing--she had an idea:

What about a retelling of Cinderella? Ms. 30nothing thought to herself. Although, this being New York, she could have said it out loud and no one would have batted an eye. Yes!, she thought a few minutes later as she stretched out in down dog. A version of Cinderella set in modern-day Los Angeles, with a prom instead of a ball. But in my version, Cinderella doesn't WANT to go to the prom, she thought later as she schlepped her groceries from Fairway up the steps of hte M72 crosstown bus. In fact, she could care less about proms and glass slippers because she's sort of a like an ANTI-princess!

Back at the air-conditioned apartment, Ms. 30nothing began to write and write and write and even after she returned home to Los Angeles and had to take a job at an ad agency that was so incredibly boring it made the television show The Office look exciting, she still wrote and wrote and wrote and 10 months later Cindy Ella Gold was born and Kate the Fairy Godsister Literary Agent found her a nice home with the world's best editor Jennifer Bonnell at Penguin who loved and understood Cindy as much as Ms. 30nothing did. The morning that Ms. 30nothing received the call from Kate the Fairy Godsister Literary Agent that Cindy Ella would have a life in bookstores rather than just continue to live on Ms. 30nothing's computer hard drive was the happiest day of her life--especially when Kate told her that not only did they want to publish Cindy Ella but that they also wanted her to write two MORE retellings of fairy tales for them. Ms. 30nothing was so happy that all she could do was cry. And what made it even better was that when she called her father to tell him the news, HE started to cry as well because he was so happy. (Also probably because he was so thrilled that it looked like his daughter hadn't completely lost her mind when she decided to give the writing thing a try, but because he's the best dad in the world he would never say that out loud)

And that, my readers, is the story of how Cindy Ella by Robin Palmer -- to be released on Valentine's Day 2008 by Speak/Penguin -- came to be.

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