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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Continent Hopping: Miami. London. Cape Town. MTV Books.

Wait, how did I get here? Let’s see…I took two jumbo planes across the world, sat with my kids as they watched Bee Movie seven times and landed on the tip of Africa, then waited….

I have wanted to be an author since my first grade teacher, Mrs. Peterson, published my picture book, “Mommy, I want to go to the Zoo” using her typewriter and lamination machine (okay, I know that dates me a little, but at least lamination machines are still in use, right?). Throughout the years, I’ve always relished fiction and tried to turn as many moments as possible into one that might involve creative writing. Like the time my high school physics teacher asked how he could get us to improve our test grades. My answer, by adding a creative writing essay question to the exam. And he actually did!

Then I went on to college, not to study science, obviously, but to major in creative writing. Afterwards, I continued on to graduate school, just in case I couldn’t find a job in creative writing and received a degree in marketing communications & advertising. Since college, and owing tons of money in student loans, I have worked as a copywriter, English teacher and tutor (even in science, I know, those poor kids). But something has always brought me back to fiction and since I’ve never left my teen years (helps that my youngest sister is seventeen), I love writing young adult fiction best of all.

So this brings me to my family trip in February to Cape Town, South Africa. We journeyed to my birth place to visit my grandmother. One day before heading to the beach (yes, the one in the photo pasted here), I decided to check my email. Everyone sighed, I was holding them up from serious tanning time. But there was a message from my lovely agent saying, well, what do you want to do? We had an offer from an editor at MTV to publish my first novel, Shrinking Violet. Hello, what do I want to do? Scream! This was the moment I had been waiting for and I got to share it with my grandmother (who died three weeks later). I spent the day at the beach, jumping up and down, with one of my sisters telling everyone that would listen, “my sister is going to have her book published!” The culmination of the day was when my six year old son made me a book cake in the sand. Chocolate or vanilla frosting, he asked? Both, I answered.

So in a way, it feels like I have traveled across the globe to join this awesome group of MTV writers!

And the moral of the story—if you want to get your book published, just hop a plane to Africa, duh! So where were you when you received good news?

Shrinking Violet is about a painfully shy high school senior that lands a job at a radio station and has to find a way to come out from behind her mask. It is scheduled for release Spring 2009.


Beth Fehlbaum, Author said...

Shrinking Violet sounds like a fantastic book!

Beth Fehlbaum, author
Courage in Patience, a story of hope for those who have endured abuse
Chapter 1 is online!

Fran Cannon Slayton said...

Hi Danielle! Great post - that is so wonderful that you got to tell your grandmother in person . . . there's a story there! I was in my kitchen when my agent called me with the big news. I think I had hoped for so long that it almost seemed anti-climactic! Then my editor called a day or so later - I was in the car on a bridge crossing over into Washington, D.C. - and then it finally seemed real! But it's the dinner with my husband and the bottle of Dom Perignon that I remember best! Mmmm . . . sweet!

Jennifer Echols said...

Welcome to the blog, Danielle. Shrinking Violet sounds awesome!

There must be something about the beach, because my agent called me about my first book sale when I was vacationing in Florida, after I'd spent the day at the Big Kahuna Water Park. I did my screaming in a very hot parking lot.

Danielle Joseph said...

Thanks, Beth!

Danielle Joseph said...

Hey, Fran! I know what you mean about things being anti-climactic! I had to keep on saying it over and over again. I even bought some champagne but we were having family over that evening and I actually forgot to drink it--how lame, I know! I hope you drove carefully over that bridge:)!

Danielle Joseph said...

Hey, Jenn--thanks for the welcome! Well, I can tell you that today the weather in Miami feels like a hot parking lot!!

Kelly Parra said...

Welcome, Danielle! It's great to have you on the blog!

Danielle Joseph said...

Thanks, Kelly!

christina gonzalez said...

Great story on how you got the wonderful news! Shrinking Violet is only the beginning... I feel more books coming... real soon!

jenny o'connell said...

D, what a great story! And a beautiful beach in that picture. I hope your string of good news continues and look forward to having you on the blog!

Danielle Joseph said...

Thanks, Christina!

And thanks, Jenny. I am happy to be a part of this blog:).

Marjetta said...

Hey Danielle,
Isn't it great when a dream comes true? Congratulations (again!) on SHRINKING VIOLET!

Since you asked... I was teaching 2nd grade when my agent called on my cell. Fittingly enough, we were having writing time. I dashed into the hall and he told me when had an offer. I ran back in the classroom and told my students. They were the first to know! Then I begged them to be really, really good so I could run outside again and call my husband. I came back in a few minutes later and one of my students had already started a story called "The Day My Teacher Became a Millionaire!" Ah, wouldn't it be great if it was true?

Danielle Joseph said...

Thanks, Marjetta and great story! I hope your student's story is nonfiction:)!

Stephanie Kuehnert said...

Welcome to the blog and the MTV Books family, Danielle! And what a great story (and beautiful beach pic). I was just at work, blah. But it was still special to get that call!