My final edits for The Glass Wives were accepted – which means the manuscript goes into queue for copyediting, and for all intents and purposes, big changes have been completed. Cue ominous music. Then, when my editor sent me the finished, digital document, I had an instantaneous flash of an idea – the kind that comes from nowhere and then seems obvious – almost like I’d been daft not to think of it before.
“Do you want to read the book?” I asked my 16-year-old daughter.
Her eyes widened – and if you know Chloe, this is quite a sight. Eyes big and round and bright blue, accented by immaculately plucked eyebrows, lined most days into a modified Cleopatra, with sometimes delicate, yet always deliberate, swipes of not-tested-on-animals mascara. Or false lashes, depending on the occasion.
She nodded and smiled wide.
As I emailed the word doc to her hand-me-down Kindle, I had two thoughts. First, coupled with her mama-love bias would be her AP English analytical skills. Second, with the springboard for the novel being an event in our real lives, I wanted to know if she had any misgivings about the plot or characters.
“Let me know if anything bothers you,” I said. “I’m not changing it, but I still want to know.”
She just rolled her eyes and chuckled, as if none of that surprised her. Humor and robust candor are the cornerstones of our relationship. I reminded her it’s not her usual reading fare, and she understood. When she’s not entrenched in her normal school year, she reads a book or more per week, but she’s not reading book club books, or up-market women’s fiction. She’s reading epic YA, sweet romances and classics. But she was game. Then I told her the most important part.
“There’s no sex in it.”
Her shoulders relaxed. She was visibly relieved. My friends are usually visibly disappointed.
Chloe decided to read The Glass Wives on her daily trek to the gym. Now I don’t want to include any spoilers, but she texted me in dismay and delight over the story every day for over a week as she read. And I caught her reading at home as well. She told me what she liked, where and she was annoyed with the characters, when the happenings and twists made her sad, glad, happy, heart-warmed and relieved. Her favorite parts are my favorite parts. They’re my editor’s favorite parts. They are some of my critique partners’ favorite parts. Chloe said it was believable – and best of all she laughed when I asked if saw how it was fiction.
“Well it’s obvious where you got the idea,” she said, almost gloating, like she was part of a big secret that isn’t one. It’s not a secret that my kids’ dad died in 2004. It’s not a secret that The Glass Wives is about a woman whose ex-husband dies suddenly. “But other than that,” Chloe said. And again, more eye-rolling.
She did call me on something she did once that I attributed to my main character’s ten-year-old daughter, but it was more like Chloe was honored to be sprinkled into fiction than anything else. She laughed with me about all the people who will be sorely disappointed not to find themselves within the pages, what the characters look like to her, what the house looks like, what she thinks happened after The End.
Speaking of The End – she was satisfied. It’s not tied neatly with a bow and she appreciated that the reader is left to discern what’s next. Chloe liked that there was ample resolution, and that throughout the book things weren’t always what they seemed, but by the end, all fit together and made perfect sense.
And as she well knows, that only happens in fiction.
And yes, I have two kids. My son, Zachary, is 20 and not a reader of fiction, he’s a reader of sports. He’s a writer too, about sports. He was pleased Chloe read it, and more pleased I didn’t expect him to do the same.
If you want to see a compilation of photos I attribute to The Glass Wives, check out my Pinterest board by clicking here.