Writing books for a living is a strange and wonderful thing to do. On the one hand, there is no job security, no health insurance, no guarantees about salary from book to book, or even if there will BE another book, let alone what the sales will look like. On the other hand, you get to work from home in your yoga pants, and stay abreast of the Real Housewives, and Twitter and Facebook time are considered an essential part of the job instead of something that can get you fired. You miss out on the camaraderie of people to eat lunch with, or grab an after work cocktail with, birthday cakes in the conference room. You gain an amazing community of other writers, who support you, who get it, who will talk you off ledges and refocus you and help you iron out a plot wrinkle.
Every writer I know has a moment, a certain book that makes them think “This is the one.”
And this is that time for me. I wrote this book from a place of joy that was new and exhilarating to me. I could not be prouder of it, and my whole heart believes that if it can just find its audience, it could be my breakout book. I am 42 years old, and this is my sixth published novel. I am never going to be an overnight success, a wunderkind, or the reluctant “it” girl of the literary scene. What I am is a writer who is trying like the dickens to be as good as I can be, and to find as many readers as I can.
This is harder than you might imagine. You may have noticed that I do not have a reality show or staggeringly fabulous new diet plan to hawk to make press stand up and take notice. I have no platform to speak from or controversy that surrounds me to generate media frenzy. And I write “genre fiction”, which for whatever reason means it is hugely difficult to get reviews and features.
But what I do have is a smart, funny book about finding love and trying to find life balance that will make a plane ride or rainy Sunday infinitely more pleasurable. I have a book full of real people with real problems that will make you laugh and keep you company. I have a book that is a good gift for your best friend, mother or sister. There’s a funny little dog being naughty, and an annoying boss, and true love, and over 40 pages of original recipes in the back. It has everything except a child in peril and a cameo appearance by a founding father. I wrote it as a love letter to my new husband, inspired by our real courtship, and I think being this happy has finally unleashed my truest voice.
Off the Menu is not going to change the face of American Literature. But it is a little piece of happy at a time when there are enough stressors and conflicts and sadnesses to go around. I think it is just the kind of book most of us could use right about now, to make us laugh and make us believe in happy ever after and faith in a better tomorrow.
So I hope you will buy a copy, and read it. And if you love it the way I hope you will, buy another copy for your bestie. Tweet about it. Post it on your blog or Facebook page and help it find its readers.
And I hope you enjoy Off the Menu!