Monday, April 2, 2012

The Popularity Papers 4 has LAUNCHED!!!


April 2008

Six years after graduating from art school (six years filled of the oddest assortment of part-time jobs, freelance work, and the general drama that comes with being a 2-something single, under-employed illustrator) my literary agent, Dan Lazar, asks, "Have you ever considered writing a graphic novel for kids?" and Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang move into my brain.

November 2008

With 75 pages of what will become my first book, I travel up to New York and am offered a two-book deal by Amulet Books. I freak out many people on the train ride home to Philadelphia by sobbing my face off (with joy, but I'm sure it was still unnerving).

March 2009

My then-fiancé (now husband) and I lose our minds and buy a house and move two months before our wedding.

My dad runs around our new lawn with a chainsaw.

May 2009


It was a beautiful day.

April 2010
The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang is published. I see it in a Barnes & Noble and nearly pee myself with joy.

This is the face of a ridiculously excited first-time author holding her first
advanced reading copy of her first book for the first time.

June 2010

The New York Times Book Review gives a positive review of PP1. The review comes out on the day of my grandmother's 90th birthday party at my father's house on Long Island and my whole family is so happy with the review that they collectively achieve nirvana until I accidentally let go of a mylar balloon and it gets stuck in a tree, leading my father to grumble, "Hugely talented, my butt."

First book launch at Books of Wonder in NYC. Also, bangs. Not always the best idea.

August 2010

Mark and I drive from Philadelphia to Denver and back, stopping to visit bookstores and libraries and friends. On the way home we get the news that a second two-book deal has been negotiated. There is a rockin' dance party in the car somewhere in Northwestern Pennsylvania.

Our road trip was full of wonderment.

April 2011

The Popularity Papers 2: The Long-Distance Dispatch Between Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang comes out, and I do as many book events as possible, but am frantic to finish PP4, because I'm four months pregnant. I foolishly tell my friends about the pregnancy on April 1st, and no one believes me.

See you guys? I wasn't joking.

September 2011
After taking an evening waddle through my neighborhood, I come home to find a very apologetic email from my editor explaining that there were just a few more edits to do, mostly dealing with commas and capitalization. It's about three hours worth of work, so I sit with my computer and watch the Phillies game as I go through the edits. After a few hours, with about fifteen minutes of work left to do, my water breaks. We call the hospital, get ready to go, and then I sit down and finish the edits while my husband packs the car because I AM HARDCORE. After sending off the finished edits and an email to my editor, we leave for the hospital and my daughter, Anya is born.

October 2011

The Popularity Papers 3: Words of (Questionable) Wisdom from Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang is published. I haul myself to a few local book events, but the launch is pretty quiet because I have an itty bitty baby. Poor PP3. Also, a new deal for 2 more books is negotiated.

At Children's Book World in Haverford, PA, three weeks after
Anya was born. I don't look exhausted. Certainly not.
April 2012


Okay, so here we are. It's been four years since I first met Lydia and Julie and now there are four published books about the adventures of these two great friends, and at least two more on the way. And not to poo-poo any of their other adventures, but I am so, so, so crazy excited about The Rocky Road Trip. Even though it was written relatively fast because I was racing against the pregnancy clock to get it finished, I had been thinking about it before Mark and I took our own not-so rocky road trip in 2010. It's been my experience that you learn the most about yourself when you leave your familiar surroundings, and I was so glad to give Lydia and Julie (as well as Papa Dad, Daddy, and Melody) their chance to discover new places, new friends, and new strengths within themselves.

I really, really hope you enjoy reading The Rocky Road Trip as much as I enjoyed writing and drawing it (a lot).

Even more than Anya is enjoying these delicious peas.