Hey everyone! Today, I’m excited to be a part of Claire Legrand’s CAVENDISH blog tour for her middle-grade debut of THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS. I’ll just let Claire take over from here.
When I was younger, I often daydreamed of being a full-time writer. I imagined it as this elegant, glamorous lifestyle, full of Audrey Hepburn sunglasses, artfully scribbled-upon Moleskines, and late-night conversations with literary colleagues at smoky coffee houses. We would wear berets and talk about things like existentialism and beatniks. We would commune with the words.
Well, now I’m a full-time writer, and let me tell you: Writing longhand makes my hand cramp (plus, I hate my handwriting). Even if I wanted to wear a beret, I probably couldn’t, because my skull is too big. I don’t drink coffee. My most immediate association with the word beatnik is this scene from Clue. I do kind of have Audrey Hepburn sunglasses? But they were $9 at H&M. When I commune with words, it’s less talking existentialism and more existential crisis. Also, I make weird faces while I write, sometimes I forget to shower, and when my writer friends and I get together, we flail a lot, and stress about things like Twitter and marketing.
What the heck? This isn’t what being a writer is supposed to be like! Why can’t I just sit in my room and correspond with the world via cryptic magazine articles? I write to you, world, from a hotel in Venice with artfully textured doors. I share a wall with a delusional Parisian chanteuse who talks to her shoes. Last night, I dreamed of blue goats and pennywhistles. The “thing,” the IDEA, it sits in my blood, waiting to be drained. Art! Nietzsche. Beatniks.
To shatter any remaining illusions you may have about the glamor and mystique of being a full-time writer, I thought I would document a day in my life, to show you the truth.* The day documented, if you’re curious, was August 20th, last Monday. Because it was a doozy.
7:30 a.m. – I wake up, groggily, after a night of come-and-go nausea. Am convinced nausea is the result of worrying too much about everything under the sun. Note to self: Your book is coming out next week. So enjoy it and stop fretting, you poopbrain.
7:31 a.m. – Check email, as I always do first thing every morning. Pause for a second to think, “Is it sad that my phone was right next to me in my bed, and that the first thing I do in the morning is check email instead of, say, using the bathroom?” Decide it isn’t sad. Also decide to hold pee until all email is checked.
7:33 a.m. – Discover email from agent about manuscript I haven’t touched in two years. Am intrigued and also delighted. Allow self a second to ponder how awesome life will be when it’s made into a movie. Slap self. Return to reality.
7:35 a.m. – Proceed to read ~30 pages of said manuscript. Giggle, snort, cringe.
8:00 a.m. – Stumble into office. Turn on computer. Nom on protein bar in preparation for the gym. Open email. Send manuscript to agent. Begin answering other emails . . .
A MILLION HOURS LATER – Finish checking emails. FOR NOW. Curse inbox. Compulsively check Facebook, blog, Goodreads, Tumblr. Open Twitter . . .
A MILLION HOURS LATER, DESPITE BEST EFFORTS – Emerges from Twitter black hole, after favoriting billions of articles will probably never read. Not from lack of interest, but from lack of time. Ponder inventing time machine. Doodle schematics on back of envelope containing unpaid electric bill.
10:00 a.m. – PAY ELECTRIC BILL. Cable bill, too. Bemoan the fact that I meant to go to the gym right when I woke up. So much for that protein bar. Yell at self: YOU SHOULD NEVER OPEN THE COMPUTER IF YOU WANT TO GET ANYTHING DONE. Note irony that the computer is where I do my work.
10:17 a.m. – Ooo! Email from editor! A good review! Call Mom. Call Dad. Call boyfriend. Flail on all social networks. Dance around the room with stuffed unicorn. Realize that window is open and people could be watching. Note disarray of hair, pajamas, yesterday’s faded make-up. Consider slinking off to shower . . .
10:22 a.m. – . . . but more emails have come in. Blog tour logistics. Interview requests. Congratulations from awesome friends and colleagues. Email from editor’s assistant. Email from publicist. Email from Dad. Email from . . . email from . . . eeeemmmmaaaaaiiiilllll ffffffrrrrrooooommmm . . .
11:00 a.m. – Prepare 20 ARCAPALOOZA packages. Giggle deliriously to self that post office people will hate this. Giggle even more deliriously as I realize I’m giggling deliriously already, and it’s only 11:00 in the morning.
11:30 a.m. – Prepare blog posts! And blog posts! And blog posts!
SOMEHOW IT IS 1:00 p.m. – How did this happen?! Was just 10:30 a.m. Could have sworn. Slap self. Realize that I have actually gotten things done; it wasn’t just screwing around in the puppies-and-babies part of YouTube this time. Retract slap. Avoid judgmental lifeless stares from Squishy, stuffed unicorn and Yoshi, stuffed seal. Avoid hate-filled, unblinking eyes of roommate’s cat.
1:02 p.m. – Shower! OH WAIT OH GOD THE CAT HAS ATTACKED ME. Run away. Calm down. She only gently batted my leg. Recall term for “fear of cats”—ailurophobia. I totally have it. At least for cats who attack me and are the embodiment of Satan when their owners aren’t around. Remember roommate will be gone all week. Consider locking cat in roommate’s room with litter box, food, water. Resist urge to do so. Barely.
1:04 p.m. – Shower!
1:30 p.m. – Lunch! An apple. One of those 90-second rice packet things. (In my grocery list, I call them “rice thingies.” Because, see, I use up all my words in the books.) Wish I could order pizza instead. Reminds self that pizza + sitting all the time to work = lard butt. Lard. Such a gross word. Lard lard laaaard.
1:56 p.m. – Haul 20 packages, gym bag, purse to post office. Ignore gross dudes calling out at me from their stoops. Turn up volume on The Dark Knight Rises soundtrack. Imagine kicking gross dudes’ asses, scored by Hans Zimmer, aided by Bane. Not just any Bane. Tom Hardy’s Bane. Because . . . well. You know. Also, Cillian Murphy can come too. But he can leave the Scarecrow mask at home.
2:06 p.m. – Arrive at post office. Sheepishly drag bag of 20 packages up to post office window. Try not to react to postal worker’s slack-jawed disbelief. Say, self-deprecatingly, “I’m an author, I’m mailing a bunch of books . . . for promotional . . . because books are . . . awesome . . . ” Postal worker’s reaction
doesn’t change. Watch the floor for the next few minutes while the line behind me grows. Tension mounts. Patrons seethe.
2:16 p.m. – Get the heck out of the post office. Walk to subway. Ride subway basically 100 blocks south.
2:30 p.m. – See guy reading THE SUBTLE KNIFE on subway. Smile while craning neck to read his iPad. Like a creeper. Notice him shifting uncomfortably. Hide behind sunglasses. Avoid judgmental smirk of dude across the aisle.
2:46 p.m. – Arrive in Midtown. Walk to cake place. Pick up edible image of CAVENDISH cover for launch party.
3:00 p.m. – WALK. FOREVER. ACROSS TOWN. From 10th Avenue to 2nd Avenue. If you’re unfamiliar with NYC, this is basically the distance from Earth to the Delta Quadrant.
3:30 p.m. – Arrive at other cake place. Drop off edible image. Order cake. Talk a bit about my book, and the fact that I just walked from 10th Avenue. Cake girl looks at me like I’m insane. Consider buying a cupcake. Remember: Lard butt. Gym bag. Cry inside, but leave.
4:00 p.m. – Stop at drug store to get healthy snack. So hungry. Want nothing more than to go home, order pizza, and read West Wing fanfiction. Mmmm. West Wing fanfiction.
4:05 p.m. – Mmmm. Pizza.
4:07 p.m. – YEP. STILL WALKING.
4:50 p.m. – Arrive at gym. Realize feet have blistered from walking everywhere in cheap flip-flops like a doofhead. Curse Popeye’s fried chicken, which is next door to the gym. Mmmm. Fried chicken. More importantly, BISCUITS.
6:00 p.m. – Leave gym, covered in sweat and feeling like the hardened splats of gum under elementary school desks.
6:20 p.m. – Grocery store! Because I have no food. Because I don’t keep much food at the house because if I did, right now, while blog tour and revisions are going on, I would eat so much my face would cave in. (If you’re wondering how the physics of that work, you shouldn’t. It was really just the first visual that popped into my head.)
7:00 p.m. – Showered. Groceries put away. DINNER. Microwaved, of course. WHO HAS TIME TO COOK?! Not me. Although, these ARE leftovers. That’s progress. Except . . . boyfriend cooked them. Well, crap.
7:10 p.m. – Have you noticed how it’s 7:10 p.m. and I still haven’t done any writing? HAHA.
8:00 p.m. – Begin writing this post. WHOA. META. It’s like we’re in The Matrix or something.
10:13 p.m. – Somehow, I’m still writing this post. I think I got distracted by Demon Cat meowing in the other room and how shiny my nails are and Whistling Guy yelling to himself in the stairwell.
10:30 p.m. – Post completed! Lie flat on floor. Examine ceiling. Still haven’t written. Revisions are due in two days. CRY INSIDE.
10:35 p.m. – Treat self to some West Wing fanfiction. The good, fluffy kind with C. J. and Danny. None of that angst-ridden dreck about people drinking their sorrows away after some awful meeting on the Hill about Pakistan and abortion. FLUFF. Like unicorns but in fanfiction form.
11:00 p.m. – SNACK TIME. Apple again. I love apples. Pretend apple is pizza. Disconnect between actual food taste and imaginary food taste causes weird brain-to-tongue schism that makes me feel like I’m floating outside my body. Or maybe that’s just the exhaustion talking. Did I mention, the walking and the lugging around of 20 packages and groceries, and the triceps kickbacks? Triceps kickbacks can go get themselves stuck in front of the T-Rex paddock when the power goes out. BOO.
11:15 p.m. – Resume working on revisions. FINALLY, WE GET TO THE WRITING PART.
11:16 p.m. – Stare at revisions.
11:17 p.m. – Scroll through and read the good bits. Remind self: You can do this.
11:18 p.m. – Stare some more.
11:21 p.m. – Make a couple of easy changes. Check changes off list. FEEL LIKE KING OF THE WORLD. Or, Queen of the World. Or, Leonardo DiCaprio after people stopped saying “I’m king of the world!” every five minutes.
11:22 p.m. – Go to next item on revisions list. Stare in terror. Kind of like this.
11:30 p.m. – Make executive decision: You can do this . . . TOMORROW.
12:00 a.m. – Collapse into bed.
12:01 a.m. – Pray that Demon Cat doesn’t somehow manage to burrow through my door using the pure concentrated evil that lies within her spit.
*I am actually over-the-moon thankful and lucky to be able to write full-time, so don’t let this tongue-in-cheek article make you think any differently.
Claire Legrand is a Texan living in New York City. She used to be a musician until she realized she couldn’t stop thinking about the stories in her head. Now a full-time writer, Claire can often be found typing with purpose on her keyboard or spontaneously embarking upon adventures to lands unknown. The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is her first novel, due out August 28 from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers. Her second novel, The Year of Shadows, a ghost story for middle grade readers, comes out August 2013. Her third novel, Winterspell, a young adult re-telling of The Nutcracker, comes out Fall 2014.
Check out the rest of the CAVENDISH Blog Tour here
PREORDER: Amazon | B&N | IndieBound | Books-A-Million
And of course, there’s a giveaway!
At the Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, you will definitely learn your lesson. A dark, timeless, and heartfelt novel for fans of Coraline and The Mysterious Benedict Society. Victoria hates nonsense. There is no need for it when your life is perfect. The only smudge on her pristine life is her best friend Lawrence. He is a disaster—lazy and dreamy, shirt always untucked, obsessed with his silly piano. Victoria often wonders why she ever bothered being his friend. (Lawrence does too.)
But then Lawrence goes missing. And he’s not the only one. Victoria soon discovers that The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is not what it appears to be. Kids go in but come out…different. Or they don’t’ come out at all.
If anyone can sort this out, it’s Victoria—even if it means getting a little messy.
Enter to win a hardcover copy of The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers! Just fill out the Rafflecopter below. U.S./Canada only. Ends September 12th, 2012.