You know that dream when you’re naked in public? Yeah. It’s pretty much exactly like that.

This week, a box of books arrived in the Barnhill house. Two boxes, actually. I opened them up, and peered inside, and saw multiple copies of my book looking back at me, blinking their sleepy eyes.

 I have been a basket case ever since.

Now, to be fair, I’ve been a basket case for a while. The time when I erased the ending over and over and over again, trying to get the thing to land right. The time when I poured over galley pages from sunup to sundown until my eyes were bloodshot and dry and my skin flaked away like dust and my soul became clouds and clouds and clouds. And I was a basket case when the first ARCs arrived in the mail. And when the art was finalized. And when they sent me the map. And when I knew that the first reviewers were holding my book, or pouring over my book, or ignoring it all together.

But now.


Mind you, we’re still well shy of the official release date – October 9 – but that doesn’t matter. There is a stack of VIOLET at the Barnes and Noble. I saw them. And then I ran away. Amazon has them at the ready. Any beloved indie bookstore can snag a copy – or ten – in a matter of days. If they don’t have them already.

Which means that my baby is in the world, and I cannot hold anything back.

I was hanging out with a bunch of other moms from the neighborhood last night. There was wine and cookies and book talks and a bunch of ladies dishing about god-knows-what, and I brought a copy of the book to show them. These are women whose kids play with my kids, who show up at neighborhood functions with caprese salads and noodle bakes and bars. These are good, good women. Anyway, they asked me if I was excited.

“No,” I said. “I’m terrified. I feel vulnerable and hopeful and frightened and exposed. It’s not a pleasant feeling.”

They were amazed at this and somewhat flabbergasted, so I clarified. “You know that moment when you’re in labor, and your clothes have been taken away and you’re wearing one of those flimsy hospital gowns, and your feet are in the stirrups and your rump is facing the door and about fifty-seven people have been in and out of the room in the last fifteen minutes, all with an unobstructed view of your nether regions?”

Tight grimaces all around. Yup. They remembered.

“Well, it’s just like that.”

“Oh, honey,” they said.

And then they gave me wine. God bless them.

Violet – the girl that I struggled with and fussed over; the girl who inspired fits of tenderness and exasperation; the girl who haunted my dreams for months and months? She’s gone now. She’s gone from me. And I never get to have her back. And that, my friends, is a mournful thing.

Still, it means that she belongs to more people than just me. She belongs to the reader. She belongs to the library. She belongs to the classroom and the after school center and the back seat of the station wagon on a road trip to Lubbock. She belongs to you. And the kid next door. And the world.

Godspeed Violet. Godspeed Demetrius. Godspeed Cassian and King Randall and Auntie and Moth and Nod. Godspeed Dragon and even the Nybbas. Godspeed to you all. I’ll miss you.



10 thoughts on “You know that dream when you’re naked in public? Yeah. It’s pretty much exactly like that.

  1. Aww, that’s beautiful. I wish you were my neighbor!
    I hope they all love it. I will keep you posted what happens in the back of MY station wagon.
    (OMG that was NOT the thing to write on someone’s blog comment. Sorry! But I am laughing too hard to delete it.)
    I will keep you posted on what happens when we all read it.

  2. Mine copy has been patiently siting in my Amazon shopping cart waiting for it to be purchased. Now that it is in, I guess It needs to come home.

    And unlike SOME people, I’m not saying anything about the back of my station wagon, although I am grinning ear-to-ear.

  3. Oh dear. I am mournful because our public library hasn’t yet ordered it! **sob** Ah well. Hopefully they will soon! Blessings on her release into the world 🙂

  4. Thanks for such an honest post about the ambiguous feeling of having your book finally out in the world. When people saying publishing a book like birthing a baby, they seem to forget how painful and embarrassing that is.

  5. I’ve been busy finishing my Ph.D., Kelly, so I haven’t been keeping track of your career as much as I’d like. Seeing that you have this book out is exciting for me. It’s right up my alley. And learning that Simon Vance narrated the audiobook is double-exciting, as it means I only have a week or so before I can enjoy it on my commute (I get motion-sick if I read with my eyes, so I read more with my ears these days). Simply cannot wait!

    • Oh, man, Mike – Simon Vance does an AMAZING job! I can’t stand listening to other people read my stuff – like at all. But my kids decided that I HAD to listen so they held me down and pushed play (jerks!). Anyway, he really was fantastic. Like EXACTLY how I imagined the narrator’s voice. It was spooky, really.

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