I am a quiet person. I am the one you will find in the kitchen at parties, the solitary sort who has found guilty solace in the phrase “social distancing.” And yet, I also like creating things, and if you create things, you will probably want to show them to somebody. Maybe lots of somebodies. It has been my lifelong dream to publish a book. Now that this dream is coming true, with my debut novel Walk the Vanished Earth poised for release, I find myself in a position at once exhilarating and terrifying. I cannot wait to display my creation, to trumpet, “Look at this marvelous thing I have made.” At the same time, within me runs an undercurrent of fear. I feel like Stephen King’s Carrie before heading to her doomed prom, her mother’s prophetic refrain—“They’re all going to laugh at you”—playing over and over in my head.
Birthing a book is a strange experience. I do not have children and so cannot claim it is like true childbirth, but I imagine both involve a similar leap of faith. As a mother does with her infant, I have formed this thing with the stuff of my being. And yet, it is not entirely me, nor entirely mine. It belongs to itself. And, once it is born, it will belong to the world. I do not know how it will fare in this world. Will it prosper? Or will it stumble, even fail? And if this will be its fate, how can I prevent it?