Six months ago, I could not have imagined this moment.
Five months ago, I sent a tweet into the world about my book, SWIMMING LESSONS, and my indefatigable agent, Eric Smith, liked it. A few days later, he offered rep.
That was improbable enough.
We went out on sub. Anxiety dreams and much pastry eating commenced.
Then, Eric called me, and told me unicorns were real. There was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow…
The world came to a stop. And the star I wished upon long ago, alighted in my trembling hands.
Seven years back I had an idea for a book. About a girl, like other girls. With dreams and ambitions and fears and a love-hate relationship with makeup. Living in an American town. An idyllic suburb, until it’s rocked by a wave of Islamophobia.
I started writing then stopped, then started, then had a baby. Then wrote again and put the manuscript in a drawer. Had another baby. Wrote some more. Then, the drawer again, because life. After a long, hard stare-down with the manuscript, I decided to give it the ‘ole college try. This is what that looks like (sorry trees):
SWIMMING LESSONS is going to exist, in the real world, beyond my imagination and my hard drive. One day a brown skinned kid with a funny name will walk into a bookstore, find my book on a shelf, and see a glimpse of themselves and know they are beautiful and wanted. One day a teenager who looks nothing like me will go to a library and pick up this book and find a brown girl, a Muslim girl, with feelings that could be their feelings in a world that they share.
My heart is full. And there are many, many people to thank, but let me begin with these…
Huge thanks to Daniel Ehrenhaft, already my favorite editor in the world, and the entire team at SoHo Teen for believing in this story.
My eternal gratitude to my husband, whose brilliant light shines for me, in the darkest places, when all other lights have gone out.
And now, I believe I have work to do.