Friday, February 08, 2013

My Sister's New Book

Today, my sister's book is OUT. Let the party begin! Long-time readers know my sister as Dorothy from Surrender, Dorothy, but in reality, her name is Rita Arens and she wrote The Obvious Game. I am anonymous, but my sister is out there in the real world with her real name PUBLISHING BOOKS AND SH*T. I'm proud.

*beams with pride*

I'm a little weebed out by the cover of the book because the back of my parents' house has that same roof line. They have a partial earth home, so the roof of the garage goes all the way down to the ground like that.

This is a photo from when Pa and I built a new staircase for the back entry to the house:


And the publisher didn't even know about my parents' house. SERIOUSLY! I KNOW!

Anyway, back to the pride. I'm very proud of Sister Big for publishing her new book. I'm ridiculously happy to have a real copy right here next to me as I type this. But I'm a little bit embarrassed to admit that I have not read the final version.

*Sis Big reaches through computer screen and clobbers Sis Lil*

The reason is simple. I read many early versions of the book. I read so many of them that I lost track of what had been added in and edited out and my head started spinning when I realized I was having Major Version Control issues. So at some point, I decided to stop reading the book until it was finished. Then I would know what I was talking about when I talked to my sister about her baby AND when I bragged about her to other people. See? It was a great plan!

As a writer myself, I know how many versions you can go through of a three page story, let alone an entire novel. You tweak and tweak and tweak until you are finally satisfied. It's a lot of work. It's exhausting and nauseating and horrifying but it feels SO GOOD when you are done. My sister is done. It's out. It's published. It's superfly.

For those of you who read my sister's blog, you'll know that she's been very open and honest about the process of writing the book. She's given you the nitty gritty about all of the Behind the Scenes work she's put into it. It's been a true labor of love for her.

So how does her family feel?


Yes, I'm serious.

But yes, there is also a little side of me (I speak for me only, not my parents or anyone else) that is a little sceeered. That's My Sissy who wrote that book. That is Her Baby. Just as she wonders how it will be received, so do I. I'm allowed to yell at Rita or hit her where it hurts or all of those things because she is My Sister. And because I've been in the book industry for almost 15 years, I KNOW how brutal and cutthroat it can be. It's a tough industry, just like the movies. Personally, I've been SLAUGHTERED up and down the wall on a short story that later received high praise. You just never know. So like any good sister, I'm protective of her and would feel much better if she never stuck her neck out at all. Ever.

But what is the fun in that? Nada.

If there's anything I've learned from my career in publishing (and from working on things like staircases with my father), it's this:

The tall nail gets hammered -- but it holds the whole structure together.

My sister got hammered a lot in life, but look at her now. So shiny.

I share my feelings with you NOT because I have any doubt in my sister's abilities, but because SHE has been so open and honest about her journey. It's important that I be honest, too. So for those of you who are burning with curiosity to know how I "really feel" about my sister's book, here you go...

It can be difficult having writers in the family. You do worry that one day something you said 15 years ago might reappear coming out of a character's mouth. I know that my own family (that very sister included) has been jarred, enlightened, or FURIOUS about things I've written right here on this very blog. It's part of the process -- and part of our Life Journey together. We are storytellers, and our stories will live on. We write. It's what we do. And that's all there is to it.

So yeah. I'm SUPER EXCITED for Dorothy, but I'm also a little MEEPED OUT and feeling a tad exposed and wanting to be all Mother Bear while at the same time proudly basking in the Beautiful, Shiny Glow of Sis Big. It's a complete mixed bag of emotions. I'm a Gemini, can you tell?

But one thing I know for sure is that I am proud to be the sister of Rita Arens, author. I am boinging up and down in my chair right now. I have a big ole smile on my face. And I truly am looking forward to seeing what Great Thing she does next.

Good job, Sis Big. XXOO

(Now go buy the book!)

1 comment:

Rita Arens said...

Well, if you weren't a little nervous, I'd wonder about you. I mean, this book would be so easy to attack on so many levels.

Don't worry about me, though, because I don't know if people could say much worse than has already been said about earlier drafts. Don't you remember the "unrelenting downer" period?

Thank you for such a sweet post! See you soon. I love you.