R. J. Keller, author of Waiting for Spring and the forthcoming The Wendy House, my partner in the PaperRats writers’ relief YouTube series Inside the Writers’ Studio, Backword Books member, and obsessive Star Wars fan, has recently had her independently released novel, Waiting for Spring, picked up by Amazon’s Encore imprint. Here, she answers some questions about going to the dark side.
Congratulations on Waiting for Spring‘s move to Amazon’s Encore imprint! What kind of day were you having when you heard from them, and what was the rest of your day like after that?
Thank you! The truth is I was having a rather shitty day (pardon my Bulgarian). The rural convenience store where I work, in the very rural town where I live, had recently burned down and I was transferred to a location in the city of Bangor (“city” is a relative term in Maine). My first shift was fairly hideous. The store is busy beyond belief and patronized by a rather rough crowd. Customers without proper IDs were refused alcohol and tobacco. Obnoxious kids spilled sticky Slush Puppy beverages on the counter, then burst into hysterical laughter. Insults and objects were hurled (not at the kids, although they deserved it). After ten hours of chaos, I was physically and emotionally drained, but by the time I got home – at shortly after midnight – I was too wound up to sleep. I checked my email and found a letter from AmazonEncore acquisitions editor, Terry Goodman, in which he offered to take on Waiting For Spring.
My first reaction was shock. It was one of those moments you hear about when you literally can’t believe what you’re reading. Then, of course, I “squeeeed!” a little. Or maybe it was a lot. Then I got nervous. I was afraid it might be a scam and I didn’t want to be taken in like an idiot. I’d heard of AmazonEncore, of course, but as I sat there in my Slush-Puppy-stained convenience store uniform, it seemed a little unreal that this email could actually be from them to me. Finally, I sent a copy of it to Craig Lancaster, whose novel The Summer Son had recently been acquired by Encore, with a note that asked, in part, “Is this the real AmazonEncore?” His response was, “This is the real deal! Congratulations!” After that, the Slush Puppy and obnoxious customers faded from memory.