Do the right thing

Gentle readers.

Let me tell you what I did last week: I rode an Arabian mare past a coyote, a roadrunner, and a desert dog. And I sold my debut novel, Rusalka, to Norton/Liveright (due out summer 2015).


Alright. Champagne in hand.

I can honestly say I’ve never been happier, more gratified, more grateful. Never in a one-week period have I so frequently described myself as “insane with glee.” I’ve been working on this book for five years – I began writing it in my living room in Tempe, AZ during grad school, and completed the first big section in my bedroom in Singapore, when the Piper Center sent me & my wonderful poet friend Rachel to teach at NUS in the University Scholars Programme. I revised not once, but twice in Madison, WI the year that my beloved father-in-law passed away.

There is a lot of history for me in this book, interwoven, flitting into view from behind the story that is visible on the page. To say I’m excited would be an understatement. I am swimming in a new sea.

Enormous thanks to my new editor, Katie Adams of Liveright Publishing, whom I can already tell will be a joy to work with. And equally enormous thanks to Emma Patterson of Brandt & Hochman, my intrepid agent and friend.

Of course those aren’t adequate thanks overall, but I’ll save the rest for the acknowledgements page. It will be hard to wait until next year to hold the book in my hands (well, actually it will be harder for people who aren’t me; I’ll be working on some revisions & then heading back into my new manuscript, so I suspect the time will pass with astonishing speed), but it will be worth it.

For now, here’s a recording of Arvo Pärt’s ‘My Heart’s In the Highlands’ which I’ve been listening to on repeat. It feels thematically right for the book (though Rusalka is set in Chicago and Poland, not Scotland), which is very much concerned with how to go forward with all that clings to us from the past.

(And if you need a quick line on “what the book’s about” try this: A deal with the devil, family myths, mother and child, survivor’s guilt as received memory. Or use the Publisher’s Marketplace (!) description:

“Adrienne Celt’s RUSALKA, about a young soprano who finds she cannot bring herself to sing a single note after the birth of her daughter, wondering if her long-feared family curse has struck at last, to Katie Henderson Adams at Liveright by Emma Patterson at Brandt & Hochman.”)
Additional random links:
– Want to read some of my work right now? Take a look at my story “The Dimensions
of the Anomaly”
in Blackbird. (I don’t think I posted this here before, but if I’m wrong, I apologize. Go read it again, for old time’s sake?)
– Looking for a smart, dark, funny summer read? Pick up my friend CJ Hauser‘s
debut novel, The From-Aways.
– For a hit of nostalgia, Molly McArdle’s essay on Narnia and the childhood magic of reading.