Happy Days and the Silver Linings

Today is a very, very happy day. The Van Alen Legacy hit some sweet spots on several bestseller lists (#3 at the NY Times, #2 on Bookscan Juvenille, #12 on USA Today, and many more). I am very thankful to all of you for reading and buying the books. They are a pleasure for me to write, and the fact that you guys are there for the ride with me—there’s no bigger thrill for an author. I have been writing professionally now for about thirteen years. I went full-time more than ten years ago. For me, just to be able to support myself on my writing was enough of an achievement, so all this is just the gravy and the cherry on top.

Just because I hate hearing about “overnight successes” here’s my story: Blue Boods was my sixth novel. I had no idea it would be the one to “break out” but I had a lot of faith in it. The series didn’t hit the “lists” until Book Three: Revelations. For book four: The Van Alen Legacy, we had a first printing of 260,000 copies, then went to print for 35,000 more before it even went on shelves. (We just went back to print again. Whee!)

I am incredibly moved by all of my readers’ devotion and love of the series. Thank you so much for caring about the characters and the story. When my editor told me how well we did on the first week out of the gate, I cried.

I cry a lot lately. As you guys who read this know, my dad is battling cancer. It’s a battle that has become very very difficult of late. It is very hard for me to write about, as it is a kind of sadness that colors everything in my life, I cannot even articulate the pain that my family is feeling right now. Those of you who have dads—hug your dad right now. RIGHT NOW. I never took my parents for granted. I knew I won the “parent lottery”. I come from an incredibly close, incredibly loving family. My dad is the best. But I did take for granted that we would have him around for a while longer—because he is so brave, because until this year, we never really “saw” the disease affect him all too much—of course, there was the chemo and all its side effects and all that. But for the most part, he still lived his life, just on a slower level. But now things are different. He is very, very, very sick. It is so hard to accept. I don’t want to write too much about it—because it is something we are going through right now, and I am still a bit incoherent about it. But I wanted to mention it…we all know that every grey cloud has a silver ling, and the fact that you all read my books is a very wonderful silver lining indeed.

When I was in creative writing class at Columbia, there was a student who wrote a story, and it always stuck in my mind—his story was about a really happy day—and how happy the characters were, but they were happy in innocence, because somewhere, right at that same moment, their parents were being killed in a car crash. I always remembered it because it seemed so profound—that you can have this beautiful happiness, and not know that somewhere, something very terrible was happening to you, you just don’t know it yet.

I guess life is just like that. My dad’s cancer has colored and enriched my life for the last six years, and having this experience, it changes you. I guess I always think about my dad when things like bestseller lists happen because so many of us think that that’s what life is about: getting ahead, the numbers game, etc. But there really isn’t anything more important in our life than the people we love. My dad takes so much joy out of my success (he danced in his hospital bed when he heard the news about the “lists”), and that is what makes it so much sweeter—knowing that I have so many people to share this with—especially all of you who made it possible. What I wish for all of you today is to realize how much you love your loved ones and be kind to them. Everyday. Because life is so so very very short. And to realize happiness comes from the small things in life. My dad taught me how to be happy every day. He is a man who looks forward to what he is having for lunch.

Thank you all for reading the books and for being there for me.