Monday 7 February 2011

Welcome debut author Rebecca Rasmussen to The Big Break.

I have a lovely surprise for everyone this morning, as the beautiful and talented Rebecca Rasmussen has kindly agreed to be the first author to take part in a my new feature called 'The Big Break'. This post will feature authors talking about how it actually felt  to get the elusive publishing deal, something I know many of us aspiring writers would love to know about.

Firstly, can I thank you Rebecca,  for joining me today on my blog.

Hi everyone! I am so pleased and thankful to Vivienne for having me here today. I can’t think of a place I’d rather be. I have my coffee, my computer, and a few free hours before I pick up my daughter from preschool, so this is bliss! Well, aside from the freezing rain we’re having in St. Louis, Missouri. So you see I am very much looking forward to spring, and not just because my novel is going to be making its appearance in the world. Flowers and sunshine, please.

What was your first reaction when you found out that your book was to be published? How did it make you feel?

I was in my tiny office off the kitchen and my husband, brother, and daughter were all talking about what to make for supper. Pizza! Stir Fry! Something cold! I had been waiting a long time to hear about the status of The Bird Sisters with New York publishers, so long that I had given up all the obsessive behaviors of the first few weeks of waiting: constantly checking my email, my phone messages, and my heart rate.

By July, I was sweating in St. Louis, but only because it was terribly hot outside. I remember going into my office to check my email because I was teaching a group of high school kids in the morning and had asked them to email me their essays for me to review that evening. When I saw the email from my agent and the subject line “Great News!!!” my heart rate skyrocketed once again. I read the email, which said that a large New York publisher had made an offer on The Bird Sisters. My agent said there were many details to be worked out, other publishers alerted to the fact of the offer, etc, but she said one thing that gave me a once in a lifetime kind of joy: “No matter what, though, your book will be published, Rebecca!”

At that moment, the money didn’t matter, the terms of the deal didn’t matter, and the long wait ahead of me didn’t matter—all that mattered was that my book was going to be a book! I went to my favorite bookshelf in my bedroom and touched all of the books with the little symbol of that particular publisher on their spines. Then I took a deep breath and walked into the kitchen.
“I have some good news,” I said to everyone, and much hugging and cheering ensued.

Later, I took a walk around the neighborhood with my husband and we shared a cigar. I don’t smoke cigars, but I did that night.

How long has it taken for your book to be published after the initial offer?

1 year and 8 months. Good lord, could it be that long? Yes and yes. It has been a long, long, long wait. That’s why when April rolls around, I am going to literally jump for joy. Plus, my friends have been hearing me talk about the book for all that time—book eternity!—so I bet they’ll be excited that they can finally buy the thing and shut me up! My agent defined this part of the process particularly well, I think. She calls it “the hurry up and wait period.”

What was happening to your manuscript during this time?

It took a few months to get the manuscript edits finished and approved by Crown, and then the book was designed, typeset, first pass pages were created, then second pass pages, and then the galleys. The galleys were the most exciting part for me because they are basically a paperback version of the hardcover and are sent out for early reviews and promotional purposes, which means when I could literally hold my book in my hand for the first time.

Now that was a grand day!

Where was the first place that your saw your book on sale and did you do anything crazy when you saw it?

This is a bit tricky since the book isn’t technically out until April 12th, but I will tell you that the first time I saw the book up on Amazon, it was quite a thrill. I admit I clicked the pre-order button just because, after so many years of working and working and working, I finally could.

What are you working on now?

I just finished my second novel, which is set in the wild and remote landscape of northern Minnesota in a fictional place called Partway. It begins in the 1930s and ends in the 1970s. This book was a pleasure to write and I am quite sad to be finished with it actually. But I’m pressing forward with the third, which is about a small town doctor, his wife, his family, and a girl named Lizzie Ogden.

What advice would you give unpublished authors?

Have faith in yourself and your work. If you don’t have it, no one else will. Also, be kind to yourself. When you face rejection, treat yourself to something small that you love. Send yourself flowers or chocolates. Pick yourself up. Keep writing.

Thank you Rebecca for taking the time to come and talk to us today, I am positive it has inspired us to reach for our own stars.

As Rebecca mentioned above The Bird Sisters will be released in the U.S on the 12th April by Crown. There has not been a decision concerning a UK release date as of  yet, but you will be able to buy it via The Book Depository.

Here is a beautiful description of Rebecca's book, which I have borrowed from her website.

When a bird flies into a window in Spring Green, Wisconsin, sisters Milly and Twiss get a visit. Twiss listens to the birds’ heartbeats, assessing what she can fix and what she can’t, while Milly listens to the heartaches of the people who’ve brought them. The two sisters have spent their lives nursing people and birds back to health.

But back in the summer of 1947, they knew nothing about trying to mend what had been accidentally broken. Milly was known as a great beauty with emerald eyes and Twiss was a brazen wild child who never wore a dress or did what she was told. That was the summer their golf pro father got into an accident that cost him both his swing and his charm, and their mother, the daughter of a wealthy jeweler, finally admitted their hardscrabble lives wouldn’t change. It was the summer their priest, Father Rice, announced that God didn’t exist and ran off to Mexico, and a boy named Asa finally caught Milly’s eye. And, most unforgettably, it was the summer their cousin Bett came down from a town called Deadwater and changed the course of their lives forever.

Doesn't that just sound like a wonderful read?

If you would like to know more about Rebecca Rasmussen and her debut book, then please visit her on her website here.

Personally, I can't wait to get my hands on this book. I think Rebecca Rasmussen is a name we are going to need to watch in the publishing world.


  1. Fantastic interview, Vivienne! I look forward to the book coming out in April and reading it!

  2. What a great idea for a Feature Post, Vivienne! I loved hearing her Rebecca's story, and I look forward to reading many others.

  3. Great interview, Vivienne and Rebecca. And to know that there's a second book finished and a third in the works just makes me so happy for Rebecca AND us!

  4. Loving your new feature - some great questions and answers.

  5. I love this Vivienne and Rebecca - so much fun to get to know more about the awesome Rebecca!

    I want to read Rebeccas book more and more! :D

  6. Oh Vivienne, this just looks lovely! Thank you so much for having me as a guest today. I am ridiculously excited and very happy to be here. XOX

  7. Oh, this is such a wonderful interview. Rebecca, I teared up when I read about the moment you received the email. So special! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  8. Thank you for sharing this Rebecca and Vivienne. And, I'm so glad to hear there are more books to come!

  9. Great interview ladies! It's so interesting to hear about the publishing process from the author's perspective. Beautiful jacket, Rebecca - I look forward to seeing it in stores!

  10. Great interview! Love getting to know debut authors and how they get from where I am to where they are. Great job, Vivienne!!

    Funny this was your post today. You might come see who visited my post today, too.;)

  11. This was fabulous! I've gotten to know Rebecca on Twitter and I'm just crazy about her. I hope her book will be a huge success! I hope to meet her someday, somehow.

  12. Thank you ladies for all stopping by. It is lovely to see so many of you have already heard how wonderful Rebecca is. I love reading about how she got her publishing deal. Gives us all hope.

    Thank you to all the new people who stopped by and all the lovely new followers I have acquired. It makes me really happy. I need to go and check out some new blogs now.

  13. Oh Rebecca you made me so teary! I am so happy your wait is almost over.
    I am anxiously waiting for the fed ex guy to bring my first copy...Yikes..
    Great blog and wonderful interview!

  14. Thank you so much everyone for stopping by V's blog today. I am teary-eyed now; what lovely friends and supporters I have. Thank you all for everything. XOXO

  15. What a wonderful interview and the book does sound lovely.

  16. Nice interview :)

    Wow, long wait! But totally worth it I am sure :)

  17. Wow, what a great new feature, I love the idea of highlighting debut authors like this :) and the book sounds fabulous!

  18. This is such a brilliant interview! Rebecca's lovely :) x

  19. That sounds like a fantastic book - great interview!

  20. Wonderful interview ladies!
    the Bird Sisters sounds good, and I love the pretty cover.
    Good luck to Rebecca!

  21. What a lovely cover! Sounds like an interesting story as well. Congrats to the author!

  22. What a great interview. I am so looking forward to The Bird Sisters.

  23. I love this new feature of yours!

    It's so amazing how many months/years can go into the publication of a book isn't it? I think I'd be going nuts waiting and waiting! I'll be looking forward to this book.

  24. Hi Viv!

    Hi Rebecca! I wish you all the best. Love that cover!


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