Summer is here and my family and I have breathed a collective sigh of relief. The sun is shining, school’s out, the pool calls our name every day. But, want to know what the best part of it all is? I finished the final revision of The Unexpected Daughter!
Not only am I relieved to have my literary baby sent off for final edits, but my husband and real babies are happy to get me back into their world again. I think they’re mostly just hungry for a homemade meal instead of fast food, but nonetheless, they seem glad to see my face again.
I disappeared from life as I know it after the Atlanta Writer’s Conference in May. To my joyful surprise, the novel’s manuscript was requested by a literary agent and an editor at a major publisher, and I received the best pitch award for my pitch to the publishing editor. Yay me! After I got home that day, however, the euphoria melted into full-body anxiety attacks when I realized that this is the real deal, and I need to deliver – and fast! So, I threw myself into revisions for the next few weeks, holing myself up in my office, and even checking into a local Hampton Inn for a few days to have some alone and focused time to turn the book into the novel that publishers will be fighting over.
In addition to the manuscript, I’ve also written articles for the online magazine Masalamommas. The magazine is for moms with a South Asian connection, and I’ve enjoyed sharing my experiences as a wife and mom in an intercultural family with the readers. The first article, Navigating Friendships in an Interracial Marriage, received an overwhelming response, both positive and negative, and the second, When Parenting Styles Clash Across Cultures was read by many. I welcomed the chance to have a dialogue with people on my Indian-Southern marriage experience, and since the novel is based on the tumultuous relationships in mixed marriages and families, I am now certain that Roshan and Jenny’s relationship with his mother Esha in The Unexpected Daughter will touch a hot spot for a wide audience.
But, during all of this prolific writing time, I’m embarrassed to admit, I kind of forgot about my kids.
Of course, my husband and their grandparents took good care of them, so don’t call the department of children’s services. They were fed. They were supervised. They got to watch a lot of TV. And I got to write widely read articles and finally finish the book that so many in my life have been waiting to read. Within a week, I will have in hand a polished manuscript worthy of sharing with the professionals who asked for it, and the people in my life who have been awaiting it. Then, I’ll submit it to the powers-that-be, and wait with fingers crossed.
In the meantime, I have been packing the pool bag with snacks and sunscreen for long afternoons at the pool and relishing the sun on my face while playing Marco Polo in the water with my seven year old. And I have been using my laptop more now to look up recipes to feed my poor neglected family. In the back of my mind, however, Roshan, Jenny and Esha are still talking to me, and I’m starting to plan where their lives will take them next in the second book. Too much too soon? Maybe. But, I’m not a poolside reader, I’m a writer, and I have plenty of time now to jot down notes now while I wait.