#178: My Forthcoming Novel

Penguins swimming, flare from sun through water.
Detroit Zoo, Royal Oak, MI

I made some updates to my site this week. It’s been remarkably like furnishing my new apartment, with more or less the same goal – first make it habitable, then let it grow naturally, become more lived-in over time. After years of coding HTML by hand I decided to try Squarespace and, honestly, it’s been a delight to use. All those podcast ads weren’t kidding. Working with it has given me ideas for things to do with my site that I might otherwise have dismissed as being too tedious. It’s gonna be fun.

One page I’ve added is for my novel. Ah yes, the novel. I’m burying the lede here. I’ve been listening for the right moment to write to you about it here, and somehow this post-Thanksgiving weekend feels right. The book’s called See You in the Cosmos, and it’s about Alex, an eleven-year-old trying to launch his own rocket into space. Alex’s dad died when he was little and his mom and older brother are both, in their ways, absent from his life. He also has a dog named Carl Sagan, after the real-life astronomer. The story opens with Alex and Carl Sagan (the dog, not the man) about to head to a rocket festival in the New Mexico desert.

The book comes out next spring. It’s being published jointly by Dial Books in the US and Puffin in the UK, both part of Penguin Young Readers. I didn’t originally write this as a kids’ book, but through the circumstances of my life and the world we live in, it became more of a kids’ book, and I’m tremendously grateful that it did. And I prefer Hayao Miyazaki’s definition for this kind of stuff anyway: it’s for ten-year-olds of all ages.

I imagine you have questions, like, What was it like writing for kids? and What made you decide to go through a publisher instead of self-publishing like with your first book? Can I pre-order it already?

The answer to that last one is YES. As for the others, there are still thirteen Sundays left before the publication date.