In March 2020, a book will come out with the praise of Stephen King. The book will garner praise from other big names, and articles about the book have already pointed out its seven figure advance. The publishing industry has been hard at work since last year to make sure you know about this book.
To those familiar with the controversy around American Dirt, this may sound familiar. A white woman has written a book that fictionalizes a story many people have survived and the book is receiving tremendous backing and promotion. The book this time, though, is titled My Dark Vanessa. The book I wrote, Excavation, is a memoir with eerie story similarities, and was published by a small press in 2014.
The road to publishing Excavation began in 2012, when my friend, author Emily Rapp, suggested I write a Modern Love column.
I had never heard of Modern Love. I had no idea what its cultural significance was, that it had millions of readers and fans. I knew it was in the New York Times, which I didn’t read. Emily said, Hey, you should take a shot at this! and I took her advice, because at the very least, I could treat it as a writing prompt. I could find a way to write about love in a fresh, interesting way.
I wrote an essay I was proud of, if not terrified to share, because it centered my queerness, and told the story of the adulterous relationship that led me to my current partner. I was shocked when the essay was accepted. The day after it was published, I was swarmed by agents who casually emailed and asked me for the book, a sample chapter, something.
I wrote an essay I was proud of, if not terrified to share, because it centered my queerness, and told the story of the adulterous relationship that led me to my current partner.
I’ve been writing and thinking of myself as “a writer” since I was 6. All the people closest to me know me as a reader and writer. To have agents suddenly reaching out to me, who had only been publishing in literary journals, felt surreal.