For a lot of us here, we just want to write our little hearts away, day and night, twilight and midnight, forever and ever, and we want our stories out in the world as soon as possible. We’re all gifted with Figtastic imagination and driven by a desire to see our stories printed on paper and bound up in our dream cover. We all dream of finding someone on the train reading our book–preferably in the next couple of months or so. It’s not that we’re impatient people, we’re just, you know, really, really, really eager to feel like real authors.
I was fortunate enough to meet Franny Billingsley recently and developed a deep admiration of what a dedicated writer she is, perfecting her story until she thought it best for her readers–even though it took twelve years. It paid off, though, considering that Chime hit the stores and turned Franny into a National Book Award finalist, entrancing us all with her dark tale of witchcraft and secrets.
She may not have taken home the gold at the awards ceremony, but being a finalist is an honor all in itself. I always wondered how it must feel to realize that your book is not only a success in the stores, but has also been nominated for a prestigious award. That’s why I had to ask Franny: “What did you do when you found out you were a finalist? Did you do a happy dance? Call your mother? Update your Facebook status?” Sadly, Franny wouldn’t show the audience her happy dance.
Franny went into a cute little story about how her landlady was actually trying to evict her on the day she received the phone call from the National Book Foundation. The phone was ringing on and on as the landlady droned about Franny’s cats being a nuisance and demanded she get out. Franny had to talk her down before finally getting the chance to check her voicemail for the exhilarating news.
Personally, if I were being evicted because of something so silly, I would’ve flaunted my National Book Award finalist novel with its shiny silver medal in my landlady’s face while informing her that her building had just become significantly less cool by throwing me out. But I suspect Franny has a lot more class than I do–she probably kept it low-key, perhaps even did a happy dance on her way out?