I’m in this weird state between anticipation and celebration. Planning, waiting, watching, hoping…and trying to write and work and sleep and not become overwhelmed.
Personal Effects is out in two weeks. We’re putting the final touches on some launch celebrations, and waiting for the day to arrive. All the while I have been writing/re-writing/revising like crazy in order to get the first half of my new book to my agent before the craziness hits. (There’s a whole post for sometime in the future about losing the ability to write in any meaningful way for large chunks of the past year. But for now I am just going to say I am so relieved to be able to write/re-write/revise again, and to enjoy the experimental joy of finding a new character’s story).
Reviews have been popping up, word of pre-orders and excitement have been hitting my email, and this past week three amazing things happened:
First, my author copies of Personal Effects arrived.
My editor sent me one copy a few weeks ago. It arrived in the mail, an unexpected, emotional, happy surprise. But this week the box of author copies
arrived. Soon I will sit down and inscribe a few to early readers and people who played special roles in bringing Personal Effects into the world.
Second, Personal Effects was named to the Autumn 2012 Kids’ Indie Next List. To see Personal Effects on that list of recommended titles — so many of which I have either already read and admired, or I am eagerly anticipating — is truly amazing. And that it comes from independent booksellers makes it even more special. (You all know I have great love and respect for indie bookstores and their dedicated staff — especially mine).
The fact that my book is in a library, and will soon be in other libraries, is so very exciting. I was not prepared for how emotional and thrilling that
moment would be.
And as I mentioned above, Personal Effects has received some wonderful, thoughtful, insightful reviews, many from librarians and teachers and readers whose opinions I respect. I thank everyone who has read Personal Effects and has taken the time to write a review.
And here’s a taste of what the review journals have said so far:
“Kokie grounds readers so thoroughly in Matt’s misery that they will be as itchy to escape the brutal emptiness of life with his father as he is. Realistically, though the inevitable revelation and resolution bring peace to Matt, they do not heal his father; readers will just have to hope he can make it through. A fine addition to the literature of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” – Kirkus (subscription required to read the complete review)
“Well written and heartfelt, the novel provides much to discuss after the covers are closed. . . . The dialogue is authentic to the characters and the plot moves the story forward at a pace that allows reflection, but keeps the reader interested. This title is highly recommended for teen readers.” – VOYA
“The author conveys Matt’s grief over T.J. and his fear of his father so palpably that the reader’s stomach tightens in empathy. . . . Kokie’s well-crafted debut novel depicts a military family with admirable complexity while tracing one young man’s hard-fought coming of age.” – Horn Book
Finally, my fall schedule is coming together, including launch parties, readings, conferences, The Austin Teen Book Festival, the Wisconsin Book Festival, the ALAN workshop, and more. For a full (and updated regularly) list of news and events, you can check here.
And if you want a signed copy of Personal Effects but you aren’t able to make any of the scheduled events, you can pre-order a signed copy through A Room of One’s Own.
I look forward to sharing more of this crazy, wild ride with you as Personal Effects makes its way into the world. Thank you to everyone who is celebrating along with me.