Ellen’s book, The Smart one, was chosen as one of the top 10 beach reads by Woman’s Day. Her third novel, The Other Life will be released 2011.
Ellen's topic also receives her trademark dry humor she speaks about something writers know a lot about--waiting.
Back when I was a tender unpublished thing of say, 42 , I was naive enough to think the writing life was about Art. Art and prestige. Maybe Art and prestige with a little fame and glamour thrown in. But now that I have two published books under my belt and two more in the pipeline, I know better.
Writing is about waiting.
Indeed, as any published or aspiring author knows, most days all you do is wait.
And as the claw marks on my desk will attest, patience doesn't come naturally to me. I don't think it comes naturally to you, either. Or anyone. Not anyone we like, at any rate. Oh sure, there are people walking around on this planet who claim to be patient—people who look just like the rest of us—but we know the truth. These are people whose homes are always clean. They read instructions. They never forget to bring all their coupons to the supermarket, neatly organized in little accordion folders they finger their way through only after the last item has been rung. They pay with exact change. And they are always in front of us in line.
There is something I wish on these people. Something so cruel I'm ashamed to even think it, but here goes ...
I wish they would become writers.
Evil, I know. But I'd love to see those folks spend two years bleeding sweat into their beloved manuscripts only to have to endure the following ...
• Waiting to hear from the 100-200 agents they queried, including those who believe the appropriate way to reject a query is to ignore it, thus increasing the wait time to infinity.
• Waiting three months to email the agent who promised she would read the manuscript in two weeks, only to learn that she plans to read it as soon as she returns from sabbatical.
• Waiting another three months before following up yet again, only to learn that the agent has lost the manuscript, but promises to read it within the next six months if you resend it right away ... and promise her an exclusive.
• Waiting to hear from the agent who had telephoned to say she was reading the manuscript and would call back in 24 hours to say whether she wanted to offer representation.
• Waiting for your writer friends to reassure you it's okay to contact the agent after a month has gone by with no word from her.
• Waiting for your non-writer friends to understand that getting an agent is actually a very big deal and worthy of some kind of small celebration, like maybe a surprise party at Le Cirque.
• Waiting eight months while your new agent submits the manuscript to every editor in New York City and beyond before getting a book deal.
• Waiting four months for the contract that was supposed to
arrive in four weeks.
• Waiting for your advance, which, according to your contract, will be divided into eight equal installments paid annually beginning in the decade after the book's release.
• Waiting a year-and-a-half for pub date only to be told your book was moved to the schedule for the following year.
• Waiting to finish your next book, so you can start all over again ...
On second thought, maybe I don't wish this on anyone. Maybe the pain-to-pleasure ratio of the writer's life is so skewed toward torture I don't even wish it on the guy in front of me on the highway, who’s driving fifty miles an hour in the left lane when I'm late for an appointment with my therapist.
But as for me? I'll keep doing it as long as they'll let me.
- How about you?
- Do you plan to keep writing? And are you getting any better at waiting?
The Smart One Blurb
Bev is the Smart One, who finally leaves her artistic ambitions in chalk dust (and her humor-impaired husband in the arms—and legs—of his nubile protégée) to become a schoolteacher. Clare is the Pretty One, who married well and seems to be living a designer version of the suburban dream. Joey is the Wild One, struggling to stay clean and sober now that she's used up her fifteen minutes of fame as a one-hit-wonder rock star.
They love each other but mix like oil, water, and hundred-proof gin . . . a combination that threatens to combust over family tensions, suspected infidelities, a devastating accident, a stunning confession, and the sudden reappearance of their handsome, now all-grown-up former neighbor, Kenny Waxman, who's back in town making his mark as a TV comedy writer.
It seems they'll never understand where their differences begin and their own destructive tendencies end. Then it happens: the sisters discover a decades-old body stuffed inside an industrial drum and begin a bold, heartbreaking, and sometimes hilarious journey that will either bring them together . . . or tear them apart for good.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Ellen Meister is the author of two novels, THE SMART ONE (HarperCollins/Avon) and SECRET CONFESSIONS OF THE APPLEWOOD PTA (Morrow/Avon). Her third novel, THE OTHER LIFE will be published by Putnam in early 2011.
A former advertising copywriter, Ellen left the business world to raise a family and chase her fiction-writing dreams. In addition to her novels, she has published numerous short stories and was the editor of an online literary magazine. She currently curates for a literary radio program, mentors aspiring authors and does public speaking about her books and other writing-related issues.
Ellen lives in New York with her husband and three children, and is at work on her fourth novel, FAREWELL, DOROTHY PARKER.
For more information, visit her website at ellenmeister.com.
You can also find Ellen on Facebook