I’m often asked if I’ve always known that I wanted to be a writer. The answer is yes, although it took a while and a few divergent paths to realize it. I remember that in the first grade, I thought that a book report was an actual book instead of a review of a book I had read, so I showed up to class with my own illustrated story of a dog and cat pair who had become lifelong friends against all odds. I thought it was brilliant. Unfortunately, my teacher didn’t, and she gave me an F for it, along with a note to my mother expressing her concern about my ability to follow directions. After that unpleasantness, I decided (actually, my mother did) that I would focus on my studies, and I concentrated on achieving my parents’ version of the American dream — to become a doctor, lawyer or engineer.
Years of all-girls Catholic schools led to a fantastic time at the University of Texas at Austin (hook ‘em Horns!) where I studied with freakish obsession. Split my time between science classes (was a biology major) and the language buildings (also majored in French), got two degrees, an acceptance letter from University of Texas Medical Branch, and a shock of doubt as to what I was doing with my life. So, I declined med school, broke my parents’ hearts and then tried to figure out what I was supposed to be when I grew up. “Christine,” my dad finally said after he and my mother were too spent to be upset with me anymore, “just do whatever makes you happy.” I thought he meant it, so I told him that I enjoyed food and wanted to be a chef, which he interpreted to mean “kitchen slave.” My announcement renewed my parents’ capacity for misery (this was before the explosive popularity of the Food Network and TV’s obsession with cooking. You should know that my parents get most of their information about society from TV). I had no idea where to begin my budding culinary career, so I called a local Belgian restaurant to ask for guidance. “I don’t give a damn if you went to Le Cordon Bleu or if you learned from watching your mother, so long as you can cook,” the mercurial chef yelled at me. At which point I offered to work for him for free if he would teach me how to cook. Yes, I am that stupid. And yes, he hired me. That little life lesson — that doors will open if you knock — has served me well. Anyway, turned out that I have no talent for the cooking arts, and a terribly limited attention span on top of that, so I quit and temped as an assistant to an assistant for a telecommunications company (“ma’am, would you like cream in your coffee?”). At this point, I was twenty-two, broke and bored, so I did what any other person in my position would do — I applied for law school. Got into Duke (go, Blue Devils!), went to North Carolina with two suitcases of all my belongings, graduated, married a great guy, moved to Dallas (go, Cowboys!) and then worked at a humongous law firm for five years. Made some awesome friends, learned a skill or two, and in the process, turned into a depressed, borderline alcoholic who spent all her time telling others about what a depressed, borderline alcoholic she had become. I told my husband that I wanted to be a writer, which would’ve sounded ludicrous to a normal person, particularly since I hadn’t taken an English class since high school. But, to my amazement, he went out that afternoon, bought me a laptop, gave me a kiss and told me to have at it. I told you he was a great guy.
So, that was three years ago. I’ve since left the law firm and have gone in-house with a fantastic company where I work human hours with incredible people. I snagged the world’s most awesome literary agent, lucked out with a freakishly great editor and spend my nights and weekends putting to paper the very real characters in my head. I know that I’m extremely fortunate to be able to do what I do (which in part explains my overuse of superlatives), but let me tell you — if I can do it, so can you, no matter what your passion may be. Okay, enough of my soapbox motivational speech. Let’s read!
Author Mailing Address
John Hawkins Literary Agency
71 West 23rd Street
New York, NY 10010
Editor at NAL
NAL/Penguin Group USA
375 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
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