Slower than a snail

I was riding my cargo bike, which has a wooden box in the front.  I’d just filled it with kids, and one little tyke (who can hardly talk) suddenly came up with a full sentence:  “We’re going slower than a snail!”

Another one piped in with, “Those people walking are faster than us!”

And indeed, at that moment, a little girl in pigtails zoomed past us on her pink bike, closely followed by a granny who had her walker tied to the back rack of her bike.

“Road hogs!”  I wanted to call, but the truth is, I’ve been a bit preoccupied lately.

Jean Kwok and her cargo bike

It is really strange, and very special, to be a debut author.  Especially one whose book hasn’t even come out yet.  It started when I first went to Riverhead headquarters and walked past rows of books by Junot Diaz, Anne Lamott, and Chang-rae Lee.  Then, in my editor Sarah McGrath’s office, I spotted the manuscript of Khaled Hosseini’s A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS in a box next to mine.  I had to pinch myself hard then.

When you love books, people in books and publishing are kind of like rock stars to you, and it’s just stunning to be in a position to actually meet the people you’ve always admired.  You probably knew this already but I hadn’t realized that real people wrote and published the books I cared about so much.

In the past seven days, I’ve heard that my novel is a “Discover Great New Writers” pick for Barnes and Noble, the Russian rights have been sold, and seen myself in an author video, looking like a real writer.  I can’t tell you how many times I wandered through bookstores, wondering what it would be like to actually have my own book in there.  And now, I’ll be featured in lots of stores, including some really fantastic independent bookstores.

So my husband claims I’m a danger to traffic on my bike but I would like to state that although we may not be traveling at light speed, there is a whirlwind going on in my mind.

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