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.

Category: General, Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , 11 comments »

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11 Responses to “Slower than a snail”

  1. admin

    The bike is amazing. I think some form of it is available in the US, but I don’t have the details. I hope you like the book!

  2. admin

    Thanks, Julie and best of luck with your own work!

  3. Susan Blumberg-Kason

    I love your posting and this bicycle! Do you know if they’re sold in the States?! I won your book through a Good Reads raffle and am waiting to start it when I go to NY in 10 days for a long weekend with my husband’s sisters. Congratulations!!!

  4. Julie Dao

    Jean I found the announcement for your book through a Tweet from Penguin, and I hopped over to say congratulations 🙂 This is so inspiring to me, being a young aspiring Asian American writer. Thanks for being a rolemodel for the rest of us out there and for bravely sharing your story – very inspirational. Congratulations to you!

  5. admin

    Gaby, thank you so much for your very kind words! It means a lot to me, and I really hope your mom is doing well too.

  6. gaby317 @ Starting Fresh

    I just finished reading Girl in Translation – it is wonderful! Honestly, you’re a total rock star to me.

    I brought the book with me to the hospital, hoping that it’d distract me while my mother underwent surgery. The surgery went well and your book had me hooked. I couldn’t put it down – I was crying, sniffling and getting a few strange looks (and I suspect many interested peeks at your book since the cover is gorgeous).

    I just wanted to thank you for writing Girl in Translation. I can’t wait to read what you have next.


  7. admin

    This is so nice for me to hear. Thanks, Ruth!

  8. Ruth

    I just finished reading your book, Girl in Translation and wanted to thank you personally for this wonderful book. I won an advanced reading copy from and Riverhead Books. Now that I have finished the book, I will share it with my friends and proudly add to my library!

    Thank you for taking me on this wonderful journey through words. I look forward to your next published great work!!!

  9. admin

    OK, I admit it… I’m not the world’s fastest when I’m not thinking either…

  10. Emily

    Jean! What a great post! Thank you for the laugh!

    …I once took a bike taxi with my best friend through Central Park and as we were riding up hill, the bike came to a stop…even though the guy was still peddling! That’s when we offered to get out and push. I wonder if he was thinking about his mega award winning novel making its debut…yeh that was probably it! 🙂

  11. WP Themes

    Genial dispatch and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Say thank you you for your information.

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