I came home one day last week to find a mysterious box outside my door. I wasn’t expecting anything. Hadn’t ordered anything. Nobody’s birthday is on the horizon. Christmas is still a long way off.

But when I saw “Penguin” on the mailing label I tore into that box. And found . . .

Bound galleys! This is the first time I’ve seen my book printed up, with the cover design on it. The final book will be in hardcover, and there are some back and interior jacket details to be finalized. But these paperback copies of uncorrected proofs represent a milestone. Now the novel is finally not just a manuscript, but a physical object you can hold in your hand.

I adore the book design. The chapter headings and part sections feature text running vertically down the page, Japanese style. Some unique aspects of the cover design are carried through in the interior pages. The font is really inviting. I can’t stop looking at the printed pages. Did I actually write this? 

The feeling of seeing a box of books was completely surreal. Especially since my preschooler, who was frankly underwhelmed, was clamoring for me to finish his behavior sticker chart so he could claim his reward, a small windup toy. Then he had the audacity to want dinner, when I just wanted to gaze at my cover. It took all my strength not to say “There’s the stove, Kiddo, make yourself some pasta.” Then my husband came home after a particularly long day at work, and dropped everything when he saw the small tower of books. He was actually tearing up. “This one’s mine,” he said, taking a copy. And that’s when it really hit. The book is a Physical Thing. In multiple copies. Officially entering the world in just under eight months.