Alice Adams and Me

You can be the moon and still be jealous of the stars.
— Gary Allen

Dear Alice Adams:

You don’t know me, but I’ve been stalking you on the internet like a creepy, jealous girlfriend ever since I found out your debut novel, Invincible Summer, is coming out in June. You see, my debut novel, Invincible Summers, (yes, my Summer is plural) will be published in June, too. What are the chances? What are the odds? I don’t know about your manuscript, but mine sat in a drawer for several years without sunlight?

Through primitive detective work (Google) I discovered that not only are you gorgeous (author photo), and smart (BA in Philosophy from the University of Bristol and MA from the University of Manchester), but your publisher, the Hatchette Book Group, says your book is “breathtaking in scope,” and “sure to be the book of the summer.”

Not that I thought my book would be the “book of the summer,” but I did cringe, then sulk, then whimper a little visualizing family and friends buying your book instead of mine. Alice Adams? Maybe that’s a pseudonym Robin forgot to tell us about. Or having someone put both titles up on social media with everyone weighing in. Like what version of the song, “A Natural Woman,” is better? Or what Kardashian has the biggest (nicest?) ass, and including Rob?

Do you remember in the spring of 2013 when Life After Life, the title of both Kate Atkinson and Jill McCorkle’s books, were released within a week of one another? I love both author’s work and thought, Ugh, that has to suck. Who’s not doing their job at the publishing houses? Stuff happens, I guess. My book was picked up last year by the indie publisher, ELJ Publications, and I couldn’t be happier over their enthusiasm for my work. And we’ve already established how Hatchette, a much larger publisher, is loving on your book. Let’s just say we’re both pinching ourselves to have such spirited cheerleaders. Am I right?

I’ve pre-ordered your book and can’t wait to read it. But I have to be honest; I wished your Invincible Summer  had vampires or superheroes, so the fear of comparison wouldn’t exist. Instead, it appears our characters and themes are more similar than not.

We both use the Albert Camus quote, In the depth of winter I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer to kick off the general mood.

So, there’s that. Then the tagline from your publisher: “Four friends. Twenty years. One unexpected journey.” My story centers on Claudia Goodwin’s crazy journey over seventeen years.

“The courage we find within ourselves to keep going in the most difficult of circumstances is one of the central themes,” you said in an interview. Ditto for Claudia.

You went on to say, “It’s also about sex, politics, drugs, religion.” And, “. . .growing up, moving on, and finding your way back home.” Amen. We must have had sister muses looking over our shoulders while writing our books.

I’d like to think we both have similar aesthetics in what we like to read and how we see the world. I’d like to think that one day we’ll meet and share stories of our own particular journeys. Celebrate each other’s birthday with a card. Become Facebook friends. Is this weird? Do you ever get to Michigan? Or I could have an excuse now to visit London more frequently if we become BFFs.

Okay, I’ll settle down.

Writing to you has been cathartic. I think my worry-wart thoughts of your’s versus mine have subsided. Now it’s about enjoying the ride and making new friends along the way, and I hope you are one of them.

Thanks, Alice, for reading this far and letting me vent.

All the best to you. Good luck with your Invincible Summer.

Robin Gaines

P.S. Do you have a title yet for book #2? And what’s it about? My second book is nearly done. Jeez, what if . . . . . . No! What are the odds, what are the chances it happens a second time?!?