Monday, January 23, 2006

Shannon Hale's Reaction to her Newbery Honor

I know Shannon Hale is a favorite in our book club so I thought that you might enjoy reading this. This is taken directly from Shannon Hale's blog at

A phone call at five a.m.
Holy cow. Holy holy cow. If there ever was a holy cow, I’m invoking said cow now.
So, at 5-something this morning, the phone rings. I was aware that today was the ALA (American Library Association) Mid-Winter meeting, where they announce the book awards. I knew my agent had left on Friday to go attend. So, phone call at 5 am, and I’m thinking, this is the meanest prank call in the world.
Me: Hello?
My editor: Shannon, can you believe it?
Me: Uh, uh… (finding myself in very vulnerable condition of believing something I haven’t heard yet and is likely impossible)
My editor: (her voice is full of smiling and she asks again, most likely unaware she’s the first to call) Can you believe it?!
Me: Uh, uh…(afraid to say it) did princess academy get a Newbery Honor?
My editor: Yes!
I began to shake. My hands and legs were shivering in a way they’ve never done before. I can’t recall anything else I said until my other line beeped. I hung up with my editor (bless her) and answered the other line.
Me: He…hello?
Barbara (I hope I’m getting her name right, I was shaking pretty hard by now and couldn’t hold the phone straight on my head): Is this Shannon Hale?
Me: Yes? (at this point, I was unsure myself)
Barbara: This is Barbara (last name? again, recall the shaking) and the entire Newbery Committee.
Me: (I’m not sure I said words at this point, perhaps some sort of primitive grunt)
Barbara: (I’m paraphrasing, I’m sure she was much more eloquent) We are calling to inform you that princess academy has been selected as a Newbery Honor Book.
Me: Oh! Thank you so much. Uh…grunt, grunt…
Barbara: Are you crying?
Me: Uh, ya, um, I have to admit I’m crying. (I was pretty slobbery, and still with the shaking.)
I could hear now that I was on speaker phone, and the entire Newbery committee really was all there, listening, and they laughed at me, which I was so grateful for.
Barbara: We’re all looking forward to meeting you this summer at the annual meeting.
Me: Oh, do I get to go?
Again, more laughter.
Me: Thank you, I just want to thank you so much.
Barbara: No, we want to thank you for such a wonderful book.
Then they applauded. They clapped for me on the phone, on speaker phone, as I sat in bed in my flannel pajamas at 5-something in the morning. That was perhaps one of the most magical and strange and ethereal moments of my life. Not as glorious and transcendental as when Max was born, but something akin to it. After the call ended, I lay down in bed, hugged my husband, and sobbed. For like ten minutes. And then I felt like I needed to throw up so I went to the bathroom and dry heaved for a while, then I returned to bed and lay there with Dean until I stopped shaking and could stop saying, “I can’t believe it…” Now we could talk about it at last. Now we could laugh.
Me: I just want to assure you, now that I’m famous and adored, I’m not going to leave you.
Strangely, that idea never seemed to have crossed his mind.
And, later,
Me: Honey, this is crazy.
Dean: Well, you’re crazy, so it fits.
Of course, we couldn’t go back to sleep. We tried for about 10 minutes until it became ridiculous. I got up, checked my email (none), to watch the webcast on, just to make sure. I was nervous as I watched, half-anticipating that they wouldn’t really give princess academy a Newbery Honor. Then when they actually really did announce princess academy, they cheered for me! As if they’d heard of my book before or of me or something. It’s so weird. I’m just some schmo.
Deb called, my friend and publicity director at Bloomsbury, and we laughed and shook together, and she told me people would be calling me (they haven’t yet. Who will they be? And how will they get my number?).
Deb: Purely from a design standpoint, the silver sticker will look better on the princess academy cover than the gold would have.
Me: Oh, I’m so glad it’s an honor and not the medal. I’m not ready for that kind of pressure.
I need to call my family and friends, as soon as it’s not too early. And I’ll spend the day with Max, of course, reading and eating oatmeal and applesauce and running around the stool. I’m going to go rewrite a scene from rapunzel’s revenge before he wakes up. Keeping my head in the game, that’s what I’m going to do.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How fun and down-to-earth she sounds.