Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Writing BFFs: Elle Newmark and Seré Prince Halverson

Let me interrupt my series on fellow VerveStar authors to tell you a sweet story.

A few years ago I ran into an uproarious and informative article called “Better Late Than Early” by Elle Newmark. I was so impressed that I had the audacity to write her a fan email. And she answered! She was, in fact, packing for a research trip to India when my note popped up. We’ve had a few brief exchanges since then, especially after I read her novel, The Book of Unholy Mischief (now retitled The Chef’s Apprentice). I reviewed it (here) as well as on Amazon and B&N. It was amazing. It’s a thoroughly researched, deliciously detailed, story of intrigue set in 15th century Venice.

Happily, I am now on her mailing list and was duly advised when The Sandalwood Tree, set in 1940s India, was released. I hadn’t quite finished it when I had to leave for New York and the BEA.

From my motel room I dashed off an enote asking Elle if she would be there. She responded:

I've never gone to the BEA but I have a dear friend who I believe is there right now. Her name is Seré Prince Halverson, her book is The Underside of Joy, and her publisher is Dutton. If you meet her tell her Elle says Hi. She's a great writer and genuinely nice to the bone.

Thus, basically an unknown to them both, I set out to do just that. I found Seré’s table in the Book Expo’s autograph section and got in line. Elle was right. She was indeed warm, unpretentious, and wholesomely pretty. Feeling a bit awkward, I blurted: “I have a message from Elle Newmark.”

Seré froze and her eyes widened. She actually teared up a little. Oh, dear. “Elle says ‘Hi’,” I continued lamely, “I had an email from her last night saying you were here.”

They weren’t just friends. They had known each other and written together for years and years. They were “sisters in writing,” Seré said. By the time I left, clutching an autographed copy of her book, I was nearly moved to tears myself. I’ve never had an experience like that – being a living link between two busy besties. Great feeling.

I promise to review both wonderful books in this space in very soon.

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