Wonder Mom News

First, I want to say thanks to everyone who’s been involved in the Wonder Mom story so far. Since PS Books published the first edition of my debut novel in May, I’ve had a chance to meet with a number of wonderful people at readings, book clubs, and writers’ conferences. I appreciate all of the support and enthusiasm that you’ve shown for my work.

The big news, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, is that The Permanent Press publishing company is going to be coming out with a new edition of The Singular Exploits of Wonder Mom and Party Girl in 2011. The Permanent Press is an independent publisher that’s been in the business for over thirty years, and they’ve published the works of some of my favorite writers, including Charles Holdefer, M.F. Bloxam, and Mehrdad Balali. I couldn’t be happier to be associated with them.

The way this latest development came about is that Martin Shepard, one of the co-publishers at The Permanent Press, had seen a number of reviews I’d written regarding his company’s titles. He liked what I had to say and got in touch with me. Shortly thereafter, I sent him a copy of the PS Books edition of Wonder Mom, and a few weeks later, he called to tell me that he’d love to publish an edition of the book, assuming a) it was available and b) I was willing to do some editing. The answer to both questions was an unequivocal yes because a) I was and continue to be on great terms with the folks at PS Books, and b) I’m always open to editorial input, particularly from a publisher who gets what I’m trying to do.

Left: PS Books edition, Right: The Permanent Press edition

To elaborate a little further, I’d been involved with Philadelphia Stories magazine, the parent company of PS Books, for a few years before they published my novel. I started as a reader on their fiction board and eventually became the magazine’s Associate Fiction Editor. When the publishers decided to start a books division, I was one of the first in line to submit a manuscript. Their goal for the book was fairly modest, as they were just getting their bearings in the world of book publishing. The print run was about 500, and to date, they’ve sold nearly all copies. (There may be a few left floating around, so snatch them up while you can!) Since the mission of PS Books, like the mission of its parent magazine, is to gain exposure for writers from the Philadelphia area, they were willing to let me out of my original contract so that I could sell the rights to The Permanent Press. I doubt any other publisher would have done that, and I can’t thank PS Books enough for all they’ve done for me.

With respect to the changes that the editors at The Permanent Press requested, I was on board with their ideas from the beginning. As I told Martin Shepard, I saw the process of re-imagining Wonder Mom as akin to reinterpreting a jazz composition. I had fun stripping the story down to its bare essentials and then building it back up. The new version is a little leaner (I cut about 90 pages from the manuscript), and I tell the story of Audrey’s addiction and recovery chronologically this time around (as opposed to what Kurt Vonnegut might call the “unstuck in time” narrative style I adopted in the PS Books edition). In the final analysis, it’s the same novel, but it’s also different. Like any “parent,” I love both versions equally, and I’ll be curious to see what everyone else thinks.

So thanks once more to everyone who’s helped to bring Wonder Mom the success it has thus far enjoyed, and thanks in advance to everyone who keeps that success growing. The new edition of the novel will be available in June, 2011, from The Permanent Press.

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