Here's the PM listing:)
July 12, 2011
Martha Brockenbrough's TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR THE DEAD, in which a guardian angel in a rehabilitation program for wayward souls accidentally kills the girl he's supposed to watch over, fails to get her into heaven, and may or may not cause lasting psychological damage to a squirrel, to Arthur Levine at Arthur A. Levine Books, in a pre-empt, for publication in Summer 2012, by Jill Corcoran at The Herman Agency (World).
How I met Martha is one of those kismet stories. In the summer of 2009, I tweeted about how I was going to the SCBWI LA Working Writers Retreat and everyone should sign up. Little did I know that Martha Brockenbrough saw that tweet, signed up for the retreat and ended up in the same group as me...LUCKY ME! Being in the same group meant I got to hear Martha's funny, innovative, brilliant writing 5 different times over the weekend as we read and had our work critiqued by editors and writers. The final critique of the weekend was with Arthur A. Levine, and Martha, for the first time, read pages from her then WIP, TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR THE DEAD.
We were all blown away!
TEN COMMANDMENT FOR THE DEAD is like nothing you have ever read before. The writing is smart, snappy and commanding. The characters pull you in and take you on a wild and willy ride. The pages leave enough white space to allow the reader to to think all the while that they are furiously page-turning to find out what will happen next.
As many agent-writer stories go, I did not sign Martha on the spot. She already had a fabulous agent who, months after the retreat, sold Arthur Martha's debut picture book, THE DINOSAUR TOOTH FAIRY. But what did happen for Martha and me is that we became friends. Friends bonded in the way only stripping yourself naked in front of other writers and editors and reading your work out loud and not climbing under your chair as the critiques roll in can cement a friendship. Twitter, facebook, phone calls, meeting up at conferences (thank you SCBWI!), deepened that friendship and when Martha and her agent amicably parted, I found out as a friend.
During one conversation I asked what happened with TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR THE DEAD as I had never gotten that story out of my head...yup, it sticks with you! Martha sent it, I loved it, and I was thrilled to sign Martha as my client.
When editors heard I had signed Martha, many got in touch to see her work. But interestingly, Arthur, like me, could not get TEN COMMANDMENTS out of his head and asked what is happening with that book. I sent it and the rest is history, as they say.
Look for THE DINOSAUR TOOTH FAIRY and TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR THE DEAD soon on a bookshelf (or e-bookshelf) near you!
CONGRATS, MARTHA AND ARTHUR!