You Always Remember Your First

The road to becoming an editor is long and hard: I tell prospective assistants to think of it like graduate school, with less debt.  You work endless hours at the office tending to your boss’s books, then you go home and read manuscripts for your boss, and eventually also for yourself.  At times the odds of finding a book you’ll love seem as likely as finding an affordable apartment with a roommate who isn’t insane.  And then, once you’ve found that book, there’s still the matter of convincing your company to let you buy it.

So the first taste of victory is very sweet, and memorable.  Mine was Don Winslow’s terrific debut, “A Cool Breeze on the Underground,” which was a finalist for the Edgar for Best First Novel, and is about to be reissued in this very handsome new edition from Busted Flush Press. But enough about me! I am thinking these first-book thoughts because Andrea Walker has just crossed that threshold, and I am bursting with happiness for her, and for the imprint. She’s found us a terrific new writer, Stuart Nadler, and we’ll publish his story collection, “The Book of Life,” in 2011. Stuart attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he won a Truman Capote Fellowship, and then he won the Carol Houck Smith fellowship at the University of Wisconsin’s Institute for Creative Writing. Two of the stories in this collection have already been sold to The Atlantic. He’s an exciting find, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have this collection, and then a novel, on our horizon.

I’m also delighted—yes, let’s circle back to me again—because Stuart’s agent, PJ Mark, is one of my favorite people in publishing, and in the many years we’ve known each other we’ve never managed to have a book together. One benefit of the aforementioned long road is that you meet many wonderful people along the way, people who become your friends and, if you’re lucky, partners. Today is that lucky day for Andrea, and for me.

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