I got in the habit, starting around age 12, of going into bookstores and finding the space on their general fiction shelf where my novel—the novel I was sure I’d one day publish—would be. I’d skim past Don DeLillo and Andre Dubus, slipping my fingers between the spines of the books, making space.
It’s hard to know how to react when a lifelong dream comes true. On the night before the launch of Besotted, I feel proud of the years of work this publication represents, but more than that, I’m grateful. Seeing Besotted on the shelves at Powell’s is a gift: a gift from my family, my friends, my writing teachers, my publisher, my cover designer, and the extensive writing community I’m lucky enough to be a part of.
The acknowledgements below—the final pages of Besotted—are my first attempts at saying thank you.
Before this book came the belief that I could be a writer. Thank you, Christopher Dollas, Mercy Carbonell, Ralph Sneeden, Karen Rile, Al Filreis, Paul Hendrickson.
Before that, the belief that a writer is a thing worth being. Thank you for that, Mom and Dad, and for the support you’ve each given me to pursue this dream.
I’m grateful to the many people who helped shape my writing and this novel: Brett Hool, Chris Khun, Dan Bevacqua, Eric Barkin, Frank Winslow, Heidi Julavits, Jamie Yourdon, Jason Pribilsky, Joanna Rakoff, Jonathan Dee, Jordan Foster, Kristin Walrod, Lidia Yuknavitch, Ramon Isao, Tye Pemberton.
Jaime Manrique: thank you for the questions you taught me to ask about my characters. Tahneer Oksman: thank you for being Besotted’s first, most patient reader, and for teaching me what critique should look like.
Annelisa Smith, April Custer, Emily Schoonmaker, Kathryn Moakley, Kendra Noyes Miller, Kimberly Kay, Kristen Boyd, Mary Milstead, Meghan Moran, Rachel Melissa, and Sarah Winter Whelan: thank you for teaching me to be a better reader. Thank you, Rachel Jagoda Brunette: the ways you keep me sane are too numerous to list.
Thank you, Leland Cheuk for believing in this novel enough to publish it, and Gigi Little for dressing it so perfectly to meet the world.
Kimberly King Parsons: thank you for being a trusted reader, a voice of reason, and the loudest cheerleader I’ve ever had. Tracy Manaster: for your masterful edits, motivational techniques, insights, honesty, culinary skills, and excellent taste in bars, I am eternally grateful.
To Jesse, for what you’ve taught me about empathy;
To Nikki, for more than 20 years of friendship, and for always believing in me even when I don’t;
To Kate, for continuing on as my longest-serving editor, and for tricking me into moving to China:
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.