I have a young fan, Emma, who loved The Secret of Goldenrod so much, she gave it a 5-star review on Goodreads and reached out to tell me it was her favorite book--and that she couldn't wait for my next book. So I wondered what she would think of The Notations of Cooper Cameron because that book is very different from GOLDENROD, but she loved it so much she wrote a poem about Cooper, which I have included here (with her and her parents' permission).
In the course of that year between books, Emma wrote to me, sending me pieces of her own work, updates on her family, and pictures of her desk (where she kept her copy of GOLDENROD), and I watched her grow up a little bit. I was always wowed by her talent, enthusiasm and zest for just about everything. When my third book was rejected, my first thought was that I might never hear from Emma again. It was heartbreaking, but by sheer coincidence she checked in with me that week. I told her about the rejection, and she assured me it was just a bump in the road. Of course it's a bump in the road. I've had many, but it's nice to get the reminder.
I always like to keep my cup at least half full, so now when I think about bumps in the road, I will think about writing for Emma instead and the inspiration she gives me to return to the drawing board.