LitMag: The first publication is a special moment for all fiction writers. Tell us what you did in the 72 hours after you got that first acceptance.
JSW: After about fifteen to twenty minutes of open-mouthed staring, I took screenshots of the email and of the “Accepted” tab on Submittable and proceeded to forward them to everyone I’d ever met in my entire life. Then I blasted Bowie’s “Queen Bitch” and had myself a solo dance party! Everything after that is a euphoric blur. My very sweet, very proud mother ordered a cake; friends and former professors offered I-told-you-so’s; I used the “I’m getting published!” excuse to treat myself to far too much (no regrets). And my best friend, Tatyana Sundeyeva and I had a frantic, all-caps, day-long text message exchange during which we symbolically rubbed this acceptance in the faces of all my rejections and planned a celebratory dinner of gloriously fat burgers. She’s also a writer so not only has she read every draft of “Reprise” and almost everything I’ve ever written, but she also has a unique understanding of just how big a deal this was for me. I’ve been writing and calling myself a writer since I first learned that books didn’t just materialize out of thin air, that someone had to write them. Getting that first acceptance felt amazing, vindicating – proof from outside myself that I was right to think I’m good at this. (more…)