JULY 1, 2002
KELLY—MY HIP FAIRY GODMOTHER
By Monday morning, I had knots in my stomach and I was absolutely convinced Kelly would hold up someone else’s book. I sat with my parents and one friend, and watched through the longest hour of LIVE! I’d ever seen. Finally, Kelly got ready to discuss her pick. I was so nauseous I couldn’t stand it and then the segment started. “You asked for it, Ladies and I’m going to give it to you,” Kelly said. I saw smoke, I think I heard a drumroll … and then I saw my book! Kelly began to give her ratings on a scale of 1-5. 5 for Fun, 5 for Sex (she’d give it a 6 if she could), 5 for Easy to read, 1 for Suspense and 3 for Romance. Okay I could forgive this, I thought, since afterall, she’d just made my career!
A SIDE NOTE:
As a side note and in retrospect, let me say I was not prepared for anything that came next. My critique partner and best friend, Janelle Denison had predicted life was going to change forever. “Come on,” I remember saying. “Get real. It’ll be a quick fifteen minutes of fame and be over.” Hah! Famous last words. Once the insanity started, it quickly steamrolled. Phone calls, emails—hundreds and hundreds of them. I can’t begin to remember but still owe thanks to the people who contacted me just to say congratulations, to support me, to remind me that no matter how crazy things got, I had my friends. But I digress and so …
BACK TO THE PREPARATIONS FOR THE BALL
So Cinderella’s fairy godmother picked her out of the slush pile and elevated her to Kelly’s pick; To # 1 on Amazon, Barnes and Noble online within six hours; To a six-week stay on the New York Times Bestseller List, topping off tied for # 4 with the ultimate writer, Nora Roberts! (It was ten weeks on the NYT if you add the time on the Extended list, but who’s counting?). To # 2 on Publisher’s Weekly, and extended stays on both PW and USA Today.
I joined the ranks of the RWA Honor Roll Authors. And all along, I kept asking myself, “Whose life is this?” My publicist, who I couldn’t live without, said, “It’s yours, darling. Fate gave it to you. Enjoy it!” Meanwhile I wondered, if fate had bestowed all this, what will Fate demand as payback?
JULY 5, 2002
Shortly after the announcement, I discovered I was going to be on National T.V. Now that’s a concept I just didn’t deal with. I wasn’t ready to cope, so why think about it? Denial seemed the best answer. At the same time, the neighbors finally caught on that I am a writer. A serious writer. A writer who writes “those” books and is, was and will always be, proud of it. All of a sudden, people wanted to buy my book! Unbelievably, these were the same type of books I’ve always written. The same books I used to mention were on the shelves, and the same books they forgot to buy the month they were out. But now, Kelly—my fair godmother—said “Read Carly Phillips” and people were reading! My meager 47,000 print run on my first single title went back for multiple reprinting and was up to 500,000. I sent cookie baskets to my publicist, my webmistress, my editors and my agent. It still felt surreal.
JULY 6, 2002
JUST WHERE ARE MY GLASS SLIPPERS?
I sadly discovered the fairy godmother doesn’t supply clothing, hair or makeup. Not even eyeglasses! I was on my own. So the intrepid Cinderella I went shopping with local friends for an outfit. I made certain I was happy with my makeup and I even bought new eyeglasses for the occasion. I took digital photos and sent them to my publicist and friends for approval. It cost a small fortune to be a Kelly pick, but it was worth it!
JULY 8-10, 2002
Warner sent me champagne, Harlequin sent me flowers, my publicist sent me a pampering spa basket and more flowers poured in from family and friends. My kitchen looked like a floral shop.
As the days counted down through July, Mondays became Walden Mondays, the day I’d find out my new ranking. Wednesdays became known as NY Times Day, the day I’d find out the number for the following week, and Thursday was USA Today Thursday. The highs were so high and the lows when they came, were even lower. I was riding an emotional roller coaster I couldn’t begin to understand. And everyday, I’d remind myself this was temporary, and prepared myself for the inevitable letdown that was sure to come. After all, nothing lasts forever.