Jenna McCarthy is delightful to work with. She comes to us with such positive energy and a great sense of humor. When she found out that my copy of her brand new novel, Pretty Much Screwed, hadn't arrived yet, she immediately checked in with her publisher to find out what was going on. That stood out to me as something awesome.
On my local country music station, there's a segment every morning called "Tell Me Something Good" during which the DJs talk about good things happening in the news. That segment inspired this month's theme. One of the options we gave authors was a Q&A talking about good things. Jenna chose that option and is here to tell us something good today.
Jenna McCarthy is a speaker and the author of several funny books for kids and adults, including the "Maggie Malone" series and I've Still Got It....I Just Can't Remember Where I Put It. Visit her at her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Thanks to Penguin Random House, we have FIVE copies of Pretty Much Screwed for some lucky US readers!
Something good that happened to me recently:
I finished my second novel! After penning a half dozen nonfiction books, a middle grade fiction series and two separate children’s book series, I finally wrote the novel I’d been threatening to write forever (Pretty Much Screwed). Once it was completed, I had that feeling Elizabeth Gilbert talks about in her brilliant TED talk: Could I do it again? Would it be as good? After Pretty Much Screwed, my editor even said, “You set the bar really high with this one; the next one better kick ass.” I was daunted to say the least, but I decided to approach the follow-up book the same way I’ve approached all of my books: One page at a time. And as soon as I committed to that, it happened almost effortlessly. And I love it so much—maybe even more than the first one. I’m no longer daunted by number three; I just need to sit down and let the words come.
Something good that happened to someone I know:
A very dear friend recently suffered a life-threatening brain aneurism. (It gets better, I promise.) Paul was in a coma and his family and friends were told he had a less than four percent chance of ever waking, and that if he did, he would likely have little or no brain function. His mother flew in from France to say goodbye. While she was sitting vigil, he woke up. At first this was a bittersweet victory, as Paul is a sailor and an adventurer and one of the most active, vibrant people I‘ve ever met. He’d surely rather pass away peacefully than live out his days in what’s considered a “permanent vegetative state”. But Paul was and is determined. He endured hours of daily grueling physical therapy and soon was beginning to walk and talk again. He still has a long road ahead, but his commitment humbles and inspires me, and reminds me every day how precious and fragile life is.
Something good I witnessed:
A very shy, sweet girl (I’ll call her Zoe) in my 12 year old daughter’s class was being bullied mercilessly by the school’s notoriously evil “Queen Bee.” Without prompting or encouragement, my daughter stepped in and stood up to the bully, and then she took Zoe under her wing. When I asked her if she was worried that Queen Bee would aim her venom at her, my daughter said, “Oh, she knows better than to mess with ME.” (She also remarked of this girl’s undeniable attractiveness, “She might be beautiful on the outside, but she’s not beautiful on the inside, where it counts.”) To know that I am raising a brave, confident, emotionally intelligent daughter in this crazy world is hands down my greatest accomplishment in life.
Something good I heard on the news:
Recently I read a news story about a homeless man who found a stranger’s wallet with $350 in it on a park bench. He tracked down and returned it to the owner, who turned out to be a single mom battling brain cancer. When asked if he’d considered keeping the money, he replied, “Somebody might not have known, but I would have.” If that doesn’t restore your faith in humanity, I don’t know what will.
Something good someone did for me:
My husband built me my very own “she shed.” He worked on it day and night for weeks, and it is 140 square feet of pure heaven. I got to design and decorate it, and it’s all mine and it has a door that locks and everything. It’s been finished for less than a week, and the only downside I’ve found is that I’m routinely waking up long before the neighborhood chickens because I’m so excited to get out there and get to work!
I paid for a stranger’s groceries. She was in front of me in the checkout line and was struggling to wrangle three small children while she unloaded her cart. When the cashier rang her up, she realized she’d left her wallet in a different bag. She was about to leave empty handed, but I couldn’t let her. I offered to pay her bill and told her she could mail me a check. She actually replied, “But how do you know I’ll do it?” I admitted that I didn’t, but I told her that I believed that she would, and that if she flaked on me it wouldn’t be the end of the world. I got a check for the full amount in the mail two days later, along with a $25 gift card. I think that if you routinely believe that people are good, more often than not they’ll prove you right.
Thanks to Jenna for the rays of sunshine and Penguin Random House for sharing her book with our readers.
~Introduction by Melissa Amster
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