The stages of a writer's professional life are marked, not by a name on an office door, but by a name in ink. There was the morning when my father came home carrying a stack of Sunday papers because my byline was on page one, and the evening that I persuaded a security guard to hand over an early edition of the New York Times, still warm from the presses, with my first column.
But there's nothing to compare to the day when someone—in my case, the Fed Ex guy—hands over a hardcover book with your name on the cover.
And with apologies to all the techies out there, I'm just not sure it would have had the same grandeur had it been downloaded instead into an e-reader. I'm a big digital reader—I once got hissed at a library event for saying that—but there's a thrill to holding each new book in my hands that's just incomparable.
It's particularly thrilling in the case of Still Life With Bread Crumbs for two reasons. The first is that the art department at Random House, who have indulged my I-don't-know-what-it-is-but-I-will-when-I-see-it approach to cover art have made this book particularly lovely to look at it. The second is that "Still Life" marks my quarter-century with Random House and my remarkable editor, Kate Medina.
Oh, and there's the fact that I think it's my best novel yet. But that almost goes without saying. If you don't think the new one is the best one, you're doing something wrong.
As I've inscribed in so many books over the years, enjoy!