Tuesday, January 29, 2008

THE LIAR'S DIARY, in support of Patry Francis

January 29, 2008

Today is a very special day. Over 300 bloggers, including bestsellers, Emmy winners, movie makers, and publishing houses have come together to talk about THE LIAR'S DIARY by Patry Francis. This is an unprecedented grass-roots effort to showcase the book and give it the attention it deserves on its release day while Patry takes the time she needs to heal from cancer. When I was invited to participate in this event, I didn't think twice. Several of my close friends have battled cancer over the years; and Party's story touched me deeply.

Patry and I share the same literary agency. I've never met her personally, but I have met her agent. This is an agency with soul and I mean it: I'd had four previous agents and been rejected for over twelve years. Trust me, it had to take serious soul to convince me to get back on the bizarre carnival ride that is submissions. My agent Jennifer, however, took me by the hand, just as I imagine Alice took Patry, and two of my books were sold via auction to Ballantine in January of 2007. As I approach my publication date in July of this year, I'm overwhelmed by all the excitement, the hard work, the thousand and one details required of me as an author in today's highly competitive world, where we're all vying for attention and dollars against big budget Hollywood DVDs and extravagantly noisy and bloody video games. I actually feel as if I'm gearing up for a marathon race -- a hard sprint to get the book noticed, to beat the seemingly impossible odds and actually move enough copies to merit another advance, another chance to keep doing what I've wanted to do for as long as I can remember: write. Maybe one day, if I'm really lucky, I'll even get to do it full time.

I can't imagine running this race alone, much less while battling cancer. Like me, Patry's dream came true; but with her dream came an unexpected challenge that puts everything into undeniable focus. Patry is facing it with incredible grace and trust. And look! All around her has bloosomed this community of writers and bloggers who prove that soul exists still in this harsh reality of publishing and surviving. I am truly honored and blessed to have been invited to her party. I don't know her but she's me; she's you; she's all of us, who strive and struggle and believe and never know what tomorrow holds.

Patry Francis worked for years as a waitress and then went home at the end of the day to her husband and four kids, and in those rare minutes of free time, she dared to dream that one day she might write a book. After years of rejection she found the fantastic Alice Tasman at the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, who sold her manuscript. Just as her book was due to be released, she discovered she had an aggressive form of cancer.

The effort to get the word out for Patry has made visible a community that is, and has been, alive and kicking - a community that understands the struggle artists go through and rejoices in each other's successes. It's a community made up of many small voices, but - guess what? - those many small voices can create some noise. So while today is for Patry, it's also a symbolic gesture for all of you who work so very hard for little or no recognition, for all of you who keep going despite the rejections, and for all of you who have had illness or other outside factors force your art or your dreams aside. We are in this together.

THE LIAR'S DIARY answers the question of what is more powerful—family or friendship? this debut novel unforgettably shows how far one woman would go to protect either. They couldn’t be more different, but they form a friendship that will alter both their fates.
When Ali Mather blows into town, breaking all the rules and breaking hearts (despite the fact that she is pushing forty), she also makes a mark on an unlikely family. Almost against her will, Jeanne Cross feels drawn to this strangely vibrant woman, a fascination that begins to infect Jeanne’s “perfect” husband as well as their teenage son. At the heart of the friendship between Ali and Jeanne are deep-seated emotional needs, vulnerabilities they have each been recording in their diaries. Ali also senses another kind of vulnerability; she believes someone has been entering her house when she is not at home—and not with the usual intentions. What this burglar wants is nothing less than a piece of Ali’s soul. When a murderer strikes and Jeanne’s son is arrested, we learn that the key to the crime lies in the diaries of two very different women . . . but only one of them is telling the truth.

A chilling tour of troubled minds, THE LIAR'S DIARY signals the launch of an immensely talented new novelist who knows just how to keep her readers guessing. Patry says on her blog: "Though my novel deals with murder, betrayal, and the even more lethal crimes of the heart, the real subjects of [my book] are music, love, friendship, self-sacrifice and courage. The darkness is only there for contrast; it's only there to make us realize how bright the light can be. I'm sure that most writers whose work does not flinch from the exploration of evil feel the same."

You can buy THE LIAR'S DIARY at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's. You can also buy directly from Penguin to save 15% (after you add the book to your cart, just enter the word PATRY in the coupon code field and click ‘update cart’ to activate the discount).
Let's show the world what we can do together! And send all our love and best wishes for a full recovery to Patry!

En vida, Christopher

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