New book deal announcement: The Great Indoors

by | Aug 3, 2016 | about-books | 4 comments

I am very pleased to announce another book deal!

Everyone make sure you go run out and get Ruth’s book Where’s the Party? if you haven’t already. It’s SO GREAT.

I’m really pleased with how this story came out, and I can’t wait to see what Ruth does with it. This is one I had the idea for a while ago, and the book kept simmering. I wrote it about six different ways before I figured out the voice (usually I go at manuscripts the other way: voice first, then figure out what the story is). I was doing most of my writing on the literal sidelines: on the bleachers while my kids learned to swim, in the hallway while Ramona took a tumbling class. Writing was turtley: slow and steady.

And then finally I understood who was telling The Great Indoors and how I could approach it, and I finished a draft in the right voice. I was excited. I told Eli how excited I was about it, and what it was about.

He said the scariest words anyone can say to someone who has a shiny new manuscript: “Oh, we just read that story in class last week!”

After about three hours of panic (most of it involving me saying, “But what was it called?” because he couldn’t remember the title of the book they’d read in class), I found the other book and read it and PHEW. It was totally different. The only similarity was “animals in a house.”

(Here’s where I note that it could have been the same. That happens all the time, and you just have to make your story more You so it’s very different from the first story. The fact is, there aren’t really that many different ideas out there.)

Mostly I’m telling you all this to remind you that writing takes time, and sometimes you’ll approach a story twelve different ways before you realize how it should be, and sometimes all that takes even more time if you can only write for 40-minute stints. But 40 minutes is better than nothing, because you write and write and eventually it’s a book.

I love this story, and am so excited to be working with Rotem, and Ruth, and Disney-Hyperion!


  1. Melanie Ellsworth

    Congratulations, Julie! Sounds like a very fun story. And thanks for this wonderful blog post which is inspiring me as I plow through another version of a manuscript – trying to get that voice/story perfect match.

    • Julie

      Thank you, Melanie! And I’m so glad this was inspiring! Sometimes I forget how many tiny pieces went into making the whole of the manuscript (tiny pieces = very short writing sessions, lots of drafts thrown in the garbage, trying to write while someone is demanding a snack). Good luck!

  2. Lori Alexander

    You’ve done it again! Genius idea and fantastic title. Huge congrats!!

  3. Lauri Meyers

    Congratulations! I wonder what the animals-indoor-equivalent to roasting smores is…can’t wait to find out!


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