While this was in many ways a happy and exciting day for me, Iffy’s entry into the world will always be, of course, bound up with the fear and losses and uncertainty of the pandemic.
Back in March 2020, I was looking forward to launching Iffy by reading at Kew &Willow Bookstore–a wonderful spot right near Forest Park in Queens, where Iphigenia Murphy is set. After, we’d all head to my friend Vanessa’s nearby home for a party. And Vanessa had some really cool plans. She’s one of those people–everything she touches turns to beautiful.
But, Vanessa also happens to be a nurse. Although in early March in New York, many people were behaving as though everything was business as usual, Vanessa felt pretty sure this coronavirus thing was a big deal. I was sad when she cancelled the party–and I hoped she was overreacting–but I trusted her and I knew she was probably right.
As you know, she was.
The launch at Kew & Willow was cancelled and, in the following days and weeks, so were all the other events I had lined up.
Though it terrified me at first, I did get on board with doing online events and I had many lovely and successful readings and interviews. I had the opportunity to talk to and meet people I perhaps might not have otherwise and for that I’m grateful. And while the past year has brought challenges, I also know that I’ve been very fortunate to have not only had a book come out, but to have stayed healthy, to be able to protect myself and my family, and to be able to continue to work.
Reflecting on this time brings into focus how much there is to be optimistic about. While there has been too much suffering, I’m thankful that many people I care about have recovered from illness and that many people I care about have now been vaccinated. And I can’t help but be hopeful that, just when they needed it, some people found distraction or solace in reading about Iffy. I also hope that others will continue to discover her, particularly as places like libraries and bookstores begin to fully re-open for browsing.
Thanks to all of you who supported me and the book this past year. It’s meant everything.
When Cinnamon Lou flees an abusive boyfriend, she expects to find some sort of solace and safety at her aunt’s Wisconsin farmhouse. And when Amanda Carey opens the door to her strange-looking, skinny niece, she, in turn, expects the former addict to try to fleece her. What neither expects, however, is that despite their differences and unique dysfunctions (not to mention their ongoing persecution by local juvenile delinquents and the looming threat of Cinnamon’s ex), the two women will forge a profound—and potentially life-saving—connection.
Because my mom is a psycho-bitch, my grandparents took her to court in order to be able to see me. And because my father is, legit, I am not exaggerating, a convicted rapist who also still has parental rights, my mother has to stay in Wisconsin so that if he ever chooses to exercise his privileges he may do so.
In Iphigenia Murphy, Anthony brings Iffy some shelves, which she sets up in the park–their own little lending library. Imagine my delight when I came across this bookcase-in-the-wild in a park in southern Florida!