March 17, 2015
Today is the release day for The Whisper. I wrote the darn book, but you better believe I didn’t write it alone. It exists because of the many people who inspired it, helped create it, and supported it and The Riverman. Since the acknowledgements are buried at the end of the book, I thought I’d post them here. That way, even if you don’t read the thing, you’ll know who was essential to its very existence.
Second volumes in trilogies are notoriously tricky things. They often feel like they’re, for lack of a better term, all middle. When I wrote The Whisper, however, I focused on the new. My daughter Hannah arrived in the world as I was trying to figure out how to make a crazy, unwieldy sequel come together, and her beautiful, babbling presence inspired me to treat it as an origin story–not just of the Riverman and Aquavania, but also of Alistair and Charlie’s relationship and of Fiona’s reluctant journey into adulthood. I wanted to show why the first volume was told the way it was told, and I wanted readers to anticipate the third volume with a fresh perspective on events. If I achieved that goal, I certainly didn’t do it alone. The following people guided and encouraged me along the way:
Joy Peskin was the first person who read The Whisper and she infused it with her brilliance and a healthy dose of confidence and clarity, which is what all books need. Therefore, in my humble opinion, she should edit all books. I’m not sure she has the time, though. Maybe with Angie Chen’s help she can do it. Actually, together, they definitely can.
Michael Bourret, the man I’m honored to call my agent, continued to trust me, advise me, and keep me sane through the entire publishing process. Why? It’s because he’s a sorcerer. Everyone at Dystel & Goderich, including Lauren Abramo, dabbles in sorcery, actually. How else would they understand these byzantine contracts and represent such an awe-inspiring group of authors?
Beth Clark had an even trickier job designing this book than she did with the first volume, considering all the multiple narratives and their unique appearances. Did she pull it off? Come on! Of course she did.
Yelena Bryksenkova created yet another stunning cover that I’m sure people will tell me is stunning, when they really should be telling her. Now they have no excuse. Tell her: yelenabryksenkova.com
Mary Van Akin has been an advocate like no other. She’s tireless and talented and you better watch out, because she will make you read this book. Perhaps she already did, by handing you the copy you’re holding right now. If so, thank her and the rest of the gang at Macmillan Kids for me.
Kate Hurley and Karla Reganold have taught me a lot about writing with their essential copy edits. I would look like a fool without them. I really wood (sic).
Some other authors read The Riverman and said some amazingly kind things about it. Jack Gantos was the first, and I’m still flabbergasted that his words graced the cover of volume one. Following in his sizable wake were Kurtis Scaletta, Laurel Snyder, Nova Ren Suma, Bryan Bliss, Steve Brezenoff, Kelly Barnhill, Kim Baker, Stephanie Kuehn, Kate Milford, Robin Wasserman, Jeff Kay, Laura Marx Fitzgerald, Stephanie Bodeen, Dan Poblocki, and many others I’m sure I’m forgetting. I hope they read this book too. And I hope you read their books, because they are better books than this one.
All the bloggers, librarians, teachers, journalists, booksellers, festival organizers and fans who have reached out to me and helped me share my stories, I don’t know what I’d do without you. Probably pursue a career in break dancing, which would be unwise.
Finally, thank you to my family. To Jim, Gwenn, Pete and the extended Wells and Evans clans. To all the Amundsens and Starmers out there. To Tim, Toril, Dave, Jacob and Will, because this is a story of siblings and kids. And to Mom and Dad, the finest and most caring creators I know.
Finally, Cate and Hannah, you inspire me every day, and I love you dearly. Now put down this book and let’s go get into some more adventures together!
This is what is printed in the book, but there are so many people who I forgot, as well as people who came on the scene after this was written, like Claudia Howard at Recorded Books, who produced the audio version, and Graham Halstead, who provided the voice for Alistair. Not to mention all the other loud mouths and online advocates for The Riverman and The Whisper, including Angie Manfredi, Alex Dawson, Betsy Bird, Caitlin Luce Baker, Matthew Winner, Beth Panageotou, Brooks Sherman, Alex London, Mary G. Thompson, Michael Northrop, J.A. White, Nikki Loftin, Andrew Karre, Sarah LaPolla, Sean Ferrell, Jordan Brown, Laura Ruby, Josh Berk, Ted Sanders, Claire Legrand, Clay McLeod Chapman, Justina Ireland, Barry Goldblatt, John Zeleznik, Jonathan Wlodarski, Mark Bobrosky, Sylvie Shaffer, John Farrier, James Riley, Sarah Hawkins Miduski, Julie Faltko, Colten Hibbs, Jean Giardina, Dana Langer, Joshua Whiting, Marcy Beller Paul, Susannah Richards, Travis Jonker, Lindsay Currie, Victoria Coe, Rebecca Zarazan Dunn, Tara Dairman, Shelley Moore Thomas, Edith Cohn, Stephanie McKinley, Donalyn Miller, John Schu, Colby Sharp, Katherine Sokolowski, Kellie DuBay Gillis, Carrie Gelson, Colleen Graves, Jenna Krambeck, Judi Evans, Stacy Dillon, Michael Specks, Chris Dexter, Chrystal Ocean, Jenn Estepp, Julie Jurgens, Beth Sanderson, Tracey Petrillo, Anthony Paull, Maria Selke, Ilse O’Brien, Marianne Knowles, Emily Toombs, Melanie Conklin, Niki Ohs Barnes, Dan Dooher, Mike Lewis, Jason Lewis, Kayla King, Joy Piedmont, and I’m forgetting others and of course I am sorry for that. But a nonillion thanks to everyone who has read and shared these books. You. Are. So. Cool.