Alison’s apartment was stunning. A vision. On the 23rd floor of her building overlooking the Manhattan Skyline, and a park below. It had a modern décor, all black leather and stainless steel; right angles. Swanky. I loved it from the first second she welcomed me in, and every time after that. Tonight’s festivities were a party, more or less to celebrate my latest novel. Well, honestly, more to give everyone a reason to dress up and be beautiful. Less about my book.
Alison was my publisher, and my champion. I was introduced to her 11 years ago by a mutual friend. I liked her immediately. I discovered she was an author, and since I was on the verge of my writing career, had a million questions for her. I probably only asked 265,000 of them. I was showing restraint. She also had a career as an editor. She edited some of the early versions of my first novel, before her publishing career took off.
Alison believed in my writing even before I did. I knew that I enjoyed writing and had some amount of talent. She encouraged me and guided me as I developed. Her editing skills were put to the test in those early years.
It was my first invitation to one of Alison’s parties while I happened to be in New York trying to make my writing career happen. It was shortly after my first, largely ignored book was published. I was stashed away in the corner of her apartment. She had a telescope near the balcony door, and I was drawn to it the first time I was there. It was a kind of security blanket for me. It was a conversation starter when people circulated past me.
I was in the midst of a conversation with two people I knew from Alison’s firm when she walked in.
Rachel Pratt was the latest “It Girl”. Swimsuit model. Victoria’s Secret Angel. Her face and figure were being used to sell everything from hamburgers to sports cars and everything in between. There was quite the commotion as she entered. She was the center of a whirling dervish of publicists, assistants and camera folks who were filming a reality TV show about her. All eyes immediately were drawn to her. Some camera phones came out to capture the moment. Eventually the commotion settled down, and the party returned to its normal pace.
There was a lull in my conversation too when suddenly a voice from behind me said “I really enjoyed your book.” It was Rachel. First, I couldn’t believe she was actually speaking to me. Second, I didn’t know that anyone I hadn’t personally handed the book to had read it. Sales were that slow.
“Thank you” I managed to reply, after catching my breath. “I didn’t know anyone had read it.”
“It was quite good. Alison gave me a copy when we had lunch last month.”
“I need to thank her for that” I replied.
“Your jacket photo doesn’t do you justice” she said with a little smile. I’m certain I blushed at that point.
Even though her face and body were the thing of teenage dreams, for me, it was her eyes. Crystal blue, sparkling. To say I was smitten would have been a gross understatement.