Zoe Carter’s first memoir, Imperfect Endings, won first place in the 2008 Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association literary contest and was a finalist at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference. It’s been chosen for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers series, and an excerpt appears in the March issue of O Magazine. Overnight success? Zoe has been writing since 1983. I know you’ll enjoy reading about her path to success! – Meg
Imperfect Endings is coming out the same month I turn fifty – March of 2010 – and is my first published book, but I’ve been writing my whole life. I started out as a journalist, working for a weekly paper in Cambridge, MA the year I got out of college and, two years later, in 1985, moved to NYC to go to Columbia Journalism School.
After seven or eight years writing for magazines in New York City, I was at home with a new baby and decided it was time to try writing fiction. My first book, a murder mystery, took forever to write and although I finished it and got an agent, my attempt at writing a “commercial “ book ultimately failed. (After being rejected by all the major houses, it lingered at a smaller press for almost two years before being rejected).
During this time, my father got sick and died, my husband’s job moved us to the West Coast, I had a second daughter, and my mother’s health started to decline. In 2001, my mother took her own life and, several years later, I started to write about it, including the struggle my two sisters and I had coming to terms with that decision. That eventually became Imperfect Endings. After finishing the manuscript in the spring of 2008, I sent it to a friend’s agent who told me she found it “too depressing.” Fortunately, the second agent I approached – Flip Brophy at Sterling Lord Literistic – loved the book and, a week later, Simon & Schuster bought it. On March 2nd, after eighteen months of editing, copyediting, legal vetting and proofreading, the book is finally coming out.
It was excerpted in O Magazine for their March issue and was picked by Barnes & Noble as one of their Discover Great New Writers books for 2010. Emotionally, I’m still processing the shock I felt when it sold. The fact that people are actually starting to read and respond to the book feels very new and exciting. -Zoe Carter