Scott’s latest book, So Yesterday, came out this week. Among other things, it’s a love letter to New York City. He started writing it not long after we arrived back here last summer after almost two years of living in Sydney. He was supposed to be writing the second Midnighters book, but instead So Yesterday came rushing out.
Scott had to write it. He was so happy to be back in his city to stay for awhile. He hadn’t been here for more than a couple of weeks since December 2001 and he was hurting. We had to visit all his old haunts, coffee shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, bookshops, movie theatres, and make sure they were still there, still with his favourite wait staff and bartenders. We had to mourn the closing of a favourite coffee shop across the street and a used book store around the corner, and sit in Tompkins Square Park to chuckle at the NYU students walking by.
Our first few weeks here were one long sustained sigh of relief for Scott. Writing So Yesterday was another one. He poured all his love and irritation and fears and delight in New York City onto the page, writing about a seventeen-year-old kid, Hunter Braque. The kind of kid Scott might have been at the same age if he’d been living in Manhattan, rather than Dallas, and had been a little savvier and, well, cooler. Hunter’s a cool-spotter, living in New York City, loving it, and working hard to pass as one of its hip inhabitants even though a part of him will always be convinced he’s a daggy kid from Minnesota. Which he isn’t. (I kind of have a crush on Hunter.)
So Yesterday is the first book Scott has written since we got together that I’ve seen move from conception to sitting on the shelves of a bookshop. I was with him when he was rewriting Succession (The Risen Empire + Killing of Worlds), and I was there for the first draft of Midnighters, but its outlining stage had been a long one, starting way back before we’d even met. I saw the entire gestation of So Yesterday—all ten minutes of it. Scott over the breakfast table, sipping his coffee, saying, “You know what would be fun to write? A novel about a cool-hunter in New York City.” After breakfast he started writing it. Several weeks later (told you it just poured out of him) I read an extremely polished first draft. And a year and some later there it is, prominently displayed at Books of Wonder and Barnes & Noble.
So I’m stoked, and not just because I was there from woe to go, not just because it’s fabulous, not just because my book will be published by the same imprint, Razorbill, next March, but also because it’s Scott’s first book to be published in Australia. It comes out back home next month. I can’t help feeling that being published in Australia cements his relationship with my homeland just a little bit more. First he married an Australian, then he became a permanent resident, and now he has an Australian editon of one of his books. Here’s hoping it’ll be the first of many.
New York City, 14 September 2004