The Birth of Nine Lives

It has been over a week now since the launch of Nine Lives: A Life in 10 Minutes Anthology and I still feel as happy and teary and amazed as I am in the picture above, frozen forever in the middle of a clap, between laughter and tears. 

148 stories. 121 authors. 10 minutes at a time. Were we crazy? 

Yes. Definitely.

The idea for an anthology, born in the mind of Sarah Allen-Short (pictured above humoring me as I overflow with emotion), was a year of blood, sweat, tears and spreadsheets in the making. Who could imagine that so many emails, checklists, contracts, and logistics could be transformed into one explosively beautiful night showcasing one heart and soul filled anthology?

When we started we had no publisher, no graphic designer, no copy editor and no clue what went into the making of an anthology. We did have a passion for the brilliant stories we heard  in our classes and from all around the world. We did have a pantheon of brilliant known and unknown writers we wanted to publish. We had blind faith that it would come together.

Miraculously, a small but brilliant group of readers formed and helped us select our stories. Thank you: Anne Carle Carson, Elizabeth Ferris, Claire Lewis, Liza Kate, and Tim McCready. They cared deeply about each piece, each word, each comma and our nights of blind judging led to epic and memorable conversation.

Miraculously, Professor Bridget Camden offered to hold a cover contest with her design class at the Robertson School of Media and Culture at VCU. Student Sean McLaughlin won the contest and designed our cover. Professor Joshua James Smith offered to do our layout and design. They were all total rockstars, giving of their time and talent.

Miraculously, Ward Tefft and our good friends at Chop Suey Books Books offered to publish, promote and sell our book from the coolest indy bookstore on the East Coast with our beloved mascot Won Ton (who is pictured on the cover!!)

It takes a village to birth a book. Especially an anthology. Each of the writers whose funny, heartbreaking, tender, deep, surprising stories are bound between the covers of Nine Lives. Thank you. You should be proud. Your baby is beautiful!

Jennifer Yane of  Jennifer Unlimited  (AKA my mom) made buttons for all of the Nine Lives authors and staff!

Jennifer Yane of Jennifer Unlimited (AKA my mom) made buttons for all of the Nine Lives authors and staff!

Bird Cox, Director of  Richmond Young Writers

Bird Cox, Director of Richmond Young Writers

Valley HaggardComment