Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Welcoming My New Assistant, Julie Cupp!

From Marie: I asked Julie to say a few words, and then I'll be back!

A Yellow Rose Moment

Who is Julie Cupp and how’d she get a gig as Marie’s assistant?  Let me tell you it’s been a long interview.  Marie has seen me at my best and my worst in the 10 years we’ve known each other.  When I met Marie in 2002, we were working for the same organization.

She told me she had started a book but was apprehensive to send it to me. I’m not expert in writing, grammar, or plot and character development, but I knew she could write.  I’d seen her do it so many other times on topics not of her choosing.  Giving her the chance to write what she was most inspired by really brought out the best in her.

Marie would email a few new chapters every few days.  I’d read at night, staying up as late as necessary to get my chapters done.  I expect I’m not the only one around here who’s done that with one of her books.  But this was different. She’d never written a book before. Never developed characters and a plot full emotion, love, family, friendship, and romance.  And it was all balanced so perfectly!

As the end of the book was looming, Marie was giddy with excitement, but I knew there was some apprehension as well.  She didn’t want to let these characters go.  She also wasn’t sure how to celebrate.  I told her to get a bottle of champagne and share the moment with her family.  I sent a dozen yellow roses to be delivered on the day she wrote the last line of the book. A simple gesture that has bonded us ever since.  That book was Treading Water.  She may write 1,000 books but I’m not sure any of them will mean as much to me as Treading Water.  Maybe I’m not supposed to have a favorite, but I do. (And if you'll recall, in Treading Water, Jack always brought Clare's favorite yellow roses to her when he visited her while she was in the long coma.)

So now Marie and I use the term, “a yellow rose moment,” to signify an accomplishment like the day signed her first book deal or when she knew Gansett Island was something she wanted to share with readers.  And fast forward to last month when she made the USA Today Bestseller List for the first time. Yellow roses are how we’ve celebrated her successes.

And now Marie and I are working together again, and I got my yellow rose moment. 

From Marie: I couldn't be more delighted to have my long-time friend Julie joining my team at HTJB, Inc. I wish I had a dime for every time we've talked about this day way off in the future when she would come to work with me and whip me and my business into shape with all her many skills. Julie is the perfect person for the job. Not only has she been with me since day one of this crazy journey—and shared all the highs and lows with me—but she has the ideal set of skills, too. In addition to her insane Excel skills (always an asset in today's work environment), she is also a professional meeting planner, so I expect that she will share her event planning skills with all of us to put together fabulous book signings and that long-awaited reader weekend in Rhode Island, maybe in 2014. 

Because it's too funny, I also need to add that AFTER Julie wrote this blog post, but BEFORE I read it, I sent her a dozen yellow roses to celebrate her last day at her former job. She said she returned from lunch with her boss, saw the roses on her desk, knew who they were from and why they'd been sent before she read the card, and burst into tears. 

Today is a dream come true for both of us, and Julie and I thank all my wonderful readers whose support of me and my books has made it possible for me to bring Julie onto my team. I love this picture of Julie having "breakfast" in a British pub during her trip to London. She said it's not very professional for her grand debut. I said, we like to have fun around here!

Welcome, dear friend. Can't wait to work with you again!