HOW THIS BOOK GOT STARTED
Below is a photo from the morning I had my first meeting with Flatiron Books. I was in New York for a Tastemade event, but my new literary agent wanted me to go to some meetings while I was there. Going to meetings in New York was -- um, still is -- out of my league. But I bit the bullet and decided to go anyway.
The thing is, I was broke. So broke I couldn't afford the extra nights at the hotel to stay for meetings. My now-husband pretended he "had" to be in NY for work so that I could stay with him at his hotel (without me knowing he was doing me a huge favor).
I was out of my league, and my anxiety was IN FULL FORCE. Keep in mind that I am genetically predisposed to have anxiety, so I always have a solid baseline--but this was exponentially worse. It felt like there so much riding on this going well, and I did not want to screw it up. At one point my back was spasming so much that I had to lie down on the floor of the hotel room because I couldn't even stand. I didn't have anything "cool" or professional to wear to meetings, so I wore the same $20 dress that I'd gotten from a farmers market 3 days in a row and washed it in the sink every night. I was having such bad anxiety before the meeting that I could barely breathe. (Eric and I decided that I should have a Bloody Mary for breakfast; for the record, it didn't help with the anxiety and just made me worried that I'd smell like an alcoholic.) I was a mess.
Then, I met my amazing lit agent, Zach Schisgal (for the first time in person, mind you). I was sure he was going to see what a naive dummy I was and decide he no longer wanted to rep me, let alone have anything to do with me and my whole crazy food thing. We went up to Flatiron building where I met Will and Kara (who would soon become my editors!). I was sweating. And not like, internally. Literally. Visibly. Like, wipe-the-sweat-off-my-forehead sweating. But I wouldn't take off my jacket because I was embarrassed about my outfit. I assumed they hated me (although for the record, my anxiety always tells me everyone hates me). In the midst of what many might assume is this glamorous, big moment or mark of "success", I felt like a complete fraud. But the meeting went fine, and within the next few days we ended up deciding to make the Raw. Vegan. Not Gross. cookbook together.
WAIT, HOW DO I WRITE A BOOK?
I hadn't written a proper book proposal, and to be honest, I had no idea what I was doing. I write all the recipes for RVNG the show, so I knew a bit about how to structure recipes and talk about them, but I had no clue how to write a book. I did a lot of procrastinating. I got really frustrated with myself and then really depressed and angry at myself for procrastinating. I found out at the age of 31 I have an off-the-charts case of ADHD (a life changing diagnosis that I'm still sorting out and will save for another post). I basically ran myself through through the gamut. I also fell in love, moved from S.F. to L.A., bought a house with my husband, and got married. My friends got irritated because I wasn't returning phone calls and texts. My family, who I'm very close with, didn't see me for months at a time. There was a lot of chaos and a lot of feeling like a screwup.
Then, I got help. My producer from Tastemade, Emily Mraz, realized that I had the book photo shoot coming up and had literally no idea how to do it. She stepped in and helped me keep my head above water. I hired her and two other gals I'd worked with at Tastemade: Sophia, a food stylist, and Jamie, another producer for Tastemade. They all came up to SF to bang out the whole photo shoot in a week. I don't know how to describe it except that it was one of the most challenging, exhausting, and rewarding weeks of my life. I wanted so desperately to do a good job...and now I had an amazing group of people around me to help make it happen. We'd gotten an incredible photographer, David Loftus, to come shoot the book, and I was terrified he'd walk into our jerry rigged operation and turn up his nose at us--he didn't. He was lovely and sat and talked with my dog Buzz between shooting dishes.
My literary agent, Zach, flew out from New York to come support the team and go on coffee runs. My editor, Will, also came out to help and give us some direction. I felt like I had tricked them all into showing up. But it worked! The photos were awesome. Things were really coming together and it felt incredible and surreal. After they all left I got in bed and stayed there for a week straight.
OK ALSO: HOW DO I PUT THIS OUT INTO THE WORLD WITHOUT HIDING UNDER A ROCK?
I decided that my only new years resolution for 2016 was to be okay with being criticized. Not only that, but to TRY to get criticized. Not by doing things that are purposely offensive or controversial, just by DOING THINGS. Lots of things. Over the years I've gotten criticized for my voice, my weight, my recipes, my tone, my jokes, my cursing ...everything. So now I'm putting out this cookbook that has A WHOLE LOTTA ME in it. And I'm feeling vulnerable. I'm hoping people love it, but I also know that some people won't. I'll get criticized, and that's probably going to hurt. But you know what? It'll be fine. I'll be fine. I've survived tougher stuff than getting made fun of. I got grit. I'll be ok. My excitement about this book greatly exceeds my stupid fear of people making fun of it. Seriously, I can't wait for you to see it.
Ok, enough of my feelings. I love this book, and I hope you like it too. You can preorder it by clicking any of the buttons below to make sure you get it the DAY it drops, May 17th!