Kate Rorick, creator of the web series, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, has written her first adult fiction novel, The Baby Plan, which introduces readers to the wacky world of modern pregnancies, where everything is Google-able and crowd sourced; where over-the-top "gender reveal" parties happen before the baby is even born; and where every move a mother makes is scrutinized and criticized. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll shake your head as you wonder where everyone’s sanity went.
Today we’re sharing a blog post from the author about how libraries have inspired her.
Enjoy—and pick up a copy of The Baby Plan—which is on sale now!
A Life in Libraries.
1994: Our local branch of the Anne Arundel County Public Library is across the practice baseball field from the high school, where I am but a lowly, taciturn, and sarcastic sophomore. I don’t play baseball, I play the trumpet, and when marching band is over, it feels natural to walk across the field to the warmth of the library, where I can do a little homework, surf the burgeoning world wide web, and indulge in what had become my secret obsession, historical romance novels. I’d be as deeply into Amanda Quick as I was into my calculus homework when my parents came and picked me up.
I still have my yellow Anne Arundel County Library card. It has no expiration date.
2002: New York City. I am 23, trying to start my career, and deeply poor. In order to keep myself from going mad or broke, I decided to try my hand at writing a novel. Specifically, a historical romance novel. One hundred and fifty pages in, one bit of history had become elusive—I don’t remember exactly what it was, something to do with the history of steel production in Britain.
My internet is dial up, and Wikipedia is nascent, so I go to the one place in the city that might have an answer. The library.
But not just any library. The New York Public Library on Fifth avenue and 42nd Street. You know, the one with the lions. The one from Ghostbusters.
I was issued a sparkling, silver New York Public Research Library card, with the elegant lion on the front, like the film negative of the regular maroon NYPL card it would sit next to in my wallet.
Inside, I marvel at the map room, where thousands of old maps are held on file. I spend what little money I have on maps from Regency England. Copied, they become treasured research possessions.
I find a book that might have what I need in it in their computer. Then another, and another. I have them brought up from the hidden stacks below and spend hours upon hours of a snowy afternoon losing myself in looking for a plot bunny, but mostly finding myself in a quiet, elegant room, completely at peace.
I will write novels in one library or another on and off for the next fifteen years, pulling facts, figures, and inspiration from their shelves.
2014: The local branch of my library is a 2-block walk from my apartment. I have a 3 month old and a book deadline looming dangerously close. I engage a babysitter, and in order to be close enough in case of emergency but far enough away that I can still get work done, the library becomes my home away from home. My laptop, and a large table by the window, becomes my favorite and for the 4 hours a week that I can afford the sitter, I manage to pound out enough words to please not only my editor, but myself.
I dedicate that book to my son. And his babysitter.
2018: My now 3 year old loves the playground. And luckily, the closest is only a few blocks away in the park, next to the library. Once we are exhausted from the swings, the slide, and the thing that looks super dangerous but my son loves to jump off of, we head inside the library.
The children’s section is a warm room full of light and low shelves, just the right height for young readers. There is a large tree in the center, a perfect place for a little boy to rest his back while he carefully turns the pages on his latest find.
He loves the No David! books. We check them all out. I throw an Amanda Quick I haven’t read in 20 years on the pile, too. Next weekend we will return, no doubt exhausted from the playground, and eager to see what else we can find on the shelf.
Thanks, Kate! We love when authors want to share their favorite library memories. Get a copy of The Baby Plan here. We are also giving away copies of this book to the first 15 people who email firstname.lastname@example.org.