By fall, she had signed with an agent and was preparing to move to Washington to be with her fiance, Tim Hartz, who worked on the Obama campaign before taking a job with the administration. (The chapter that’s most difficult for Close to read now is the one that mirrors her life: Boyfriend skips town to join an exciting presidential campaign, then resentment builds as he starts to seem more attached to his BlackBerry than his girlfriend.)
In June last year, on her 31st birthday, the manuscript was sent off to publishers. Within a week, editors at Doubleday and Knopf, which are both owned by Random House, wanted to buy rights. Close signed a two-book deal with Knopf.
“I know it’s a cliche for people to say they laughed out loud, but I laughed out loud and was quoting from it and reading out loud,” says Jennifer Jackson, Close’s editor at Knopf.
“I felt like these were the stories my friends tell me about themselves,” Jackson adds. “There’s an edge to the way these women talk to each other — they get sick of each other, they get annoyed with each other, they swear at each other, but they still care about each other.”
Knopf almost never releases advance copies by first-time authors, but the publishers are so sure that “Girls In White Dresses” will touch a nerve with the “Bridget Jones”/“Sex in the City” crowd that they made an exception, allowing buzz to build on review sites.
“Women everywhere have either lived these same scenarios or will live them out soon,” wrote one Goodreads.com reviewer.
Close has worked at Politics and Prose since June of last year to give herself structure and a supplemental income as she writes her next book, a novel about two adult sisters who are forced by circumstances to move back in with their parents.
She’s on leave now, not only because she’s scheduled for a six-city book tour, but also because she is — ta-da! — gearing up for her own wedding. In October, she and Hartz will marry in Chicago, which means bachelorette parties, showers and a lot of eye rolling about the irony.
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