Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Little Ridiculous Philosophical Mumbo-Jumbo

Last you heard from me about Killer Cruise was that I was in the yabba-dabba-doo phase of it all coming together. 

Or, you know, the yippity-doo-dah phase.

And I was and it did.  And then I got to the end of the story and something completely unexpected happened.

I bawled my eyes out.

Big gasping gulps and sobs and waterworks galore. The kids thought something tragic had happened. Mark just held on and let me soak his shirt.

Don't get me wrong. The book has a happy ending. But it's the last book in Sammy's voice.(Kiss Goodbye, the final book in the series, won't be.)

I hadn’t actually realized that before typing the final sentence. Or maybe it just hadn't hit me. But as the final sentence came out my fingertips the waterworks started and then I just couldn’t stop crying.

Well, I did. Eventually. You know.

But it was just so overwhelming and unexpected and the opposite of how I usually feel when I type the last line of a book. I was anticipating being a basket case for Kiss Goodbye, but this...well, I just didn't see it coming.

Sammy has been in my life even longer than my second son, who is 18 and just started college. It's strange to spend so much time with a character--so many years with a character--because they become real to you. And I know there is a time for everything--a time for my boys to go off to college and start adventures of their own--and a time for a series to come to a close. But them happening at the same time is pretty dang hard on "the mom"! 

And it causes some strange ideas to form.  

For instance, old people often say, "All I have left is my memories," meaning the people who created those memories are gone but the memories themselves are still there. There were real, physical entities in this world creating those memories but their absence doesn't detract from the memories created, so the question is, are those memories more valid or 'real' than those created by fictional characters? Are the memories created by the imagined less real than the ones created by people who are now also not physical beings? People you can only now imagine.

I know this is ridiculous philosophical mumbo jumbo, and honestly, I don't believe that a character can equate to a flesh-and-blood person. But these are the kinds of thoughts that play around with my mind.

And man, did I cry.


Unknown said...

Kiss Goodbye won't be in Sammy's voice? Then will it be in everyones voice?
That will be weird . . . =)
I totally wouldn't blame u for crying, i think i might cry tears of joy when my FIRST book is finally finished=\
But the name killer cruise captures my attetion, even without Sammy Keyes infront of it=) It sounds like a good mystery - something I'm always lookin for=)
Good luck with ur last book =)

Gabrielle said...

Wait the last Sammy Keyes book is not in her perspective!! And wow,I haven't really known about this series for very long but,I'm gonna be really sad when it ends,like that kinda hit me when I read this post. It's gonna be weird not reading it from her perspective,so is it from your perspective? Or another characters perspective?

Gabrielle said...

And Theres one thing that I've really wondered,where did you get Mac n cheese and salsa from? I've always wondered,because,well it sounds like it wouldn't taste good.

Unknown said...

By the way, I FINALLY got my hands on
'How I Survived Being a Girl' and it was amazing!!=)
As soon as I read the back i knew it was gonna be good, her tips for survival . . .=) i was happy to find out that its not THAT weird to spy on the neighbors=) All my friends seem to think so but im not that convinced, so now i dont feel evil every time a peek over the fence=)

Yusa said...

Oh no! Now you're going to make me cry! It isn't in Sammy's voice? Then whose voice (can't blame me for trying) ? Hudson's? You will keep writing after Sammy Keyes, right? Even though nothing will be quite the same. Don't finish Kiss Goodbye too fast.... Do you already know the story of it BTW? I've been with Sammy for like 6 or 7 years to so i'm sad.....

P.s. i now have weird neighbors...

Jessica said...

Aaghhh! I've been trying not to think about the title of the last book and what it could mean. Who's kissing whom goodbye? Sammy? Casey? Grams? Is someone being forced to move to Hollywood? Is it a "final" goodbye? And now you have to add on that Sammy is not narrating... which leads to even more questions! Sammy's always doing dumb dangerous things, but you wouldn't... I don't even want to say it. Must put it out of my mind again. Focus on Vegas. There are enough mysteries to be solved there.

Characters are very real to me; in books I've read and even characters for books I'd like to write. But they're not quite real-real, either. I could read historical fiction about the holocaust, but the first time I read Anne Frank's diary I couldn't handle it -- but then again, Anne Frank is still someone who died decades before I was born, so some would say she was never real to me either.

But as an author, you know the characters so much more intimately than the reader does -- and you've just invested so much more time and thought -- that I could understand the sadness of closing that chapter in your life. After all, you won't have that world to visit in your mind anymore. (Or will you? I know J.K. Rowling expressed sadness at the end of Harry Potter, but as a fan, I can go back and reread -- or even imagine what happens after the books ended. I don't know if authors do the same, revisiting their worlds once they finish writing.)

Gabrielle, mac-and-cheese-and-salsa is awesome! I discovered it even before reading Sammy Keyes. I ran out of pasta sauce once, and used salsa instead, then melted some cheddar/monterey jack cheese on top. You can also mix in some refried beans with the salsa for protein. (Another favorite is Mexican-English muffin pizzas: use refried beans and/or salsa as the sauce, top w/ veggies, cover w/ cheddar cheese.)

Kylie said...


And I think I might tear up when reading it! I feel like Sammy is a sister to me (even though I have 4 she is number 5). When my grandpa died this summer I seriously sat on my bedroom floor reading the series again. She helped me through that.

I remember you saying that the last onee would be in multiple POVs, is that still true? I was hoping Sammy would be one of those POV. I am so looking forward to the next ones because miss everyone, but I don't want it to end. I am pretty sure the last one will be published either my senior year or my first year in college and when I get it I am going to cry. I mean if I was screaming and yelling about winning JJ, I am sure I am going to cry. And I don't cry. Not when family passess, not when I lose a pet. I think I have cried a majority of 2 or 3 times. So if I cry for sammy that will be something.

And Even though I loved nancy's post, I am glad your back! Missed reading your post!


Shaina said...

Awww, I feel that happy-sad feeling every time I finish a good book. I feel kind of lost and lots of times I can't choose another book to start reading for a few days. I have to process and recover from the one I just finished! If I, a mere reader, feel that way after a good book, I can only imagine why you were gushing tears onto your sweet husband. Husbands are such good tissues. :) I'll be sad to see Sammy go too, but thankfully there will be a nice long row of 18 books to ease the END. Thanks!

AbaGayleb said...

You can count on me to totally bawl my eyes out on Kiss Goodbye AND Killer Cruise.
I cry when it comes to books.
A lot.
I'm not kidding.
Even HAPPY books I cry at. In Flipped I cried when Juli was in the tree and they were going to cut it down.
I'm a very emotional person, as you see.
And, you know, I didn't even know about Kiss Goodbye. Is it a separate book, like Runaway? You'll have, Showdown in Sin City and Killer Cruise, and that will be the last of the Sammy Keyes series? Or is Kiss Goodbye that last official Sammy Keyes book.
Sorry if I made that complicated. :p

Optimistic4ever said...

I'm so excited for Killer Cruise, but it's the last book in Sammy's voice? Wow... it's understandable that you cried. Sammy is a big part of all our lives, so obviously, she's much more important in your's, you being her creator.

Kiss Goodbye... who's voice could that be in???

I'll really miss this series. Do you have any other series or books planned?

bookworm said...




:( :( :( :( :( :(

I need the new book to come out already, along with The Mark of Athena, the 3rd Michael Vey, the 4th Mary Quinn mystery and the 11th Jacky Faber. I am desperate to find out the fate of all my beloved characters.

Wendelin, you can't end Sammy's life (book-wise)! I've been with her since I was 10! Make her last!!!!!!! I'M BEGGING YOU!!!!!!!

Very politely begging, but begging all the same.

"Baby come back to me!"

Yusa said...

"All good things must end." I don't want Sammy to end, but it's better for her to end than to force a terrible book out.

Stefunny said...

Wow. This is a good one. A chewer-onner.

Jessica said...

Totally random, silly question to distract us all from The End:

Casey said that the paint on the bottom of the skateboard had been scraped to reveal Sammy's name, but then Sammy pointed out that it couldn't have been if it was locked in the truck all day. Later, Casey returned the board to Sammy -- but was it still the ugly gray? Did he (or Sammy) scrape all the paint off to return it to its original color? I could just see Grams fussing while Sammy was making a mess with paint chips in her kitchen (though more likely, Sammy would enlist Hudson's help).

Anonymous said...

I just wanna say these books were all of my childhood and I’m a senior in high school and they’re almost done and….just thank you to all of you who made me happy as helllll with all the Sammy Keyes fuss. There’s so many things I can honestly say because I’m such an overemotional person. All I can really say though is that I love these books with all my heart and you BEST believe that my kids and their kids and their kids will be reading them. And my 2 year old baby sister and my 9 year old sister.
I mean I’ve grown up with these books and Casey has always been my deep down crush until recently because I’ve recently truly fallen in actual love, so I can’t say I love Casey anymore because my daydreams are consumed of someone else. Its sad, sometimes I try to force my daydreams into that Casey phase where this fictional character was my only love, and it’s sad how things change so fast, but I can truly say THANK YOU for providing me with a love for most of my life. I’m going to get married with someone I truly love and then I can tell him all about Casey and how Casey ultimately was my childhood fling…in my head, at least ;)
Anyway. I know there’s still 3 books to be released. But it’s just….kind of sad that only 2 of them are in Sammy’s point of view.
I can accept it, though, because I realized this summer when I met the guy I happened to fall for, that without these books I would have had quite a character-less high school experience. :) Sammy is one of my best friends personally. And yes Casey will always be my lover…inside my head, but I just love looking back and being like, “Yeah I GREW UP with this world”.
I know its your world, Wendelin Van Draanen, so I really wanted to thank you for bringing it into mine and really giving me a hell of an awesome childhood and teenager-hood. Now I’m gonna be all 18 in less than a month, and move out and then go to college and then Sammy Keyes is going to end but not really it won’t end. Everyone always looks back at the things that stuck out most in high school and for me my love of Sammy Keyes was definitely the one thing that sticks out…along with winning 3rd in state in soccer, along with other things, but it this book series really made and created me in a way and I’m so grateful for that.
All in all I just wanted to say I will be crying buckets when I pick up Kiss Goodbye. Actually, when I pick up Killer Cruise since it’s Sammy’s last.
You know I still remember WAITING for Cold Hard Cash?? And Wedding Crasher? Yeah. I still remember reading these books when I was in 4th grade and being like, “She painted her shoes green that is SO bad ass!”
Well, actually, I more said, “Wow she’s so kick butt and tough and I wanna be like her” because I was like, 11, but yeah let’s all face it guys, Sammy is the baddest of all the bad asses in the world. It has to be said. She is bad to the bone whether or not her point of view is done. For a lot of us here she CREATED that badass bone inside of us, right? Like admit it, if it wasn’t for Sammy we all wouldn’t love Converse the way we do…come on let’s all face it.
Anyway that’s all I wanted to say. She’s my fav to the fav <3 I could go on and on.
Oh and yes. I am blonde. Just in case you guys thought like my weirdo twin was posting this….. I’m blonde now. ;) ;) ;)
Viva Sammy Keyes!!!

Isabel said...

Does this mean that this blog will be officially finished??!!?!?!?!

Isabel said...

Does this mean that this blog will be officially finished??!!?!?!?!

Unknown said...

I cud be wrong, but its about 117 more days until sin city will be realesd . . . and even longer for our library to order it=)
She is still alive though!!! I think that EVERYONE I read about is alive, i know there out there=) not imaginary either. and we got MONTHS before kiss goodbye, and even killer cruise!=)
am a the only one who read the series more then once..?

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

I read all these at once and...I have one overwhelming thought: What good is a world created if only you inhabit it? No matter how wonderful it is, it's lonesome and hollow and...sad. But because you are in it with me I'm not alone, and instead of feeling lonesome and hollow and sad I feel incredibly blessed. Not to mention happy to be surrounded by such really cool friends.

So thank you. All of you!

Gabrielle said...

Awww!! Steph that was really sweet!! I will miss Sammy Keyes. It's probably ten time harder for the people that grew up with Sammy Keyes,because I didn't really grow up with her,I've only known about these books a year,bit still,I'm really gonna miss her!!

Optimistic4ever said...

I remember our times waiting for Wedding Crasher were the hardest. We were planning that Random House thing... I think it's funny that then we wanted the books to come out as fast as they could, and now we want them to last as long as possible.

Gabrielle said...

I know. It's kinda weird how that works,you want it to come out,but then you finish it and then your like Im done!! Aww!! That's what happens when I read books. I bet it was really hard waiting for wedding crasher,I was lucky because I didn't find out about this series,untill after wedding crasher,by the way LOVE the ending of that book!! But I'm pretty sure everyone loves the ending of wedding crasher. :)

Unknown said...

My friend reads the last page of every book she starts;)
I told her one of these days there was gonna be a book giveaway

Unknown said...

I can't even believe its not going to be in her voice. But I bet it's either everybody's, Billy's, or Casey's. Or maybe even heathers!! I hope it's billy, and I mostly think its his because you said the last book would be the "billy book". Like how sin city was sort of heathers book. I really hope nothing terrible happens in the last book, like Sammy and Casey breaking up, or grams or Hudson dying (yes, I have been thinking immensely about the next two books!). I hope it has a happy ending

Unknown said...

I can't even believe its not going to be in her voice. But I bet it's either everybody's, Billy's, or Casey's. Or maybe even heathers!! I hope it's billy, and I mostly think its his because you said the last book would be the "billy book". Like how sin city was sort of heathers book. I really hope nothing terrible happens in the last book, like Sammy and Casey breaking up, or grams or Hudson dying (yes, I have been thinking immensely about the next two books!). I hope it has a happy ending