It's here. It's here! The official release date for What Can't Wait. I need an overcoat with a million secret pockets to stow all the gratitude I'm feeling. Or maybe a Miss (Mrs?) America set-up where I can toss my gratitude out like confetti in a parade. Instead, I'm going to post the acknowledgments page for What Can't Wait. Because without the help I've been blessed with, I never would have found out that for me, writing is what can't wait. Thank you all.
I owe a great professional debt to my agent, Steven Chudney, and to my editor, Andrew Karre, both of whom have been gracious guides to this most cautious of travelers.
This book would not exist without the many remarkable students I taught at Chávez High School. They told me about the book they wanted to read, and I tried to write it. In particular, I’d like to thank those who commented on early drafts: Krystal Chávez, Diana Alvarez, Karina López, and Jessica van Ravenhorst.
Although they are now “grown,” the kids who had me for 10th, 11th, and 12th grade are still cracking jokes, doing SSR, practicing scholarly habits, and terrorizing the halls in my memories, especially Edith Barrón, Veronica Carbajal, Cínthia Carcamo, Baltazar Díaz, Pedro Galindo, Veronica García, Jonathan Guevara, Whitney Horton, Charlie Machado, Melissa Martínez, Rey Mejía, Alicia Perrett, Alejandra Quijada, Roxann Rodríguez, Kristy Solorio, Yuridia Treviño, Eric Vitales, and Jarol Wadel.
A special thank you to the D-house boys who read this book to the end and then told me that it was the first they’d ever finished. (Don’t worry, J and M, I won’t blow your cover.)
My gratitude also to Linda Sue Alsup and the Greater Houston Area Writing Project for teaching me to share my writing with students; to Jane Eixmann and the librarians of Houston ISD, the Houston Public Library, and beyond; to Laura Furman, John Trimble, Karen Joy Fowler, and the many other mentors who took my writing seriously; to the members of OWL and to all the readers whose feedback helped shape the novel; to Alisa and Mushu for walking the writer’s path with me every week.
Thank you to my El Paso family for telling stories and making tamales and pozole with chicken. Thank you to my Houston family, Sarah and Shelley, for a friendship that nourishes me and makes writing possible.
Thank you to my mother, who has always told me, “It’ll be a crime if you don’t write a book;” my father, who has his eye peeled for a Pullet Surprise; and my brother, Justin, who never misses a thing.
Thank you, Arnulfo: you are the one who keeps me running, writing, and living with a joyful heart. Liam Miguel, your smile writes its own books; thank you for giving Mami time to write hers.