That Time a Guy Asked Me to Channel My Novel’s Protagonist On Our Creepy First Date
As an author seeking representation and a single woman seeking love, I let the strange charade go on a little too long.
Illustrations by Cornelia Li
The first email from “Francois” arrived late on a Friday night. It was from an unfamiliar email address, and contained one line:
“Are U Carrie Pilby?”
“Carrie Pilby” was the name of the teen novel I had just finished, a manuscript that had finally – after ten years of seeing other books of mine rejected – landed me an agent. It was about a nerdy young woman, Carrie, who tried haplessly to date and socialize in New York. My new agent had submitted the book to publishing companies a week before I got Francois’ email. I wondered who Francois was. To my knowledge, only a couple of friends and my agent had seen the book. I responded: “She might be partly based on me. Who are you?” Francois sidestepped the question in his email back. “I have never cold-contacted an author before,” he wrote, “but your work shows great promise.” He sent more emails complimenting the book throughout the week, but wouldn’t reveal his true identity. Then, he implored me to call him – o…
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial