Elisabeth Egan has spent much of her career writing about books other people have written. For seven years, she worked as the books editor at Self magazine; having finished a brief stint at Amazon Publishing, she now holds a similar position at Glamour. But with A Window Opens (Simon & Schuster, Aug.), her debut novel, she’s finally adding her own contribution to the galley pile. “I was itching to write my own book,” she says.
A Window Opens, which has parallels with Egan’s life, follows Alice Pearse, a mother, wife, and part-time books editor who, when suddenly forced to act as her family’s breadwinner, takes a job with Scroll, a disruption-preaching tech company that promises to usher in the future of reading. Egan recently told PW, “I wrote [A Window Opens] about the time Lean In came out. I felt my experience wasn’t represented in that conversation.... [It] made me think about how to show the experiences of the average working mom.”
Brettne Bloom, Egan’s agent, has known Egan since 2012, when the two were set up on a “friend date.” Upon hearing that Egan was writing a novel, Bloom felt some trepidation. “There are few words that strike greater fear in the heart of an agent than when a friend... tells you they’ve written a novel,” she says. In this case, it worked out. “Reading it is like spending a long dinner with your favorite person,” she says.
Marysue Rucci, v-p and editor-in-chief at Simon & Schuster and Egan’s editor, was also already friendly with Egan before she heard about the book—a situation she describes as “always tricky.” But the novel “did not disappoint,” she says. “The voice was right there, on every page.”
Rucci adds that she enjoyed reading A Window Opens particularly as someone who works in publishing. “The idea of revolutionizing the 21st-century reading experience, to me, was really, really funny,” she says. “Well played.”