I almost can’t believe it, but writing Tully, my first novel, was easier than writing The Tiger Catcher and its two follow-ups. Much easier. I had tremendous hope, and except for me, no one had any expectations. No one said they wanted it to be like this or like that, or that they wanted to reignite my old readers or expand my readership. Only I wanted to expand my readership—from zero to zero plus x. I didn’t know how other people would respond to my story about a difficult, complicated woman, a woman who did not treat men in her life well, who had a fractured bitter relationship with her mother, who dreamed only of leaving Topeka, Kansas and running away. A story that was not a romance by any stretch, yet had a lot of love in it. Life kept dealing Tully blows and she kept trying to weather them, sometimes poorly. Yes, Tully was deeply flawed but she was also deeply human, and my zero plus x readers embraced her and loved her and responded to her very strongly. Through word of mouth, her readership built, and my own. I sold Tully to the first publisher who read her 26 years ago to the day. June 17, 1993 is when my life changed, and I quit my job at Prudential Securities. Writing Tully allowed me to live my dream life for the last quarter of a century, the life I dreamed of when I was a small girl growing up in the Soviet Union.