Blog Posts from the Beginning
This writer’s day: Up at six, and by six-thirty (with coffee near) working on new book, focusing on the last third. Chat with my publicist about evolving website. An e‑mail from the editor of forthcoming book, Sophia’s War, informing me that she is sending the first pass galley. For the first time I get to
I have published a lot of books. I have lots of readers. I have won a lot of awards. But I have never sent in a new book—as I have just done—to an editor without feeling nervous, and worried that it might be rejected. And I have been rejected. Once upon a time I submitted
How does it feel to finish a book after working on it for months, if not years, every day, and for most working hours? As the writer Harry Eyres has suggested, it is a “triumphant moment of loss.” Famously, Virginia Woolf suffered acute depressions when she finished her novels. Not so uncommon among writers. It’s
Some years ago a young student (I no longer have name or whereabouts) sent me the following “Criteria for a good book.” I believe it was a student assignment. In any case, here it is, just as it was sent (and spelled). I’ve never read a better analysis of what children’s literature is. Criteria for a
Who is the first reader of my books? My wife, Linda. (I read somewhere that Madeleine L’Engle had her husband read her books to her. Now that took courage!) Sometimes Linda is willing to let me read the book to her. Patient soul. Or she reads the book on her own, and I wait nervously.
The New York Times (6/7/12) ran a long obituary about Ray Bradbury, his life, his work, and his influence as a writer, and as a person. Bradbury was a man who seems to have been an enthusiast for life, and filled his writing with that passion. Particularly touching were the comments that followed the obituary.
On June 26th I will be at the Shenandoah University (Winchester, VA) 2012 Children’s Literature Conference. Along with other writers and illustrators we will focus on the conference theme, literature for boys. While I will take part in a couple of panel discussions, I will have a solo spot, doing what I most enjoy at
One of the crucial things that drive writers, I think, is the desire to be part of what I refer to as Book Culture. This is the universe of the book; writing, reading, making, publishing, book-selling, libraries, editing, design, marketing—and you can add much more to the list, I’m sure. If you were a very
Every once in a while, an adult, upon learning what I do, asks, “Why do you write for children? Wouldn’t you have more satisfaction writing for adults?” A couple of recent letters from kids answer that better than I can. A third-grader named Iva, wrote, “Because my class reads your books a lot we imagine
I very much enjoy reading short stories, and marvel at their power, and their ability to create a comprehensive experience, however brief. I even edited a collection (with Carolyn Shute) that has no theme, other than quality. It’s called Best Shorts. Over the years I have written numbers of them. There are two collections of my