Blog Posts from the Beginning
Is it real? Is it fiction?
Megan of Pompano Beach wrote me and asked, “Do you incorporate real events into your writing?” The answer is, yes and no. The about to be published Sophia’s War is full of things that really happened during the American Revolution, but the main character, Sophia Calderwood, is fictional. Yet, I tell the story as if
Starting a new book
What’s it like to start a new book? Sometimes I think it’s like a maze, one that has many entrances, many passages, and many outcomes, none known (though you think you know the entrance). The maze also has many dead ends. It certainly doesn’t have a known exit. I, the writer, poke along through this
A singular connection
Last week, when at a conference at Shenandoah University, I was asked to sign a copy of The Secret School. First, however, I was told a story. The book belonged to a girl, and her father, a US soldier in Afghanistan, had taken a copy with him. Via Skype, he read the book to his daughter,
What happened after the book ends?
Jaxon, of Acme, Washington, wrote to ask, “What happened to Crispin and Owen after they got on the ship to Iceland?” Questions like that, what happened after the book ends? are not uncommon. You can consider them in a number of ways: that I have not completely satisfied my reader; that the story (and characters)
Can writing change the world?
Dayanara, of Quincy, Illinois, wrote: “… my dream is to become an author someday. My dad would never approve of it though. He wants me to become someone who can change the world, but he doesn’t understand writing can change the world.” Go Dayanara! But … can writing change the world? Having just been emerged in
A complex and mysterious relationship
Just as “No man is an island, Entire of itself,” no writer writes a book alone. Beyond the author, the editor is the other major factor in the creation of a book. At his or her best, the editor has the talent for guiding, goading, and grilling so that the author’s vision and text is fully
Solitary in my head
Where and when do I get my best ideas? Solve plot problems? Decide what direction a current project should take? It’s when I am out walking or jogging by myself. I have no cell phone. No food. No music. No dog. No lap counter. No deadlines. No time constraints. No particular noise. Nothing that I
I was recently doing a Skype visit with a library group when one of the young people asked, “How do you go about choosing names for your characters?” There are all kinds of considerations. First, boy/girl. Then, the time period in which the story takes place because names become more or less popular. I was
Where did the idea for Poppy come from?
Thomas, from West Newbury, Massachusetts, wrote to me and asked, “How did you come up with the idea for Poppy?” Well, Thomas, I was living in Oregon, in the town of Corvallis. Wandering into a bookstore, something I like to do, I went to the bargain section, something I like to do even more.There I
A very fine editor/publisher, and a very fine friend, sent me an e‑mail: “I have a huge favor to ask—huge not because of the labor involved, but because I know how you feel about blurbing.” She was asking me if I would write a blurb for one of her forthcoming books, and she knows I