Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
…This post was inspired by Molly O’Neill of Harper, as was my last one. Molly and I were talking about how important faith—and not just religious faith—is to a meaningful life. I did not grow up in any traditional religious background, and she asked me what I had faith in. I told her that I had faith in books (of course), and art, and ideas; but as anyone who has read Before I Fall should know, I also have tremendous faith in connection and, perhaps most importantly, in friends.
So I just wanted to do a little shout-out to some of the ladies (and gents) who have kept me sane all these years (relatively speaking, that is), and who have also made life joyful and worthwhile. Thanks for the giggles, the cries, the conversations, and the spontaneous dance parties.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Monday I had drinks with the wonderful Harper editor Molly O’Neill. Molly has been a fan of and an advocate for my book from the very beginning (when my book is finally released, you can check out her shout-out in my acknowledgments) but this was the first time we’d ever spent time together one-on-one.
And lordy, was it fun.
Molly is completely, completely passionate about children’s books, and she’s also smart and deeply engaged with the world around her and absolutely fascinating to talk to. I feel like I’ll probably be blogging about our girl-date for days to come, because our conversation was so interesting and rich and took so many twists and turns and zig-zags—and I feel like we only scratched the surface of all the things we have to discuss!
Okay, I’ll stop geeking out about Molly now and get onto one of the major things we discussed. Basically, as I wait for edits on my second book (eek!) I am trying to distract myself by working on a book for younger readers. I suppose it falls under the rubric of middle grade, although it might skew even younger. (But it is definitely a chapter book, with a fairly sophisticated vocabulary.) I’m sure that this question is irrelevant because the book is probably terrible and will no doubt never see the light of day, but I’ve been curious about how dark/disturbing books for younger readers can go? It’s probably a difficult question to answer in the abstract, but I’m just wondering what people think…
Coraline’s pretty dark, for example, but I’m not sure what age group Neil Gaiman is targeting? And I always felt Roald Dahl’s books were pretty dark, and I absolutely adored them when I was younger (I still read Matilda every time I’m sick).
One thing I love that Molly said—and an illustration of why she’s such a great editor!—was that children’s books need to leave their readers feeling more in control of their worlds than they were before reading. They need to give their readers some kind of key, or door—a way of understanding the world and feeling comfortable in it. I love this idea, and totally agree (actually, I think this is true of every great book…).
Opinions? Thoughts? Comments? Expressions of concern?