…in a time that has been mostly Zoom famine (at least for this author).
This week I’ve met virtually with the third graders at The Nueva School in Hillsborough, CA to talk about writing and poetry and a book club in Mill Creek, WA that had recently read May B.
The pandemic has meant school visits and other book gatherings have been out of the question for quite some time. I’ve Zoomed here and there but not as much as I’d like. (Look here if you’d like to meet virtually!) It was good connect with readers again.
I got an email Wednesday morning from the Nueva School librarian saying that one third-grade class still had questions for me. I thought they were pretty insightful and decided to share them with you:
What is your favorite book and character you’ve created?
This is a hard one to answer (but a question I’m asked often) — readers are curious! I’d have to say May Betterly and May B. will always have a warm spot in my heart. As my first published book, it will always be special, and May herself is so very brave. Another way I can answer this question is by thinking of the book I’m working on presently. My current book (and its characters) — in this case, Miraculous — are always my favorite as I spend a lot of time in that particular “book world”. I love immersing myself in an imaginary world and getting to know the people who live there!
Have you ever discarded an almost final or final copy of a book you’ve written?
This is an excellent question. I absolutely have, several times over. When revising Jasper and the Riddle of Riley’s Mine, I discarded about 2/3 of the book and rewrote it. Then I did it a second time! I did the same with Miraculous (thankfully only once that time). Writing can be really hard work, but I’m grateful I get years of experimenting / practicing / playing / trying to get the story right.
Does your editor ask you questions? What do they ask?
She does. Sometimes she’ll ask big-picture questions, like, “What was your original intent for this character?” when I feel stuck or “What do you want for this story?” Other times she’ll ask questions about specific spots in a manuscript I’ve turned in, things like, “What does this mean?” Sometimes I have to laugh when I realize I thought I was being very clever or creative, but what I really was doing was being unclear! In many ways, writing is a partnership. My editor(s) brings out my best work.
As for the book club, which discovered May B. through Bookmarks magazine, one reader said May reminded her of Educated and Where the Crawdads Sing. No complaints here! I’ll take it.
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