A lot of people have asked me what inspired the idea behind Stolen Secrets. One day, I read about the “revisionists” and how they promote that the Holocaust never happened. Often, these people claim that specific aspects didn’t occur, such as Nazi-operated gas chambers. Most educated people laugh at them. Still, it occurred to me that our firsthand witnesses to the atrocities are slowly passing away, and that can allow for a dangerous environment. (Thank you to every organization out there that has recorded the stories of Holocaust victims.) Unfortunately, after the last witness is gone, the revisionists will continue to spin their lies to future generations. While this is what inspired the book, Stolen Secrets went in tangental directions, such as exploring the aftermath of the concentration camps and its impact on future generations. I think it’s safe to say that a tree grew from this seed of an idea!
Now that I have a new young adult novel coming out, people keep telling me I need to do more on Twitter (where the influencers are) or Snapchat (where my readership is) or some other variation of social media. But, see, Twitter and me? We have a complicated relationship. I’m too verbose to restrict my thoughts into a character count. It may sound crazy, but I kind of resent it. And I’m already on Instagram, so Snapchat feels redundant. I’ve decided to choose social media options that work best for me. So far, that includes Instagram and my new favorite, Quora.
OMG, I Love Quora!
Why? Because it plays to my strength, which is teaching and editing and giving advice to those who want and need it. I’m also on Facebook, though that’s a more personal than private forum for me. Yeah, I’ll still tweet every now and then. It’s an incredible way to meet people in my industry such as librarians and teachers, but it’s not nearly as much fun for me as some of the others. I can’t drum up a desire to actively pursue followers. (Hey, if people want to follow me, they will.) We all have limited time, so writers, give yourself a break. Choose what speaks to you. Your future fans want to know you, not just your books. My thought is that if you’re having fun, they will, too.
As some of you already know, I am a co-founder of a workshop for intermediate and advanced writers for children called Better Books. This will be our fifth year already–wow! Attendees will unite in Menlo Park, California from October 12th to the 15th. Better Books focuses only on craft. This is truly what I love best about it. There are many places to learn marketing techniques, but our faculty focuses on creating excellent, publishable stories that will inspire children to read and learn and think.
I mean, really, it’s about so much more than the first ten pages or the opening line. What about the middle muddle or the ending or deepening character or scene structure? And what a lineup of faculty we have this year–Emma Dryden (founder of Drydenbks, a premier children’s editorial/publishing consultant company), Harold Underdown (independent editor/publishing consultant), Stephen Fraser (senior agent at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency), and Tiffany Liao (editor: Henry Holt Books)–and just 25 accepted writers to keep it all intimate and personal. The application period has now officially opened until May 31st, so if this is what you’ve been looking for, much like we once were, head over to Better Book Marin to learn more. Hope to see you soon!
Yesterday, the best mail arrived. Five precious ARCs of my book. For those less familiar, “ARC” stands for Advanced Readers Copy, and it’s purpose is to be used for reviewers. It’s a paperback preview version, not yet fully edited, of the hardcover that will be released on September 19th, 2017. Oh, these things are a work of beauty! The cover, soft as buttery leather. Inside are actual words that I wrote–for real.When I told my friend about my lovely box of books, she texted that she would love to review my “Ark.” I laughed at first, thinking of course of Noah’s Ark, but then I realized that her typo was a more accurate depiction of said product than correct acronym. My ARC is very much an ARK. For starters, I have a lot riding on this thing. I want my ARK to stay afloat in a sea of wonderful book. And finally, I am hoping for a miracle (from reviewers.) I have now officially entered a time where I must patiently plan for my ARK’s journey. Soon, Boyds Mills Press and I will launch them to people who will either help the book float or sink. It’s terrifying, to be honest. But, like Noah, I have something going for me: faith. And so I build on, praying for sunny days ahead…