It's not the lake but politics that gets things riled up in My Mixed Up Berry Blue Summer, and as I reviewed first pages, this month I thought about the seed that started me writing June's story. The emotional core of this story comes from a young teenager in San Francisco, who was bullied by grownups -- something that should never happen. I was outraged then, and it fueled my desire to write an answer to "What if..." (The scene that recalls that moment is on page 54.)
One step of first pages -- when your story is typeset, and you get a chance to fix bad line breaks and sentences you hate now -- is to think about the dedication. So I reached out to a friend, who gave me the name of that young teen who I witnessed encountering prejudice.
I'm emailing one of her two dads, but I'm a little nervous. What will she say? Will she want to erase the memory, have nothing to do with me? Or will she be excited that June's story may help some other kid like her?
Whatever happens, June is more real then ever, thanks to Julia Denos. I'm loving the cover.