If you've been keeping up with the news, Lake Champlain has risen higher than ever--three feet above flood level, all due to snow melt and unusually heavy spring rains. I've been worried about friends, and thinking about the lake I love.
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.
Exciting news! Julia Denos is illustrating the cover of My Mixed-Up, Berry Blue Summer. Her style reminds me of my younger self -- free-spirited, climbing trees, bicycling to Crystal Lake.
I heard the news when I was at a novel-writing retreat at Vermont College. It was great to be back in New England, tramping briskly across campus. What a joy to share stories and book suggestions. When you are with other writers, the ideas just flow and the inspiration seeps in, just like snowflakes melting on my hands.
Here's what I've been thinking and writing about. I love getting email, too!