Friday, July 28, 2006

Book Influences

I think one of the reasons I'm drawn to writing kid's books is that the books we read as a child seem to have such a profound impact on us; the memories of those stories linger with us for an entire lifetime. And while I've read some amazing adult books, they just don't become a part of my bones like the books I read as a child did.

Books that saw me through childhood were: The Chronicles of Narnia, The Little Princess, The Secret Garden, The Little House on the Big Prairie books, The Once and Future King. As a teen, The Lord of the Rings rocked my world. When I try to think of adult books that had the same impact on me, there aren't any. Although there are a few books that did radically shift my perspective, especially as a writer.

What about you? What books were the anchors of your childhood? How did they shape who you are today? Obviously my love of fantasy was planted very early.

And are there any adult books that you feel had the same impact on you as your childhood favorites?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Book Giveaway!!

In honor of (finally) having a blog, I think it only fitting to have a contest giving away the ARC of my new book that comes out next month, WEREWOLF RISING.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment any time in the next week, on any blog post. At the end of one week, on Wednesday August 2, I'll do a random drawing from the comments and select a winner. If you post as 'anonymous' please be sure and leave some unique identifier in the comment--a screen name or some such--so you'll know who you are when I announce the winner next Wednesday.

Good luck!

The First Steps of the Journey

I sometimes wonder if we really choose writing or if writing chooses us. It seems to me that almost all the writers I know write because they can’t NOT write, and that includes me. It’s something I’m compelled to do; tell stories. Whenever I tried to give it up and do something easier, the stories would keep growing in my head, crowding everything else out until I had to write or risk severe mental strain. (That’s only partially a joke!)

The truth is that I’ve been writing ever since I was seven years old and penned my first poem--an Ode to my Madame Alexander doll. After that I wrote an Ode to The Chronicles of Narnia--my favorite books at the time. Luckily, I quickly outgrew my Ode Stage and moved on to other genres. Embarrassingly enough, my mother still has all these old masterpieces and charges me an annual fee to keep them hidden from the public eye!

I wrote all through my childhood and during my high school years. I won awards in high school and considered going straight into writing then, but all the well-meaning adults in my life talked me out of it. It was just too hard. Too much competition. Too much rejection. And while all of that it true, it is equally true that in the end, passion and perseverance can pay off, which it did in my case. I took up writing seriously with a goal toward publication in my early 30's, when I had two young boys who were gobbling up books faster than teething biscuits. After a long apprenticeship during which I produced much dreck, I finally managed to create something publishable. Dutton Children's Books bought THE FALCONMASTER. My long journey toward publication had finally ended. Or so I thought.

Little did I realize that I'd only turned a sharp bend in the road and that the quest was never ending.