It takes so much more than words on paper (or a screen) to create a book …
which is why so many authors insist on an acknowledgment page.
Too many people skip that section, but if you’re reading this, chances are, in this new book, there’s an implied thanks to you. And there’s also a bit of explanation why Gollywhopper 2 came out more than 6 years after the original.
“It was the first day of second grade and Billy Miller was worried. He was worried that he wouldn’t be smart enough for school this year.”
The Year of Billy Miller (Greenwillow/HarperCollins) sucked me in with that opening paragraph. Why? I totally related to it. Mine were not the same worries as Billy’s, but my worries weighed just as heavily on me. Like the first day of kindergarten. How would my mom know when to pick me up? Or in first grade. Would my friends remember me when I returned to class after a week at home with the chicken pox? Or what if I said my old lines instead of the new ones I was given for the 4th grade play?
It was a truly magical experience where authors and readers of all ages got together, where many of us spoke of deeply personal experiences in a safe and nurturing environment. It was the Less Than Three Conference.
(In celebration of turning Gollywhopper 3 in to my editor yesterday, and in hopes that book will pass this test, I bring you a reprint of the July 2012 post I did for the Smack Dab blog. Wishing you fireworks in your reading and writing.)
I always wanted the fireworks to last longer when I was a kid. It didn’t matter that it was hot or that I was sticky and stinky from bug spray or that I ended up half off the blanket and half on the ticklish grass. I wanted more.
I mean to keep you totally apprised of my writing, my progress…everything. The only trouble is, I get so involved in story and character, I forget my good intentions. But now I have a couple weeks to breathe between drafts … and so an update.
You know those history teachers who are basically storytellers in disguise? The ones who transport you to ancient Mayan civilizations or into the heart of Gettysburg? The ones who mesmerize you with the deviousness of political intrigue and the adventure of covered wagons? I never had one of those. For me, history became a series of date memorization and compare/contrast papers.
Just as I was finishing up a very fast first draft of #3 (see question 2 below), the wonderful Jenny Meyerhoff tagged me to be included in the Next Big Thing, a blog campaign started somewhere by someone in Australia. And that last phrase, I just realized, sounds like the old Telephone Game where the details of the message get lost or totally muddled. The fact does remain that I’ve been asked to answer the following questions about my next book and in doing so, it’s my responsibility to tag a few more willing souls.