When my middle school book group decided to read Ellen Raskin’s The Westing Game as our first selection, I was excited to go back to a book that I hadn’t read since I myself was in middle school (I astounded my students by telling them the book was almost as old as I was). The Westing Game was actually a book I started several times as a child. I knew exactly where it was in the UNH Library, which was my hometown library at the time, and every so often I would pick it up and try again.
About half way through writing The Water Castle, my upcoming book from Walker-Bloomsbury, I realized that the present-day narrative needed to be balanced by and bounced off a historical narrative. Set in 1908 while Robert Peary and Matthew Henson searched for the North Pole, it told the story of the inhabitants of the castle a century before the main narrative. I loved researching the time period. For me history classes had been primarily about major events and figures, but now I was finding out how people lived. I was discovering things like what kind of clothes people wore, how they got from place to place, and where they shopped. My husband, a friend, and I took a trip to the Thomas Edison National Historical Park so that I could see what a chemistry lab of the time looked like. This type of research energized me.
So making a promise to blog once a week was probably not the most prescient decision given that I moved over the weekend and will not have internet at home until next week. Luckily I can type at home, then cut and paste and post at work.
One of the ideas I had for a recurring post was book lists related to a writing-related issue. This might be a stylistic issue, an internal struggle, or just some news story that catches my eye. So, without further ado, I give you Read Write: Booklists for Writers.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve interviewed several of my favorite bloggers on their blogging history, practice, and philosophy. You can read the interviews with Cynthia Leitich Smith, Melissa Walker, and Jennifer Hubbard. I also spoke with Joyce Valenza over the phone. There were a few common themes to all of their responses.
1. It can take a while to find your voice. Both Melissa Walker and Joyce Valenza admitted to floundering for a while. For me this was extremely reassuring, and I hope others were reassured as well.