Wednesday, January 9, 2008

You Have to Acknowledge...

We aren't sure if sane, normal people do this, but when we (the aspiring writers of the world) crack open a new book, we often check out the acknowledgements page. Just in case there are deep dark super secret tips encoded there.

There never are.

But it's always a fun read, a chance to look into the life of the author. You find yourself wondering, guessing, mulling... trying to figure out if "John Doe" is the author's ex-husband, editor, secret boyfriend (or maybe all three!)

So today, we've asked Liz to unpack the acknowledgements for The Opposite of Invisible for us!


Yeah, one of my favorite things about cracking open a new book is checking out the acknowledgements page. Making a book is so much more than one person and the typey typey typey. So I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the people on my own acknowledgements page.

The first crew: Ruth Homberg, Robert Warren, Kaitlin McCafferty, Andrew Bast, and Katie Harmon. These helpful folks are Wendy Lamb’s team at Random House. Caroline Mackler needs to be added to the list, as she joined the team after my acknowledgements were all turned in!

Wendy Mass is my editor, and I’m so glad for it. She’s just the most amazing. Without her, I don’t think that this mess of pages I wrote would ever have felt like a novel. How lucky am I? Sooooo lucky.

Then comes Rosemary Stimola, Super Agent. When I decided to send my manuscript to agents, I knew that it wasn’t finished. It needed work, and it could either go very literary, very commercial, or somewhere in the middle. I wanted to keep it somewhere in the middle, and Rosemary saw it the same way. Then she worked hard to find an editor who could help me accomplish that task. Ro Stimo, as she’s known to those in the know, is truly magnificent.

My Vermont College advisers are next. They are, in order of appearance in my life,
Lisa Jahn-Clough, Ron Koertge, M.T. Anderson, and Cynthia Leitich Smith.

Lisa is a lively picture book author/illustrator and a compelling YA novelist. I especially love her latest YA novel, Me Penelope.

Ron writes YA novels and poetry in a gorgeously spare way that I dream of emulating. My favorite work of his is Margaux with an X.

M.T. Anderson is my number one favorite author and all-time literary hero. How’s that for putting it lightly? I often say that falling in love with his novel Feed is what made me want to be a YA writer.

Cynthia is not only an author across genres, she’s a pillar in the kids/middle grade/YA writing community, thanks to her enormous knowledge and generosity. My favorite read of Cyn’s is her newest YA novel, Tantalize.

Next on my list is Anita Silvey. Ms. Silvey is a great supporter of the Vermont College MFA program in writing for children and young adults, and I am forever grateful that she awarded me a scholarship based on an early draft of The Opposite of Invisible. Her 500 Great Books for Teens and 100 Best Books for Children are absolutely wonderful resources for booksellers, teachers, and librarians. And readers!

Next up is Lara Zeises. Lara and I became great friends when Lisa Jahn-Clough put us in touch, having mentored both of us and having the hunch that we’d get along. Lara metaphorically held my hand through the process of “going pro”. My favorite of Lara’s books is Anyone But You. I also love the Hollywood Starlet books by her alter-ego, Lola Douglas, the first of which is being made into a Lifetime TV movie!

Then we have the staff of All for Kids Books & Music. I worked at All for Kids when I first moved to Seattle, and it’s where I truly learned to love YA literature. It’s also where I found a supportive group of amazing readers who love nothing more than talking books.

Lastly, but never actually last, my family and friends. They’re the best!


Brooke Taylor said...

Thanks for the peak into your Acks!

I love reading them--it is facinating!

TJBrown said...

I always read the acknowledgements. It's a good way to keep up with the business too, as authors usually mention their agents and their editors.

Anonymous said...

I love to read acknowledgements. And yowzer, but you have a great list of mentors!

Barrie said...

I'm sure these people feel so honored to be mentioned on your acknowledgment page. It's been a great week, Liz!

Cheryl said...

Great idea. I also wonder who all those people are... sometimes I google them!