Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Sail into reading with Courtney Sheinmel

Today we hear from Courtney! Courtney’s contemporary young adult novel, My So-Called Family, involves donors instead of fathers, and same-age sisters who are NOT twins. You can’t get any more intriguing than that! Let’s dig into the mind of this author, and find out who her hero is.

I am incredibly afraid of boats (among many other things), and right now – at this very moment – four of my closest friends are on a sailboat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. They are traveling (by themselves – no other captain or crew) from California to the South Pacific. And two of them are not even old enough to vote. In fact, they are not even teenagers yet. Those girls are my heroes.

Last spring, I spent a week on the sailboat with the girls and their parents, and I felt incredibly brave just for negotiating the steps between the dock and the boat. I sat in the corner and clutched the handrail, reminding myself that I was wearing a life jacket. The girls, who were nine and eleven years old at the time, helped steer and jibe, and lifted bumpers that weighed more than they did. They jumped off the boat to the dock, and never looked down, and never cried out for fear of falling in the water. They called to me and said, “You can do it, Courtney!” And they held my hands while I climbed down oh so carefully.

I am in awe of how brave and capable they are. But it is more than that. They are just two of the greatest people I’ve ever known. They are beautiful and polite and kind. When I’m around them, I find myself saying “please” and “thank you” more, because I want to be as good as they are. They are hysterically funny, and they inspire me to write better. I’ve even used things they’ve said in my books. Their delight for the world is infectious, so when I am hanging onto the handrail for dear life, and one of them shouts, “Hey look, there’s a dolphin!” I can loosen my grip for just a second and start grinning and waving with them.

Before they left for the South Pacific, I asked the older one if she was scared about the trip, and she said she was, a little. “But this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she reminded me. Her voice didn’t waver. She and her sister make me want to be brave. They make me want to be better. They are everything I want to be when I grow up.

Ahoy, there, Court! You may not be a sailor, but your book will certainly sail off the shelves come October. And readers won't even need these:




11 comments:

TJBrown said...

What a fantastic story. And what a wonderful adventure. So lucky to have parents who give them that and how awesome they are up for the challenge.
Teri

Amanda said...

i wanna go!

melislosquad said...

How inspiring - both you and them!

N.A. Nelson said...

Wow! I'm inspired by them just from reading your post!

It also makes me even more determined to raise my children to be like that!

Thanks for the post, Courtney.

Anonymous said...

The ability to recognize how much there is to learn from children is an invaluable one for any adult to possess - an an inevitable one for any talented children's book author.

Nancy said...

Ok, so now I want trade in my Jeep (and our fishing boat!)for a sailboat. What a great story, Courtney!

Barrie said...

What a great story, Courtney! And what a great adventure for those girls! I can relate to your fear on the water. Plus I have horrible, horrible motion sickness. :(

Ellen Booraem said...

Hey, Courtney, I think you're brave to set foot on a boat when you're afraid of the water! You can claim a brush with heroism... :-)

ellen

krw3b said...

What a great story! I want to be one of them.

courtneywrites said...

Thanks for all the comments. So far they are somewhere in Mexico, I think. I get sporadic email updates from the girls. I want them to write a book about their adventures!

HipWriterMama said...

I can't even imagine going on a trip on a sailboat with no "professional" crew. Very cool adventure.