Sunday, November 30, 2008

We're thankful for...

This week, as we recover from Thanksgiving and head into the final month of our debut year, we find that we have a lot of people to thank.

So many people are involved in the making and the selling and the reading of books, and a LOT of those people don't ever get recognized for all they do. But if it weren't for booksellers and festival organizers, bloggers and teachers, librarians and publicists--it would be a LOT harder for authors to find readers, and kids to find books.

This week, because our mamas raised us right, we want to send out thank you notes to some of those special people...

When we asked M.P Barker (author of the genius historical novel, A Difficult Boy) who she wanted to thank this week, she had this to say:

Hmmmm….where to begin?? So many friends who’ve helped plug my book, but I’d say the biggest thank you goes to Lynne Blake, CRM at the Barnes & Noble in Worcester, Mass. She’s the lady who got the ball rolling on what Marissa calls the Class of 2k8 World Domination tour, when Nina, Courtney, Ellen, Marissa and I zipped through three Barnes & Nobles, the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, MA, and had a great writers’ lunch with fellow authors D. Dina Friedman, Jeannine Atkinson, M.W. Penn, Nancy Castaldo, Melissa Stewart, and Cicily Corbett, plus friends and fans.

Lynne had asked me to do a signing back in May, was a great host, and invited me back with fellow 2k8ers in October, then helped me arrange back-to-back events with B&Ns in Holyoke, MA and Enfield, CT. Lynne was fun, friendly, and fantastic! Thanks, Lynne!

So there you have it. Lynne, you go far above and beyond, and we want the world to know. Please accept HUGE thanks from the Class of 2k8. We owe you big!

Surprise! We're posting on a Sunday!

Surprise! We're back! Just when you thought it was safe to turn off your computer, put up your feet and start channel surfing. Uh, no. We have one more post for you this week. We're that generous.

Quite frankly, Zu Vincent, debut young adult author of THE LUCKY PLACE, submitted such an interesting post about her childhood library that we just couldn't resist sharing.

So, heeeeere it is...

There was a mysterious little library in the beach town where my grandmother lived. A lone, tiny building from the 1800s, rickety and spent, it stood on sand like the house made of sticks in The Three Little Pigs.

The library’s presence seemed impossible hovering beyond the general store and gas pumps, its back against the bay. Sad fronted, dire even, the big bad wolf in the form of sea winds had already taken its huffs and puffs. The place was about to splinter down.

It took some courage to mount the steps.

Inside was dim. Floor to ceiling shelves. Beyond the puny walls the waves on the bay lip-lipped. The little library had become a cave, a den, a lair, where smallness disappeared. I’d opened a book.

Here's a pic of the library in Inverness, CA Zu was writing about. However, that's not Zu at the door.

And don't you just love this old English proverb?

A good book is the best of friends.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Shameless Saturday

(left to right) Jennifer Bradbury (SHIFT), Jody Feldman (THE GOLLYWHOPPER GAMES), P.J. Hoover (THE EMERALD TABLET), Nancy Viau (SAMANTHA HANSEN HAS ROCKS IN HER HEAD), Brooke Taylor (UNDONE), Stacy Nyikos (DRAGON WISHES)

These awesome 2k8 classmates rocked at the National Council of Teachers of English conference with their panel: New Voices for a New Generation. They shared the scoop on how to grab reader interest in a technological world. San Antonio, Texas may never be the same again!

More accolades this week for Ellen Booraem's middle-grade THE UNNAMEABLES!

School Library Journal says THE UNNAMEABLES has "a style and charm all its own," and the American Library Association's Booklist says "Patient readers who like a little quirk in their fantasy will enjoy this stick-it-to-the-status-quo romp."

Go, Ellen! can catch up with Ellen on a couple of blogs! Here she is on the ever-popular Cynsations, talking about her writing life. And then there's a really fun interview on Laura Bowers' Shop Talk

And...Happy Birthday, Jonathan Swift! (November 30, 1667)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Fave Librarians!

Some people have a favorite     Others have a favorite pair of slippers.

Here, at the Class of 2k8, we have our...

favorite librarians!

Okay, guys, it's your chance to share.

M.P. Barker is waving her hand madly. Yes, we see you. Yes, you can go first M.P.

Thanks! I grew up in Chicopee, Massachusetts, and I remember going to the Aldenville Branch Library once a week (at least!)—one person could check out only four books at a time, so we went back often. There was always a summer reading contest with a free movie at the Rivoli Theater for readers who reached their quota, and I remember what a sense of accomplishment it was to see my marker go around the map or chart or whatever record-keeping scheme they had that year (and how disappointed I was the year they decided to stop doing the movie and just gave out prizes instead).

It was a teeny tiny storefront library, and the librarians were just great. The kids’ section was at the front, and the adults’ section was at the back, and always seemed sort of like a forbidden city. OOOHHH, to some day be grown-up enough to check books out from that section!!

But of all the librarians I’ve known, I didn’t meet my absolute favorite one until I was all grown up. That’s my boss, Maggie Humberston, who’s the head of the Genealogy and Local History Library and Archives at the Connecticut Valley Historical Museum in springfield, MA. And I’m not saying that just because she brings me chocolate, either. She’s unfailingly patient cheerful, goes wa-a-a-ay beyond the extra mile to help our researchers, and has a magic gift for dealing with the…um…eccentrics. You know how most people would like to kill their bosses? Well, Maggie is the kind of boss that I would kill FOR. Some day I hope I can be as good a person as she is…but it’s not likely!

Librarian Maggie Humberston & M.P. Barker, debut author of the historical young-adult A DIFFICULT BOY

And, at the back of the class,Elizabeth C. Bunce, debut author of the young-adult fantasy A CURSE DARK AS GOLD, is holding up a photo of the library where her favorite librarian used to work.

Okay, Elizabeth. We've thrown up the photo. Now tell us about your favorite librarian.

When I was growing up, our local children's librarian was my best friend's mom. She used to let me read the new books before they went on the shelf! I still remember the horror my brother and I felt when we got toothpaste on a brand-new copy of Tamora Pierce's ALANNA: THE FIRST ADVENTURE (that book is still in the library, toothpaste stain and all!). I was lucky enough to have my launch for A CURSE DARK AS GOLD back at my hometown library, and it was so neat to have Mrs. Elbert there to celebrate with us. She's retired now, of course, but I'll always think of her as my personal librarian.

And we leave you with this delightful quotation sent to us by Brenda Eley, Librarian, Beckman High School, Irvine, California:

"Books may well be the only true magic."~~Alice Hoffman

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Trivia

Below are some fascinating Thanksgiving facts. Memorize them before heading off to your Thanksgiving dinner or before opening your front door to your guests. This trivia is guaranteed to make you look smart, fun and interesting!

1. What do you call a female turkey?
2. What sound does she make?
3. How fast can a turkey run?
4. Which state produces the most turkeys?
5. How many feathers does a mature turkey have?
6. What drink did the puritans bring with them on the Mayflower?
7. What do you call a baby turkey?
8. Which vegetable did the Pilgrims decide not to eat for Thanksgiving because they thought it was poisonous?
9. Why is difficult to sneak up on a turkey?
10. What do you call a turkey under 16 weeks of age? How about if it's five to seven months old?

1. A hen
2. She clucks.
3. 20 mph
4. Minnesota
5. 3,500
6. beer
7. a poult
8. potatoes
9. Turkeys have a wide field of vision (270 degrees) and a great sense of hearing. Not germane to this answer, but interesting nonetheless, turkeys see in color.
10. A fryer, a roaster

What was that you said? You have a question for us. Go ahead. Shoot.

What's the number of calories in the average Thanksgiving dinner?

Are you crazy? You do not even want to know the answer to that question. You definitely don't want to take that kind of information to a Thanksgiving feast. You'll be shunned. You'll be miserable and lonely. You'll only get passed the pickle tray.

Now, off you go. It's time to celebrate. See you Friday.


(And if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving, HAVE A GREAT DAY!)


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Librarians are so not scary!

"You see, I don't believe libraries should be drab places where people sit in silence, and that's been the main reason for our policy of employing wild animals as librarians." ~~Monty Python

We thank Colette Eason, Librarian, Marsalis Elementary School, Dallas, Texas for the above quotation. It's beyond excellent!

Classmate Ellen Booraem, debut middle grade author of THE UNNAMEABLES, has a story about librarians who really know how to woo skittish library patrons.

My partner, Rob, was a childhood victim of one of the Old School of librarians, the ones with real-life “shushing action.” He and his peers called the guy Snagglepuss. Giggling in the stacks was strictly forbidden, and books were sent home with a long list of handling instructions. Heaven help you if brought one back late.

We moved to Brooklin, Maine, which has the world's warmest and loveliest library, with matching librarians. Rob, an avid reader, refused to pass the library’s doors. The then-librarian, Gretchen Volenik, met him frequently at the post office and general store, and did her best to persuade him that he could giggle in the stacks all he wanted. But he persisted in hunting for reading material at yard sales rather than borrowing it from the Evil Place. He wouldn’t even read library books I brought home for him, fearing that he would mistreat them in some way.

Then he became addicted to books on tape, which he played all day long as he painted (he’s an artist). The yard sales soon ran out of fodder. Gretchen saw her chance, and started sending me home with audiobooks she knew would interest him. Sometimes, she would send him donated tapes that hadn’t even been catalogued yet, with no scary due date at all.

Today, Rob’s in the library at least once a week, checking out audiobooks and faithfully returning them on time. A month or so ago, the current librarian, Stephanie Atwater, entrusted him with a box full of uncatalogued tapes and CDs, carrying on the tradition. Take that, Snagglepuss.

The lovely Stephanie Atwater, Librarian, Friend Memorial Public Library in Brooklin, Maine.

And now for some great quotations sent to us from librarians across the country.

From DaShannon Lovin, Library Media Specialist, Blanchester High School, Blanchester, Ohio:

"I really didn't realize the librarians were, you know, such a dangerous group. They are subversive. You think they're just there at the desk, all quiet and everything. They're like plotting the revolution, man. I wouldn't mess with them. "~~Michael Moore

And from Angela Sanders, Librarian, Augusta Elementary School, Augusta, Arkansas:

"My test of a good novel is dreading to begin the last chapter." ~~Thomas Helm

"Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book." ~ ~Author Unknown

"You know you've read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend." ~~Paul Sweeney

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Librarians touch our hearts

Classmate Lisa Schroeder, author of the Young Adult I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME, shares this about her childhood library:

It's hard being the young child of divorced parents. My life was pretty chaotic for awhile. And that's probably why I loved going to the Salem Public Library in Salem, Oregon with my mom during the summer vacations of my elementary school years. As soon as I walked into the children's area, I instantly felt welcomed and at home. Everything was in its place, and just as it should be. What a comfort this was to me at the time, and I can't even describe how much I loved our bi-weekly trips to the library. When I walked in, I knew right where I could find my good friends Betsy and Star, Encyclopedia Brown, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, and more.

I remember one summer, when they had a reading program going on, they had a detailed map on a big board sitting horizontally, and each child had a little marker he/she moved around the map. I can vividly remember sitting and admiring that map every time we visited, and it made me so happy to move my marker around as I read books that summer.

I'm so thankful to my mom for taking me to the library, and to the librarians at the Salem Public Library who did such an awesome job making the children's area a fun, welcoming, and friendly place.

And here's a little history from the Salem Public Library's website:

Salem Public Library was founded in 1904 by a group of determined volunteers from the Salem Women’s Club. The first library was housed in a corner of the City Council Chambers for the City of Salem . The library was operated by the Salem Women’s Club until it became a department of the City of Salem in 1912.

Erin Fitzpatrick-Bjorn, a librarian in Gresham, Oregan shares this about her middle school library:

A few years ago I was working on a poetry unit with fifth graders. They came into the library and we looked at great poets and poetry, and they did some of their own writing. Here's a favorite poem I have that a student wrote that year modeled after "i live in music" by Ntozake Shange.

I live in the library
By Kaylie

i live in the library
is this where you live
i live here in the library
i live on fairy tale street
my friend lives on mystery avenue
do you live here in the library
pages fall round me like snowflakes
on other folks
books touch my face
warm as fire and
cool like the winding air
thinking they waz fairy tales
i got fifteen chapter books where other
people got hips
and a thick book for both sides of my heart
i walk around in pages like somebody else be walkin’ on sand
i live in the library
i live in it
sleep in it
i could even hear it
i wear books on my fingers books
fall so fulla words ya cd make a river
where yr arm is and hold yrself
hold yrself in a book.

Librarians touch our hearts.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Merci beaucoup to librarians everywhere!

We're calling on one of our very own 2k8 classmates, Kristin O'Donnell Tubb, debut author of the middle grade historical AUTUMN WINIFRED OLIVER DOES THINGS DIFFERENT, to spill about her cool librarian story. Think wrinkles and clocks, dear blogger friends. Okay, taaaake it away, Kristin.

When I was in sixth grade at City Park Elementary in Athens, TN, our librarian, Sheila Rollins, held a school-wide reading competition. The prize? The winner got to interview Madeleine L’Engle by telephone! As soon as I heard that, I started flipping those pages, and sure enough, I won! I remember sitting in a tiny conference room that only the teachers were allowed to go into (hee-hee!), and a box the size of a Kleenex container sat in the middle of the table. It was a speaker phone, the first I’d ever seen, and I just knew that this was going to be a memorable day. But honestly, I forget most of what happened. The one thing I do remember, however, helped define my life. Toward the end of the interview, I told Ms. L’Engle that I wanted to be a writer. “Good for you!” she answered. “Keep reading and you can do it.” So thank you to Madeleine L’Engle (forever!) for the great advice, and thank you to Shelia Rollins, SuperLibrarian, who always knew what reading could achieve.

And here's another example of how librarians can affect a life. Thanks for sharing, Shelly Kraal, Librarian, Universal Academy, Flower Mound/Coppell.

I am the librarian at a K-12 charter school. Recently, there was a scheduling snafu and I had a class of 6th graders added to my schedule every day. This has created a magical moment for my kinders and 6th graders. On Mondays and Fridays they are book buddies. Only this past month I discovered just how cathartic that time is for one of my 6th graders. He lost his little brother (who would have been a kindergartener) over the summer. James' mother approached me and told me that the book buddy time is actually helping James to get over the loss of the little brother to whom he read on a daily basis. It just melted my heart to discover how my makeshift solution to having two classes at one time in the library met the needs of one young man who was really hurting inside.

Merci beaucoup to librarians everywhere!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Shameless Saturday

Oh, but we have been busy this past week!

(left to right) Zu Vincent (THE HAPPY PLACE), Barrie Summy (I SO DON'T DO MYSTERIES), Stacy Nyikos (DRAGON WISHES), PJ Hoover (THE EMERALD TABLET) and Courtney Scheinmel (MY SO-CALLED FAMILY) spoke about "Turning Old Writing Tricks into New Reading Treats" at the California Library Association's annual meeting last Monday. They were amazing and awesome! If we do say so ourselves. (Courtney is missing from the picture.)

There was a time when kids went outside to play, made up imaginary games evoking historical characters and aliens from the future, families went on road trips in search of gold, radiation was still a new treatment for cancer, and cancer was still mysterious. In THE LUCKY PLACE by Zu Vincent, families are becoming visibly dysfunctional through the eyes of Cassie, spanning ten years from age three to thirteen...There are complex relationships rich with emotion, told from a soft, gentle, very human perspective. This book will capture the attention of 5th grades and up.

Read the entire review by Lyda At Tales from the Treehouse.

Ellen Booraem loves Kirkus Reviews, which included THE UNNAMEABLES in its Best Children's Books of 2008 special section. The section recommends 50 kids' books for the year. THE UNNAMEABLES also is on the Indie Bound Kids' Next list for Winter 2008/2009. This is 59 books recommended by independent booksellers.

Wow! Go, Ellen!

From Portrait Magazine: SWIMMING WITH SHARKS is a captivating tale that brilliantly portrays the cruel world of teenage girls. Despite the things she does, Peyton is still a character the reader can relate to and empathize with and the reader is taken on a convincing journey with our heroine and narrator as she finds herself in various challenging situations, leading up to a very dramatic and satisfying conclusion.

There are lessons to be learnt about bullying and prices we all pay for it in this strong second novel from author Debbie Reed Fischer. Definitely worth checking out.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

With shushing action!

Barbara Gopas Gubbins send us the perfect quote for these troubling economic times.

"Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money
will get you through times of no libraries."

How true is that! We can’t even imagine a time with no libraries. The horror. But it might make a great topic for a great dystopian ya novel.

We're so thankful to live in a place where the following anecdote is possible. Where a librarian in a school with little funds still manages to put books on the shelves! Thanks Sandi Jones in Arizona for sharing!

"I’m a firm believer in the power of a good book collection. When I started working in my current high school library in a poor rural district two years ago, the fiction section had an average copyright date of 1980. Needless to say, teens couldn’t relate to the books on the shelves, and there were hardly any titles of interest to our diverse student population. One student actually asked me how I could stand working in such a lonely boring place! Seeing the need for change, I became determined to replace all those dusty, never-circulated titles with hot bestsellers. Soon after I started ordering books, a shy senior walked through the door one day and began checking out books. A few weeks later, that same senior—by then a regular patron—admitted in three years of high school she’d never been inside our library.
Today, my favorite part of my job is when a new box of books comes in the door and the students attack the carton like vultures. Kids hang out in the library at lunchtime because they want to and enjoy browsing the shelves. I’ve been told that the "boring" place is the heart of the school now."


Librarians have their own action figure.

This librarian superhero is based on real life librarian Nancy Pearl and caused a bit of controversy amongst librarians keen to change their image. But anyone who loves librarians knows they are so much more than shushers!

I think Paula Poundstone said it best. "It's funny that we think of libraries as quiet demure places where we are shushed by dusty, bun-balancing, bespectacled women. The truth is libraries are raucous clubhouses for free speech, controversy and community. Librarians have stood up to the Patriot Act, sat down with noisy toddlers and reached out to illiterate adults. Libraries can never be shushed."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Brake For Librarians!

This week two librarians remind us what a difference books can make.
Pat Vaninwagen in Connecticut says:

"I have been a school library media specialist for going on 4 years but I
will never forget my first year and the boy who showed me that I can make a
difference. He was a second grader and arrived in the library in tears
because his teacher wanted him to take out a book to read during quiet
reading time. "Why are you crying?" I asked. He replied, "I just don't
know what I like to read." So we spent a few minutes talking about what
kind of books he liked and I took him to my favorite author, Dick
King-Smith, handed him Billy the Bird and encouraged him to read it.
Imagine my delight when he arrived in the library the next week, waving the
book and calling out "Have you got any more like this?" He had discovered
the joy of reading and I was reminded that a good librarian can help anyone
find a book that suits his or her style."

And Michelle Yu in Wisconsin tells us her favorite quote by Maya Angelou

“When I look back, I am so impressed again
with the life-giving power of literature.
If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of
myself in the world, I would do that again by reading,
just as I did when I was young.”

Thank goodness for school libraries and media centers. What would we do without them?


Of the over 130,000 libraries in our country, nearly 99,000 of them are in schools, both public and private.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans have library cards!! Yay! But some of the most frequent users of libraries are parents with young children. Double yay!!

There is a national library symbol/highway sign.

Now all we need is a bumper sticker.

Thanks to for all the great statistics!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Perks of Being a Librarian

We all know that being a librarian has its perks, but here’s one not many get to experience.
From Cheryl Beatty in Fairfield, CT:
“I usually learn of the Newbery Award winners via a press release. Not so in 2003. That was the year that I got a personal announcement from a winner whom I’d never met. Patricia Reilly Giff called my school library saying that she’d just won the Newbery Honor for Pictures of Hollis Woods. She wanted to share the good news with her grandson who was a sixth grade student. A former teacher herself, Ms. Giff was afraid the school office staff would be unwilling to pull the child out of class, but she knew a librarian would. She was right!”

Wow! Thank goodness she didn’t hang up, thinking it was a prank call!
But hearing from students can be just as exciting as hearing from famous people. Check out this great story from R. Jean Gustafson in Washington. (No pun intended!)

"With only two grades I do not worry about remembering names as much as making connections with my kids. I do not remember the initial meeting with this student, (knowing me, I probably saw her choice and said you don’t want that, try this!) I do remember by the time she left my campus she was a happy teen with a group of friends and not one bit afraid to talk. [This is a letter she sent me.]

'Mrs. Gustafson, when I was in Jr. High we both know that I read more books in a day then talked to people. Books were my escape and you were the mysterious stranger come to direct me in the right direction (That’s not redundant at all!) You opened the door of Fantasy, from Tamora Pierce to Jack Whyte; you have solidified my love for that genre.
Words are not enough to express my gratitude but they are all I have to give, those and this picture. Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be recommending a book to a shy timid student, written by me!'

We never know what students we will reach; many won’t say thanks as she did. Her picture and message sit proudly on my treasure shelf!"

Librarians are changing lives on a daily basis!
But did you know?????
!!!!It's time for LIBRARY FUN FACTS!!!!

Say the word library and most of us picture a cozy building filled with books. Sure there are computers as well, and magazines. Some libraries even have a fireplace. The building might be sprawling or cozy, but really we’re just talking variations on a theme. All over the world, however, some libraries have gotten very creative. Here, we’ll show you what we mean.

Here is a library train in Thailand.

This donkey pulled library wagon brings books to readers all over Kenya.

This library boat travels the world.

This space age library looks like it's from the future, but it's really from California.

What's the most unusual library you've ever visited?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Hurrah for Librarians!

You all know how much the class of 2k8 loves librarians. We love them so much we held a contest dedicated to them! Thanks so much to all who entered touching, funny and thought-provoking quotes and anecdotes, we’re rooting for each and every one of you! But we don’t want to be the only ones whose hearts are touched, whose funny bones are tickled and whose brains are proded, so this week we are going to share some of the great responses!

C. Whisennand in Texas sent in this story:
“People, librarians especially, are always going around complaining that they are taken for granted and that they rarely feel that patrons appreciate them. I was looking up the library record of a student who was checking out, when to my surprise he stopped, turned to his mother and said , ‘This is Mrs. Whisennand, she knows all the books in this library. She can find you any book that you want about anything. I know her from before when she was at my Elementary School.’ It warmed my heart. This student had changed on the outside. He was no longer the cute kindergarten student. He had multiple piercings in his ears and his hat was on backwards. I was sad that I had not recognized him, but in my defense I taught 15 years as an Elementary School librarian and more than 14,000 students came in and out of the library doors during that time. I guess that we do make a difference.”

You certainly do make a difference!
L. Di Sunno in New York sent us this quote:
“An intelligent person is not someone who knows everything, but someone who knows how to find answers to questions about everything."

So, I bet you’d like to know what famous people know how to find answers to questions about everything. Welcome to a feature we’re calling...

Did you know???
The following people were all librarians at one point in their lives: Mao Tse-Tung, J. Edgar Hoover,
Laura Bush, Madeline L’Engle
Phillip Pullman, and Lewis Carroll..
But wait! There's more!
Benjamin Franklin, Karl Marx, Immanuel Kant, Cassanova, Pope Pius XI, Beverly Cleary, Golda Meir and David Hume were all librarians too!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Shameless Saturday

Here's what Booklist says about Kristin O'Donnell Tubb's middle grade historical, WINIFRED OLIVER DOES THINGS DIFFERENT: "Tubb’s inventive heroine comes across as a female version of familiar characters, such as Gary Paulsen's Harris or Robert Newton Peck's Soup. This homespun tale,f ull of folksy humor and based on historical fact, will appeal to young fans of Deborah Wiles' and Ruth White's books."

Book Chic loves Debbie Reed Fischer's Young Adult, BRALESS IN WONDERLAND. Read the interview here.

SWIMMING WITH THE SHARKS also by Debbie Reed Fischer was given the Gold Star Award for Excellence by Here is the review.

Guess what independent booksellers for children across the nation are recommending?

Check out the catalog.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Day 5: Thanks, Stacy A. Nyikos!

2k8: Writing is hard. Publishing is harder. On this last day of Stacy A. Nyikos' launch week, let's find out what she struggled with.

Stacy: The hardest part about writing and publishing DRAGON WISHES was the emotion that went into it. I revealed on Tuesday that the story emerged after a near fatal sledding accident my daughters were in. They healed, but I didn’t. I went through all of the stages of grief – which, on a good day, I thought was just plain wrong. They were still alive. I didn’t want to think about what would have happened if they had died. But think about it I did. It haunted me.

Writing out the emotions was the only way I could work through them. That proved rather difficult since I’d sworn off writing, and I’m not much for journaling. At some point, nearing the edge of my sanity, I forced myself to sit back down and take the overwhelming emotion of loss and turn it on its head. What would it be like for a child to go through this? I’m an adult. I’m supposed to be trained by life itself to deal with loss. But a child? What would a child do?

That idea loosened my silent pen. I would turn my loss and fear around. I’d write a story, one that could be a beacon to kids going through the overwhelming craziness of loss that I’d gone through.

2k8: So, then did the story come quickly or slowly?

Stacy: The ideas for the story came pretty quickly, and the writing part went relatively smoothly. It was the revising that was a battle. My critique group pushed me to do better, like all critique groups do. I am indebted to them. Alone, I don’t think I could have done it because they forced me to take on the most difficult scenes – when Alex has to let somebody love her again or drown in her own feelings of loss – and write them until they ached with my main character’s struggles. It made the story so much stronger, but I was a real bear to live with when I was revising certain scenes. I could have thought of a million places I would have rather have been – childbirth, a lecture on international political economics, watching paint dry – than in those emotions, trying to shape them into something positive.

At times, I wondered if I hadn’t actually jumped off the deep end. Who in their right mind tries to shape the emotions of loss? Aren’t we just supposed to figure out how to survive them?

2k8: Now DRAGON WISHES is a real book sitting on the shelf. The writing and revising are behind you. How do you feel?

Stacy: In the end, the story became one I’m really proud of. My characters emotions are real. They are at times raw. The rawness gives them an unmistakable authenticity that I very much hope helps kids dealing with loss find their own path through the darkness.

2k8: Stacy, it's been a great launch week. We've all enjoyed getting to know you better. Thank you so much for sharing. We wish you the very very best in your writing career. We know it's going to soar.

To read an excerpt of DRAGON WISHES, click here.