I wonder: Is fan mail down in general? Are teachers encouraging students to write to authors — to send letters via snail mail — stamps & envelopes and all that jazz? I mean, clearly, it could be me. Still in a pandemic & post-pandemic lull. I imagine that it’s a combination of those two things. In so many ways, it’s just been a weird time in children’s books. The pandemic is over, but it’s still not over-over, and teachers certainly have their hands full.
The good news is that I’ve got at least four books on the way — some exciting things, too — and there will be a lot more than that before we’re through.
Not dead yet!
The stories we tell ourselves, our inner narratives, are so important (and coincidently play a key role in my current work-in-progress). The story I’ve embraced is that I’m a survivor. Published my first book in 1986 at age 25 and still publishing, still writing. More than half my life in children’s books, close to 2/3 of my entire life, actually, where I’ve been actively involved in books for young people. There are ebbs and flows, ups and downs. Times when I’ve felt embraced and times I’ve felt ignored by an indifferent world. I try to ride them like waves. Float on the surface. Keep swimming.
Throughout everything, I still fall in love with the thing I’m doing right now, this minute. The latest idea, the current story. Not always literally glad to sit down at the writing desk, but also, in a more figurative way, always glad to sit down with the work before me. To wrestle and wrangle and dread and dream and avoid and write. It’s the best part, the part that endures. Making things. Being creative. Putting it out into the world.
Anyway, I’m grateful for the letters I do get and I thought I’d share this one, since it involves a bit of (good!) news.
This came via email from Gina & Sophia . . .
I replied . . .
Gina & Sophia,
I love the enthusiasm and, I’ll admit it, the begging, too.
What writer doesn’t want readers begging for more books? I’m not above it, that’s for sure.
At this date, there are no advance copies available — I don’t believe it’s even gone to the printer yet.
However, here’s a glimpse from a page in the upcoming book, illustrated by the great Kevin Keele: