Emptying mailbag, packing suitcase

Lots to do today. I’ll try not ramble.

The Rochester Children’s Book Festival was a blast. Tons of authors (see the whole list here!), countless nice people who love books. Linda Sue Park and I did a Q&A session together which I think we should take on the road because she and I write very differently. Many, many thanks to everyone who made the day so much fun, and special thanks to babymowgli and Jenn for coming out.

This afternoon I drive east for a bunch of school visits:
Monday – Guilderland HS, Guilderland, NY
Tuesday – Draper, MS, Schenectady, NY
Wednesday – Burnt Hills HS, Burnt Hills, NY
Thursday – Schenectady HS, Schenectady, NY

Oh, I forgot to tell you about New York. Beloved Husband and I had a rather romantic couple of days there. The lovely and lively people at Penguin, my publishers, made a nice fuss over us because SPEAK has sold a million copies in paperback. They had a little party and took us out to dinner at a fancy pants restaurant. I felt like a princess. The next day we walked through Central Park (holding hands, of course) on the perfect autumn day. We went to a couple of museums and saw cool exhibits. We ate great bagels. Then we took the long train ride home and I caught a nasty cold.

Please send chicken soup thoughts my way.

A number of readers wrote in this week with questions. Before I answer, I want to repeat my email rule. I do not answer email. I post it here on the blog. Is this because I am a jerk? No, this is because I am human, and I don’t have enough time for my other responsibilities. The exceptions to this rule are few. If you are a teacher and need a direct response to one of my books being challenged, I’ll write back. If you are the victim of a sexual assault, I’ll write back. If you write to tell me of a highly personal experience, I will not post that on the blog. And I always protect identities. That’s pretty much it. If you write me an old-fashioned letter, I will write an old-fashioned letter back. Send it to me at P.O. Box 906, Mexico, NY 13114. And please be patient, because it takes a while for me to write back. (End of cranky email lecture.)

Hannah writes: … I am doing this interveiw about abook named “FEVER 1793” this title should resonate with you a bit because you wrote it!!! Would you mind it to much if I started to ask? (thanks for reading at least this much of this e-mail) #1 WHO are you? a day dreamer with her head in the clouds or more a stuck down to earth kind of gal? #2 WHAT gave you the idea about this book? Pleasedescribe it well. what was it like? #3 WHERE did you get this idea? Outside on your
porch!? (Its OK if you do not remember the answer to this question!! )

#1 – I’m a daydreamer with a work ethic. #2 & #3 Read this essay I wrote about the writing of FEVER 1793.

Samantha writes: I read the book Speak that you wrote. It was a very good book. I loved it! The message was so strong, and it toutched me in many ways…. I’m writing to you becaus it was a choice in my General Humanites class. Your book was one of the best I’d ever read. I have a question. Did you write this book based on another person’s life or experienc, or your own? Well I would really appreciate it if you wrote me back. Thanks for your time.

Kori writes: I read your book, Speak. I really enjoyed reading it. I thought the message it sent out was very powerful, and it really opened my eyes to that kind of situation…. I am writing you because this was one of the project choices I had to choose from in my Humanities class. Your book is one of my favorite books. I do have to ask you this one question. Did you write this book from your own perspective or from someone elseโ€™s? I would really appreciate it if you could write me back. Thank you for your time.

Rachel writes: I have just finished your book called SPEAK. I thought it was a great book. I am sending this e-mail as a project for my humanities class…. One of my favorties parts in this book is when Melinda finally speaks for herself at the end of the book. This part happens when Andy Evans tries to rape her and she actually says something. Even thoguh my name is Rachel, I am nothing like the Rachel in your book. I am not stuck up like her, and I don’t hang out with the exchange students just because I can’t understand what they say most of the time because of their accents. My question for you is What made you think of writing a book on this subject? Are the
people from the story related to your life? These are questions I would really like to know, so if you ever have the time, please e-mail me beack if you ever get the chance.

I’ll answer these three together. There are a few experiences in SPEAK that I pulled from my own life, but 90% is made up. I wanted to write a book that showed what high school felt like to a kid who was in emotional pain. That is definitely what I was going through back then. High school is a very, very strange world. I don’t think I have really nailed it yet. I guess that’s why I keep writing.

60 Replies to “Emptying mailbag, packing suitcase”

      1. Re: Book Fest Reviews

        speak really deserves it because of speak you are now tied at first with j.k. rowling as my favorite author yay for Melinda! she would be happy don’t you think?

  1. Re: Book Fest Reviews

    speak really deserves it because of speak you are now tied at first with j.k. rowling as my favorite author yay for Melinda! she would be happy don’t you think?

  2. Re: Book Fest Reviews

    speak really deserves it because of speak you are now tied at first with j.k. rowling as my favorite author yay for Melinda! she would be happy don’t you think?

  3. Thanks for coming to Rochester! It gave me a good excuse to get off campus.

    little quirk ๐Ÿ™‚

    PS-Hope you enjoy the paper.

  4. Thanks for coming to Rochester! It gave me a good excuse to get off campus.

    little quirk ๐Ÿ™‚

    PS-Hope you enjoy the paper.

  5. Thanks for coming to Rochester! It gave me a good excuse to get off campus.

    little quirk ๐Ÿ™‚

    PS-Hope you enjoy the paper.

  6. congrats:-)!!!

    congrats on the million copies sold of speak:-)!!!!!! that’s awesome:-)!!!! i’m sure i’ll get up there too someday:-). i hope you feel better soon:-). it’s no fun being sick at all:’-(. (i’m crying because you’re sick.) i know i left you a comment earlier about this, but i was wondering if you were in the new york city area sometime at the end of april 2006 (i think the last saturday but i’ll double check) i’ll be in new york city on a choir trip. and i was wondering if you weren’t busy maybe we could meet up at that cupcake cafe you mentioned about. i understand if you’re too busy and i’ll give you a definite day when i find out. i know the trip’s sometime near the end of april. but anyway i’d better go. ttyl and i hope you’re feeling better. -ash ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. congrats:-)!!!

    congrats on the million copies sold of speak:-)!!!!!! that’s awesome:-)!!!! i’m sure i’ll get up there too someday:-). i hope you feel better soon:-). it’s no fun being sick at all:’-(. (i’m crying because you’re sick.) i know i left you a comment earlier about this, but i was wondering if you were in the new york city area sometime at the end of april 2006 (i think the last saturday but i’ll double check) i’ll be in new york city on a choir trip. and i was wondering if you weren’t busy maybe we could meet up at that cupcake cafe you mentioned about. i understand if you’re too busy and i’ll give you a definite day when i find out. i know the trip’s sometime near the end of april. but anyway i’d better go. ttyl and i hope you’re feeling better. -ash ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. congrats:-)!!!

    congrats on the million copies sold of speak:-)!!!!!! that’s awesome:-)!!!! i’m sure i’ll get up there too someday:-). i hope you feel better soon:-). it’s no fun being sick at all:’-(. (i’m crying because you’re sick.) i know i left you a comment earlier about this, but i was wondering if you were in the new york city area sometime at the end of april 2006 (i think the last saturday but i’ll double check) i’ll be in new york city on a choir trip. and i was wondering if you weren’t busy maybe we could meet up at that cupcake cafe you mentioned about. i understand if you’re too busy and i’ll give you a definite day when i find out. i know the trip’s sometime near the end of april. but anyway i’d better go. ttyl and i hope you’re feeling better. -ash ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. congrats – and get well!

    Congrats on so many copies of Speak being sold. I know I’ve bought at least two of those one million. ๐Ÿ˜› Ha. Well, anyway, I hope you had a good time in NYC! I love the city. I used to live there – and we visited like, last weekend. It was awesome.

    I hope you feel better soon! *sends get well wishes*

  10. congrats – and get well!

    Congrats on so many copies of Speak being sold. I know I’ve bought at least two of those one million. ๐Ÿ˜› Ha. Well, anyway, I hope you had a good time in NYC! I love the city. I used to live there – and we visited like, last weekend. It was awesome.

    I hope you feel better soon! *sends get well wishes*

  11. congrats – and get well!

    Congrats on so many copies of Speak being sold. I know I’ve bought at least two of those one million. ๐Ÿ˜› Ha. Well, anyway, I hope you had a good time in NYC! I love the city. I used to live there – and we visited like, last weekend. It was awesome.

    I hope you feel better soon! *sends get well wishes*

  12. Speak

    My friend watched Speak last night and loved it!! I’m going to lend her the book Speak tomorrow. ๐Ÿ™‚ She said it was one of the best movies she’s ever seen, and made her friend watch it too, who liked it a lot. ^_^

    Hope you feel better!

  13. Speak

    My friend watched Speak last night and loved it!! I’m going to lend her the book Speak tomorrow. ๐Ÿ™‚ She said it was one of the best movies she’s ever seen, and made her friend watch it too, who liked it a lot. ^_^

    Hope you feel better!

  14. Speak

    My friend watched Speak last night and loved it!! I’m going to lend her the book Speak tomorrow. ๐Ÿ™‚ She said it was one of the best movies she’s ever seen, and made her friend watch it too, who liked it a lot. ^_^

    Hope you feel better!

  15. I read a lot. but i seriously think speak is the best portrayal of highschool that I have read. I think it’s beacuse you wrote about all the things many writers seem to be afraid of. Not just the rape part, but the other things as well, the little things. great job, congrats on selling over a million copies in paperback. I hope you had a nice dinner at the fancy shmanzy resturant.

    i just had to say this–as i read your essay about fever 1793–i could just picture someone with a little museum brosure in hand, at there dinner table listing off random facts about everything while the family stares into pools of ketchup and infants of butter on their rice…bored to tears.

  16. I read a lot. but i seriously think speak is the best portrayal of highschool that I have read. I think it’s beacuse you wrote about all the things many writers seem to be afraid of. Not just the rape part, but the other things as well, the little things. great job, congrats on selling over a million copies in paperback. I hope you had a nice dinner at the fancy shmanzy resturant.

    i just had to say this–as i read your essay about fever 1793–i could just picture someone with a little museum brosure in hand, at there dinner table listing off random facts about everything while the family stares into pools of ketchup and infants of butter on their rice…bored to tears.

  17. I read a lot. but i seriously think speak is the best portrayal of highschool that I have read. I think it’s beacuse you wrote about all the things many writers seem to be afraid of. Not just the rape part, but the other things as well, the little things. great job, congrats on selling over a million copies in paperback. I hope you had a nice dinner at the fancy shmanzy resturant.

    i just had to say this–as i read your essay about fever 1793–i could just picture someone with a little museum brosure in hand, at there dinner table listing off random facts about everything while the family stares into pools of ketchup and infants of butter on their rice…bored to tears.

  18. you made your point very clearly, but….

    what if a very nice person who is the director of the Fall Philly 2007 wants you to be our keynote speaker? How would that said person (who made Laurie Kraus Keirnan VERY happy by asking if she could invite you) get this message to you in a form you will answer?
    COME HOME TO PHILLY- WE LOVE YOU!

  19. you made your point very clearly, but….

    what if a very nice person who is the director of the Fall Philly 2007 wants you to be our keynote speaker? How would that said person (who made Laurie Kraus Keirnan VERY happy by asking if she could invite you) get this message to you in a form you will answer?
    COME HOME TO PHILLY- WE LOVE YOU!

  20. you made your point very clearly, but….

    what if a very nice person who is the director of the Fall Philly 2007 wants you to be our keynote speaker? How would that said person (who made Laurie Kraus Keirnan VERY happy by asking if she could invite you) get this message to you in a form you will answer?
    COME HOME TO PHILLY- WE LOVE YOU!

  21. hello, mrs. anderson! i dont want to sound rude/greedy, but i really need help. my friends cant really help me on this so i wanted some imput from an author. i need some advice that im not sure if you could really help me with, so im only looking for some advice. there’s this thing called NaNo (http://www.nanowrimo.org/) and there’s basically a thing going on right now. its about writing 50000 words until the end of november. my question is, how do u get inspired to write? when i open up my WORD document, i cant do anything. i dont know what to write. and when i actually get to write something, it turns out retarded. so i was wondering like how can i write when i want to and get ideas at the same time.

    thanks, and i hope u feel better soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. hello, mrs. anderson! i dont want to sound rude/greedy, but i really need help. my friends cant really help me on this so i wanted some imput from an author. i need some advice that im not sure if you could really help me with, so im only looking for some advice. there’s this thing called NaNo (http://www.nanowrimo.org/) and there’s basically a thing going on right now. its about writing 50000 words until the end of november. my question is, how do u get inspired to write? when i open up my WORD document, i cant do anything. i dont know what to write. and when i actually get to write something, it turns out retarded. so i was wondering like how can i write when i want to and get ideas at the same time.

    thanks, and i hope u feel better soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Don’t write because someone declared it to be “Write a Novel Month.”

      Write when you have something you want to say.

      Don’t worry if you think what you have written is retarded. It’s a first draft. It’s supposed to be bad, or less-than-perfect. If you wrote the perfect first draft, then you would not be human, and you would not get to enjoy things like ice cream and laughing with your friends so hard you almost wet your pants. My first drafts are horrifically bad. You get used to it. Just don’t quit.

      When you get an idea, write it down in a journal or on your jeans. When you have time, try to expand your idea into one page. If you still like it, expand it another page. Keep going until you don’t like it any more. Then revise it, or start with a new idea. Good luck!

      1. i haven’t joined yet, thank god! XD i wasnt even sure in joining, i just felt like it was a sign that i should start writing again. i see people on my friend’s page trying it out and all they do is procastinate by writing 8 entries a day. XD

        i love you. XD best advice i heard ever. thank you so much! *virtual hug*

  23. hello, mrs. anderson! i dont want to sound rude/greedy, but i really need help. my friends cant really help me on this so i wanted some imput from an author. i need some advice that im not sure if you could really help me with, so im only looking for some advice. there’s this thing called NaNo (http://www.nanowrimo.org/) and there’s basically a thing going on right now. its about writing 50000 words until the end of november. my question is, how do u get inspired to write? when i open up my WORD document, i cant do anything. i dont know what to write. and when i actually get to write something, it turns out retarded. so i was wondering like how can i write when i want to and get ideas at the same time.

    thanks, and i hope u feel better soon! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Don’t write because someone declared it to be “Write a Novel Month.”

    Write when you have something you want to say.

    Don’t worry if you think what you have written is retarded. It’s a first draft. It’s supposed to be bad, or less-than-perfect. If you wrote the perfect first draft, then you would not be human, and you would not get to enjoy things like ice cream and laughing with your friends so hard you almost wet your pants. My first drafts are horrifically bad. You get used to it. Just don’t quit.

    When you get an idea, write it down in a journal or on your jeans. When you have time, try to expand your idea into one page. If you still like it, expand it another page. Keep going until you don’t like it any more. Then revise it, or start with a new idea. Good luck!

  25. Don’t write because someone declared it to be “Write a Novel Month.”

    Write when you have something you want to say.

    Don’t worry if you think what you have written is retarded. It’s a first draft. It’s supposed to be bad, or less-than-perfect. If you wrote the perfect first draft, then you would not be human, and you would not get to enjoy things like ice cream and laughing with your friends so hard you almost wet your pants. My first drafts are horrifically bad. You get used to it. Just don’t quit.

    When you get an idea, write it down in a journal or on your jeans. When you have time, try to expand your idea into one page. If you still like it, expand it another page. Keep going until you don’t like it any more. Then revise it, or start with a new idea. Good luck!

  26. i haven’t joined yet, thank god! XD i wasnt even sure in joining, i just felt like it was a sign that i should start writing again. i see people on my friend’s page trying it out and all they do is procastinate by writing 8 entries a day. XD

    i love you. XD best advice i heard ever. thank you so much! *virtual hug*

  27. i haven’t joined yet, thank god! XD i wasnt even sure in joining, i just felt like it was a sign that i should start writing again. i see people on my friend’s page trying it out and all they do is procastinate by writing 8 entries a day. XD

    i love you. XD best advice i heard ever. thank you so much! *virtual hug*

  28. Book fest

    Thanks for coming to the book fest! It was great to see some authors right here in Rochester, and it was very inspiring. I’m definitely going to use the advice that everyone talked about. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll be giving a lecture of my own at some book fesitval! Hope you had a good time, too.

    –Kate(the girl with the glasses.)

  29. Book fest

    Thanks for coming to the book fest! It was great to see some authors right here in Rochester, and it was very inspiring. I’m definitely going to use the advice that everyone talked about. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll be giving a lecture of my own at some book fesitval! Hope you had a good time, too.

    –Kate(the girl with the glasses.)

  30. Book fest

    Thanks for coming to the book fest! It was great to see some authors right here in Rochester, and it was very inspiring. I’m definitely going to use the advice that everyone talked about. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll be giving a lecture of my own at some book fesitval! Hope you had a good time, too.

    –Kate(the girl with the glasses.)

  31. Rochester Book Fest ROCKED!

    Thanks again for taking the time (despite your cold!) to hang out with us lunatics in Good ol’ Rochester…My students were THRILLED to meet you. I’ll email you a FABULOUS pix of you and Linda Sue that I took so you’ll see why the two of you really should take your act on the road!

    See you at the NCTE in Pittsburgh,
    The Other Laurie

  32. Rochester Book Fest ROCKED!

    Thanks again for taking the time (despite your cold!) to hang out with us lunatics in Good ol’ Rochester…My students were THRILLED to meet you. I’ll email you a FABULOUS pix of you and Linda Sue that I took so you’ll see why the two of you really should take your act on the road!

    See you at the NCTE in Pittsburgh,
    The Other Laurie

  33. Rochester Book Fest ROCKED!

    Thanks again for taking the time (despite your cold!) to hang out with us lunatics in Good ol’ Rochester…My students were THRILLED to meet you. I’ll email you a FABULOUS pix of you and Linda Sue that I took so you’ll see why the two of you really should take your act on the road!

    See you at the NCTE in Pittsburgh,
    The Other Laurie

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