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 else’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.