Monday, May 11, 2015

Letters from young readers!

Letter one!

Letter two!

Today, I received letters from two young readers who were in a book club for DESTINY, REWRITTEN.  They were sent to me from Kelsey George, who is the YA service coordinator at the Goodwin Memorial Library.

This library is just a few short miles away from the real Emily Dickinson Memorial House.

I would love to go there someday!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day 2015

Our trip to Israel.  

I called my mother this morning to tell her how much she means to me.  We talked for about an hour.
We went over everything, how she raised me, how I raised my two boys, Sam and Hugh.  My mother taught me that I could do whatever I wanted to.

She has been an angel in my life.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Independent Bookstore Day! May 2, 2015

Today is independent Bookstore Day;  I will be going to Laguna Beach Books, which is in Laguna Beach.  I am very excited.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Rod McKuen

A book of poems by Rod McKuen.

I live across the street from the Dana Point Library and every so often, I take a lot of books to the Friends of the Library.  I have too many books.  It’s embarrassing. 

And this morning, I came across a book my grandmother had given me.  It was a book of poems by Rod McKuen, entitled, COME TO ME IN SILENCE.  I forget I had this book.

To Kathy, from Grama Eleanor

But I do remember when my grandmother gave it to me.  I was twenty years old.  I was still in college.  I was writing poetry then.  I remember that I won a poetry contest, and received a check for twenty dollars along with a certificate. 

So I picked a poem out of his book.  Here is it:

I like how he wrote: this book is for nobody/everybody

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

National Poetry Month 2015

My grandmother, Eleanor, and her daughter, my mother, Ann.

When I was thirteen years old, my mother sent me to spend the summer with my grandmother, Eleanor Robinson, who was a science fiction author.  I remember that I had a fabulous time with her.  She taught me all about writing that summer.  She sat me down and explained things that I really didn’t understand.  She told me about character growth, and how at the beginning of the story, your main character has to have some flawed thinking, and by the end of the story, they should see the world differently than how they did at the beginning. 

My grandmother's first book, entitled, CHRYSALIS OF DEATH.

Then, when I turned twenty-one, she sent me a book of poems by Emily Dickinson.  This was my favorite poet at that time.  My grandmother was such a wonderful influence on me, and when I wrote my first book, I named my main character after her. 

Emily wrote this poem on what looks like the back of a envelope flap.

This is the poem in DESTINY, REWRITTEN.


She passed away while I was on my honeymoon.  I remember she could not come to my wedding.  I remember that right after my wedding, my mother, Ann, flew to Long Beach to see her mother.  I remember that my grandmother waited for my mother to get there.  And then, when my mother walked into her room, she held up her hand, grabbed my mother’s hand, and that was it.  I wish I could have been there.  After I returned from my honeymoon, I went with my mother to see her grave.  I laid a piece of eucalyptus on her grave, because she liked that plant.  She also liked the color turquoise.  My grandmother gave me a diamond ring one year, because I had tried on one of hers and she thought I should have one for myself.  I really loved her.   

So, in honor of National Poetry Month, I have chosen a poem that I think my grandmother would like.  This poem is the poem that is in DESTINY, REWRITTEN.   This is the poem that, I believe, says so much about our lives.  And it shows that Emily her self, wondered about her own destiny.

I do not know exactly what Emily Dickinson was thinking when she wrote this, but I imagine it was something really wonderful, and hopeful, and fabulous.  

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Rebecca Caudill Voting Results

The results of the Rebecca Caudill Book Award was announced on Friday, March 13, on Facebook and Twitter.  The winner was Legend, by Marie Lu.  The voting, (how many votes each book got) can be seen here:

I am very happy for the winner!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Caroline Starr Rose, New Historical Fiction Book, entitled BLUE BIRDS!

The cover of Caroline's newest novel!
Caroline, I know all of your fans are so excited for your new book, entitled, BLUE BIRDS, which will be published in March of 2015. 

Can you tell us a little bit about the book?

Its 1587 and twelve-year-old Alis has made the long journey with her parents from England to help settle the New World, the land christened Virginia in honor of the Queen. And Alis couldnt be happier. While the streets of London were crowded and dirty, this new land, with its trees and birds and sky, calls to Alis. Here she feels free. But the land, the island Roanoke, is also inhabited by the Roanoke tribe and tensions between them and the English are running high, soon turning deadly.

Amid the strife, Alis meets and befriends Kimi, a Roanoke girl about her age. Though the two dont even speak the same language, these girls form a special bond as close as sisters, willing to risk everything for the other. Finally, Alis must make an impossible choice when her family resolves to leave the island and bloodshed behind.

A beautiful, tender story of friendship and the meaning of family, Caroline Starr Rose delivers another historical gem.

I know this is another historical fiction book.  How much research did you complete to write this?  How did you organize this information?  Did you make timelines or keep the information in a folder? 

I never seem to approach writing the same way twice. For Blue Birds I researched for six to nine months, keeping notes in a journal, before I started any writing. I also had a folder full of photocopies of Elizabethan clothing, timelines, jumbled notes on scraps of paper, and the 1587 Roanoke voyage manifest, as well as website articles. Here’s a blog post filled with my “behind the scenes” work on Blue Birds.

How long did it take you to write the book?

The first idea came to me in 2008. I began my research in 2010, started writing in 2011, sold the book in 2013, and finished everything in 2014.

What does your typical writing day look like?  What time do you start writing?  What time do you usually stop writing?

I’m not sure if I have a typical day! Mornings start with getting my two middle schoolers out the door. Then I head to the gym or on a run. After that, I settle down to work. I aim for two hours of writing a day. Of course, I usually work beyond that, especially when on deadline. Writing can be very tricky, so an attainable goal helps keep me moving in a positive direction.

How do you manage raising your two boys with your writing career?

When the boys were babies, I used the same gentle approach to goal setting that I still use today. Back then, though, I aimed for three writing sessions a week. Sometimes they lasted 10 minutes, sometimes as much as two hours. While I didn’t produce mass quantities of writing, it was doable and fit with being a stay-at-home mom.

I returned to teaching just after both my boys entered school. Those few years were probably the hardest as far as maintaining the writing, as I felt like my creativity was spent by the end of the day (and rightly so! My students deserved it). During those years, I mainly drafted during holidays and revised while school was in session.

It’s much easier to write regularly now that I do it full time and both guys are in school. I try to do the bulk of my work while they’re away. Of course, the writing life means I have plenty of days my head is in the clouds. I might not be working at that moment, but my mind is elsewhere. My family puts up with me during these seasons, and I try to remember to be as present as possible!

Do you ever miss your teaching position? 

Yes! I miss those long-term relationships with kids and getting to talk about the things I love with the hope kids fall in love, too. School visits feed some of this for me, as does the writing itself. I just tell myself I still get to connect with kids, but now it happens a little differently.

Caroline and me, at the summer SCBWI conference.

It was so nice to meet you at the summer SCBWI conference.  And I wish you every wonderful success with your new publication!

Thank you, lovely Kathryn!