Friday, October 29, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Time for poetry. Here's one I wrote a few years back. It still needs some work, but a poem is never finished, as they say, just abandoned.
Tortoise or Hare
If I could choose.
By a hard green shell.
A portable hiding place
For those awkward moments.
No need to run,
Just pull in the appendages
And breathe slowly
Until the danger passes.
But some pernicious muse
Had other plans
And without consulting me,
Took my secrets
And made iambic feet
For a bunch of mad rabbits
That care nothing for poetry.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
Vicky:I’m glad you asked about this because I have learned that not everyone is completely comfortable with the tone. The “old guard” especially (Kirkus BCCB, etc.) never fail to make some sort of dig about it—one saying that it sounded like it came straight out of a gossipy blog (which was, of course, the intention!). Thankfully, the research, documentation and vetting process is so thorough, they usually end up praising that instead.
I have found, however, that teachers, librarians and parents often thank me for using a voice that speaks directly to their tweens and teens. I often get comments like, “This is the first history book my kid ever wanted to read.”
DoriReads:Tell us a little about your journey developing that voice. Is it your unique voice or is it a persona narrator you, as an author, created to tell the history of these characters?
Vicky: The development of the voice came from the fact that, when I started researching these characters, I often found myself chuckling at their antics. Really, if you dig far enough, history is hysterical! I knew I couldn’t be the only one who found the funny and absurd so enjoyable. I incorporated the playfulness with which I approach history and the voice just took off from there.
DoriReads: So were you a smart aleck as a teen?
Vicky: Ha, not in the least! I was shy and accommodating (though my parents may have a different view, of course).
DoriReads: Reviewers of Alexander speak highly of your extensive research. I'm sure you've done your work on Cleopatra, as well. How long did it take you to research Cleopatra? On a subject like this, you could probably spend your life researching. How did you limit the research?
Vicky: You’re absolutely right—you could spend your whole life researching these fascinating characters and some academics do! In my case, the boundaries of writing for children is what limited me. After all, I couldn’t go on and on or I would lose my readers. So I stayed focused on the most pertinent facts. But because of the voice, I knew I would have to balance it with research that backed up my assertions.
As a defense mechanism, I find that I don’t continue reading too many books about my subjects after mine come out because I end up driving myself crazy by finding yet another fact or tidbit I could have used. Research never ends but at some point you have enough to back-up/prove your claims and that has to be enough.
My thanks to Vicky for talking with me. And thanks to my readers for stopping in. Come by again tomorrow when Vicky will talk about her upcoming YA novel set in the same time period.
Friday, October 1, 2010
It was the journey there and back that is worth remembering. There is no easy route from Columbus to Athens. You either travel the legs of a right triangle, north to Atlanta and west to Athens, or you drive along the hypotenuse over two-lane roads through a lot of small towns. The hypotenuse is shorter in distance, but the legs of the right angle are faster.
I made it to Athens in only about half an hour of extra travel time.
On the return trip, I knew I needed to be home before 7:00. I was acting as registrar for the local Chattahoochee Writers Conference that began Friday evening. Despite my gut, which was still saying to go the hypotenuse, I took the legs of the right angle back home. It was only 2:00, and I thought for sure I would miss rush hour traffic. I forgot it was Friday. I didn't even make it to Atlanta before the four-lane highway was again bumper to bumper.
All during this trip, I was wrestling with a decision concerning a contract for a book I've written. It's a small publisher in the UK. The entire process and the contract details have been fairly nontraditional--at least in my experience. Logic says to say no, to go a more traditional route, to find a US publisher and take my chances on a better deal.