Two terrific things came my way this week. One of them, I’d been looking forward to for a while. The other was the sweetest of surprises.
First came the new issue of Hunger Mountain, the journal of the Vermont College of Fine Arts. The young adult and children’s literature section alone is packed with essays, excerpts, and poetry worth savoring, and I’m honored to be a contributor.
Here’s a peek at my essay, “Voice: I’ve Gotta (not just) Be Me”:
For Can I See Your I.D.? (Dial, 2011), a young adult collection profiling ten people who pretended to be someone they weren’t, the voice I use is as much a presence in each story as the person I’m writing about. That wasn’t an accident, but it also wasn’t something I had in mind at the outset of the project or deliberately worked to come up with.
As I remember it, I had stacks of research on two of my subjects, ideas for several other candidates, and not a single word written down. Then one night it occurred to me that maybe I could write these profiles in second person, the better to put the reader behind the mask of each masquerader. I tried it and liked the results, and although the editor who had first shown interest in the project was appalled, from then on, I couldn’t imagine not writing this book that way.
So, what’s my New York Times news? Shark Vs. Train has made the Times’ list of best-selling picture books! Thanks so much to all of you who have helped put it there, and especially to the independent booksellers who have been so wonderfully supportive of the book.