Yesterday I finished the first biographical profile in Pasta — finished at least enough to send it along to my agent for her review. And let me tell you, it’s a whole lot different than the tales of, say, anthropomorphic apes and birds and bears that I’ve written over the past six years. It’s got a character in extreme jeopardy and a plot that includes genocide and attempted sexual assault.

All of it’s true, and it’s a story of resourcefulness and survival that I think is worth sharing with young readers. But how young? The editor whose interest spurred me to explore this subject in the first place works for a house that has only recently expanded from picture books to middle grade. And to me, at least, this first chapter feels awfully YA.

Now I’m off to work on the second chapter, which is much lighter, as it has to do only with theft on a major scale and the endangerment of a couple of thousand people.