Sunday, February 1, 2009


1. Where did you find your publisher and editor? (Sara) Blue is published by the organization that publishes Highlights Magazine. They run a writer's conference very year and I met my editor there. She's an expert in research and history writing and I liked her immediately. What I liked most was how tough she was. I knew she could teach me to write well. So I signed up for a workshop she was teaching. And that led to BLUE and she wanted to publish it and I’ve been deliriously happy every second of my life since. Unless you count the times she wants me to reread my manuscript and make revisions or I can’t find my car keys or I have to pay taxes and well, you get the picture. Getting published is wonderful but the life of an author is much like everyone else’s.

2. What advice would you give for young authors? – Mrs. Fredrick (the teacher) (Sara)
Read a lot! And make friends with your eraser which is to say, be willing to revise.
3. Where did you get the ideas from BLUE and your other stories? Did you write any books that weren’t published? – Will
I find my ideas in history. Basically I love to find a hidden piece of history and bring it out into the open by writing fiction about it.
Books I haven’t published?
Yes tons of them. Okay, not tons but more than the ones that I have published. It took me awhile to figure out that I’m really a history writer.

4. Besides the Miracle of Hickory, did anything else cool happen in your life? (Will)

As for cool things that have happened in my life. The Miracle of Hickory happened in my hometown but I wasn’t born then yet.
But after I was born?
-The United States put a man on the moon. (1969
-Schools became racially integrated. (about 1967 in my school)
-The Berlin Wall came down. (1989)
-First black president - (2009)
-Today, a girl told me she read Blue at least 24 times! I think that is way cool!
In 2003 I visited remnants of the Berlin Wall which once divided the city of Berlin, Germany and separated family members from each other. There are lots of images painted on it.

I forget the exact story behind this picture but it seems to represent the fall of the wall when people from East Berlin flooded into West Berlin.

5. What happened to Pete?
See page 192 of BLUE. I’m afraid I don’t know the cause of his death. But “legend” says he died of a broken heart.

6. Where did you get the picture for the girl on the front cover? – Andrea
Ah, the girl on the cover. My daughter took that picture. The girl is a friend of the family. The cover artist shared her design with me and it looked much like the cover does now except it had a different girl. I didn’t think that girl looked like Ann Fay so she invited me to help find the perfect girl. We could not find a photo so we took one. BTW – I have an extraordinary publisher and a very generous book designer. This would probably not happen in most publishing houses.

7. Have you met any polio patients? – Samantha
Yes, and I keep meeting more of them all the time. I ask them lots of questions about what it was like to have polio, to walk with crutches, etc. They are my experts and many have become my friends.
8. Did this happen in your life? (what happened in BLUE) – Alex
No, I wasn’t alive yet. I never had polio. And no one in my family has had polio. I became interested in polio when I discovered the story of my hometown’s epidemic.

9. How were you inspired to write the storyline of BLUE? Did you change anything from the rough draft of BLUE to the final copy? – Emily
I’ll tell you about the inspiration part when I get to your school. Sure I changed lots of things. I wasn’t finished interviewing people or researching yet so I had to change things as I gathered more information. And you can believe my editor noticed lots of problems that needed fixing. So I changed it many times.

10. When will COMFORT be released? (Emily)
March 2009 – I just realized it’s only about a month away!

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