Thursday, April 07, 2005

"High Water" mark of the week

When I published my middle-grade adventure novel High Water last spring, I learned a whole bunch about writing and producing a book. What took my by surprise was learning how difficult it was to promote a novel. While it was fantastic to finally have a finished novel, rather than a sad manuscript sitting alone in a drawer or invisibly stored on a hard drive, it was frustrating to find that my book didn't attract that much attention. (Welcome to the world of publishing! But that's another story....)

So it is really gratifying to occasionally get a reaction that makes all of the effort worth it. This afternoon a sixth-grader from my daughter's school came up to me and told me how much she liked my book, and she asked me to sign her well-worn copy. Every connection that I make with a reader makes me so glad I published the novel, even if the story only reaches a small audience.

Our school's sixth-grade class is going on a white-water rafting trip, echoing the setting of "High Water," which follows two seventh-grade girls who hate each other, but have to deal with each other when they get stranded in the wilderness together after getting left behind by their school group. I am hoping to get invited to come talk to the students before their trip, about writing and rafting--and how not to get lost! (I've been on a camping trip with 85 high-school freshmen, and believe me, anything is possible!)

You never know where your experiences will lead you. I really enjoyed rafting, and when I had to stop taking weekend trips to start focusing on writing my Ph. D. thesis, I channeled that pent-up wilderness energy into writing my novel as a break from my "official" academic work. Eleven years later, it's the novel that has stayed with me!

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