In the writing room right now ...

In the writing room right now ... I have taken down the brown "butcher" paper that held ideas, photos, drawings, and my hand-drawn maps and plot outlines for the past five or six books. I've placed all those items into three-ring binders, and cleared the deck for paintings and photographs that involve courage, as I move forward in GHOSTKEEPER, the new novel set in Lyndonville, Vermont. My 1850 Vermont adventure THE LONG SHADOW is under contract with Five Star/Cengage -- I will give you a publication date as soon as I know! Scribbling lots of poems, too. And there's a possible route to publication of the "Vermont Nancy Drew" novel I built on Wattpad (see right-hand column). Yes, I guess I do like multi-tasking! How about you?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Molly Ballou's Story: THE DARKNESS UNDER THE WATER

It's early May, and in Vermont the daffodils nod bright yellow heads and the robins call out in early morning and late afternoon -- in between, they are quiet, protecting their nests and keeping the eggs warm. I'll know when the baby birds emerge, because the parents' behavior changes so much, racing around for food.

In my writing sanctuary, I'm torn between two spring patterns myself: preparing for the launch of Molly Ballou's story, THE DARKNESS UNDER THE WATER (Candlewick, fall 2008), and writing the story that Shawna Lee is whispering in my ears -- THE HUNGRY PLACE. One book calls me out to talk with people and share the excitement and adventure. The other turns me into a robin trying to cover all the blue eggs with the warmth of my heart, quietly singing a hatching song to myself.

Next week I'll be at the Vermont Library Conference in South Burlington, reading on May 13 and 14 in the author's cove, letting Molly Ballou tell you how it felt for her to be sixteen years old, living in a small Vermont village in 1930, when her Abenaki heritage -- which her parents had carefully turned into "being French Canadian," but which her grandmother still honors -- well, to make a long story short, Molly discovered that being Abenaki could mean being threatened by the Governor and Legislature of Vermont, and especially by the nurses being sent out into the communities to look for families who didn't match the ideal Vermont image.

But I'm getting ahead of the story. After all, when the book opens, what Molly is mostly struggling with is a sort of haunting, by the very snippy voice of her own dead sister, Gratia.

That too is part of what's hidden by the spring waters in Waterford, Vermont.

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