31 January 2007

Definitely a Dead Mother Book

Publishers Weekly offers some interesting remarks from Susan Patron about how she came to write her Newbery-winning novel for the middle grades, The Higher Power of Lucky:

The genesis for Lucky goes back a number of years. Patron recalls a dinner at an ALA midwinter conference given by Dick Jackson, who had edited her earlier books. "Amy Kellman [one of the librarians at the dinner] asked me, "What are you working on?' I thought, 'Here's my chance to pitch this book.' I told them about it and they laughed at all the right places, and Dick said, in so many words, 'Send me some chapters and I'll send you a contract.'"

Pretty speedy path to publication, right? Well, not exactly. Patron says she ended up working on the book for 10 years. "Dick was very patient. Each time I'd send him a draft, he'd say, 'Not ready, not yet.' So I'd take another stab." Patron found a new direction for Lucky after her mother passed away. "I had this sense of being unmoored--it was a very surprising feeling. That gave the book its heart."
The Washington Post also reports on Patron's creative path: "For a long time she had the characters in her head but didn't know what they would go on to do. After her mother died a few years ago, she realized that her title character 'was really dealing with losing her mom.' The writing started to go faster at that point."

No comments: