Not the book by Scott Westerfeld- wonderful though it is- or those yellow and pink marshmallow critters which we used to buy by the boxful in the Easter sales and lick and stick all over our warehouse walls. You know you shouldn’t actually eat those, right?
My peeps, as in my people. (Yeah, I can say that because I used to work in the music industry and I’m down with the lingo). So anyway one of the cool perks of calling yourself a writer is that you can actually communicate with other writers including those who operate on a plane far above your own. And you don’t always have to make the first move- we’re not stalking here- it just sort of happens in a casual way. “You’re a writer, and I’m a writer (so we’re members of the same club) and we should correspond.”
I met writers before I was published and just starting out because of the writing group I was asked to join. This incidentally had nothing to do with any talents I might have been exhibiting or concealing. I was asked to take part because I was a new mother with an eight-month old and the leader of the group thought it might be interesting to see what a bunch of mothers might write about. It was cathartic and therapeutic. We vented and expressed all those horrid thoughts you think at 2 o’clock in the morning when the baby is consciously, vindictively and evilly deciding to have colic. New mothers sometimes have not nice feelings. The endorphins don’t flow like tap water. We cried a lot and we laughed- there were three of us-and we wrote reams of stuff, most of which, where I was concerned, was not very good. But because of this group I started writing again after a long hiatus, and I met Abigail Thomas (“A Three Dog Life”), who is an incredible writer and a true gift and an amazing teacher and cannot be hogged however much you want to do it. You must share her.
And then I met Alison Gaylin- a brilliant Edgar-nominated mystery writer. And Susan Richards (a best-selling memoirist) and Dakota Lane who writes lovely and real YA books. And I think something rubbed off on me, or maybe I just felt like someday I could be in their club.
Now Nicola Morgan is one of my Facebook friends. I’ve read a lot of her YA books (“Fleshmarket Alley”, “Sleepwalking”, “The Highwayman’s Curse”) over the years and now we banter. (Her blog link is over on the left hand side and she has a new book coming out called “Deathwatch” and I can’t wait to read it.)
And the great Eva Ibbotson has become a pen pal and has given me advice and support and said some very nice things about my book. And I am such a fan of hers, that my hands shake when I receive a letter from her.
Alan Garner (!)— Let me just say I read “The Weirdstone of Brisingamen” for the first time as a kid. I spent Saturdays at the library poking through the shelves and uncovering marvels, and then had to stagger home with a bagful of books which probably outweighed me (they were all hardbacks) — Alan Garner, himself, commented on my blog after I mentioned a passage from one of his books. And we had a little back and forth.
It doesn’t seem real. The one thing these writers have in common is that all of them have been supportive and helpful and extended a hand to someone who is just starting out. I fully intend to pass it on.