I've been feeling a little nostalgic--maybe it's the time of year. Anyway, I thought it might be nice to revisit some old titles. I'm always amazed when I meet readers who are familiar with one genre--for instance, people who know THE TALE OF THREE TREES don't know I write adult novels; folks familiar with my adult novels don't know I write picture books.
I got a letter today from a young lady who had read my Nicki Holland books and found herself halfway through my beauty book before she realized I also wrote about makeup! (VBG!)
In any case, I thought I might revisit some older titles in case anyone is interested. Some of them are OP, but with the wonder of the internet you can find almost anything these days.
My first published book was IF I HAD LONG, LONG HAIR. I'd been writing magazine articles, catalog copy, you name it, for five years, and I entered this contest for unpublished picture book writers on a lark. I did my homework, though--learned the rules for picture books and followed them--and found a talented artist, Diane Johnson, to do three sketches (what the contest required). We sent off our submission package and a couple of months later, we learned that out of 455 entries, we had won first place--and publication! Suddenly I was on the verge of being a "published author," and the thought filled me with awe at the responsibility. Everything I'd written thus far was the sort of thing people read and throw away, but books stay around forever.
But after that came TREES, and after that came some nonfiction books, and then came some novels for middle graders . . . and after about twenty of those, my editor said, "Why don't you try some adult novels?" and I shrugged and said, "Okay."
So there was no grand plan, you see--no overweening ambition. Just a simple matter of working along, learning the rules, and sticking my neck out every once in a while. But mostly relying on God.
I'm off to Pensacola today, where I'll speak at a tea hosted by one of my dear friends from high school. Should be fun!
Flying off again,