Thursday, May 26, 2011

BEA 2011

I had a fantastic time this week at BEA (Book Expo America, an enormous annual convention focused on forthcoming books) as proven by the contents of my suitcase:

*sighs with delight*

But BEA is about more than the books. It's also about eating mashed potato martinis:

And greeting childhood icons:

(The only thing I could think of to say was "I admire your work." Really, Sarah? Mrs. Brady, I admire your work??)

Okay, so it's really about books. And talking about books
with other people who love books. I had so many great conversations with so many fantastic people that I feel literally dizzy when I think about it. Here's me with Laini Taylor and Marie Rutkoski, two absolutely awesome writer friends of mine:

I can't wait for next year!

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Reading About Writing

I love reading about writing.

When I first decided that I wanted to be a writer, one of the first things that I did was empty my hometown library of every "how to write" book I could find. I poured over those books, taking copious notes as if I were unlocking the secrets to the universe.

I was ten years old, and I believed that books held the answer to every question, the solution to every problem, and the map to every dream.

Okay, I still believe that.

These days, one of my favorite things to do online (along with checking out cake wrecks and fashion commentary) is read about writing. In case you're interested, here are a bunch that I bookmarked recently:

"The Ever-Popular I Suck Playlist" by Libba Bray

"How Not to Bug the F*** Out When Writing a Novel" by Chuck Wendig

"'Don't listen to them. They're both wrong.' And other reasons I love Steven Tyler" by Jo Knowles

"Making Story Happen" by Laini Taylor

"How to Steal Like an Artist" by Austin Kleon

"Writing Better" by Megan Crewe

"Choose Your Own Adventure" by Jessica Tudor

"And the Magic Begins" interview with Terry Pratchett

"Love What You Love" by Ray Bradbury (via Boing Boing)

"Our Best Advice for Writing Fantasy" on Enchanted Inkpot

"How Science Fiction Movies Can Help You Write Novels" by John Scalzi

"How to Survive a First Draft" by Delia Sherman

"Writing Weirdness" by Carrie Jones

"The Things That Save Us" by Terri Windling

Anyone have any writing-about-writing links you'd like to share? Any favorite writing-related sites or blogs?

In addition to reading about writing, I've also learned a lot about writing and publishing by hanging out with all manner of bookish people every chance I get, which is exactly what I'll be doing this week. I'm headed to Book Expo America (BEA), a huge gathering of booksellers, publishers, authors, etc at the Javits Center in NYC. Really looking forward to it!

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Awesome Quiltiness

I am on a quilt! Not sitting on a quilt, but in the quilt itself. And not literally me... though I am suddenly picturing a little quilt Sarah frolicking across an applique meadow beneath embroidered clouds. And then I'm chased by geometric triangles that want to chomp me up like Pac-Man, but I defend myself by brandishing the Magic Needle of...

And this is exactly why I outline when I write. Stay on target, Sarah.

Speaking of Pac-Man, why was the ghost Clyde changed to
Sue in Ms. Pac-Man?

And speaking of quilts, I want to show you a photo of the quilt I'm in. First, though, a little background:

Last Saturday, I visited Northboro, Massachusetts -- my hometown and the setting of my debut novel, Into the Wild -- for the dedication of an Author/Illustrator Quilt to celebrate the Northborough Free Library's newly renovated Children's Room. Ten authors/illustrators are featured in squares on this quilt: Jan Brett, Marc Brown, Andrew Clements, Tomie dePaola, Sarah Beth Durst (hey, that's me!), Jack Gantos, Modricai Gerstein, Lo
is Lowry, Lane Smith, and Jane Yolen.

Here's my square (with images based on my novel Into the Wild):

And here's the whole quilt:

How cool is that?

This library is the place where I fell in love with books. Very cool to know that I have a presence there even though I now live in another state. Thanks, Northboro Library, for the lovely day, the lovely quilt, and the lovely memories!

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Northborough Free Library Author/Illustrator Quilt

I love libraries in the way that a chocoholic loves a Godiva Easter bunny.

I blame my mother, who took me to the library so often that I was literally the poster child for Kid Obtaining First Library Card:

This photo was taken at the Northboro Library (or more accurately, the Northborough Free Library -- the town has become fancier since I left it, restoring the more formal "ugh" to its name and requiring all citizens to wear cravats).

This is the place where I discovered Diana Wynne Jones, Lloyd Alexander, Ruth Chew, and Tamora Pierce. I remember exactly where the shelves were that held all the Encyclopedia Brown books, and I remember sneaking into the grown-up section to find Watership Down. (I really did sneak. I assume I was afraid an adult would spot me, shout "Under Age Reader!", and a team from the Militant Branch of the ALA would rappel from the windows to capture me.)

This same library appears in chapter 7 of my debut novel, Into the Wild. Julie hides from Cinderella and Goldilocks here, and the Three Blind Mice live in the Children's Room. (The Children's Room actually did have hamsters. I don't think they talked, though. Perhaps after hours...)

Over the past couple years, the Northboro Library underwent major renovations. And now that it's all new and fancy, they've planned a lovely event where they will dedicate an author/illustrator quilt and hang it in the brand new Children's Room. The quilt was created by a group of talented local quilters who incorporated scenes from ten children's books along with quilt pieces signed by the authors or illustrators. I had the honor of contributing my signature when I was last at the library and am absolutely thrilled that a scene from Into the Wild has been included on the quilt.

The Author/Illustrator Quilt Dedication is this Saturday at the new Northboro Library. I'll be there, as will Andrew Clements, the author of Frindle as well as many other wonderful books. Here are the details if you'd like to join us:

Saturday, May 14, 2011 from 11am to 1pm
Author/Illustrator Quilt Dedication
Northborough Free Library
34 Main Street, Northborough, MA

Refreshments will be served (though I cannot promise any Godiva bunnies).

If you're in the area, I hope to see you there!

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