I went to Hollins Saturday night for one of their author talks. D. Anne Love was the speaker. She is the author of many historical fiction and YA fiction books.
A little bit about her:
D. Anne Love wanted to be a writer when she was a child much like her cousin wanted to be Miss America. She thought she had a better chance at being a writer than her cousin did at being Miss America. She was a teacher, principal, and college professor for 15 years before writing full time.
She tried to write picture books for a long time until an editor finally told her that she really wasn't a picture book writer--she was a novelist. The editor told her she was going into too much detail with characters, plots, etc.
Her advice to writers:
1) Write what you WANT to know. If you are passionate about it, then your readers will enjoy reading about it.
2) Don't worry about current trends. Write what's in your heart.
3) Try to find the heart of the story--What does your character want? What is preventing them from getting it?
4) There are NO failed stories. Not every piece will be published, but you will learn from all of them.
5) Nothing is wasted except for the paper. (This is my favorite one)
6) Read 100 books for every one you write. Read like a writer.
7) Take a lot of showers. Something about showers is conducive to the creative process. When you are stuck and trying to work out a problem in your novel, take a shower.
8) Persistance pays.
9) Be patient with yourself.
10) Write the kinds of books you like to read.
Some of her historical fiction books include:
Bess's Log Cabin Quilt
I Remember the Alamo
The Puppeteer's Apprentice
Her YA books include:
Semiprecious--About a girl whose Mom leaves the family to make her way as a country music star. She thinks her mom is coming back for her shortly, but she doesn't.
Picture Perfect--A girl whose mother has invented beauty hair care products and gets offered a wonderful job away from home.
Defying the Diva--Forthcoming. This is about bullying that goes on with teens.
Be Mine--Forthcoming in 2009. About abusive relationships and about a girl who gets in a relationshiop with a girl that is controlling.
One of the things you can't get out the printed text is how wonderfully D. Anne Love reads her stories. She has an entrancing southern accent that gives life to her characters that she reads about. I am on my way to the bookstore today to pick up some of her books. I can't wait for Defying the Diva to come out. She talked a lot about her concern for youth in America and how they are "plugged in" constantly. The lack of interaction with people allows kids to withdraw and lack in empathy for others. She read a lot of studies about bullying and talked to kids. Both pointed to the fact that it's not always the troubled kids that bully. It's the kids who come from privileged homes that have a sense of entitlement and bully others often. Her story Defying the Diva addresses some of these issues.