Monday, November 17, 2008

Wordstock 2008...and Other Excuses

Oh noes! No posts for almost two weeks! The wonderful folks from September’s Kidlit Bloggers Conference are shaking their heads in dismay.

Wait! Wait! I have an excuse! A couple, in fact. First, Wordstock. Last weekend was Portland’s fourth annual book festival, and Saturday afternoon found me deep in the vintage—including these fabulous new shoes.

They’re not original vintage—I only have one pair of those, inherited from my mom, and those are in trés delicate condition. So these are reproduction, but are they not a 1940s dream? (Best of all, I managed to get onstage and off without breaking my neck in front of dozens of people. Score!)

Up right before me was the amazing Susan Fletcher (no relation, oddly enough, considering that we both live in Oregon and write YA historical fiction). Susan’s latest novel, Alphabet of Dreams, is the story of a teenaged girl, Mitra, who struggles to find sanctuary for herself and her younger brother 2,000 years ago in Persia (present-day Iran). It’s a beautiful book loaded with tons of historical detail…including three particular magi trying to solve an astronomical mystery. Susan presented a wonderful slide show of the trip she took to Iran researching the book. A tough act to follow, let me tell you.

After my reading from Ten Cents a Dance, Susan and I joined another YA author, Heather Vogel Frederick , for a panel discussion about writing historical fiction for young adults. Melissa Lion, an award-winning YA author herself, moderated. Melissa asked great questions: about how we did our research, if we’d altered historical events for the sake of our stories (none of us had, but none of us completely ruled it out, either), how we dealt with un-PC attitudes like racism and sexism in our old-timey characters, what other historical YA we’d recommend for readers. It was a lively discussion—Heather and Susan are both charming, smart, and funny—and, to my delight, our panel was very well-attended. Considering that Wordstock has multiple stages going every moment, that put the whipped cream on the hot chocolate for me.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to see many other authors at this year’s Wordstock. After our panel discussion and book signing, I headed home to de-vintage and pack. For where, you ask? Ah, that’s the next blog post. Stay tuned.



Blogger Melissa Marsh said...

Fun, fun! So did you dress vintage for the event? And LOVE those shoes!

8:04 AM  
Blogger Christine Fletcher said...

I did the whole vintage 1940s black cocktail dress, seamed stockings, and those delicious red platform heels! The victory rolls turned out the best I've ever gotten them, but the pincurls were a disaster. Fortunately, I have an emergency snood! :)

11:25 AM  
OpenID lisanowak said...

I was thinking about coming to Wordstock on Saturday, but I really needed some time to catch up on my indoor projects since those darned leaves have been keeping me so busy.

I saw Susan speak a couple of years ago at Wordstock. What I remember most was her comment about kids figuring out her made-up words from the context, while adults bothered themselves over an exact definition. Now whenever someone tells me that they think a kid won't get a word or idea in my writing, I call up Susan's experience.

6:12 PM  
Blogger Christine Fletcher said...

Lisa, I heard Susan make the same comment, and looking back at how I read as a kid, it's absolutely true. I think half of what we learned through our reading we got through osmosis...context and a good guess! :) Seemed to work fine for me. So I don't worry about it either, even with historical terms.

9:59 AM  

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