Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Working on a Young Adult Novel

Working on a young adult novel is so different from picture books. In a picture book, describing the scene is only done to direct the picture; descriptions are kept to a minimal. But in a book with no pictures, words have to take on the visual aspect.

I've been enjoying, and challenged, using words to bring the reader into the world of the book characters.  What things do we notice when we walk into a new room?  What are commonalities that I can share with a reader to make him/her feel connected to the scene? How do I describe objects and situations that, so far, only I know about?  How much should I give away about the scene with out taking away from the flow of the story?...but also allows the reader to feel 'grounded' and secure.

Writing picture books and then books with out pictures is like Mars and Venus: both are planets yet we would need completely different outfits to hang out in either one.  Good thing I enjoy variety!

Heather Leigh

Monday, October 8, 2012

Eureka Books, Art Night Signing

Saturday night I was honored to share a table with  the Eureka children's librarian, Joanne.  They were raising money for their yearly October event promoting children's authors. In addition, Eureka books was celebrating 25 years of selling literature for the community. Be sure to stop in there as they are offering 25 percent off their books for the rest of the month.  Plus, the building is just so beautiful, you have to see it. I intend to be dropping some birthday money there for JK Rowlings' and Anne Lamont's newest books.

The evening was a huge success, thanks in large part to an article run by the local paper, Times Standard.  I believe Scott, co-owner of Eureka books, had assembled it.  About eighty percent of the people coming in to talk with me had come in as a result of that article.  Pays to know people who are more organized and efficient than I am!

Outside the store is a quintessential town plaza, complete with a gazebo for summer bands and areas for children to romp. We could view the man blowing, juggling and swallowing fire. Always fascinating to watch OTHER people doing that sort of stuff.

My eldest son went with me but soon melted off into the crowd to join friends. Guess there was a giant fire shooting metal octopus brought from Burning Man on display that they went to see. Must have been a fire fun night for Humboldt.

This signing seems to be wrapping up the season of book touring on Hey Little Baby. It was a perfect way to end end it as the first signing  I did was at Northtown Books in Arcata, another popular bookstore in Humboldt county.  Soon I am expecting to be promoting the companion book to Hey Little Baby--Toddler Season.  It's been a fun ride.

Heather Leigh

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sacramento Children's Book Festival

Lively, efficient and fun is how the event put on by the California Scholar Share program went down.  The children enjoyed themselves and were encouraged to read. Parents of little ones learned about getting set up for the inevitable--that babies eventually turn in to teens who will (hopefully!) go off to college.

Fairy Tale Town, located in the meandering green gracious land of William Land Park, was the perfect place to hold the event. It is already set up with playgrounds, a petting zoo, and Old Mother Hubbard's Shoe.  What a great way to correlate having fun and being happy with reading stories.

Francie, the emcee for the book readers, was contagiously cheerful.  Wearing a mike that could be heard through out Fairy Tale Town, she drew in a constant audience for the storytellers.  The children and parents could relax on the grass clearing in front of the stage and be entertained to the magic of books.

In honor of Halloween, I passed out vampire teeth for children to discover their mouths, rubber witch claws for hands, pumpkin whistles for voices, a fake foot, and dog, bunny and Groucho Marx noses for smelling.   Sharing the Royal Reading Throne with me was a lovely young lady holding the baby doll and a two year old who just wanted to sit next to me.  At every 'Hey Little Baby' line, we all waved to the baby.  Let me tell you--we had a blast!

After the rewarding reading, I met with people, signed books, and enjoyed the sunshine at a temperature we don't often feel in Humboldt County.  The authors I was lucky enough to chat with were Bob Barner and Sandy Lynne Holman. I was thoroughly impressed with how Bob Barner creates non-fiction works in to engaging literature for children.  On each page, a large kid-friendly font with an easy to read sentence tells about the subject and a smaller font paragraph gives the factual knowledge. Also, he uses mixed media to illustrate his own books.  Sandy Lynne Holman was vibrant and charismatic. I'm not sure who had more fun, her or the audience, when she told her story with laughter, marching, dancing and song.  The kids were thrilled. She even had purple wings!

Time Tested Books was there to sell the books that we authors were reading and signing.  Peter, the owner, had an obvious love of books and a kind, warm presence that I'm sure attracted children. Thank you to him and his employees for providing the books that day for us to sign.

It was another fun, wonderful day signing books and chatting with book loving people and children.  I look forward to going again next year and hope that I will be there promoting a second book!