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Archive for September, 2006

Today I am pleased to be part of the “blog crawl” for Anne Frasier’s latest book, Pale Immortal, which is being released today. Anne is quite possibly one of the most approachable authors on the Internet; her blog is highly entertaining, and she’s much better than I am at answering her email. Moreover, she’s a damn good writer. I really enjoyed her creepily atmospheric Play Dead; a sense of place is important to her, and it shows. That’s why I’ll be looking forward to pick up Pale Immortal.

Anne isn’t “just” an accomplished author; she’s also a mom. Although she doesn’t blog very much about her private life, I was intrigued when she mentioned that her daughter had designed her website. I’ve often wondered what Hamlet and his brother will think of my writing career as they grow older, and ways that I can involve them in my work. So I was very pleased when Anne agreed to shed a little more light on how she did it:

I started writing 20 years ago when my youngest was two. I told myself I would give up if I hadn’t sold by the time she entered kindergarten. When it was time to send her off to school, it hadn’t happened, but I’d had some fairly decent nibbles. “Well, she only goes to school two or three days a week. That’s not real school.” I gave it another year. Before she started first grade I made my first sale. But I probably would have kept going, or at least returned to writing somewhere along the line.

People often ask my kids, “What’s it like having a writer for a mom?” But they can’t remember a time when I didn’t write. They’ve gone to conferences and book signings. I took my daughter to a Paris book event. Paris, Illinois. It was a frigid, gray day. A late winter storm had blown in, with temperatures dropping thirty degrees in an hour. We arrived in Paris after dark. A little town lost, dying, with a square and beautiful empty buildings. We were put up in an old folks home that had originally been a hospital. A sprawling white monstrosity right out of a Stephen King novel. An elevator took us to the top floor where we were the only occupants. Down to a white room with white sheets and white towels and a white bedspread. Plus a little white door about two feet high that neither of us would open.

Martha is now grown, with a degree in Scandinavian language and film. She starts a fellowship this fall, but she’s still fairly active in my writing career. She designed my website, and created an amazing book video for Pale Immortal. She and my son (a recording engineer) did the soundtrack. People watch it and say, “The apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Heh!

View the video, listen to mp3s, and read the first two chapters of Pale Immortal here: http://paleimmortal.blogspot.com/

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The first day of preschool

We weren’t going to send Hamlet to preschool this year. Neither of us thought he was ready for it; we thought that, because he’d be one of the youngest kids in the class (he’s a July baby), he’d be behind. We held that assumption right up till this past spring, when I took him to the playground and… he actually started interacting with other children.

Long story short, he proved himself over the summer to be more than ready for preschool. We found one that provides age-appropriate activities to promote literacy and socialization both, and off he went. Never looked back, in fact. It wasn’t unlike Jeff Shelby’s experience with his little daughter.

Me? I got 2 hours to work in peace. And although I would’ve liked to have been there to see how his first day went, I didn’t feel guilty about leaving him behind. It seems we both needed this time. Now I just have to try not to get used to it!

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