I am long past due writing about my trip to Utah. The end of March I went up to teach a couple of writing classes at the LDStorymakers conference, do a school visit (Brockbank Junior High Rocks!) and in general hang out with writers. (Thus validating that I’m not odd, I’m just artistic.)
Shannon Hale put together a lunch with some of the Utah children’s writers. Shannon is tres cool, by the way. She is so cool that Mattel wanted to make Barbie dolls out of some of her book characters. Forget the New York Times bestseller list. I will know I’ve succeeded in life when they make a Barbie doll in my image.
Anyway, I finally got to meet Mike Tunnell at the lunch, whose book Wishing Moon, I’d just read. For those of you who want YA novels without any content which could someday get it banned, this is a good one.
I also got a real kick out of meeting Nathan Hale, and not just because his picture book, The Devil You Know, is going to be turned into a really fun movie which may put him on the Barbie speed dial. No, I liked talking to Nathan because he shares an editor with me—the mighty bow-tied one. So we sat around talking about editor woes.
“Does Tim ever return your emails?” Nathan asked me.
“He answers most of them,” I said, “but I don’t think he reads them through all of the way.”
I did not share any examples with Nathan, as he didn’t seem to need proof, but I will share with you, my loyal blog readers, a prime example.
Last Christmas I happened upon the perfect gift for my editor at Walker and since I didn’t want to play favorites, I bought something for Tim (who is now my Putnam editor) too. I bought it from a catalog so I knew it would just show up at his office without explanation. Since this was a gift that really needed a preface, I wrote him an email about it. This is an actual excerpt:
Hi Tim . . . I found something for you to wear to all of those writers' conferences where you are basically treated like some sort of Elvis in a roomful of adoring groupies. But you'd better print out this email and put it somewhere you can see it or when you get my package you'll be like, "Why in the heck did Janette send this to me?"
Now given the email instructions you would think with he would at least remember that there was something a little different or odd or that he needed to remember about my gift. But no. A week later when he received the T-shirt that read: Your Dreams Have Been Answered—I’m here, he called me up. He said, “Soooo Janette . . .” in this hesitant, unsure, are-you-crazy sort of voice, “I got your gift . . . I’m just calling to see if I understand why you sent it . . .”
It would have served him right if I had said, “Well Tim, this is my subtle was of telling you I’m in love with you, and I hope you can support me and my five children.”
But that would have made the rest of the phone conversation really awkward, so instead I let out a disgruntled sigh and said, “Don’t you ever read my emails?”
On the bright side, I bet he’ll read any emails I send him before next Christmas.