Wednesday, December 30, 2015


In 1979 my first YA novel, Angel Dust Blues, was published to good reviews. I managed to follow up through the early 1980s with more well-received novels, but like most careers that get off to a good start, mine was bound to hit a pot hole sooner or later. And so not surprisingly, toward the end of the decade I sank into a rut with books that neither sold well nor received particularly good reviews.


As a result, invitations to speak at major conferences started to slow, along with interview requests, bookstore signings, etc. I began to fret that readers, and my publisher, might be tempted to assume that my best work was behind me.

Worried about my future as a writer, I resolved to stage a comeback, and worked extra hard to create three new proposals for timely, cutting-edge, hard-hitting YAs that, I believed, were sure to be praise-worthy, money-making award winners. My strategy was simple: if I pitched three, my editor would feel compelled to approve at least one of them.

When the Day of Judgment arrived, I clomped into my editor’s office armed with engaging plot summaries and detailed outlines. I pitched the three book ideas passionately, describing key scenes and plot points, surprise twists, and unexpectedly satisfying conclusions.

Having put everything I could into this effort, I ended by telling my editor how eager I was to begin work on at least two of the books immediately.