Well, I've been enjoying the messages you've written to me via my website and on my Facebook AUTHOR page... and a lot of you have asked questions about where I get my ideas for my various novels, and which (if any) are 'true' stories... and so I thought I'll do a sort of countdown to my new novel's debut by telling you a little about each of the previous books. Not just blurbs you can read on the back covers or online, but tidbits of info that nobody knows!
SO: I'll start with Time Windows, which was my very first book!
1. I told the first version of what later became TIME WINDOWS to my boyfriend (who later became my husband) on a cross-country road trip right after college. The car radio got poor reception as we headed for the Badlands, so I started telling him a story to pass the time!
2. I wrote the first draft while I was a student in Bonn, Germany... age 23. I lived in an old, drafty rooming house where I huddled next to my electric heater, wrapped in blankets... and wrote to entertain myself whenever I needed a break from studying German novels, and because I'd run out of things to read in English... (and this was before the Internet, so I couldn't just order new reading matter online!). I still have that hand-written first draft.
3. The story first started in New York City... not Massachusetts.
4. Some readers have written to me saying they've looked for Garnet, MA on a map, or even tried driving to it... planning to visit. Sorry--it's a fictional town!
5. Miranda calls her mom 'Mither' because that's what my brother and I call our mom...
6. TIME WINDOWS was rejected six times before being bought by Harcourt.... Most most of those rejections said the story was too frightening and violent for children.
7. There have been three different covers. I like the first one best because the artist, Stephen Marchesi, captured Miranda the way I picture her. The other two covers well drawn, but are inconsistent with the story; one shows her on the wrong side of the dollhouse--and the dollhouse itself a brightly painted Victorian building intend of the white new england farmhouse I describe. Another shows a large face looking in at little furnishings; in my story there are no furnishings. The dollhouse is empty.
8. Once Dan Hooton had two brothers instead of just Buddy. My agent felt that one of the brothers was extraneous and asked me to cut him! I gave his lines to the other boys, and . . . he vanished. That I can't recall his name offhand must mean she was right!
9. The newspaper article about the mummified body found in the secret room was inspired by a real article from my husband's hometown in England about a baby's body discovered in an airtight old cedar chest..
10. Backyard Productions twice bought the rights to the film option for TIME WINDOWS. Stephen Spielberg apparently turned it down! Other backers were sought... but no film has ever materialized. Still, I haven't lost hope that someday....
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I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!