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10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About PALE PHOENIX

So I'm glad you're enjoying the list about TIME WINDOWS. Now here is one about my second book! Thanks for reading!

1. I started this book soon after I finished writing TIME WINDOWS because I knew Miranda and Dan and their families so well, they felt real... and I didn't want to leave them! The first draft was a considerably different story, though, with no mention at all of witchcraft. That came in a later revision. 2. I got muddled in the middle of PALE PHOENIX with a bad case of writer's block and didn't know how to move forward. My husband suggested I just jump ahead to a scene I knew I wanted to write--which was the scene when Miranda finds Abby with all the old photos --and move on from there. Rather dubious about doing this, I did it anyway... and it worked! I wrote the book from there all the way to the end, and then went back to the beginning and wrote up to the middle. Many revisions later, the story read smoothly. Jumping ahead taught me that stories need not always be written in a linear fashion. 3. The Sassy Café is named for my oldest childhood friend, and the book is dedicated to her, too. 4. I had not read TUCK EVERLASTING by Natalie Babbitt, but discovered it when a review of PALE PHOENIX pointed out the similar theme, albeit handled differently. Do read Babbitt's story if you haven't; it's lovely. One of my favorites! 5. Dorothy, the child from TIME WINDOWS, makes a guest appearance in PALE PHOENIX as Susannah's great-grandmother. 6. The dollhouse from the attic of TIME WINDOWS also makes a guest appearance--now in a corner of Miranda's bedroom... 7. The principal of Miranda's high school is named for a boyfriend I had in college... And all the Puritan townspeople are named for my own family members. 8. The nature of Abby Chandler's problem has allowed her to show up in several of my other books. It's been fun for me when readers spot her and write to me: "Hey, did you know that Abby from PALE PHOENIX is the same one in DREADFUL SORRY (or THE GLASS HOUSE PEOPLE, etc.)?" Have YOU had any Abby-sightings? 9. Right after PALE PHOENIX was accepted by Harcourt, we were asked by our veterinarian friend to take in a dog who was in need of a good home... a skinny, pale-haired pooch named . . . yes!. . . ABBY. It seemed like a sign we should bring her into our family, and so we did. What a wonderful dog she was... 10. I set PALE PHOENIX in the dead of an extremely cold winter because I was stuck in a hot, humid New Jersey summer--record heat waves--without air-conditioning. I wanted my imagination to cool me down and, surprisingly, it worked (at least as long as I was immersed in writing)!

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