Last spring I met Chris Woodworth, a middle grade author who had recently moved to North Carolina from Indiana. I was struck by Chris's unassuming and humble attitude about her writing accomplishments. She wasn't one to sing her own praises so when I heard her next book was coming out this spring, I invited her to guest blog about it. I hope you'll snoop around her website and see all of her award winning middle grade books. She has great resources for teachers too.
I love hearing a backstory behind a book, so was delighted when Chris wrote this up for all of you. In addition, her publisher, Farrar Straus and Giroux, is giving a copy to one of you!
Read on for an insider's look at Ivy in the Shadows and for your chance to win this fresh-from-the-presses middle grade book. And, if you live near or around Denver, NC, she and fellow writer Lisa Kline, will be giving a presentation at the Shanklin Library in Denver Feb. 25th from 6:30-7:30.
|Chris Woodworth relaxing at home.|
Like most writers, I keep a file of ideas. My system has changed over the years from a bulging folder on my desk to a file on my computer. I keep them because my muse is a prickly one. If I don’t write down her ideas, she’s famous for zooming off in a huff, taking them with her.
One particular day, she fluttered down and reminded me of my childhood when I would listen to my mom and aunts during their girl talk sessions. Yes, I was a girl, too. But not old enough to be included. I wasn’t nosey by nature but there was something intoxicating about that glimpse into the adult world. I’d listen, until they got to the good part, when they would invariably realize I was in the room and shoo me out.
So I wrote down that idea and put it into my file. I’d reread it every so often but the timing never felt right and back into the file it would go.
My previous book had just been published when I switched day jobs from one I suffered through to one I loved. Flush with the excitement of a better job and a new book on the shelves, I was in the right frame of mind to tackle a fresh story. Once again, I got out the eavesdropping idea but I needed more than just this premise because adult problems aren’t what children’s books are made of. I wanted someone Ivy’s age to get under her skin. I knew she wouldn’t like it one bit if she had to share her home with a boy she barely knew. Especially one who told stories she didn’t believe.
But what stories? My muse flitted around, dangling an idea, which I immediately grabbed. That idea was to talk to the Marshalls, a family in my hometown who encouraged their teenage daughters to do mission work in Haiti. They had kept journals during their time there and published them in the local newspaper where I remembered reading them. They were gracious enough to allow me to alter and weave their stories into mine. The end result was IVY IN THE SHADOWS.
Thank you, dear muse. And please drop by anytime. My fingers are poised on the keyboard, awaiting your return.
Now for the giveaway! If you are familiar with my blog, then you know the rules: