Saturday, March 22, 2008

It's a mystery....

I went to a fantastic conference on Thursday where I met three very famous mystery authors and had a chance to hear them talk about their work. They were fascinating to listen to and they completely inspired me - maybe I'll write a book one day!

The first author to speak was Mary Downing Hahn, author of Wait Til Helen Comes and The Old Willis Place among many others. She had a lot to say about writing for children and how she became interested in ghost stories. Her ghost stories are really excellent and I encourage you to come and check one out!

The Old Willis Place

Tired of the rules that have bound them ever since "the bad thing happened," twelve-year-old Diana ignores her brother's warnings and befriends the daughter of the new caretaker, setting in motion events that lead to the release of the spirit of an evil, crazy woman who once ruled the old Willis place.

The second speaker was Elise Broach, author of Shakespeare's Secret. Shakespeare's Secret is a wonderful mystery filled with intrigue, suspense, a missing diamond and the Shakespeare authorship question. (There is some debate going on about whether or not Shakespeare really wrote his plays or if someone else did...) She talked about how she came to write the book and what she feels are the elements of a good mystery. She also discussed the difficulty of bringing plot and character together in a convincing way.

Shakespeare's Secret

Named after a character in a Shakespeare play, misfit sixth-grader Hero becomes interested in exploring this unusual connection because of a valuable diamond supposedly hidden in her new house, an intriguing neighbor, and the unexpected attention of the most popular boy in school.

Finally, we finished up the day with Peter Abrahams, author of many books for adults and the Echo Falls mystery series for children. He was very funny and one of his main points was a lesson he learned from his mother - that every sentence should advance the story; nothing extra no matter how "pretty" it might be. Which is totally true if you think about it - and great advice for all of you budding authors! Down the Rabbit Hole is the first in the Echo Falls mystery series and our copy is on the shelf ready to be checked out today!

Down the Rabbit Hole

Like her idol Sherlock Holmes, eighth grader Ingrid Levin-Hill uses her intellect to solve a murder case in her home town of Echo Falls.


Teen Reader said...

Looks like I had similar thoughts. My blog is dedicated to preteen and teen readers. Feel free to give them my blog to find new and exciting books to read. I also love to have books recommended. Please spread the word.

Cathy said...

Thanks for your comment! I'll definitely let the book club know about your blog!