Sunday, June 05, 2005

I {Heart} Washington Post Book World... and Word of Mouth

Damnation, people keep emailing me reviews when I am NOT. SUPPOSED. TO READ THEM. But this one went so well with my morning coffee! The Washington Post Book World reviewed The Bitch Posse yesterday. Here's the link (scroll past Berg, Kurlansky, and Ephron) and some of my favorite bits:
The Bitch Posse is compulsively readable because things just keep getting worse for these girls... O'Connor scatters delicious and slightly macabre details of the mid-1980's alterna-teen culture throughout... It's easy to see Posse as the descendant of [Julian F. Thompson's The Grounding of Group 6] and other thrillingly gloomy YA classics such as John Neufeld's Lisa, Bright and Dark, Joanne Greenberg's I Never Promised You a Rose Garden or Paul Zindel's oeuvre....

It comes hard on the heels of Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep, another story about high school (also narrated by an outsider). The Bitch Posse may change the writing rules for these books a bit. To what, remains to be seen.
I was thrilled to get this, especially so soon after The Chicago Tribune review (their headline: Debut Novel is a Riveting, Emotionally Charged Read).

So my day got off to a fabulous start! It only got better yesterday evening when I attended the Bay Area Word of Mouth gathering. Word of Mouth is (according to the site) "an association founded to enable women authors to provide one another with friendship and professional support. We have no hierarchy, no president or vice-president, and no membership fees or dues. We meet to discuss our work and share our experiences as writers. " Word of Mouth was in the news lately becuse they presented a letter to Oprah Winfrey asking her to go back to choosing contemporary authors for her book club.

The Bay Area chapter of Word of Mouth is being spearheaded by the lovely Ellen Sussman (author of On A Night Like This, a novel about two high school classmates who fall in love despite the fact that one has terminal cancer). Ellen invited several local women authors to participate, and I accepted with many, MANY blushes. (Maybe it's from not being one of the It Crowd in school; I couldn't believe I was actually being asked. ME? Really, ME? No, seriously. ME???)

Nearly 40 women writers gathered in one room to talk about writing, publishing, balancing work and motherhood, and the difficulties faced by women writers in a world where the book review sections of most newspapers are dominated by men (my personal pet peeve). The group will meet monthly and this was pretty well a planning meeting for what we envision the group to be and to do. Every gal there was incredibly talented and kind and generous and I can't wait to see what we do next!

And you'll never guess who I carpooled with... Joyce Maynard! Joyce lives in Mill Valley. She makes a brief appearance in the "party scene" in my novel (Chapter 13) where I included all the authors who were so famous and talented there was no chance of my ever meeting them ever ever ever!

I met her.

She is SO nice. So warm, intelligent, giving, and modest. An all around A+ individual. I gave her a signed copy of my novel. Having talked with her made me want to read her work even more. In addition to her still-controversial memoir (A Life in the World, controversial because she *gasp* DARED to write about her relationship with JD Salinger... I never quite "got" the hooplah over that; aren't you allowed to write about your own life in a memoir?), Joyce has written several novels including her newest, a YA novel called The Cloud Chamber that looks to be a very interesting and multilayered story of a boy whose father attempts suicide and is put into a mental hospital. She was a wonderful traveling companion and I can't wait to read her books.

Word of Mouth. Ellen Sussman, I thank you on bended knee for putting this together.

And that's all she wrote. I forgot to sleep last night!

PS--> I just heard from my British editor... the book's gone into a THIRD printing over there! It's only been out since May 19th! Great news.