Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hey, Let's Help A Fellow Writer!

Do you remember reading Madeleine L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time as a kid? Somehow I missed it then, probably because I was not info sci-fi or fantasy. I tried reading it as an adult and it took a couple of tries. Somehow I avoided Miss L Engle’s work many times. But she pursued me (another story!) like a persistent house fly! Finally, once I read her Circle of Quiet, I was hooked big time and became a loyal fan.

The Bonastra discussion list of her works was the first online group I participated in, and I made many interesting connections there. I was teaching at junior high at the time, and these people were a nice balance for me after a day with boisterous twelve year olds. However, many admitted they had never lost their love for the fantasy literature of that age group.

It was L Engle’s nonfiction that was my favorite though. No matter what you read by this author, pertinent Biblical references, strong moral values, robust open-mindedness, and solid views of the Divine were scattered among the pages, all without being preachy.

Now her granddaughter Lena Roy has written her own YA novel, titled Edges. This book deals with substance abuse in the lives of teens. Set in Moab, Utah the main character Luke has left his alcoholic father to live in a youth hostel. While the main character is a male, several females take prominent leads as well, like Ava who is an 18 year drunk trying to make AA work. Author Roy is honest that her own early experiences with alcohol influenced her story. Her own enchanting encounters with Utah’s landscapes influence her setting.

Reviews were mixed for Edges, but the story is strong and valuable. Language is strong in spots, but typical for teens. The author echoes much of her grandmother’s teaching about being present in the moment and being aware of Nature’s beauty full of lessons for us. Roy’s writing is a good shot for a first time author, and her stories will surely develop with age and practice.

This brings me to my plea. A few days ago  Roy learned her publisher is not picking up the companion book after Edges, not because it was not good but because the sales of Edges were only respectable and not fantastic. Her web pages and blogs were not “hit” enough. This echoes the 26 or so rejections that Madeline L’Engle’s own book garnered in the 1960’s before becoming a well-known, well-loved classic. Look what the world would have missed!

As a writer AND a reader, I think it is a shame. I know publishing is a money-making business, but if the dollar alone is the criteria we use for art and for quality of story…well, think Reality TV for cripes sake!

So I am asking you to buy, read, and promote Edges for a fellow writer who is getting her wings clipped. Or can you just read and comment on her blog at Lena Roy isn’t letting this setback stop her writing--yet anyway. With a feisty attitude, she wrote this on her blog this week:
Yes, publishing is a harsh mistress, but it is first and foremost a business, therefore, rejection is not about us, or about our books, but about people making wild guesses and backing authors with a built-in audience. (Like Snooki!) I know so many of you are beginning your own journey, querying agents and the like. Keep going! Persevere. The world needs your stories.

What goes around, comes around they say, and I just feel as writers, we need to help one of our own.


Lisa Ricard Claro said...

The book follows a pertinent topic, certainly. I don't put too much stock in reviews, because so many books/movies that do not receive critical acclaim are ones I love. Thanks for the info, Claudia. I have no problem supporting a fellow writer.

Léna Roy said...

Reading this made me feel like I was getting a big warm hug! Thank you so much, Claudia - I am so happy that such a devoted fan of my grandmother's enjoys my work too! xoxo

Floyd Garrett said...

Hi Claudia. . .I got to your site through Lena's. . . .I didn't start with A Circle of Quiet. . .but, I also love her non-fiction. . .I've been a fan of hers for years. . .publishing is in such a dreadful state. . .it's a shame. . .will put your blog and Lena's on my blogroll. . .best to you on the autumn evening. . .

Regards. . .Floyd