- The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. I was about thirteen and had been dragged along to a dinner party by my parents. While the adults ate prawn cocktails, beef stroganoff and talked politics, I took refuge in the living room to finish The Outsiders. I ended up sobbing my eyes out in my borrowed bean-bag, partly because of the sad ending but mainly due to the realization that a good deal of my devastation had been created by the terrible beauty of the book’s circular structure. That’s when I truly wanted to become a writer.
- These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer. Again, I was twelve or thirteen years old. My mother always gave me a book for Christmas and this one came at exactly the right moment—I was ready for well-researched history and dashing romance. I was besotted by the exciting blend of adventure, humor, and buttoned-up characters coming undone by love. This was the beginning of my love affair with the 18th and 19th centuries, which has now come into full bloom with The Dark Days Club!
- If On A Winters Night A Traveller by Italo Calvino. This was one of the texts I read in college. It is a postmodern masterpiece, and has everything you’d ever want to know about creating poignant relationship triangles in fiction, all explored in beautiful prose.
“I grew up feeling voiceless and powerless as a kid. I turned to books – fantasy books, in particular – to give me comfort. As I grew up I realized I could find that sense of power and voice if I simply started writing.”Read more about Sabaa here and listen to her fantastic interview on Beaks and Geeks!
- “Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet.”
- “Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.”
- Don’t waste inordinate amounts of time polishing small sections of your writing. Figure out your story first. Polish later.
- Show your work to people. Recently, I fell into an old (bad) pattern. I’d written 50 pages of something and was certain it was horrible, but hadn’t actually shown pages to anyone. Don’t do that! Find trusted readers amongst writer friends, and get feedback.
- Don’t make excuses for yourself. You can waste years that way. If you find yourself repeatedly saying you haven’t written because you’re too tired/busy/blocked etc., then rethink how badly you want to be a writer.
Judy Blume’s first book for adults in seventeen years has just come out, and we couldn’t be more excited!
In The Unlikely Event is a multi-generational novel that explores war, love, family and a changing America. The story traces an air-travel tragedy from the 1950’s and follows Miri Ammerman as she reflects back on that time, thirty-five years later.
Since Blume has shaped so many lives over the years, we turned to our employees to reminisce about the Blume books they loved growing up.
I have two daughters now in their twenties. When the younger one was almost eight, she particularly loved Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great. When the older one was ten, she loved Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself. Judy Blume was empowering girls before the word empowering was ever used in the current context!”-Beverly Horowitz, VP Publisher, Delacorte Press
“I used to imagine myself in the NY city apartment building where Peter, Fudge, and their pet Turtle lived. I read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing during “silent” reading time in 3rd grade and giggled in the corner the whole time.”-Melissa Major, Digital Marketing Coordinator, Random House Children’s Books
“Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself was the first Judy Blume book I ever read and my best loved. Even though our circumstances were entirely different, I saw so much of Sally in myself: she was inquisitive, opinionated, and had the most intensely weird imagination of any character I’d ever read. I’m still all of those things and I like to think that Sally is too!”
-Emma Shafer, Community Manager, Blogging for Books
“Coming from a family of three siblings, Superfudge both defined and helped navigate my sibling relationships. As a middle child myself, I completely relate to Fudge.”-Sonia Nash Gupta, Associate Director of Marketing Random House Children’s Books Browse through all of Judy Blume’s books here!