I was touched and flattered that she thought I had the capability to handle such a sensitive subject. About about a year earlier, I'd written a synopsis and sample chapters on a novel about a girl from South America who moved to the United States and eventually befriended a girl who lost her father on 9/11, but I hadn't connected with the characters and ended up sticking it in a drawer and writing PURGE.
When Claudette wrote to me, I took out the synopsis and sent it to her. She told me I should write the book. Subsequently I spoke to my editors at Scholastic and they agreed, although they said it should be YA rather than middle grade. Meeting Claudette and hearing her story gave me a new connection to the characters. That book became LIFE, AFTER, and it's dedicated to Claudette Greene. Today I had lunch with Claudette and gave her an ARC of the book that she encouraged me to take out out of the drawer and write.
This afternoon it was back to the Writing Lair for more revisions, revisions, revisions on WANT TO GO PRIVATE? but this evening I escaped for the Holiday Festivities of the Lesser Fairfield County Blog n Grog Appreciation Society. It was fun to see Kevin of Always Home and Uncool, Joey K of Joey K's place, Elizabeth McCarthy of Aetheria Relaxation Spa, Irene Hahn of Stamford History,Malerie Yolen-Cohen of Stamford on the Cheap", Anne Flounders and others!
We met at Monster B's in Stamford, known for its monster selection of beers. I had to have one of the beers simply because of its name - Criminally Bad Elf.
Fortunately, the beer was actually pretty good too! But wouldn't Criminally Bad Elf make a great name for a band?