Gray day

It is gray and soggy and cold outside today. And it was hard to wake up, but I did it and was greeted by a very happy surprise: Teensreadtoo.com posted an interview I did with their Book Club a while ago. I think it’s pretty fun. You can check it out at http://trtbookclub.blogspot.com/2010/04/visit-with-lisa-ann-sandell.html.

Also, I’m getting excited because tomorrow I have a gallery opening for a sculpture I’ve been working on since January. I will be posting pictures later on. Meanwhile, tonight, I’ll take pictures of the new piece I’m working on–a girl basketball player. Full figures are HARD!! I’ll let y’all in on the process.

I’m going to be the Writer-in-Residence starting in May for the lovely readergirlz. Those women rock–they are just the best. Incredibly talented, absolutely the nicest people, and so supportive of the YA writing community. I was blown away when they invited me, and so I’m super psyched to start guest blogging–and I may even try shedding my technophobia and experiment with vlogging!!–for them next month. Meanwhile, you can check out the awesome Elizabeth Scott, their current Writer-in-residence: http://readergirlz.com/residence.html

Hope everybody is doing well and enjoying better spring weather than we are in NYC!

NYC Teen Author Festival Madness!

I know…it’s been a while. A few months is all, right? Well, I’m sorry. I’ve been busy though. Busy trying to start a new book. Busy with work and apartment renovations and…well, mostly work.

But I’m still here, and I’m very excited because next week is the New York City Teen Author Festival!

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You can view the complete and fabulous schedule on Facebook to see where all of your favorite authors will be: http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=56488781586&ref;=ts

I’ll be making a few appearances. First, on Friday 3/19, I’ll be signing at the Scholastic Store (557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012) around 1 o’clock. And on Friday afternoon, I’ll be at the NYCTAF Symposium, which is being held at the South Court of the main branch of the New York Public Library (42nd Street and Fifth Avenue) at 3:30. I’ll be on a panel with some amazing authors, including one of my heroes Alice Hoffman, talking about grief, loss, and the YA novel.

Then on Sunday, 3/21, I’ll be signing at Books of Wonder (18 W. 18th Street) at 4:15pm. This is a mega-signing; there will be a ton of YA authors signing between 2 and 6pm. So, please come to any or all of these events, say hi, and bring lots of friends! I can’t wait to see you!

Residing here

Hi guys,
It’s finally Friday, and I am so excited to have ahead of me a weekend with weather that is supposed to be sunny and warm and glorious. I was going to ride my bike to work today, but was super bummed out to find that both of my tires are flat. Boo! I have to take it to the shop tomorrow. Strangely, though, my back tire was flat a few months ago and I’d gotten it fixed and the whole thing tuned up. There must be some evil air-sucking spirit hanging around my bike.

Meanwhile, I’ve had a bit of excitement this week with some fun publicity stuff:

First, you should check out the readergirlz website–I mean, you should check it out anyway, because it’s awesome, and the readergirlz divas are awesome, and they’ve created an awesome YA community. But as I mentioned in my last post, they were kind enough to invite me to be their author-in-residence for the summer, and I just posted my first vlog. it’s not just my first vlog for the readergirlz. I mean, it’s my first vlog ever. You can see it here: http://www.readergirlz.com/residence.html and I will take you on a short tour of my neighborhood parks and gardens!

And then, my mom just called me to say that she happened upon a magazine that we Delawareans favor called Delaware Today and saw that I was one of their featured summer reading authors. Very cool! The link to that article is here: http://www.delawaretoday.com/Delaware-Today/June-2010/Write-in-Time/index.php?cparticle=5&siarticle;=4#artanc

I hope y’all have a great weekend!

Truckin’

It’s been a whirlwind of a week, and yet, somehow, I kept thinking that every day was Friday. Including today! Maybe it’s because I am looking forward to the long weekend. Or maybe it’s because BEA (Book Expo America) is going on this week, and I always look forward to that. Well, I stopped by the Javitz convention center yesterday and took a stroll through the booths. I have to admit, I was a bit let down. It felt small, and many publishers had downsized their booths. Many skipped it all together this year. There were hardly any galleys to take, hardly, even, any books on display. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next year, I guess.

Meanwhile, the lovely Cynthia Leitich Smith was kind enough to feature an interview with me on her Cynsational blog. You can check it out here: http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/2010/05/author-feature-lisa-ann-sandell.html
I was so excited to meet Cynthia earlier this year, when I went down to Houston for an SCBWI conference. She is a tremendous writer and a wonderful person, through and through. Thanks, Cynthia!

Hope y’all have a great weekend!

About Me

I was born in Wilmington, Delaware. I don’t remember much about it from that time, because soon thereafter, my father, a physical chemist, was transferred by his company to a plant in West Virginia, and we spent four years living on the Maryland – West Virginia border, where my younger sister, Sharon, was born. All I can recall about life there is the huge fields behind our house, the majestic Appalachian mountains, the rows of corn my mom and dad planted in our backyard, the rabbits that hid under our porch, and riding on the front of the tractor with my dad, as he cut the grass in our backyard.

When I was four years old we moved back to Wilmington, and we stayed put there. Life in Wilmington was pretty ordinary, I guess. We lived in a neighborhood where the kids rode bikes to the creek and played together till dusk. I went to school, year after year, with more or less the same kids.

All my life I was terribly shy, and talking to boys was pretty much out of the question. I mostly occupied my own world, anyway. My sister will tell you that I was forever buried in books; when we were little, she’d beg me to play with her, to please put down my book and pay attention to her. But I loved books. Some of my favorites: From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg; A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle; the Nancy Drew mysteries; Stephen King’s scary thrillers, like Misery and Pet Sematary; anything by Judy Blume, especially BlubberDeenie, and Are You There God? It’s Me, MargaretTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers; and I could just keep on going.
I also began scribbling my own short stories in a spiral bound notebook I kept. At first they were about a black and white cat named Alley Cat, who was modeled on my cat Sonny, and his junkyard friends. As I got older, I began to write about a girl who was afraid of missing out on life. By high school, a few of my teachers, to whom I will be forever grateful, helped me to find refuge and hope in my writing. Books and writing were a haven for me.

After graduating from high school, I moved to Philadelphia to go to college at the University of Pennsylvania. College was a really cool and exciting time for me. First, it was the first time I was truly on my own, and second, I loved my classes. I studied medieval and Renaissance English literature, focusing on the legends of King Arthur — and it was through those classes and papers that I found the first inspirations for my book Song of the Sparrow.

During the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college, I spent three months living in Israel. It was an amazing experience being there, not knowing anyone else, working with my hands. Israel is a beautiful country, in spite of the political mess. I fell in love with it, and it was this summer that provided the basis for my first novel, The Weight of the Sky. When I returned to Philadelphia the following September, I was homesick for Israel. I missed it terribly, and so I began writing poems about it. One of the poems grew and grew, until it turned into the prologue for a novel. That prologue is no longer a part of The Weight of the Sky, but pieces of the original poetry can still be found in the book.

After I graduated from college, with a degree in English literature, I moved back to Israel. I got an internship at an English news magazine called The Jerusalem Report, and I lived in an apartment in the neighborhood of Rehavia in Jerusalem. Most of my friends there were journalists, and I loved my Jerusalem life, sitting in quiet cafes, traveling to different parts of the country to visit friends, shopping and haggling in Jerusalem’s old Arab market. I loved the colorful patchwork of life there, but I realized I couldn’t stay in Israel forever.

So, when my internship ended in 2000, I moved back to the United States. I found a job as a children’s books editor at a publishing house in New York City and have stayed here ever since. Traveling, riding my bike along the Hudson River, hanging out with my friends, sculpting, reading books, sitting at home and watching movies are a few of my favorite things.

I was born in Wilmington, Delaware. I don’t remember much about it from that time, because soon thereafter, my father, a physical chemist, was transferred by his company to a plant in West Virginia, and we spent four years living on the Maryland – West Virginia border, where my younger sister, Sharon, was born. All I can recall about life there is the huge fields behind our house, the majestic Appalachian mountains, the rows of corn my mom and dad planted in our backyard, the rabbits that hid under our porch, and riding on the front of the tractor with my dad, as he cut the grass in our backyard.

When I was four years old we moved back to Wilmington, and we stayed put there. Life in Wilmington was pretty ordinary, I guess. We lived in a neighborhood where the kids rode bikes to the creek and played together till dusk. I went to school, year after year, with more or less the same kids.

All my life I was terribly shy, and talking to boys was pretty much out of the question. I mostly occupied my own world, anyway. My sister will tell you that I was forever buried in books; when we were little, she’d beg me to play with her, to please put down my book and pay attention to her. But I loved books. Some of my favorites: From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg; A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle; the Nancy Drew mysteries; Stephen King’s scary thrillers, like Misery and Pet Sematary; anything by Judy Blume, especially BlubberDeenie, and Are You There God? It’s Me, MargaretTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers; and I could just keep on going.
I also began scribbling my own short stories in a spiral bound notebook I kept. At first they were about a black and white cat named Alley Cat, who was modeled on my cat Sonny, and his junkyard friends. As I got older, I began to write about a girl who was afraid of missing out on life. By high school, a few of my teachers, to whom I will be forever grateful, helped me to find refuge and hope in my writing. Books and writing were a haven for me.

After graduating from high school, I moved to Philadelphia to go to college at the University of Pennsylvania. College was a really cool and exciting time for me. First, it was the first time I was truly on my own, and second, I loved my classes. I studied medieval and Renaissance English literature, focusing on the legends of King Arthur — and it was through those classes and papers that I found the first inspirations for my book Song of the Sparrow.

During the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college, I spent three months living in Israel. It was an amazing experience being there, not knowing anyone else, working with my hands. Israel is a beautiful country, in spite of the political mess. I fell in love with it, and it was this summer that provided the basis for my first novel, The Weight of the Sky. When I returned to Philadelphia the following September, I was homesick for Israel. I missed it terribly, and so I began writing poems about it. One of the poems grew and grew, until it turned into the prologue for a novel. That prologue is no longer a part of The Weight of the Sky, but pieces of the original poetry can still be found in the book.

After I graduated from college, with a degree in English literature, I moved back to Israel. I got an internship at an English news magazine called The Jerusalem Report, and I lived in an apartment in the neighborhood of Rehavia in Jerusalem. Most of my friends there were journalists, and I loved my Jerusalem life, sitting in quiet cafes, traveling to different parts of the country to visit friends, shopping and haggling in Jerusalem’s old Arab market. I loved the colorful patchwork of life there, but I realized I couldn’t stay in Israel forever.

So, when my internship ended in 2000, I moved back to the United States. I found a job as a children’s books editor at a publishing house in New York City and have stayed here ever since. Traveling, riding my bike along the Hudson River, hanging out with my friends, sculpting, reading books, sitting at home and watching movies are a few of my favorite things.

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Song of the Sparrow

The legends of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table have always been among my favorites to hear, watch, and read. He is one of the most celebrated literary figures of all time; Arthur and his knights have inspired hundreds of poems, stories, books, plays, and movies—from Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur to Monty Python’s Spamalot— spanning centuries. And the Lady of Shalott, is one of the most popular figures from this mythology. She is the unfortunate young woman who falls in love with Lancelot, only to die of a broken heart.

It was thrilling to have the opportunity to make a contribution to this canon, to write about my favorite characters. But, I also wanted to try to change something: As I read more and more stories about Arthur and his companions, and began to seriously study Arthurian lore, I started to notice that the girls and women in these stories were not always treated very kindly. At best, it seemed to me, they were damsels in distress who needed a man to rescue them, and at worse, they were chaperones of doom and destruction. This did not seem fair to me.

And so, I aimed to humanize the characters, to really scrutinize them with a twenty-first-century magnifying glass and imagine how they might actually have related to one another. As I imagined Elaine, the Lady of Shalott, who truly has suffered at the hands of male writers, I wanted to give her strength and power and relevance. And indeed, it is without a sword, that she manages to save her friends and loved ones.

I have always loved the romance and chivalry that fill the Arthurian stories, but the ideals of freedom and equality and justice are truly what make this mythology so important—and continually resonant. The stories of Arthur and his knights have given centuries of readers hope—hope for peace—and I can only wish that readers of this book take away the same hope.

From Song of the Sparrow…

I am Elaine
       daughter of Barnard of Ascolat.
       Motherless.
       Sisterless.
I sing these words to you now,
because the point of light grows smaller,
ever smaller now,
ever more distant now.
And with this song, I pray I may
push back the tides of war and death.
So, I sing these words
that this light, this tiny
ray of light and hope may live on.
I dare not hope that I
may live on too

I have a story called See Me

In this promtabulous collection featuring some of the best of today’s YA authors, including John Green, Cecily von Ziegesar, Aimee Friedman, Adrienne Maria Vrettos, and David Levithan.

Basically, I thought about the opposite of my prom experience, and what I really would have liked to have done, and wrote about that.