Last night I got the chance to see one of my favorite writers. Margaret Peterson Haddix was at Books & Co in Dayton last night to launch her new book, Children of Exile, which is the first in a new trilogy and her 38th book.
Children of Exile sounded so interesting as she described how she got the idea for it and read the first chapter. She said the idea came to her when she was at a publishing conference at a Disney property and there was a contrast between the very happy workers saying “Have a magical day!” and impatient hotel guests and a very sad book she had been reading at the time. The book is about a group of children that have been raised in an idyllic community, but not by their real parents. They are just told that it wasn’t safe for them with their parents. But now that the two oldest children have turned twelve, they’re all going back home. I can’t wait to get a chance to read this.
Haddix was my first favorite author. Her first novel, Running Out of Time, was the first book I remember truly loving and reading over and over. When I was in eighth grade, she came and spoke at my school and talked about how cool it is that she gets to tell stories for a job. And that was when I decided that that’s what I wanted to do with my life too. I walked up to her after her presentation and shyly told her that she was my favorite author and asked her to sign my books.
And last night I got to go up to her and I asked her to sign the dozen other of her books I’ve collected since then. And I got to tell her that she made me want to write, and now, ten years later, my first novel is about to come out.
Haddix is one of the friendliest authors I’ve met, and I highly recommend all of her books! Also, her advice for writers: read a lot because it’s like cheating to become a better writer, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and make time in your day just to think.