On Saturday October 2nd I’ll be in Providence Rhode Island for the New England Independent Booksellers Association. This is home turf for me, so I’m totally excited. My wonderful publisher, Chronicle Books, will be giving away books, signed by MOI! So stop by, I would love to meet you.
Archives for August 2010
Prisoners in the Palace gets this review from Indie Bookseller, Megan Graves at Hooray for Books in Alexandria Virginia.
“After her parents are killed in a tragic accident, 16-year-old Liza must set aside the life she once knew. The young girl’s devastation is doubled when she discovers that her parents left behind some sizable debts, and she must leave her pampered existance behind and find some way of supporting herself. As luck would have it, the sheltered Princess Victoria is seeking a new maid. Once accustomed to being served, Liza is thrust into the position of servant. MacColl’s debut novel is a delightful taste of Victorian life and the contrasting worlds of the privileged and those who serve them.”
Today I heard on the news about a lady who works, actually worked, no maybe will work again, at the Department of Agriculture. She’s a black woman who grew up in the deep south and witnessed many inequities against the black community. Twentyfour years ago she worked for a non-profit counseling farmers who were about to lose their farms. Most of the clients were black. One day, a white farmer came in. This lady remembers how she was reluctant to help them at first. Eventually, she realized that this man needed help just as much as any poor black farmer, and the fight wasn’t Black v. White — it was against poverty. She told this story at a NAACP dinner.
A right wing site, BigGovernment.com took the video of this speech (about redemption and a journey towards tolerance) and edited it down to where she sounded like a bigot. The site released it as proof that the NAACP permits racism in their ranks. The lady was fired by her boss. The next day the complete video is released — her boss, the white house, the whole liberal media has egg on their collective faces. She has been offered her job back and maybe even another job promoting racial relations at the USDA. It’s infuriating that a longtime employee, of whatever political persuasion or race, can’t count on her boss to get the whole story. But maybe we’ve all learned a lesson about getting the facts before we jump to conclusions.
Oddly, I’ve been encountering the same problem in my research about Emily Dickinson. We all know the story of a reclusive lady in white — glimpsed infrequently, the “myth of Amherst.” Her fifteen hundred poems were discovered hidden in her maid’s trunk after her death. Her sister, Lavinia, recognized that the poems were important and asked a family friend, Mabel Todd Higgins to help prepare the poems for publication. Apparently Lavinia meant she would like Mabel to recopy the poems (Emily’s handwriting was notoriously hard to read). Mabel, who eventually became Emily’s brother’s mistress, not only recopied the poems, but edited them as well. She corresponded privately with the publisher and when the poems were published, who was listed as a co-editor? None other than Mabel. Mabel and her daughter became the guardians of the Emily Dickinson legend. Mabel took the story on the road on the lecture circuit.
The ironic thing? Mabel never even met Emily! Not once. She hovered outside the Homestead (Emily’s house) and tried to meet her but Emily proved too elusive. But that didn’t stop Mabel from hijacking Emily’s reputation and making her own career.
Infuriating! Has anyone hijacked your reputation lately?
I’ve been asked to be on a YA panel at the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association this fall in Dearborn, MI. I’ll do the panel then a booksigning. How exciting! What would we do without the independent booksellers?
UPDATE: GLIBA was truly fun. I got to hear Mary Doria Russell who is amazing! The GliBA’s YA Literature panel featured Rhonda Stapleton (Pucker Up, Simon Pulse); Michaela MacColl (Prisoners in the Palace, Chronicle); Kat Falls (Dark Life, Scholastic); and J.T. Dutton (Stranded, HarperTeen).