I am in the process of reworking three of my out of print books to bring them out as print-on-demand (pod) books and ebooks later on this summer. The Other Elizabeth, The Stone in the Meadow and The Haunting at Cliff House were originally published in the 80s and they stayed in print until just a few years ago. One of the (many) advantages of writing for young people is a long shelf life. I’ll be presenting them here when they come out with fabulous new covers by the talented artist, Christopher Steininger. In the meantime, several of my other books are already available on Kobo and Kindle.
I hadn’t reread these three books for years and I wondered what I would find. What I found were good stories, not badly written. I had to update them, of course—added cell phones and ipods, upgraded typewriters to computers and deleted about a trazillion adverbs. Still, not bad. It was fun getting back in touch with Elizabeth, Jenifer and Alison. I had to tweak them a bit, too—12 to 13 year olds are a tad more sophisticated these days—but they remained essentially the same people as they were when I first met them.
With each book, as I worked on it, my mind couldn’t help but go back to the circumstances surrounding my life when I wrote it. The Other Elizabeth was my second book, finally published four years after the great triumph of getting my first book published. It was a shock to have to go through years of rejection slips after I had made that first sale. I hadn’t thought it would be so hard anymore. Thought doors had opened for me. Not so. I had to push them open all over again. The work wasn’t wasted, though. I rewrote and rewrote after each coffee-stained and dog-eared version of the manuscript was returned to me and, inevitably, the manuscript improved enough to be publishable. (Those were pre-computer days. Manuscripts had to be typed out and retyped every time I made a new submission, and we could only submit to one publisher at a time.) After that, life did get easier and I have been publishing pretty regularly ever since.
My first book was published in 1977. Thirty-three years of my life are in that book and the twenty-two books that I have written since. I’m almost looking forward to the others going out of print so I can bring back those years, too.