You may remember that I raved about No Passengers Beyond This Point by Gennifer Choldenko in this post from December 2010. The book is now on sale (as of Tuesday), and last night I was lucky enough to attend a wonderful dinner in Gennifer's honor in the private dining room of a restaurant in Bryn Mawr, PA, courtesy of Penguin Sales Rep extraordinaire, Dawn Zahorik. (Thanks, Dawn! You rock!)
Gennifer made a point of going around talking to everyone in the room (there were 12 of us besides Dawn and Gennifer). She was fascinating and friendly and funny. I really enjoyed meeting her. Can you tell?
I asked her about the origin of this fantasy, which is so different from her other books, and she said she'd had the idea for years, but never pursued it. She was busy writing Al Capone Does My Shirts and Al Capone Shines My Shoes, among other novels. But she confided that the very first novel she ever wrote (never published) was a fantasy! She also said that once she started writing this one, the words just poured out of her.
What about revisions? Gennifer said that unlike the Al Capone books, where the revision notes from her editor got shorter and shorter with each succeeding draft, for this one the revision notes got longer and longer!
When we'd finished eating, I asked Gennifer to sign my copy of the book and this is what she wrote:
What children's lit author would you most like to meet if you could?