In the early 1800s, a five-story milking house and barn was built in West Chester, Pa., packed with cozy nooks, creaking stairways and stone walls. Today, it’s known as Baldwin’s Book Barn, a used and rare bookstore that carries thousands of old titles, maps and prints.
Baldwin’s is the best kind of used bookstore. You have to duck your head from low walls, slide narrowly between towering stacks, and patiently tilt your head to siphon through the spines. It was here that I found a true treasure: Masako Matsuno’s Taro and the Tofu, published in 1962.
There’s a semi-regular Facebook game that asks people to list ten books that have stayed with them in some way. The rules: Don’t think too much about it and don’t worry about being “un-literary.” Just list books that left a lasting impression.
[As a sidenote: You should never worry about being "un-literary"].
I decided to turn my list of ten books into a blog post instead of a Facebook post, because I have a booknerdy blog and it’s the perfect place to release such a list in all its glory.
Once upon a time I wrote a book about big dreams, the occasional suckiness of middle-school life, and learning how to be yourself by stepping into the great unknown. By some stroke of super-radness, HarperCollins decided they wanted to publish it. Being the wise publishing gods that they are, they figured it should have a cover, so they sent the book to Sylvie Le Floch, who has designed book covers for HC/Greenwillow for more than twenty years. Then: Voila! My book had a cover!
My writer friend Maria DeVivo tagged me in the Meet My Character Blog Tour. (Thanks, Maria!)
The Meet My Character Blog Tour gives writers a chance to highlight the main character of a recent work. For my post, I’d like to introduce you to the main character of my debut novel Blackbird Fly, which is scheduled for release in April 2015. (Thanks, HarperCollins/Greenwillow!)
Settle in as I make introductions using the tour’s prearranged questions.
1) What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person?
I was born and raised in America. (Born in Kansas and raised in Louisiana, to be exact.) There weren’t many Filipinos in my school. I’ve never shared a classroom with one in my life, except maybe in college, where classes were too big to notice. But when I was a little girl, I noticed. Believe me. You always notice when you’re the Other.