Thank you, readers!

What a joy to talk with readers and potential readers of Imagining Katherine.  Yesterday I visited Lakelands Park Middle School and met with English classes in large groups and in a special creative writing session.  The students were filled with provocative questions, and I was inspired by the imagination and enthusiasm of the Lakelands Park writers.  Thank you Rui-Hung Tsai and Elissa Waldman for making this visit possible.

Today I worked with ESOL students at Blair High School as they began to draft short stories.  One of the students has been in the United States for only a few weeks, others for less than two years.  I was touched by the poignancy of their stories and their determination to succeed.  A special shout-out to Rafealla, Leona, Olly, Nathal, and their fabulous teacher Dr. Dana Simel.

My adult readers have been the greatest surprise.  While I set out to write a YA book, adult readers have seen the humor and challenges of their junior high years in Imagining Katherine.  During my visit to the Library of Congress Book Club, I was surprised by the intensity of the members’  recollections of their segregated school years.

Our shared stories and life experiences bring us together–young and not so young–and remind me that the diversity of our country is its greatest strength.


Lakelands Park Middle School, December 2015



  1. Narrow the scope of your story so that you have time and space to provide the details that give truth to your fiction.
  2. Constantly observe the world around you to collect details that you can access when writing.
  3. Remember emotions from the past and the physical correlatives of those emotions.  Allow yourself to face your emotions honestly.
  4. Draw on six senses when you write to give credibility:  sight, sound, touch, smell, taste, kinesthetic sense.  Kinesthetic sense is the internal physical sense of your body; for example, your rumbling gut, a piercing pain in your head, a stiff knee, shortness of breath.  Emotions are often attached to the kinesthetic sense.
  5. Everyday exercise your brain by dreaming.  The dreaming prepares you to write with specificity that feels truthful.