My writing trip, part 1

I am long past due writing about my trip to Utah. The end of March I went up to teach a couple of writing classes at the LDStorymakers conference, do a school visit (Brockbank Junior High Rocks!) and in general hang out with writers. (Thus validating that I’m not odd, I’m just artistic.)

Shannon Hale put together a lunch with some of the Utah children’s writers. Shannon is tres cool, by the way. She is so cool that Mattel wanted to make Barbie dolls out of some of her book characters. Forget the New York Times bestseller list. I will know I’ve succeeded in life when they make a Barbie doll in my image.
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Anyway, I finally got to meet Mike Tunnell at the lunch, whose book Wishing Moon, I’d just read. For those of you who want YA novels without any content which could someday get it banned, this is a good one.

I also got a real kick out of meeting Nathan Hale, and not just because his picture book, The Devil You Know, is going to be turned into a really fun movie which may put him on the Barbie speed dial. No, I liked talking to Nathan because he shares an editor with me—the mighty bow-tied one. So we sat around talking about editor woes.

“Does Tim ever return your emails?” Nathan asked me.

“He answers most of them,” I said, “but I don’t think he reads them through all of the way.”

I did not share any examples with Nathan, as he didn’t seem to need proof, but I will share with you, my loyal blog readers, a prime example.

Last Christmas I happened upon the perfect gift for my editor at Walker and since I didn’t want to play favorites, I bought something for Tim (who is now my Putnam editor) too. I bought it from a catalog so I knew it would just show up at his office without explanation. Since this was a gift that really needed a preface, I wrote him an email about it. This is an actual excerpt:

Hi Tim . . . I found something for you to wear to all of those writers’ conferences where you are basically treated like some sort of Elvis in a roomful of adoring groupies. But you’d better print out this email and put it somewhere you can see it or when you get my package you’ll be like, “Why in the heck did Janette send this to me?”

Now given the email instructions you would think with he would at least remember that there was something a little different or odd or that he needed to remember about my gift. But no. A week later when he received the T-shirt that read: Your Dreams Have Been Answered—I’m here, he called me up. He said, “Soooo Janette . . .” in this hesitant, unsure, are-you-crazy sort of voice, “I got your gift . . . I’m just calling to see if I understand why you sent it . . .”

It would have served him right if I had said, “Well Tim, this is my subtle was of telling you I’m in love with you, and I hope you can support me and my five children.”

But that would have made the rest of the phone conversation really awkward, so instead I let out a disgruntled sigh and said, “Don’t you ever read my emails?”

On the bright side, I bet he’ll read any emails I send him before next Christmas.


  1. Enna Isilee
    April 7, 2007 at 3:54 pm

    Ah! You and Shannon together! What I would have given to be there.

    I wanted to come to the LDSstorymakers so bad! But I had just spent almost $100 to see Stephenie Meyer. And I didn’t hear about LDSstorymakers until after that. I just couldn’t afford it.

    P.S. My mom said she e-mailed you. Did you get it?

  2. Janette Rallison
    April 7, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    There’s always next year for the LDStorymakers. It’s a fun time. (Which is what happens when people who are a little bit crazy get together.)

    I got your mom’s email and emailed her back. Did she not get my email? Let me know if she didn’t and I’ll resend mine.


  3. Kimberley Griffiths Little
    April 7, 2007 at 7:20 pm

    Hey Janette, I’ve recently discovered your blog. Don’t know if you remember emailing with me about a year or so ago . . .anyhoo, tell me more about the LDS storymakers conference – sounds wonderful!
    I’m speaking next week at our Institute’s Friday Forum and I’m taking books by LDS authors who are publishing in the mainstream arena, your books, Shannon Hale, Mette Harrison, and Stephenie Meyers as examples. Should be fun! I’m borrowing Orson Scott Card’s title: A Storyteller in Zion. A great book, if you haven’t read it before.

  4. Kimberley Griffiths Little
    April 7, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    P. S. That was a hilarious story about your editor and the gift! I’m sure his eyes bugged out, palms went sweaty, throat dry, wondering if you were totally nuts!

  5. Janette Rallison
    April 8, 2007 at 8:04 pm

    I think my editor frequently worries whether I’m completely nuts. It’s good to keep him wondering, at least that’s my philosophy.

    The LDStorymakers conference was awesome! But I’ll blog more about that later. Good luck on your presentation.

  6. Kimberley Griffiths Little
    April 9, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    Hey, when does your new book come out? Can I do an interview with you for my new Enchanted Friday author series? That would be awesome.
    Looking forward to your Part 2, too.
    btw–I answered your TANTALIZE question on my blog. 🙂

  7. Janette Rallison
    April 10, 2007 at 9:09 am

    How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-boyfriend comes out June 21 and Revenge of the Cheerleaders comes out Oct 2nd.

    I’d be happy to do an interview for you. (Although keep in mind that I lie for a living . . .)

  8. Kimberley Griffiths Little
    April 10, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    I will put you in the queue for June! Thanks! And looking forward to reading your new ones.

  9. Heather B. Moore
    April 13, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    What a funny experience with your editor. I guess they are people too (in contrast to all the rumors I’ve heard).

  10. Anonymous
    April 20, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    I’m a young unofficial ‘author’. I’ve written several books, but I don’t know how to get them published. Help?

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