Diana Renn

Mysteries that Matter

Author

With apologies to Joyce Carol Oates for playing with the title of her classic short story (which has nothing to do with the actual content of this post), I thought I’d take a moment to catch up here, since I seem to be everywhere but on my own blog these days! I’m mostly busy ferrying my young son to various summer activities and amusements, but in between, I’ve managed to work on revising my third book, Blue Voyage, and to get out for some fun Latitude Zero events. I’ve also left a few signed copies of Latitude Zero (and Tokyo Heist) in my wake, so if you’re interested, you can pop by any of these Boston-area stores or give them a call — they’ll happily ship signed copies.

Where I’ve Been . . .

So since I last posted, I’ve been to . . .

  • Buttonwood Books (Cohasset, MA). This was such a fun panel event with writing pals A.C. Gaughen (The Lady Thief), Leah Cypess (Death Sworn), and Wendy Wunder (The Museum of Intangible Things). We had a great crowd, at least half of which were teen girls! This made us SO HAPPY. It is hard to get kids out to bookstore events in the summer — believe me, we know we’re competing against the beach and any number of activities. (We might kind of want to be at the beach ourselves). But these girls came out on a gorgeous evening, asked really sharp questions, and were just an absolute pleasure to talk with. So were their moms. Thanks, Buttonwood, for a great event!! (And a few signed copies of all our books can still be found there!) 
    Buttonwood Books panel (L-R): Wendy Wunder, me hanging on A.C. Gaughen’s every word, A.C. Gaughen, and Leah Cypess. (Thanks Kevin Gaughen & A.C. Gaughen for letting me swipe your instagram shot; please don’t sue me!)
  • Brookline Booksmith (Brookline, MA). Guerrilla booksigning. They kindly let me sign their stock and didn’t ask me for ID. So signed Latitude Zeros are there for the taking! (Well, buying, not taking. You know what I mean).
    Signed copies at Brookline Booksmith! Bonus sticker! So cool!
  • Barnes and Noble (Burlington, MA). Guerrilla booksigning. Quite a few signed copies there, in the “New Teen Fantasy and Adventure” section, front and center!
    Keeping good company at Barnes & Noble!

I’ve also been lurking about online, and can be found on these excellent blogs, both of which offer giveaways of a signed Latitude Zero — in case you’re strapped for cash, you can swing by and take your chances here!

  • I Am a Reader. I’m guest posting about research and novels that inspired Latitude Zero, and there’s a giveaway on there for a signed copy.
  • Gina Damico’s blog. My author pal Gina has a brief interview with me, in which I talk about Latitude Zero (shocker!), as well as coffee, the national bird of Ecuador, and SpongeBob. If you’re sick of hearing me yak about Latitude Zero, at least do yourself a favor and swing by Gina’s blog and read it, all the archives, in its entirety, yes I’m serious, because it’s brilliant and funny (just like her novels) and I guarantee it will leave your head in a different place when you stop. (And that’s a good thing).

Where I am going . . . 

Next week I’m off to NYC!!!! I’ll be at the Jefferson Market Library on Wednesday August 6, 6:00 PM, in the Teen Author Reading Night. Here’s the line-up:

Patty Blount – Some Boys
E. Lockhart – We Were Liars
Elisa Ludwig – Pretty Sly
Diana Renn –  Latitude Zero
Lindsay Ribar – The Fourth Wish
Amy Spalding – Ink is Thicker Than Water
Mary G. Thompson – Evil Fairies Love Hair

If you’re near NYC, come out and join us!

(Um, is anyone actually in New York City in August? Anyone? Anyone? . . . .)

One of the best things about this writing journey so far has been emerging from my writing cave and connecting with other people through a shared love of the written word. So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the power of words to connect people, and I’ve been thinking about the importance of voice.

Last night I had the privilege of meeting ten amazing young women with very strong voices. I was a judge for the GLOW Boston 2012 Ignite Change Essay Contest, along with fellow YA authors Hilary Weisman Graham, Lauren Morrill, Gina Rosati, and Gina Damico. All ten finalists were honored at an Awards Banquet at Maggiano’s Restaurant. The prizes the girls’ received included scholarship money, books, and — for every girl — a brand new netbook. Each finalist was also paired with a writing mentor to personally help her in the process of realizing the power of her own voice. You can read more about all of the finalists here.

Boston GLOW stands for Girls’ Leadership, Organized Women. The mission of this small but mighty nonprofit organization is to foster opportunities for women of all ages to become empowered community leaders and active, engaged world citizens. The IGNITE Change Contest, which began in 2010, encourages teen girls to find their voice and make a call for change through writing. This year’s essay contest asked them to describe a problem in their community and come up with an actionable plan for solving it.

As a judge, I was impressed by the creativity of the ideas and the passion behind them. The girls wrote about a diverse range of topics, such as emotional bullying, domestic violence, and self-esteem issues. They discussed girls’ mentoring groups in schools, programs that might offer mothers a chance to recharge and regain their sense of self, and the need for more books in libraries featuring girls and women of color. Solutions were articulately, persuasively presented. I came away from the essays feeling hopeful, knowing that girls were wrestling not just with these problems but with potential solutions. That hopeful feeling was compounded last night as I sat among the young authors, in a room buzzing with energetic conversations. As I watched each girl step up and be honored, and as I met their proud families and friends, I felt that the future was in that room. Change truly begins with ideas and words, words ventured on paper and then shared with a wider audience.

YA author A.C. Gaughen is one of the key organizers of GLOW, and I’m so grateful to have been invited to read these essays and to meet so many inspiring and powerful women!

How do words connect you to other people? How do you think reading and writing can ignite change?