Friday, November 07, 2008

There’s a New Gang in Town: Austin’s Delacorte Dames and Dudes

By Edward Nawotka, Children's Bookshelf -- Publishers Weekly, 11/6/2008

Delacorte’s Austin authors:
(l. to r): Shana Burg, Margo Rabb, April Lurie, Varian Johnson and Jennifer Ziegler.

DDD—no, it’s not a heavy-duty new battery. It’s the acronym for an informal group of Austin, Tex., writers all published by Delacorte Press. “Delacorte Dames and Dudes was a little cumbersome to say,” says member Jennifer Ziegler (How Not to Be Popular, 2008), “so we shortened it.”

Other DDD members are April Lurie, author of The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine (2008), Margo Rabb, author of Cures for Heartbreak (2007), Shana Burg, author of A Thousand Never Evers (2008), and the latest member, Varian Johnson, whose novel Saving Maddie is forthcoming in 2010.

The writers realized they all had a publisher in common while attending meetings of the Austin Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. “That became a good excuse to get together,” says Ziegler.

Their first gathering took place June 10 at the Central Market grocery and has since moved to BookPeople, becoming a regular monthly fixture on the authors' calendars. Unlike other writing groups, the focus here is on professional development, rather than critiquing the work itself. “Most of the writers are already in a critique group,” says Ziegler, “This is more like a support group.”

The meetings have no formal agenda. “We talk about our very odd jobs.” says Ziegler. “It’s therapeutic, because other writers understand what you’re going through and can offer advice and encouragement.”

Ziegler says the group has shared information on speaking engagements—even recommending other members to interested parties when one was invited but not available. Later this month, DDD will carpool to San Antonio to attend the annual National Council of Teachers of English conference, and will even share hotel rooms.

Asked what would happen if someone in the group jumped to another publisher, Ziegler opted for plausible deniability: “Right now our main concern is figuring out how to initiate Varian,” she says.

No comments: