The title of my new middle grade novel comes from this quote from the noted nineteenth century naturalist Thomas Wentworth Higginson:
‘I think that, if required on pain of death to name instantly the most perfect thing in the universe, I should risk my fate on _____________”
What did Higginson say? Of course you could look it up. OR you could finish the sentence with your own idea of universal perfection! This is a prompt I hope my readers and I will be having a lot of fun with once the book comes out–which is this June 1 (pre-order available now would be a very nice thing of you to do)!! I hope you’ll join in–after all, there can never be too much perfection.
…I can share the cover of my new middle grade novel, The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe, coming on June 1. Whoa. That’s less than three months away! Better hurry up and show you.
That’s Loah, our hero, on the right and her new friend, Ellis, on the left. Making cameo appearances: Aquaman, the baby Angora goat, Loah’s nameless goldfish, and one of the many, many birds who sing and fly through the pages.
This book was a whopper of a challenge. It started out as my (probably one and only) attempt at a historical novel. (Why didn’t someone remind me that would require research and accuracy?) Like my one and only attempt at writing a crime/mystery novel, which instead became the mystery of the heart that is Moonpenny Island, this new book changed and changed and changed again.
What stayed the same through all the re-visioning was my Loah, a stolid, sweet homebody whose idea of who she is and what she’s capable of is tested when her ornithologist mother disappears on an expedition. Other things I kept: the creaky old house, the ancient caretakers, the new friend with big troubles of her own. The little goat was a surprise.
Now the book is done, it’s tempting to say this is how it was meant to be. A writer wants to feel a certain inevitability about how her story turns out, but really, I can never quite believe in that. Stories, like our lives, can go an infinite number of ways, and by my age I know I’m not in control of all the twists and turns.
But here is my Loah, one of the favorite characters I’ve ever written. I’ll be posting more about her, including some of my favorite lines, here soon. Meanwhile, a toast to her and her friends! (And if you really want to help me celebrate, you can pre-order now!)