Ordinarily, I wouldn’t plan on abandoning my family for writing retreats on back to back weekends. But this was a special case. I committed to the Missouri SCBWI retreat last summer as one of their presenters. Then word came down that my agent’s retreat would be in Chicago this year. I knew it would take about two and a half hours to get from my garage to the parking garage. I had to go. It might never be this convenient again. Before this, EMLA (Erin Murphy literary agency) has had these events in New Mexico, Massachusetts, and Portland. When I told my husband about the situation, he immediately said, “Of course you’re going.”
And what a weekend. I had the chance to talk shop with an enormously talented group of twenty-seven writers. Ordinarily, I’m terrible with names. Since I already knew so many of the names, it was a matter of matching them to their faces. In the morning sessions, I learned a great deal about making good professional decisions. And goodness, the bedtime stories on Friday night were amazing.
During my one-on-one meeting with Erin, I received some encouragement to start playing with a young adult adventure novel set in Italy. At one point, I found myself calling it “THE DAVINCI CODE without the albino.” Well, that’s an exaggeration. But there will be chase scenes, clues, and red herrings in some interesting locations: Verona, Venice, Florence, and Rome. And as I start plotting and planning, I’ll have a great excuse to read adventure novels. It will be educational. Heh.