Posted by on Sep 20, 2016 in Uncategorized | 1 comment


I’m feeling a little braggy today about my friend Sarah L. Thomson’s  recently-published book, Deadly Flowers. It’s not just because she dedicated it to me and to our fellow writing group member, Anne Sibley O’Brien. It’s because it’s a really spectacular middle grade novel.

I remember one time not too long ago, the three of us were having a conversation about middle grade books–I think maybe we were talking about what publishers are looking for. I can’t remember exactly. But I lamented,”Must we all write the same book?” This got a laugh at the table, but we all understood the sentiment. When publishing is sliced into very specific marketing niches, you find yourself, as a writer, thinking about how well your book fits into that niche. There’s a certain amount of practicality to that, in terms of publication and marketing. But there’s a real risk, as well, of writing to conform to a standard. I sometimes wonder how Beverly Cleary’s brilliant classic Ramona the Pest, published in 1968, would fare in today’s publishing market. It’s clearly a middle grade novel, but its protagonist is five years old–surely a hard sell in today’s exacting market.

Anyway, this is all to say that Sarah did not write the same book as everyone else, or anyone else. Not only does she start with the bold premise of a girl ninja making her way alone in feudal Japan, and not only does she fill the book with instructive details about how to perform various ninja feats, she writes with spare, beautiful precision. Read the book. It’s a great read, and a great reminder that we’re all at our best when we write about what interests us, not what we think other people want to read.

One Comment

  1. Awww… *blush*

    That’s what I love about our writer’s group as well–whether we’re writing about ninjas or adventures dodging North Korean security forces or kids who don’t have go to school or who want desperately to be on game shows, we’re all writing about ideas that we love, that come from deep down. That’s what makes it all so interesting!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *