SCBWI talk at Mills College

A terrific day today. I did the keynote at SCBWI Norcal meeting: UnMask Your Character: Reveal Your Story. A wonderful group of people, wonderful speakers. We were on the beautiful, serene campus of Mills College in Oakland, which right away made everyone want to give up their usual lives and go live on campus in a dorm. Gretchen Hirsch, associate editor at HarperCollins gave a great talk on first pages she likes and why, and Eric Murphy of Erin Murphy Literary Agence talked about queries that work for her and those that don't. Both of them were smart and funny. I also moderated a YA panel with Carrie Watson, author of Quad, and Leigh Purcill, author of Love Meg.
Here's a nice (OK, a little bit blurry) shot of Gretchen, where you can get a feel for how cool she is. She like YA novels that are a little bit dark. In case you're looking for someone to query, she also has that excellent editor trait of being both enthusiastic and very tactful.

Huge thanks to
Margaret Speaker Yuan and Colette Weil Parrinello who did tons of heavy lifting to make the day work so smoothly. My only regret is that I had to leave early, and missed the afternoon speakers.