Saturday’s Seven: An Interview with Irene Latham

Welcome to a brand new feature of my blog in which I showcase authors, book sellers, librarians, teachers, bloggers, and publishing biz guests!  Woo hoo!












My first guest is the talented Irene Latham, author of Leaving Gee’s Bend (Putnam, 2010) , and a book of poems, What Came Before.  Irene and I are both members of the Tenners online support and promotional group.  We will be appearing on author panels at the Virginia Festival of the Book on March 20, 2010, in Charlottesville, Va., so please come see us!


Hi, Irene. What’s your favorite flower and why?

Oh, I love so many!  iStock_000006127321SmallBut if forced to choose, I’d say the azalea.  They are native to Alabama, and many folks use them to landscape, so come March and April, there are bursts of pink and white and red everywhere!  It’s a beautiful time to be in this state.

[FYI flower lovers:  in the language of flowers, azaleas mean temperance, or finding balance and self- control.]

 Is there a quotation you live by or have posted at your desk?

“Life is not about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”

 Which book do you wish you could live in?

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein.  (I mean, have you seen those drawings?  What fun!)


Who’s your favorite dead poet? (We don’t want to hurt the feelings of the living here!)

Kahlil Gibran.  I read The Prophet at least once a year.


What’s the most impressive dish you can cook?

Oh, I love to bake — lately, cakes.  A friend gave me a great recipe for Chocolate Chip Pound Cake, and I made it quite a few times over the holidays to give as a gift.  People seemed impressed….


What’s your favorite time of the day to write and why?

I love early mornings before the kids get up.  That’s definitely my most fertile time — something about the dark and the quiet and the way my mind is still operating near to that dream-state.

Quilts are both an actual part of your novel and a metaphor. How do you see quilts as a metaphor for life?

Every quilt tells a story.  And every single one of us has a story to tell — something that only we CAN tell, in our own unique, individual way, with our own particular style of stitching and piecing.

You can follow or find out more about Irene at  [Leaving Gee’s Bend is jetting its way to me as I write, so I’ll post my thoughts on that later.]

And her inspiring book trailer is here.  Thanks so much for stopping by, Irene!

Early Reviews for Forget-Her-Nots!!!

Thanks to all of the people who have blurbed about or WOW’d or read FHN already.  Here are some of the awesome reviews so far:

“Forget-Her-Nots is a rich and original debut by a very talented debut author that yet again proves what a fantastic year 2010 is going to be for YA…. In all, Forget-Her-Nots is a darling and enchanting read that I can’t wait to talk about with others!”

Lauren of Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf.

“Forget-Her-Nots was a great read with a wonderfully original premise. I loved learning about the Victorian language of flowers and what each variety was thought to mean – the feelings and behavior it might provoke.

There were beautifully written passages throughout the book, one flashback between Laurel and her mother a favorite of mine. Very enjoyable and totally appropriate for younger YA readers on up!”

Jen Nadol, author of  The Mark

“Like the petals of a rose, this book has layers of loveliness. The delicate and feminine cover adds to its beauty and will make a wonderful addition to any library.”

Christina Gonzalez, author of The Red Umbrella

“Very cute, original plot, and a fun read.”  Sharon of

“This book was amazing. I loved how White created something so unique.”

Sarah at Sarah’s Random Musings

“4.5 stars!”  – Cindy Pon, author of Silver Phoenix:  Beyond the Kingdom of Xia

“I love this book so far. It’s really addicting” and FIVE STARS  from Zoe of Zoe’s Book Reviews

“I’m one of the lucky ones to have been able to read this pre-published. It is a unique fantasy that will delight all readers with a compelling mystery and lots of fun romance! You will also come out learning a lot about the Victorian meaning to tussy mussies (or flower bouquets) that has stayed with me ever since I read the manuscript. If you love historical romance as well as contemporary YA plotlines, this is the book for you.”   – Pam Calvert, author of Princess Peepers and other books

Happy 2010!

I’m posting this a little early, because we’re headed out of town for some much-needed R & R, and I’m not sure what my internet conductivity will be.  Before 2009 comes to a close, I just want to thank all the awesome people who have helped me make it through a somewhat rocky year.

-My fabulous editors Virginia, Martha, and Sarah at Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins, who helped to shape Forget-Her-Nots into a novel I’m so proud of.  Happy 35th anniversary, Greenwillow!

– My art director at Greenwillow, Paul Zakris, who designed a beautiful package to hold my words.

-My agent, Steven Chudney, who has always had faith in the magic of the novel and my ability to write lovely and moving words.

– My three kids who keep me centered and sane.  They show me my best and worse self and even write me poems when I’m down.

– My husband, who gave me a room of my own and time to be there.

– My two sisters, brother, and Mom who have supported and loved me again and again.

– My great friends — Kathi, Margit, Carol, Carol (yup, there are two of them), Barbara, and Suzanne.  You all have provided amazing shoulders, ears, and hugs.

– The Tenners.  I’ve learned so much and had sooo much fun with all of you!  2010 will rock for books!

– My wonderful new crit partners, Denise, Pam, and Cyn, who have been invaluable to my WIP, String Theories, and who rock as writers themselves!

Vania, for designing amazing postcards and bookmarks I hope to send EVERYWHERE.

– The YA blogger community, especially everyone who’s W.O.W.’d  Forget-Her -Nots and added me to their Debut Challenge lists!

Thanks everybody!  I can’t wait for 2010 to begin.

Happy Agent Day!!

Just want to give a special shout-out to my awesome agent, Steven Chudney of The Chudney Agency!!  Steven truly believes in the magic of FORGET-HER-NOTS, and I hope for many happy years together!  Thanks, Steven!!

(And thanks to Kody Keplinger, author of THE DUFF, for suggesting this day. 🙂