My mother’s convent school

My mother was not surprised when, in 1939, her parents decided to take her out of the simple day school in Gibraltar in order to send her to Poles, a Catholic boarding school in Hertfordshire, England, but she always remained mystified by the timing. Why in April? she wondered out loud to me years later. Read More…

Following in My Mother’s Footsteps: A Trip to England

As many of my readers know, I’ve been researching my mother’s childhood in Gibraltar and England for a number of years. While she was still alive I traveled to Gib, as she always called it, to see firsthand what it was like to grow up on the Rock on the edge of the Mediterranean where Read More…

HARRIET THE SPY TURNS 50

I was thrilled when Random House asked me to contribute to the 50th anniversary edition of Harriet the Spy. 

Harriet M. Welsch is a girl who says what she wants (in her spy book) and defies all the dictums of her time.  She wears black, high topped sneakers and speaks the truth. I first Read More…

My Favorite Memoirs

So since I’ve been working on memoir pieces for the last four years and since I recently read this blog post on the impossibility of listing your favorite memoirs, I thought it was time to come up with my own list. After all, it’s the end of the year, the time of the BEST of Read More…

We need the Authors Guild now more than ever….

Dear Friends and Fellow Writers:

Please read this letter from Richard Russo.

If you’re a working writer, you need to join the Authors Guild. The support they have given me over the years in reviewing my children’s book contracts and answering my royalty questions has made an enormous difference. They taught me what I needed Read More…

Me and the NSA

I’m amused by the way everybody is freaked out about the NSA watching when we send an email and who we’re writing. I grew up in Washington, D.C., during the 1950s, the child of a political journalist.

We always assumed we were being watched, our phones tapped, our conversations recorded, our mail opened. My father  Read More…

How I wrote an essay and lived to tell the tale…

I’ve never been very good at essays.  I prefer to write stories with characters in them instead of essays where I feel I ought to come to some important conclusion. Even blog posts like this throw me. They don’t come easily. Perhaps it’s because my father, Stewart Alsop, was a columnist who wrote three 1,000 Read More…

The First of Three Mothers

I am losing three mothers this year.

My own mother died in November.  One of my best “book mothers”, Nina Ignatowicz, the editor I’d worked with for forty years, died in January. And my other “book mother,” Margery Cuyler,  a friend from college days and my other primary editor (The Castle Read More…

Waiting to Hear #2

I heard.

I received an intelligent, thoughtful, incisive first read on my new book, a memoir about my mother’s early life and her meeting my father in England during World War II.

Here’s what my first reader said.

I read this with great pleasure.

Hooray.

I would like more of you in the book, more Read More…

Blog Tour # 2

The blog tour continues.  What’s a blog tour? A blog tour gives those on the tour a chance to meet different authors by way of their blogs. The Next Big Thing began in Australia. Each week a different author answers specific questions about his or her upcoming book. The answers are posted on author’s blogs. Read More…