Gail Carson Levine

We went to The King's English bookstore this evening and had an enlightening experience listening to and meeting the author Gail Carson Levine.  I am thankful for Facebook because without it today I wouldn't have known that one of my daughter's favorite authors would be less than 5 miles from our home.  Gail Carson Levine has written delightful books such as Ella Enchanted, Ever, Fairest and 15 other books.
Em was nervous about meeting such a famous author as you can see in this photo.
Em was so nervous that she didn't say a word to Mrs. Levine while she was signing the books.
But Mrs. Levine was gracious enough to take a wonderful photo with Em after signing all four of the books we had brought.  She did this for every person who came through.  (Of course there were only 1/10th the amount of people at the book signing than there were when I went to have Ree Drummond sign The Pioneer Woman Cookbook last year).  She is a tiny woman and Em bent down so that she didn't tower over her. :)

I am so grateful for wonderful writers like Gail Carson Levine who write strong female characters.  During the question and answer session someone asked why things were so different between the book and movie version of Ella Enchanted and she said that she only had consulting rights on the movie - meaning that someone else wrote the movie script and she was able to give her two cents worth.  After she gave her opinions they had the right to listen or to disregard everything she said.  They disregarded her comments about "Why do you need an evil Uncle who has a snake?"  But they did listen to her about one thing that seemed important.  Apparently the script had several parts that were very degrading to woman and after Mrs. Levine pointed these out they were removed.  She was thankful for that and also thankful for all the people who have found her books as a result of the movie.  She also let us know that if any of us were movie producers, she has 16 other books that would make wonderful movies.

While we were waiting on the patio for the event to begin my daughters decided to go into the store to look at books.  As Em left the patio she passed through the doorway just as Mrs. Levine was coming in.  I could see the recognition in Em's face at who she was passing.  She was shocked and excited.  She immediately turned around and sat back in her seat.

Mrs. Levine gave a reading from the book she was promoting:  Fairies and the Quest for Never Land. 
She would stop as she was reading and ask if anyone knew what a certain thing she had just read meant.  She wanted to make sure the kids were understanding what she was reading.  Although the book she was promoting is a middle reader for 5 to 10 year olds, the majority of the girls there seemed to be junior high age like my girls or a little older. 
In answer to someones question she told a story about a creative writing class she took in high school.  The English teacher had written a comment on one of her stories that said something like "The problem is that you are too pedestrian."  She asked us what we thought that meant and several gave opinions.  She said that she was so mortified by the comment that she didn't have the courage to ask the teacher what he meant and as a result it was 20 years before she tried creative writing again.  She told us that if anyone ever writes a comment such as this on your story you should ask them what they mean and why they have this opinion.  And if they continue to criticize in a negative way do not give them anything more of yours to read.  But please KEEP WRITING.  The girls remembered these comments and were reviewing it with me in the car.  They both enjoy writing and I know they will remember her comments and they will keep writing.  I really think it's an experience we will always remember.


Jane Babcock said…
Thanks for sharing this experience. I will encourage my reading writing daughters and granddaughters to read this post.
Sylvia said…
Wow! This woman sounds very inspiring!
Anneliese said…
That's so awesome! I bet the girls had a wonderful time. I love her books and am very glad to know that she wasn't a fan of the way they changed the Ella Enchanted movie.
Melly Testa said…
So glad you and Em went! Such good words of wisdom, now to go to good reads and look her up!

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