I first met Alisa Libby at the New England SCBWI conference in Nashua, New Hampshire in 2009. I had signed up for her workshop because I thought it would help me with an idea I had been/am banging around in my head; her class was on researching history/events in order to write a historical fiction novel. The class was about weaving in those details—making the facts feel integral to the story rather than merely dropped in.
Alisa is a great presenter! (She says that she’s nervous, but no one else would know it!) And MAN! Does this girl know her stuff! She is an incredible researcher—the scope of it is amazing while the details of it are…well, just as amazing!
Alisa inspired me that day, so I bought both of her books; I have a teenage daughter that *loves* historical fiction. She devoured both of Alisa’s books immediately and has since deemed them hers—not mine! So, because of that meeting a year and a half ago, and my daughter’s enthusiasm for her books, I asked Alisa if she would be kind enough to contribute something for Mentor Monday. She said, “Yes!”
Here is Alisa:
I would love to share with you a blurb about my mentor for your blog! Without further ado, here you go:
My Dad was an artist. We were always involved in some project: playing musical instruments, building model airplanes, catching fruit flies and putting them on slides for my microscope. Most of all, we talked about the creative process: the frequent frustration punctuated by moments of elation. My father carved the head of a cat out of a block of stone, a herd of horses from a block of wood. He created a model violin so small you could fit it in your pocket. I watched all of this in astonishment – a miracle of art and creation taking place in my very own home. He read all of my stories and poems and offered advice and critique. We commiserated over the difficulties of getting the beautiful images in our heads to translate onto the page (or wood, or stone, or canvas). He had a wonderful ability to find humor in the midst of these trials, and he taught me to be excited about the creative process itself – the actual act of sitting down and writing – instead of focusing solely on the final product. My father died over 12 years ago, but I still carry these lessons with me. I often think of him in moments of frustration, inspiration, and elation.