Summer's over, kids are back at school, and I am sharpening my pencils in preparation for the new year. (I still think in terms of school years, so life begins again in September.)

I began September by pressing




It felt SO good. The new book is a retelling of Shakespeare's OTHELLO and is called BLACK BOY. Set on an American school playground c.1974, it features an 11-year-old boy named Osei, a girl named Dee, her friend Mimi, and the school bully Ian. It is also a nostalgia trip for me, including Big Buddy Bubble Gum, Now and Laters, the Jackson Five, Roberta Flack, Hot Wheels, and bell bottoms with flowered embroidery on the hem. Ah, the 1970s...

Now of course I have editing to do, because a book always needs editing. You can work all you like on your own, but it's only when someone has read it that you know if it works or not. And there is always something that needs fixing.

My editor Clara and I will be talking and working over the next several weeks, and to help her along I am sending her this today:




Wouldn't it be great to have a branded pencil for every subject I write about?

Speaking of which...while I await editorial instructions about BLACK BOY, I'm taking a little research trip to Winchester for my next book. I will try to bring back something branded and post a photo so you'll know what the subject will be!

Happy Autumn...