Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Into THIN AIR!

THIN AIR – Appearance/book-signing in Flagstaff - November 14th!

Interviewers always ask, "How has your life changed, now that you're a best-selling author instead of a scientist?" My impulse is usually to answer, "Well…now I write books instead of doing research or teaching classes. You know…duh." Being a naturally polite person (no, really. I mean, usually…well, if I'm not worn to a frazz on a book tour, at least…) and understanding that thinking up good interview questions is not the easiest thing in the world to do, so far I haven't done this.

In fact, my life has changed a lot (well, look, I've lived more than half a century; naturally it's going to change; everybody's does), but the details are by and large either too complicated or too boring to make a good answer.

One of the ways in which it's changed, though, is that I now have the opportunity to consort with all kinds of Really Interesting People, and to be involved in all kinds of entertaining projects, beyond the limits of just the stuff I personally write.

One of these entertaining projects (staffed by Really Interesting People ) is Thin Air. This is the literary magazine produced, edited, and published by an enterprising (and most creative) group of students at Northern Arizona University. (NAU is my old alma mater, in Flagstaff—which is 7000 feet above sea level. "Thin air," geddit?)

I have the honor to be "consulting editor" for this excellent magazine—which basically means that I help support their printing costs and drop by now and then to talk with the staff and hear all about the neat things they're doing.

On one recent visit to NAU, I was invited to visit an advanced Creative Writing seminar to talk about graphic novels: what they are (this being a college class, they already knew that), how they're put together, what a script looks like, how collaboration with the artist works, what the business side (contracts, etc.) is like, and so on. Well, the editor-in-chief of Thin Air was part of this class, and asked whether I'd be willing to do an interview for the magazine, covering some of the high points of this presentation. Sure, I said.

Well, you know how one thing sort of leads to another? (Or at least it certainly does around here…) We ended up with what I think is probably an interesting interview, illustrated not only with a page of my working script, but with the "pencil page" (the preliminary sketch) of the artwork for that page, and the finished (not necessarily final; there's always tweaking) full-color art of the same page (page 48, I think. It's part of the scene where Claire tends Jamie's shoulder on the road and he tells Dougal to find him a clean shirt and take the lassie off his chest). Many thanks to Hoang Nguyen, the artist, and Betsy Mitchell, the Ballantine editor, for letting us use these!

In addition to the interview, I'll also be doing a fund-raising appearance for the magazine at Northern Arizona University on November 14th. This will be in the afternoon—3:00 PM—and I'll be talking (about graphic novels, to start with, though I imagine other things will be talked about, and I'll certainly be reading a few bits of this and that—excerpts from AN ECHO IN THE BONE, that sort of thing…) for a couple of hours and signing books. (Books will be available for sale there, but you're certainly welcome to bring your own for signing, if you'd like.)

For more details—or to order tickets for the talk—or to order a copy of the magazine itself—
go to www.thinairmagazine.com . And I'll see you in Flagstaff in two weeks!

15 comments:

  1. I hope I can get a copy sent to Sydney! I'd love to see the colour artwork and what Hoang Nguyen has come up with!!!

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  2. Diana,

    Will Thin Air be putting your whole interview (complete with graphics) up for viewing on the website once the issue comes out? I know many of us will want to read and see it all but would prefer not to have to order a paper copy to do so.

    Personally, I'd rather spare the trees, conserve the gas for shipping it, and save the money for other things. Being a stay-at-home-mom with a BS in Environmental Science, I try to do what I can with what we have. Not to mention that my husband will freak if I add one more thing to any of my vertical file piles in our house.

    I'm fairly certain you can appreciate the above reasonings given your education and current line of work.

    ;-) Katrina

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  3. Dear Diana:

    Once an educator, always an educator. You may spend most of your time at a computer keyboard, but you'll never suppress that which requires you to share knowledge and information. Heck, whether intended or not, your writing is filled with facts and bits, and I believe I read somewhere (CompuServe?) that you enjoy throwing in the odd vocabulary word, too. DIdn't Karen Henry write a blog post about that?

    I would love to sit in on a master class of yours, listening and watching you critique aspiring writers (not scientists, sorry) or go to NAU on the 14th. Alas, life has other plans for me, but I hope plenty of others go and get their fill. Thank you, Diana, for continuing to educate us. You are no longer limited to the confines of the classroom. The world is your seminar.

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  4. @katrina,

    I can totally relate to the stay-at-home-mom thing, and money is tight for almost everyone these days. That said, all of the work involved by all of the people involved...the time, energy, phone calls, faxes, transportation costs, materials, etc. should count for something, right? I don't know anyone involved with the magazine, and I live on the other side of the country, but I recognize hard work when I see it. I looked on the site, and you can order a copy of the magazine for $7. I think if you want to save money and trees, you do have to make sacrifices, so maybe you could pool money with some friends and buy a group copy?

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  5. Completely off topic for a minute ... there's a book out called "The Gifted Gabaldon Sisters" by Lorraine Lopez. How about them apples? I'm ordering it from the library right now.

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  6. Diana,
    I wish AZ were a bit closer to IN! I have been there twice before, but can't make it in 2 weeks. I do hope to meet you someday!
    Thanks for all you do! I will have to see about getting a copy of the journal. I am sure it will be an enjoyable day at NAU!
    BTW, I liked the pic of you with the tiara! M&M posted it on the LOL social board!
    I am also the lucky one who got the first Claire's cuff bracelet (1/2" size)(I wearing it and the ring now). Thanks again for giving your blessing on this project!!!

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  7. Dear Katrina--

    Oh, I appreciate your reasoning, to be sure. The thing is...the sales of the magazine are what allow it to be produced in the first place.

    I don't know whether they normally put the magazine's content on the web once the whole issue has been sold, though.

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  8. A couple of times reader, first time blogger...

    I had the pleasure of meeting you last weekend at the Surrey Int'l Writer's Conference. You were as gorgeous and as gracious as I thought you would be! My friend and I were the first in a (long) line of people waiting to meet you. Thank you for taking the time to sign our books and pose for photos. If you're ever back in Surrey, Black Bond Books is a great Indie store for a book signing...and they're just down the street from me! You could come over for some homemade preserves a la Claire or something...

    I'm interested to see what the graphic novel will be like. My son has bought a couple of these, but they have been geared towards young adult males (Batman, etc.) I admit that I was at first skeptical about this, but by now I'm absolutely STARVED for anything about the adventures of Claire and Jaime.

    Diana, you are amazing that you've been so open to new opportunites and adventures and you're one of the people in my life who inspires me to greater heights...thanks!

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  9. Dear Zahia--

    Oh, I remember you! Nice to meet you. [g]


    I've often done signings at Black Bond Books; when I have a new book out, Random House Canada usually asks me to do a signing on Sunday, after the conference. I didn't have a new book out this fall, though, so didn't cram in any extra events--it's a Way Busy weekend, as it is!

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  10. So, was it the name you remembered about me or the height issue?!?

    I'm very much looking forward to your new books next year, and I'll keep checking with Black Bond to see whether you're able to do a signing there. I'll be there with bells on!

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  11. Dear Zahia--

    Oh, the name. I meet a lot of short people. [g]

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