Mary's musings

Mary Hoffman, author of over 90 children's books, including the Stravaganza series and Amazing Grace, has begun a web journal which will be updated roughly once a week. You can read more on

Monday, July 26, 2004

Fans not jams

Last week was supposed to be spent making jam. I don't eat jam very often because it is a/ sweet and b/ sticky - two things I don't like. But my family like it and it is a very relaxing occupation. Last year I lost three months working on Lines in the Sand (see website link) and no jam got made. So we have been buying it at the supermarket.

This year I decided I must do it but last week I discovered a new use for my time. One of the Stravaganza readers who writes to me on that website set up a fan forum ( Once I had got it to work I emailed about 150 fans and several of them signed up. Of course they are on summer holidays now and several of them have time on their hands.

It is tremendously time-wasting but fun! Members have been giving themselves the names of characters and starting polls as to who is the best Stravagante, best character, whether Luciano and Arianna should get together etc etc. And a lot of discussion about who should star in "the Film". (This is fantasy land indeed, since there are no film offers but that doesn't hold forum members back one bit. A fight is breaking out online about which of them gets to play Arianna!

It is a bizarre experience to eavesdrop on one's readers chatting together and speculating about what is going to happen in book three (which I have finished). I post occasionally myself but it is really their thing. Fascinating.

I'm going to New York in less than four weeks for a family wedding but there was another one last Saturday in Bristol and the NY bride was there. In the midst of all the pink and white and rose-strewn loveliness, I spoke to her about Farenheit 9/11 and Michael Moore. It turns out she can put me in touch with him, which is just fantastic, because now I can ask if he will lend his weight (!) to the American edition of Lines in the Sand. And on Sunday I managed to book a gig at a library in Brooklyn. Not only was I working; so was the Brooklyn librarian.

Have now bought 6 kilos of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, so there will be jam! At least jam tomorrow.