Tag Archives: Nonfiction

Bracing for the hate mail

Good news today from my favorite publisher. A series proposal I’d submitted a couple of months ago is going to contract.

The project: A four-volume series called The Human Family, bringing together the most current scientific thinking about human evolution, from before the australopithecines to the dispersal of modern humans from Africa. Yippee! I love this topic and will truly enjoy writing this series.

Did I mention it’s for kids? Yep, the target audience, as for most of my books, will be middle schoolers. There’ll be sidebars and wacky facts galore, but basically it will be Darwin’s Big Idea–and all the changes rung on it by subsequent generations of evolutionary scientists–applied to people. If that doesn’t get me some hate mail, I don’t know what will. I speak from experience, as I still get the occasional rancorous email or letter from a fundamentalist or creationist about a kids’ biography of Darwin that Oxford University Press published a decade ago! Y’know what? I’m just glad that book is still on the library shelves, getting read and pissing people off

Swedes, foam, and forensics

Zach’s and my new bed was delivered Friday. We got a TempurPedic mattress, and I can tell you that those Swedes know a thing or two about viscose foam. Best sleep ever. I think there’s a TV ad that shows someone putting a glass of red wine on one of these mattresses, and then jumping up and down, and the wine doesn’t spill. We haven’t tried it, but I’ll bet it would work. Zach claims that he hasn’t felt me moving around at night since we started sleeping on the new bed, and I’m a very restless sleeper whose thrashings and rollings have been waking him for years. (He’s a thrasher, too, but I sleep through anything.) It also helps that we jumped from a queen to a king. Now there’s heaps of room for us and Xerxes, too!

On other fronts, yesterday I finally finished writing the book that I was burbling optimistically about finishing last Thursday.  I’m spending today responding to my editor’s notes on a ms. I turned in earlier in the year–a kids’ book on Watergate.  How enchanting it was, while writing that one, to relive that glorious episode! But I’m pleased with the way the ms. turned out, and the notes from my editor and the outside reviewer (a political historian) are very minor, which is a good sign.

Then I’ll be finishing up next book in the series on Forensics for kids. This one has been fun: historical research, using modern forensic techniques to investigate old mysteries (who killed King Tut? was Napoleon murdered? and so on) and episodes in history (the Salem witch trials, battlefield archaeology, etc.). Thanks, CSI and all your millions of clones, for making forensics sexy enough to sell this series.