Brrr…it’s cold out there.

First I just want to say, if you’ve written to me and haven’t heard back yet, it haunts me. Unanswered emails keep me up at night. One of these days I’m going to take a week off from writing and just answer them. I will! Truly! There’s a New Year’s Resolution if ever I heard one! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I’m not a vegetarian, but every year I feel terrible for all the poor turkeys. Why can’t carving say, a cake, be a Thanksgiving tradition instead of carving a turkey? Or better yet, Funnel Cake!! All in favor of funnel instead of fowl, say “aye!”
Speaking of fowl, any fellow Artemis Fowl fans out there? If you haven’t read these books by Eoin Colfer yet, what are you waiting for? SO funny and smart with page-turning action. Although when I read them I don’t actually turn any pages since I listen to them on CD instead. When Listening Library released the latest one in the series, Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox, with a different narrator than the others, you should have heard the outcry from the diehard fans. I admit, I was one of those fans. It’s as if Jim Dale suddenly stopped narrating the Harry Potter books in the middle of the series. Shudder! Fortunately for the sanity of the fans, the original narrator, Nathaniel Parker, DID eventually record the book too, and now I just need to find a way to get it from England. But get it I shall, because tracking it down is a perfect example of spending my time on something I shouldn’t be spending it on. I honestly need someone (or some thing) to lock me in a room and tell me I won’t be allowed to eat or sleep if I don’t turn out 10 pages a day.
One of my problems is I keep rewriting the beginning. Beginnings are hard for me. Endings are easy. Some wise person once told me to write the whole book, then take out the first chapter and start the book there. It’s an interesting theory, but I prefer to torture myself (and my editor) by obsessing over the best way to start the story. Is it on “the day that’s different?” The day before the day that’s different? Do you start with character, action, or setting? How do you make a reader care about a character so quickly that they want to keep reading? It’s a challenge, I tell you, a challenge. After I finish writing my current book, called FINALLY!, I have to revise THE CANDYMAKER’S SON. Here’s a sneak peak at the beginning. I’ll be curious myself to see how it changes before the final version.
Opening of THE CANDYMAKER’S SON, a work in progress. I will probably cringe a year from now when I look back on posting this.
Like his father before him, the Candymaker could tell if a vat of chocolate needed one more teaspoon of cocoa merely by glancing at it from across the room. The Candymaker’s son, not surprisingly, could do the same. But the Candymaker’s son could do something his father and grandfather could not. He could identify the color and variety of any kind of chocolate by feel alone. He discovered this talent just as you’d expect—by blindfolding himself and sticking one clean finger into the warm mixture.
“Milk chocolate!” Josh announced, waving his finger high in the air. The factory workers cheered and placed another vat before him.
“Bittersweet!” he cried. “White! Unsweetened dark!” The workers gave him the white vat twice in a row but he wasn’t fooled. He was four years old at the time and he knew his chocolate.
Josh’s special gifts gave him special privileges. He had free reign to wander through the factory, observing as his grandfather’s handmade machines turned out candy of all sizes, shapes, colors, and smells. If a Snorting Wingbat had one extra green Wingbat in the bag, Josh would spot it before it was sealed in for good. If the Oozing Crunchorama had one hazelnut too little, Josh would toss in the nut to save the day. And he didn’t get a big head when his first original creation—the Bubbletastic ChocoRocket—sent shock waves through the candy community as the first candy to turn from chocolate to gum…and back again!
Since Josh’s parents didn’t believe in traditional schooling, he grew up as a student of life. His father taught him how to be kind and generous and hardworking. His mother taught him how to read and write and about what was important in life, and what wasn’t. Chemistry and baking he learned at the elbow of the Candymaker’s right-hand-man, Max Pinkus (Max was the confectionary genius responsible for creating the famous neon yellow Lightning Chew, among other bestsellers.) From Max’s wife Suzy, the factory’s bookkeeper, Josh learned how to divide big numbers by small numbers and how to keep organized by taking things one step at a time. Everything else he learned by playing on the great lawn behind the factory.
It was precisely this combination of knowledge that would one day allow Josh to see—or rather, smell—that something just wasn’t right.
* * *
By the way, I owe the names of some of the candies to the candy-loving (and book-loving) kids at Park Middle School in Scotch Plains, NJ. Thank you to everyone who sent in an idea for a sequel to A Mango-Shaped Space or Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life. They were SO CREATIVE! I’ll keep you posted! Thank you to everyone who visited me last month in NYC at Books of Wonder, arguably one of the best children’s bookstores in the world. And they have cupcakes! I made some new author pals there, and put up a photo in the Author Pals section of my site, so check that out.
My friend and fellow writer Courtney sent me this pic from her local bookstore in NYC. 11 Birthdays is right next to Every Soul a Star. I haven’t had two new books out within a few months of each other since A Mango-Shaped Space and Leap Day. Fun! (And check out Courtney’s book with the light blue cover!) Dec%20so%20far%20004%20%282%29.jpg
Check back in a day or two for lots of new things to see on my website—interviews, author pal pics, and other Fun Stuff.
Happy Holidays everyone! I hope it’s full of joy (and candy!).
(speaking of candy, a big thank you to Katie Davis, author of the fab The Curse of Addy McMahan, for sending me a mutant piece of Good n’ Plenty. It was super long and skinny and totally mutant. I’ll save it forever. Or at least until it gets moldy, whichever comes first.)


  1. Christine on December 20, 2008 at 1:34 am

    Hi, Wendy,
    I just wanted to let you know that I loved Every Soul a Star (I got an ARC at ALA in June, then bought the hardcover later), and I also enjoyed 11 Birthdays. I’m looking forward to The Candymaker’s Son. Believe it or not, I have about 6 nonfiction books about chocolate/candy bar history!
    I also grew up with synesthesia, I’m an astronomy buff, and my favorite instrument is the drums. So your books keep channeling my interests, too. :>)
    Happy Holidays!

  2. Margot Kopley and Eliana Kopley on December 27, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Dear Wendy,
    We have loved your books Mango-Shaped Space, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, and Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall! My daughter is in seventh grade. She is writing about the last two books for her English Honors class. Her teacher asked my daughter to write about the relationship of the author’s life to each of these two books.
    Do you have some writings that address the origin of the themes for these last two books? Could you let us know the relationship of your life to these two books?
    We have time before my daughter will need to complete her project.
    Thank you for your wonderful and inspiring work.
    And thank you for your assistance with my daughter’s project.
    Best wishes from,
    Your fans, M and E

  3. Sophie and Sarah on February 3, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Dear Wendy Mass,
    we love your book A Mango Shaped Space, and we want to read more. If it is possible, could you make a sequal about Mia and Mustard, and maybe call it A Mustard Shaped Space?
    that would be so cool and we would LOVE to read it!
    your fans,
    Sophie and Sarah

    • Kelly on May 16, 2018 at 10:46 pm

      I hope so too I just finished reading it and I nearly cried when I reached the end! I hope there’s a sequel because I can’t get enough of this. I was even hoping for Adam and Mia to meet again. Maybe even Mia and roger could be a thing! But either way I loved it and I’d love a sequel!

  4. Claire on February 4, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Dear Wendy,
    I am such a big fan! I have read 11 birthdays, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, and I am currently reading A Mango Shaped Space and Leap Day at the same time! I love how your books are so unique! You are, without a doubt, my favorite author! Keep it up!!!

  5. melinda Cintron on March 23, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Dear Wendy Mass
    I’m an ESL teacher from the Private School Dr. Roque Diaz Tizol at Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. Reading is one of my passions, passion that I am working hard to transmit to my students.
    One of the projects that we are working on to develop their love for reading is, One book each month, on this project the students choose every month a different book that they will be reading and the end of the month they will complete a book report and hand it to me. They will also make an oral presentation to share their experiences with their classmates.
    Recently one of my students Joseph M. De Jesus read your book; Jeremy Finks and the Meaning of Life, at the beginning he didn’t want to read, he said he had too much work and no time for reading, but finally he read your book. He got so excited with your story that every day he was talking about your book. When he completed this book he wrote you a note, you can’t even imagine how amazing it was for him when he received a response from you.
    Jeremy Fink and the meaning of Life has opened all my students interest even mine , right know I have 16 students reading this book, every Friday we meet each other to comment and discuss about it.
    I want to thank you for answering Joseph’s note you don’t know how important this has been for him and my students. I want my students to enjoy the pleasure of reading to understand and fell that reading makes us travel to unexpected places, reading makes us capable to learn freely and independently. It is knowledge that is always developing.
    Uiiyty Once again thank you for dedicating your time on making my students fell important, and for this wonderful book wrote by you that has became our book of the year; Jeremy Finks and the Meaning of Life
    Mrs. Melinda Cintron

  6. Zelle on March 27, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Wendy Mass! You are an amazing author! I have read all of your books. I can’t wait until you write another one! That Chocolate Maker’s Son looks like it will be another amazing book by the best author EVER! Good luck!
    ~Thank you for keeping me entertained!~

  7. Bree and Ally Hickey on April 3, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Oh my gosh I’m reading every soul a star and me my sisters names were in it I ‘m on chpter 5 of Bree . I have also read rapunzel and a mango shaped space I love all of them I am so inspired to become a writer some day I hope to have read all your books by this summer. Your awesome
    Bree and Ally

  8. Jasmine on May 2, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    I just finished Every Soul a Star 30 minutes ago. It along with 11 Birthdays is an AMAZING book. I am about to start reading A Mango Shaped Space right now. I am sure that it will be as good as the other books of yours that I’ve read!

  9. sophia ferrara on May 4, 2009 at 10:45 am

    I love your books so much. But i have a question why does the girl on the front cover of 11 birthdays have two left feet?

  10. samantha on January 28, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    Dear Wendy,
    I finished A Mango Shaped Space, and loooved it! I really think you should make a sequel. I think A Mustard Shaped space would sound a liittle wierd, but it should definitly should be about Mia and Mustard. I also think that she should discover something new about her synthesia, like taste or texture.

  11. maggie on January 28, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    daer wendy,
    i just decided 2 read your book 11 birthdays 3 days ago and i could not put it down. The book was absilutly AMAZING!! But i have 1 question why does Amanda (on the cover) have 2 left feet???????

  12. Jillian on April 12, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Dear wendy,
    I just finished your book a mango shaped space and loved it! But i was wondering synthesia is not a real disease right?:o

  13. Gillian on April 12, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Hi wendy,
    I was just wondering is there a book that you wrote called heaven looks a lot like the mall? Or am i just getting titles mixed up? I love your books by the way! I think i’ve read a mango shaped space like 6 times! Thx!

  14. susan on May 23, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Will there be a sequel to Every Soul a Star? My students loved it!

    Note from Wendy: I’m glad to hear they liked it!! I hope to do a sequel down the road, but i’ve got a few other books lines up before then..if it happens i’ll announce it in the blog. Thanks for writing!

  15. Alyssa on August 18, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    I loved Every Soul a Star (Best BOOK ever!), 11 Birthdays, and Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life! I hear there is a movie coming out! I can’t wait to see it! We continue writing! I’m planning to be an author! Maybe some tips?
    Alyssa, age 10
    P.S. That beginning idea is the same with me too! I always go back and change a paragraph, or how I say things, and I’m always thinking “Is this to much detail or too little?” That’s what I get from going do the path of writing!=D

  16. Emma F. on October 7, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Dear Wendy,
    I loved your book 11 Birthdays!!!!!! I read it for the State Volenteer Award. It was so awesome. I felt like i was in the story with Amanda and Leo. It is one of my favorite books i have ever read. Keep writing!!!

  17. Mackenzie on April 28, 2012 at 8:36 am

    I love the book 11 birthdays!!!! Best book ever. Now I need to read 12 finally, and then I am reading 13 gifts. YOU WRITE THE BEST BOOKS EVER WENDY MASS!!!!! WE LOVE YOU <3

    • Wendy Mass on May 27, 2018 at 9:12 am

      Thank you and that means so much. Happy Summer! xo

  18. Anna on April 28, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Hi Wendy,
    I LOVED your book “A Mango Shaped Space” can you please make a sequel? It would be really great if you did!

    • Wendy Mass on May 27, 2018 at 9:11 am

      Happy you loved the book. Right now there is no plans for a sequel but I try to never say never. Happy Summer!

  19. clara on October 3, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    I loved your book the Mango Shaped Space. I REALLY THINK YOU SHOULD MAKE A SEQUEL! It’s such a cliff hanger. There needs to be something about Mustard. But maybe Mia should name the cat something else… I don’t know. That is up to you to decide. But maybe Jenna can adopt one of Twinkie/Mango’s kittens too! And/or Billy Henkle and Roger.
    Anyway, you should really make a sequel :)!

  20. Noely on November 27, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Dear Wendy Mass,
    I absolutely loved a mango-shaped space! I have to say I’m the emotional type. That was a great cliff hanger you did I really want to know about the mustard!!! Any ways GREAT work!!! You are awesome love your work!!

    • Wendy Mass on May 1, 2016 at 12:38 am

      You are awesome and I appreciate how strongly you connected with Mango!

  21. WendyMassFan580 on October 2, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    Wow…I can’t believe this was only a couple days after I was born..

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