The world of children's and YA book writers is filled with generous big-hearted people, more than in any group I've ever encountered. The law of averages dictates that there must be some bad apples in every bunch, but the bad apples are so rare among children's writers that I've never encountered a single one in all these years. No matter what you might have read in various blog comments, Rosanne Parry is no bad apple. She's a good apple who made a bad mistake, and her personal apology is printed below.
I've gotten to know Rosanne a bit during these recent events. She's a talented author with a long career ahead of her, and she became a charter member of the Class of 2k9 out of a desire to connect with and learn from her fellow writers. Rosanne stepped up into a temporary leadership position, until the group is fully formed and permanent elections can be made, because she wanted to help shape a better future for the group. But the Class of 2k9 is a very new group and Rosanne and the others are still at the beginning of a very steep learning curve.
The qualifications for joining a 2k-Class are the ability to write and get a first book published, period. As I quickly found out, all the other skills needed to become a successful publishing professional have to be picked up in the brief period between contract-signing and book-publication. This includes obvious stuff like marketing, publicity, and networking skills, but also a professional demeanor of courtesy, diplomacy, and tact. Rosanne and the rest of the class got a serious schooling this week, and they've come out of it with some important lessons painfully learned.
The Class of 2k9 is a brand new group that's only just now putting out an official call for members. As the just-installed temporary leader of a still-forming group that only includes four or five authors at the moment, Rosanne should be given some latitude. Although the group is building on the legacy of two successful author classes before it, and the 2k9ers will surely go on to do great things, they have an awful lot of apple-polishing left to go.
Here's Rosanne's personal apology to Jackson Pearce of the 2009 Debutantes:
I'm sorry for the ways in which our communication has been so painful. I've had a little time to reflect on our two-month thread of email conversation and gotten some mentoring myself.
In rereading my words I can see that I have communicated poorly and given an impression out of line with my intent. My words were unkind and threatening when I did not intend them to be. In retrospect, I wish we had spoken on the phone back in December. Much confusion and hurt feelings would have been avoided.
I also sincerely regret that there has been confusion over the purpose and procedures at the Class of 2K9. Tomorrow we will be sending a more detailed description of our class procedures to all the applicants, and if you would find it helpful, we would gladly send that information to you.
I wish you every success with your book and your livejournal community.
And she wanted to add this statement as well:
"I am extremely grateful for the kind support and wise counsel of the classes of 2K8 and 2K9 and in particular to Greg Fishbone for his generosity. I am sorry this has been such a distraction when you are all busy with a soon to arrive baby and new books."
The baby is coming along well, by the way, and has a very good chance of being this year's Valentine's Day gift that my wife and I are giving to each other.