A Letter from Danielle for September ’22

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’ve had a great summer, did some fun things, took time off from work, and got to do what you enjoy. I had a week’s vacation with my children in July, and even a week was great, to get away from daily routine. And the day after I got back, I started a new book!!

I LOVE September. When my children were small, it was my busiest month of the year, more than December and the holidays. Getting nine kids ready for school, keeping their schedules straight (no mean feat since they went to four different schools), getting their schoolbooks, uniforms, new shoes, organizing car pools, solving problems, getting them to ballet classes and sports games. It was jet-speed motherhood at its best, and I loved it. I loved it as a child too, with new notebooks and pencils and book bags and lunch boxes, old friends rediscovered after the summer, new teachers we hadn’t figured out yet. I loved the freshness and newness of it. And new classrooms.

Even now, long past school, there is always a ripple of excitement in September. The summer is over, you have shoes on again and real clothes (as opposed to old shorts and T-shirts, and bare feet at the beach, or sitting in the pool in a bathing suit all summer!!). The weather is crisp and invigorating, with a last hint of warm days and the last rays of sun before you bundle up for winter. September gives me energy. I love starting new projects then. It’s a bouncier beginning to the year than January, which always seems a bit gloomy and a letdown after the holidays.

I have a heavy writing schedule this month and next. I write more in the winter months, hibernating at home. I love September because it’s the last wisp of summer and the beginning of fall. And new books to write!!!

The Challenge came out in hardcover in August, and if you haven’t read it yet, maybe you’ll have time to read it now, if you have kids going back to school. The book is about children, and the stresses of parenting when five young teen age (good) kids go off on a picnic in the mountains. With their slightly older brother and slightly younger brother, there are six boys and one girl. What starts as a fun adventure on a sunny summer day on horseback—they live in Fishtail, Montana (I love the name!!!)—turns into a fight for survival on a dangerous mountain. A flash flood changes everything, fills a dry riverbed within minutes, cuts them off from their return path, and they get lost on the mountain, with a forest fire approaching, and their parents are desperate, while search parties and eventually even the National Guard in helicopters are looking for them. We see the terror for the parents, the struggle for survival of the kids, the support they give each other, the secrets that are revealed among the parents while they wait. It is the kind of thing parents fear most, and takes place on one of the most dangerous mountains in America. You’ll be gripping your seat while you read it!!! I hope you love it!!!

Have a great September (two of my daughters even have birthdays!!!). Have a great week full of new projects and plans and fresh ideas!!!


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