ewein2412: (osprey hair)
25 June 2014 is the release date for Nome in Codice Verity!

There have been quite a few foreign language editions of Code Name Verity released in the last year or so, and often as not I know nothing about their distant existence after I sign the contract. Sometimes I sneakily buy myself copies through some continental bookseller in Euros. I haven’t figured out how to find a copy of the Chinese editions (the publisher will some day send me a few, I hope.)

However, sometimes there is a little more fanfare. As part of the Mare de Libri (Sea of Books) Festival of Young Readers held this year in Rimini 13-15 June 2014, there is an annual competition for students to create a book trailer for forthcoming books in Italian. The competition is organized by three major Italian publishers including Rizzoli, the publisher of Nome in Codice Verity, who invite participation from readers in all the schools of Italy.

By happy coincidence, the winning video for this year’s competition, by Sofia Rivolta, is for Nome in Codice Verity. It is beautiful and utterly haunting.

The 6th place video, by the Sagrado school group, is also a CNV trailer. It looks like this one is accompanied by original music – “Tango Verity”! I am so amazed at the creativity and ingenuity of these kids, though I probably shouldn’t be!

Another cool thing about the Italian edition of CNV is that the kind and conscientious translator, Giulia Bertoldo, got in touch with me regarding a number of subtle queries about the nuance of words used in the book. We talked a lot about the faint difference between “radio operator” (radiotelegrafista) and “wireless operator” (marconista), in addition to “radio” and “wireless set”. Giulia ended up consulting a blogger named Andrea Lawrendel on the site Radiopassioni (“Radio Passions”), who suggested the term “sanfilista” (from sans fils, without wire), and also recommended some relevant reading material for her. She finally went with “operatrice radio” for Verity, noting that “the term operatrice leads to the idea that she was in a way a sort of ‘puppet master,’” and “controllore di volo” (air traffic controller) for Maddie, which is a more modern term but an accurate description of her job.

Andrea Lawrendel has now published a kind review of Nome in Codice Verity on Radiopassioni, as well as wishing the best of luck to both translator and author.

What a great way to celebrate my debut in Italian!
ewein2412: (osprey hair)
Rose Under Fire has been given a makeover for the U.S. paperback edition and I've been given the go-ahead to show it off! What do you think?

RoseUnderFire_PBK_CVR for web

I love how it echoes the look of the Code Name Verity paperback without being too heavyhanded about the imagery.

CNV paperback for web RoseUnderFire_PBK_CVR for web

It's due out 10 September 2014.
ewein2412: (osprey hair)
Sara (the 16 year old) is making fun of me because I am sitting here wearing my Twilight Sparkle Stealth Bronie hat as I type. ’Cause she spent all summer watching My Little Pony on her iPod and decided that I needed to watch it too, and as a sort of cultural phenomenon it is curiously addictive, and while Pinky Pie is my favorite, I relate most to Twilight Sparkle – the writer, the scholar, the resident alien. (On the other hand, I really detest Spike, her hideous sidekick house elf slave baby dragon.) Sara said, “You should write, ‘Today what I’ve learned about friendship!’” – as though I were filing a report to Princess Celestia … and you know, I feel like that is kind of what I am doing.

It is really a half-baked report on my weekend at the SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) Midwinter conference in New York. I helped run a day-long “Plot Intensive” workshop, including 16 synopsis critiques and a session on alternative plot structure, and I gave a keynote speech (my first!) on Authorial Responsibility, because I am pompous earnest like that. Lee Wind wrote a very nice summary of that speech for the SCBWI Midwinter blog, here. In a surprising aside that really delighted me, Susan Brody also gave a riff on my speech called “Practice What You Preach” on her own blog, “The Art of Not Getting Published.”. I’d met Susan last September at Children’s Book World in Haverford PA, and I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to say hi to her again at this conference. But MY GOSH it was big! There were over a thousand participants. I don’t think I’ve EVER given a speech to a thousand people before.

So, that was the working part of the event, but the really wonderful part was the networking (hence “Friendship is magic!”). First there was the Illustrator’s Showcase cocktail party on Friday night, then the Gala dinner party on Saturday, and trust me to find myself a sort of afterparty event on Sunday night, hanging out with a small group of extremely kind and welcoming Regional Advisors and the stellar Ellen Hopkins (who has the dubious honor of being the most-censored author in America). In fact, it feels to me like I spent the entire weekend crashing parties, including being taken to lunch at the Yale Club. This is what the SCBWI is all about, people – making these wonderful connections. If you have any aspiration to writing children’s books whatsoever, I highly recommend joining this vibrant and helpful organization. Here’s their website: www.scbwi.org. And here’s their website in the British Isles: britishisles.scbwi.org. Conference recaps are here.

I also went to see a wonderful exhibit of Antoine de St. Exupéry’s manuscript pages for The Little Prince at the Morgan Library. This is terrifically curated and made me sob for a number of reasons. I highly recommend it for WWII buffs, pilots, and children’s book writers, and fans of The Little Prince! It’s on till 27 April 2014. Alas, there is no printed catalogue for the exhibit, but there are a number of related lectures coming up (details on the website) which I would go to hear if I were in New York. Being a desperately adoring admirer of St. X as I am.

I should also mention my visit to the Bank Street Center for Children's Literature, where I received possibly the warmest welcome I've ever been given in a literary context. I spent three hours chatting, eating lunch in the school cafeteria, drinking coffee and tea and eating more lunch with members of the Bank Street Children's Book Committee, and then had a tour of the Bank Street Library. PEOPLE. If you ever get a chance, GO VISIT THIS LIBRARY. It is totally devoted to children's literature and contains a subcollection of elderly classic children's books that have been pulled from the main shelves for various reasons. "Do you recognize any of these?" they asked. "Do I recognize these!" It was like time travel. It was like being transported back to 1976 and standing in the beautiful old Walnut Street library in Harrisburg. EVERYTHING I read as a child was there.

When I looked up the library link I was charmed to see that they have mentioned my visit in their website notes.

And I went ice skating in Rockefeller Center.

I spent my last two days stateside visiting Gramma in Mt. Gretna. It was extremely picturesque in the snow. (I might have sung “Let It Go” till the Frog Pond echoed… literally… hoping I was alone in the woods… Just sayin’.)

mt gretna dining room 2014

Dining room in Mt. Gretna cottage with Gramma at the table!

mt gretna former ghost house 2014

Maple Lodge in Campmeeting (formerly The Ghost House) (not our cottage)

mt gretna frog pond 2014

Frog Pond

mt gretna lake 2014

Mt. Gretna Lake (that is our very own canoe, the Millennium Flocken, on its side)

mt gretna library 2014

Mt. Gretna Library! (to end where I began, on a literary note)

And finally. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed how I keep boasting that Eve Muirhead, the captain of the British women’s curling team, is a local girl? Well now I have the photo to prove it. EVE MUIRHEAD AND MARK. She and her coach came to show off their Olympic bronze medal at Dewar’s Ice Rink in Perth!

eve and mark
ewein2412: (snowicon)
If I were going to make a new year's resolution, which I don't often do, it would be to update this journal once a month instead of never.

Part of the reason I have been so unproductive here is because I've written a LOT of guest posts on other blogs throughout the year. And now Chachic of Chachic's Book Nook is hosting a weeklong celebration of my books (!), beginning today - not that I have to do any blogging for it. I just get to sit back and enjoy the show! I love that 21 December is the opening day of "EWeinSpecialOps"!


This is all coinciding with my upgraded website going live at www.elizabethwein.com, courtesy of my friend Tina Stoecklin and YogaWebs - AND with Open Road Media reissuing ALL FIVE of my early books - The Winter Prince, A Coalition of Lions, The Sunbird, The Lion Hunter and The Empty Kingdom, as e-books!

Here's the link to the e-books on Open Road.

So - after all that self-aggrandizing, best wishes for a warm and bright midwinter season (you know the words):

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, fest, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!

- Susan Cooper for the Revels
ewein2412: (osprey hair)
I get challenged again and again: “Why is Code Name Verity considered young adult fiction? The characters are too old. The writing is too literary. The situation is too harsh.” And that is all true. Sometimes these challenges are polite, and made directly; sometimes I encounter them, more hurtfully, online. “Nothing happens in the first 200 pages, it’s so boring.” “There are too many technical details.” “I can’t imagine a teen reader engaging with this book.” “My whole freshman class has to read this and we all hate it.” Oh, man. Author nightmare, your book turned into a school assignment that everybody hates!

I have very little idea how many teens actually read and enjoy Code Name Verity. When I speak to school groups, they usually haven’t read it yet. When I speak at bookstores, the audience is almost always overwhelmingly composed of grown-ups. But every now and then I get a hint that there are target audience fans out there too. In Politics & Prose in Washington, DC, I met a 12-year-old girl who had read Code Name Verity five times (when she was eleven). She said it was her favorite book. She had forced it on her best friend, who had read it twice. I remind myself about these kids whenever I feel down. And also of the occasional amazing school visit like Heart of England, which read CNV for the Carnegie Shadowing scheme. And also of the occasional evangelistic readers my daughter (now 16) meets online. These are the opposite of the nightmare scenario.

I knew that Code Name Verity was one of the 28 titles in the running for the YALSA Teens Top Ten list for 2013, but I totally, totally did not expect it to make the final cut. Last night I was flabbergasted to learn that it came in as Number One.

Here's a congratulatory tweet I received from Jenn Calder which really encompasses what this means to me:

Okay? Okay! People! It doesn’t prove anything about CNV so much as it proves that teens are intelligent, discerning readers. The whole fabulous list does. I’d have been proud to be anywhere on it. Heck, I was proud to be one of the 28 nominees.

Here it is in full.

1. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Disney/Hyperion)
2. The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen (Scholastic/Scholastic Press)
3. Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Harper Collins/Katherine Tegen Books)
4. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (Harlequin Teen)
5. Poison Princess by Kresley Cole (Simon & Schuster)
6. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic/Scholastic Press)
7. Crewel by Gennifer Albin (Macmillan/Farrar Straus Giroux)
8. Every Day by David Levithan (Random House/Alfred A. Knopf)
9. Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross (Egmont)
10. Butter by Erin Jade Lange (Bloomsbury)

Thank you, YALSA teens. I am going to stop doubting myself now.

ewein2412: (osprey hair)
cover banner small

From 14-26 September I am going on tour to celebrate the launch of Rose Under Fire in the USA and Canada - and for once I have got it together enough to post a list of public appearances more than 24 hours before I make them (just)! Please spread the word if you know anyone who might be interested.

USA: 14-21 September

Sat. 14 September Montrose, CA (Los Angeles)
7.00 p.m. Once Upon a Time Bookstore; 2207 Honolulu Ave., Montrose, CA 91020; tel 818-248-9668 More details here.

(This is my first day Stateside since the Rose Under Fire release, so in my head it’s the launch party: please come!)

Tues. 17 September Decatur, GA (Atlanta)
7:00 pm Little Shop of Stories, 133A East Court Square, Decatur, GA 30030; tel 404-373-6300 More details here

(Famous as the folks who gave the Obamas a copy of Code Name Verity!)

Wed. 18 September Coral Gables, FL (Miami)
7:00 pm, Books and Books, 265 Aragon Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134; tel 305-442-4408 More details here

Thurs. 19 September Washington, DC
2:00-4:00 pm International Spy Museum, Museum Shop, 800 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004; tel 202 393-7798 More details here

(this is primarily an informal signing, but. THE INTERNATIONAL SPY MUSEUM!!!)

Thurs. 19 September Washington, DC
7:00 pm Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC 20008; tel 202-364-1919 More details here

(My second event for this hugely supportive indy bookstore – was there in May. Hope they don’t get bored with me.)

Fri. 20 September Fairless Hills, PA (Philadelphia)
7:00 pm Barnes & Noble 2697, 210 Commerce Blvd, Fairless Hills, PA 19030; tel 215-269-0442 More details here

Sat. 21 September Haverford, PA (Philadelphia)
1.00 pm Children’s Book World, 17 Haverford Station Rd., Haverford, PA 19041; tel 610-642-6274 More details here

(I was here in July, but so pleased to be back… they had cake!)

CANADA: 22-26 September

Sun. 22 September Toronto: Word on the Street Festival
12.15 – 1.00 p.m. In Conversation at The Word on the Street with Toronto Star’s Small Print columnist, Deirdre Baker, Remarkable Reads Tent, Queen's Park Toronto, ON. More details here

Tues. 24 September Ottawa
7.00 p.m. Ottawa Public Library event, Sunnyside branch, program room 1049 Bank St. Ottawa, ON; tel 613-730-1082 More details here

Thurs. 26 September Vancouver
7.00 p.m. Kidsbooks (note off site location:) West Point Grey United Church Sanctuary, 4595 West 8th Ave., Vancouver, BC; tel 604 738 5335. Tickets can be purchased online at www.kidsbooks.ca More details here


If you’re interested, I’ve done several interviews and guest blog entries in connection with Rose Under Fire – links appear below.

Bearing Witness: An Interview with Playing by the Book, 12 Sept. 2013

Interview and Review for Sarah Laurence’s blog, 5 Sept. 2013. ILLUSTRATED! This interview includes a really lovely picture of me at Rose’s age feeding a sparrow from my hand and looking all Edna St. Vincent Millay-ish.

Interview with Audiofile Magazine, 1 Aug. 2013. Also includes the skinny on casting the Code Name Verity audiobook.

Guest blog for The Hive, 31 July 2013 : "Poetry and Survival."

"Ask the Author" Blog interview for The Independent, 26 July 2013. More about the use of poetry in Rose Under Fire.

SchoolZone (Reading Zone) interview, 17 June 2013. In which I reveal a lot of the background for the creation of Rose Under Fire.

First Look with Sue Corbett for Publishers’ Weekly, 13 June 2013
ewein2412: (osprey hair)
We had our bank holiday early and are working today, but on Friday we drove a couple of hundred miles across the country to see THIS PLANE in flight.


It is a Catalina, a flying boat (you pronounce that like one word, with the emphasis on the first syllable: “FLYingboat”), the oldest airworthy amphibian plane in the UK. It can land on water or land. This one was built in Canada in 1943 – it spent part of its life as a waterbombing firefighter! (Full details of its history here). It was in Oban on Friday as part of a five-day tour around Britain to commemorate, and indeed to recreate without incident, the 100th anniversary of the Circuit of Britain Race flown by Harry Hawker in 1913. (More on its progress here.)

I once had a lesson in a seaplane – this Piper PA-18 Super Cub, which also happens to be the oldest aircraft I have ever flown, built in 1954 – I flew it from Loch Earn to Loch Tay and back again, and used the experience (with added spice) in my short story “Chain of Events” (in Rush Hour: Reckless, edited by Michael Cart). I have a secret desire to become an accomplished seaplane pilot, buy my own amphibious aircraft (possibly a Teal), and spend the rest of my days loch-hopping. So when I heard the Catalina, one of a dying breed, was coming to Oban, I put the date in my diary and Tim and I took the day off work to go see it.

We arrived at Oban Airport just as the Catalina was finishing its flying display and coming in to land!

catalina in flight

There were a ton of people out taking pictures (where did they hear about this, anyway?), and there was a little craft sale going on in the hangar. The flight school was open and… well, one of the instructors, Graham Dawson, used to work at Perth so we knew him, and Tim had brought his flight bag and his license is current, so we hired the school’s Cessna 172 and went for a flight around the Inner Hebrides.

catalina and cessna 172

Like you do. Because you’re there and the plane’s available.

Guys, it was just unbelievably beautiful, and one of the coolest spontaneous days off we’ve ever had. We flew over the grass airstrip on Mull.

glenforsa airfield

We saw Staffa


and Fingal’s Cave

fingals cave

[cue Mendelssohn] all from the air. We flew over Iona and saw the abbey.


iona village

iona abbey

There is a whole lot of nothing out there, just sea cliffs and inaccessible white beaches and green mountains and ruined castles.

beaches on mull

castle on island

And all within a hundred miles or so of home—accessible if you know how and if you are careful.

I was so glad we had Graham along, partly because he was extremely conscious of where the good fields were to glide to if the engine failed and which passes to avoid in case the clouds closed in, but mainly because he knew this landscape like the back of his hand and could point out things like the Dutchman’s Cap and the Atlantic Bridge.

We landed just as the rain started and then stood in line for about forty minutes to get a look at the interior of the Catalina. The “blisters” are an original feature (though the glass has been replaced) and were used for loading and unloading crew when the plane was parked on water. We climbed in just as a pair of nonagenarian former Catalina crew were climbing out. They were awesome. (Very agile, too.)

Bonuses: Catalina and pipe band.

bagpipes and catalina

Also, I just love this shot of them refueling - so many caring hands crawling all over this old plane.

refueling catalina

We got home just in time for me to make supper for Mark before driving out to Jane Yolen’s house in St. Andrew’s for Bob Harris’s book launch—his hilarious The Day the World Went Loki has just been released by Floris Books.

A pretty darn awesome day of skiving.
ewein2412: (osprey hair)
The question isn’t, “Is there any young adult fiction out there that doesn’t have romance in it?”

The question is, “Where the heck did the all that romance come from?”

Here is my suggested reading list – a taking off point - if you’re looking for something different. OH, WAIT. THIS IS ALL CLASSIC YA. What? Why? How? WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO MY YA???

This Star Shall Abide – Sylvia Engdahl http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/715920.This_Star_Shall_Abide
A Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula K LeGuin http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13642.A_Wizard_of_Earthsea
The House in Norham Gardens – Penelope Lively http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/688099.The_House_In_Norham_Gardens
Memory – Margaret Mahy http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47893.Memory
Jacob Have I Loved - Katherine Paterson http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/337058.Jacob_Have_I_Loved
Prove Yourself a Hero – K.M. Peyton http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4973399-prove-yourself-a-hero
Eagle of the Ninth – Rosemary Sutcliff http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/149405.The_Eagle_Of_The_Ninth

Oh, and if I do say so myself, The Winter Prince. Which, incidentally, is on sale in the foyer in e-book form as part of Open Road Media's "Back to School" promotion: http://www.openroadmedia.com/backtoschool?tab=featured-sale

(Sorry about them all being white female authors. I don't know how that happened - I was just scanning the shelves. I'm afraid it's still pretty common in the field (guilty as charged).)
ewein2412: (osprey hair)
This time it's a character from Rose Under Fire and by gosh it isn't Rose - it's IRINA. I'm pretty sure that if you haven't read the book there won't really be any spoilers here, but if you have, let me just say: RED BATHING SUIT WARNING. I don't know whether to laugh or to cry, really.

Irina arrived today and I got all excited and worried just looking at the customs label.

irina customs declaration
Excited because, well, Amanda has actually already made me four other literary action figures. Worried because, um, Ravensbrueck. You will have to leave some of Irina's accessories to your imagination. But don't worry, she is the BEST EQUIPPED BARBIE I HAVE EVER OWNED.

I bring you the experience of opening the package! This is what lay on top:irina storch

It is a diagram of a Storch. Fieseler 156. Not Irina's aircraft, but hey. Significant for other reasons.

And when you lift the paper, here she is. Look! she even comes with a pretty civilian summer dress so she can go dancing or something:
irina in box

And here is her marvelous gear. Escape kit - maps, Russian spam, compass -irina escape kit

And parachute, of course. I hope she knows how to get it on.

irina parachute
She also happens to be a decorated Hero of the Soviet Union.
irina with medals

Close-up of those medals:irina medals closeup


irina swimsuit



She also sent me a scissors. Best. Eiffel. Tower. Tat. EVER.

irina eiffel tower scissors
The instructions are worth reading, too.irina scissors caution
ewein2412: (osprey hair)
I’m back from my first Book Expo America at the Javits Center in New York City. I didn’t even scrape the tip of the iceberg. I have this weird personal viewpoint which is entirely based on the number of engagements I had to fulfil: the School Library Journal ‘Day of Dialogue,’ the pre-BEA art auction, the Disney dinner on Thursday night, and a full day on Friday including the Children’s Author Breakfast, a signing, an interview with Publishers’ Weekly (holy cow!!!), then the Children’s Author Tea. The Tea was undoubtedly my favorite event of the whole thing and THAT was because everybody at my first table had read Code Name Verity and we had an excellent All Spoilers, All the Time discussion which began with one woman leaning over the table and gasping passionately, “WHY???? WHYWHYWHYWHYWHY????!!!” To which I responded, “I’m sorry!” XD

The panel at the Day of Dialogue, “Real World Horror,” was cathartic –I think for audience and panellists alike. We dug deeper than usual. It was a great panel – fortunately it’s summed up very handily here, and there’s even a picture of the panellists (Elizabeth Scott, Julie Berry, Matthew Quick, Adele Griffin and me) and moderator (Karyn Silverman), who were all scarily intelligent and just wonderfully nice. (And also, they are all very slick dressers. I felt quite inadequate on all fronts, but so welcome that it didn’t matter.)

I did not go to any panels that I wasn’t shepherded to by my publisher – I didn’t even have a schedule until I stole one from a kind person, but I never got a chance to look at it, either. I saw Holly Black and Kareem Abdul Jabar, Octavia Spencer and Mary Pope Osborne and Rick Riordan and Veronica Roth, by virtue of their speaking at events at which I was expected to be present – but I didn’t get near enough to get anything autographed (except Riordan, at the Disney dinner). I saw Dr. Ruth from very close by and had my picture taken next to a placard with Bill Bryson’s name on it, on someone else’s camera (I forgot mine), but couldn’t go to his event because I had an event of my own scheduled at the same time. I feel like I did so much and yet I really didn’t see much of anything! AND, despite not actually going around collecting books on purpose, I ended up with TWENTY-SIX POUNDS' worth of books to drag home with me. That is weight, not worth. It is an accurate number – that was my checked baggage.

I can’t believe how many people I met that I actually know – not all from the Internet, either. And I also can’t believe how many people I know were there and whose paths never crossed with mine. There really is not enough time and space in the universe.

When it was all over I got to eat Ethiopian take-away in Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman's amazingly wonderful 1908-era apartment on Riverside Drive (first time I'd seen it), and we went to see a marvelous play called Nikolai and the Others in Lincoln Center. And on my last morning in NYC I bicycled around Central Park.

Oh my goodness, my READERS, they are SO WONDERFUL. Becky, for example, who turned up at Politics & Prose last month and again at BEA, and whom I’ve been meaning to thank for this lovely little card – CNV by becky (Becky is the one responsible for this sketch)

And Jessica from Read My Breath Away, who turned up in the signing line with a CNV-inspired charm bracelet including a tiny gold Eiffel Tower (gold-colored, anyway) such as Maddie mentions, and which I have to admit Maddie mentions because Eiffel Tower charms constitute my very favorite tourist tat ever. bracelet by jessica

I have a story to tell about the bracelet. I was wearing it for the first time in the elevator on my way to check out of my hotel on Saturday morning. I was carrying five bags, and I moved to avoid braining the other occupant of the elevator, a very pretty and well-dressed woman. She said apologetically, “I hope you’re not allergic to my perfume!”

I said to her, “Listen, you should never apologise for your perfume.”

She answered, “Why, thank you! Thank you! It’s always a little strong when I first put it on, and I worry.”

I said, “Well, for goodness sake. What’s the point in wearing it if you go around apologising for it?”

“You are so kind!” she said, and then pointed to my new CNV charm bracelet. “And I can tell that you mean it, because you’re wearing that cross. A lot of people might wear a cross, but they don’t always remember what it means. You are putting into practice the kindness you believe in.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the “cross” she was pointing to on my wrist was, in fact, a B17 Flying Fortress bomber. Or something like that.
ewein2412: (osprey hair)
I can't believe how much I posted last year, cause I haven't posted a THING this year. So here's a happy announcement - last week Code Name Verity won the Edgar Award for best young adult mystery/thriller for 2013. I have never, ever felt so much like I was at the Oscars. Actually, in my gold dress I felt like an Oscar... XD

gold dress

Here's the full list of nominees in the YA category:

Emily’s Dress and Other Missing Things, Kathryn Burak

The Edge of Nowhere, Elizabeth George

Crusher, Niall Leonard

Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone, Kat Rosenfield

Code Name Verity, E Wein

And here are the authors who turned up for the awards banquet. WE ARE SO GLAM!

edgar teen queens

Kat Rosenfield is in the middle and Kate Burak on the right. They were SO NICE and you should go read their excellent books, too. (sorry the photo is blurry!)

And here are the delighted editor (Catherine Onder, in eau-de-nil) and agent (Ginger Clark, in evening black), with the pallid bust of Poe himself:

im just a poe boy

In other news! This was waiting for me back in Scotland when I got home. IT IS A BOOK.

a book

This was also waiting. It is a hanky. Amanda sent it. Astonishingly, it is an actual souvenir of Paris in 1945. See the Eiffel Tower? For so many reasons, it is *perfectly* representative of Rose Under Fire. When I realized what it was, I started to cry.

rose hanky


and this is out today in the US!

cnv paperback US

ewein2412: (verity text)
I wanted to make this post kind of special, so I am writing it from a High Place. Which is in fact the Knock in Crieff, Scotland, and I have taken pictures of the surrounding view for you. And the fact that it is blowing a gale will maybe make me keep it brief.

knock 3

knock 1

knock 2

It probably hasn’t escaped a lot of you that Code Name Verity was named a Printz Honor Book by the American Library Assoication in their Youth Media Awards announced on Monday for the year 2012. For those not savvy with the ins & outs of the ALA: the Printz is like the Newbery except it’s for young adult books. This is the highest literary honor ever given to anything I have ever written.

Remember back in May 2010, here, when I said this was the Best Damn Book I’ve Ever Written? Well, I have been writing and publishing under-the-radar books for twenty years - TWENTY YEARS - and it feels so very, very good to have one that is out there flying in the sunlight.

The full ALA Youth Media Awards list is here. There were a lot of surprises this year, and I feel extremely lucky and SO GRATEFUL to the Printz Committee for selecting CNV to be listed as one of this year’s honor books. The other honor books were Terry Pratchett's Dodger, Beverly Brenna's The White Bicycle, and Benjamin Alire Saenz's Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. The winner of the Printz Award for 2013 is Nick Lake for In Darkness.

printz sticker

I knew that one of the perks would be SILVER STICKERS. But I didn’t realize there would be so many flowers involved!

printz flowers
double roses

And now my hands are frozen, so I’m hiking back down the Knock to continue revising the next book.

Love to all.
ewein2412: (stella potens et mira)
The winner of the CNV audio giveaway is [livejournal.com profile] anderyn. In between announcing this giveaway and announcing its results, CNV has been chosen by ALA Booklist for its 'Top of the List' award for best audiobook of 2012! CNV has made a lot of "best of 2012" lists, but this was one is a delight that really came out of left field for me.

I have done a lot of blog interviews in the past month, and although I've been tweeting them as they come up, I don't think I've mentioned most of them here. So here's a rundown of the links. With the exception of the Smugglivus post on Booksmugglers, this is mostly CNV-related chat. Yes, it is all original content, what kind of a blogger do you think I am? (Although there's probably some crossover in the answers.)

Enjoy... and have a wonderful holiday. Hope some of you are enjoying better weather than us (Perthshire is now officially the wettest place in the UK since 19 Dec.)

Interview with J Monkeys at Writing Secrets of 7 Scribes, 22 December 2012

Interview with Amber at the Page Turners Blog, 13 December 2012

Interview with Ann Giles, aka Bookwitch, 12.12.12 This one is illuminated with some interesting pictures including Maddie's house in Stockport and Lysander "Pilot's Notes"!

'Me and My Kindle" - Smugglivus 2012 Guest Author post on the Booksmugglers, 8 December 2012

YA's The Word interview with Katja Weinert, 27 November 2012
ewein2412: (christmas)
IrnBru seems to be inextricably linked to Christmas here for some reason, and ice rinks, so my holiday photos run in an endless loop of ice and light and bubble-gum flavored soda. Or whatever the heck that flavor is.

The supermarkets are ready!!


And the ice rink at Dundee. Every. Single Item. on this menu just cracks me up.

dundee hockey menu

If the ice rink cafe is closed (which it often is at 7.30 a.m. when we turn up for Sara's lesson), you can still get IrnBru in the vending machines:

irnbru machine

We spent a lot of time at the Dundee ice rink in December, because the Ice Skating Club was gearing up for their winter extravaganza, Shrek on Ice (Sara was a soldier). Here's the background. I stared at it for a long time, trying to figure out which mythical country it was supposed to be, till suddenly I recognized the castle. It's EDINBURGH.

shrek on ice backdrop

OK, moving on then? Here we are back at home. I have ordered old-fashioned glass bulb Xmas lights from Noma, the oldest worldwide distributor of Xmas lights, est. 1926. These lights are so freaking beautiful they make me cry. Not a single picture I can take does them justice. But anyway here's our tree with just the lights on:

xmas lights

... And here it is fully decorated:

xmas tree dark

... And here it is in daylight, with Playmobil Christmas Tree Village added by Mark (at my request):

xmas tree & village

It is a SCOTTISH Christmas Tree Village, with a CURLING POND. Surely someone is drinking an IrnBru in that chalet.

xmas tree village

... Interior of chalet:


AND THE CURLING POND. (though the figure in the back is an ice skater):

curling pond

Sara's contribution, created in Home Ec. Even our gingerbread house is Scottish - yes, that is a Saltire!

gingerbread house

Have a happy holiday season - don't worry, we're enjoying it without IrnBru despite the pressure.
ewein2412: (osprey hair)
In the last week I have tried two things I never did before - gliding and curling. Yeah, I know, call me THE RANDOM WOMAN! Or maybe not so random. Tim gave me the gliding voucher as a Christmas present last year and it has taken me this long to get around to redeeming it (I have been trying, but the weather has not been cooperative). And curling… why? I don’t know. Because it is Scottish.

My gliding “mini-course” took place at the Scottish Gliding Centre at Portmoak a couple of days ago - one of the clearest, coldest most glorious winter days we can ask for in these parts, perfect for flying in a powered aircraft, but not quite windy enough for good gliding. I got to take over the controls and practice my soaring skills for about an hour but that was pretty much it (which means I get to go back and have another go!). I did get to go up twice, but the second time we had a rather interesting experience alongside this lump of rock...

benarty hill

... where it was pretty obvious to me that we weren’t going anywhere but down, and it also felt like we were being blown closer and closer to these crags (I don’t have my own pictures of being up-close-and-personal with these crags, because I figured at this point the pilot really didn’t need the distraction of me being a casual tourist). All was well in the end, and we even managed to land in the right place, but my instructor, Chris, willingly pointed out all the “Plan B” landing places.

This is the plane I flew:


(It is a Schleicher ASK-21, and it makes me ridiculously happy that the first glider I have ever flown is a state-of-the-art training glider from Germany.)

There was another guy on the course taking turns with me, and he got lucky with the wind, which is why I didn’t get more gliding action. So I spent most of the day on the ground working as a gopher. Which was HUGELY fun. I did the radio to the winch operator at the other end of the field, telling him when a glider was ready to be launched - the radio is in the little caravan you can see behind the plane. You can’t really see it in the photo, but there is also a 4x4 jeep-type vehicle with tractor tires parked behind the caravan, used for towing gliders from the hangar to the launch site and back. It is a measure of my supreme geekiness that the most thrilling thing I did that day was DRIVE THE 4x4 TOWING A GLIDER BEHIND ME. (The glider remained on the ground, people, on the ground. I towed it across the field-turned-ice-rink from the hangar to the launch site and back.) Actually, part of the thrill of towing the glider was the matter-of-fact way they roped me into doing it - “You need to drive, because I have to walk beside the plane and hold the wing. Just keep it in second and take your foot off the clutch and it’ll go at walking speed.” You have to hang your head out the window to watch the guy behind you in case he wants you to stop - the 4x4 is too muddy to see out the back window or in the wing mirrors. “Thanks, mate.” (“Thanks, mate.” Maddie hugged herself with pride and pleasure. I’m one of them.)

I was absolutely frozen afterward. It was actually colder flying the plane, because you’re not moving (or only moving your hands and feet), than it was running about on an open field for 4 hours in below-freezing temps. My hands, which were gloved the whole time, are chapped. If I were to do it again I would wear long underwear, snow boots, and ski gloves. Although I’d dressed warmly, of course I’d dressed as I would for powered flight in a marginally heated cockpit!

You know what’s neat about gliding? You wear a glider. It’s an accessory, like skis, not a thing you sit in and drive, like a car. You can steer it with your head under the right conditions. And you can see absolutely everywhere, all the sky above and around you. It is much more like flying than any flying I’ve ever done.

I don’t know if I will take up gliding. Everyone I talked to at the gliding club confessed to being autistic. (I think they were joking.) Hanging out with bell ringers does prepare you for this type of personality, and they were an incredibly friendly bunch of people, and I really liked the way everybody on the airfield had to jump in and help each other - when you’re flying a powered aircraft you’re very much on your own on the ground unless you pester people. But my gosh, the amount of fluffing about involved. What a time suck. You don’t just go for a buzz for an hour. I think I need to retire if I am going to get serious about this.


Back on earth, I have now had two curling lessons at the ice rink in Perth, and I think I have finally found my winter sport. Every single bit of it is fun. Even when you aren’t doing anything, sliding around on the ice is fun. (There is an art to walking on the ice in your curling shoes - or rather, Mark’s curling shoes - that I was previously unaware of.) It is incredible how sweeping can keep a stone going. And once you figure out what is going on, it is all so strategic. I am really hoping it will enhance my shuffleboard skills for next summer...

It’s also cheap and convenient (I can walk to the curling rink); and, as winter sports go, fairly low risk. Plus it is WARMER THAN GLIDING.
ewein2412: (queenie in cap)
The Goodreads Choice Award results are in! The winner in the Young Adult Category is John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. Code Name Verity placed 7th as a finalist, which I think is phenomenal.

Because, well, the name of the award says it all - it’s a readers’ choice. I confess to sneaking a look at the ratios behind the number of votes the finalists got and the number of Goodreads ratings they have. I won’t list them here, but most of the finalists received between 25 and 40 percent the number of Choice Award votes in relation to their number of Goodreads ratings.

The book to watch in the Young Adult category is Never Fall Down, Patricia McCormick’s moving fictional account of the life of Arn Chorn-Pond as a survivor of the Khmer-Rouge genocide in Cambodia. It has very few Goodreads ratings, but it has MORE VOTES THAN RATINGS. A voter/rating ratio of slightly over 100 %. If you read it… I think you’re likely to love it.

Code Name Verity has a voter/rating score of 98 %.

Which is freaking awesome. CNV Special Ops ROCKS. Thank you, fierce wonderful readers. THANK YOU.


There was a CNV giveaway on Goodreads connected with the Goodreads Choice Awards, and the winners are Sadie, Roselyn, and Bethany Miller.

In gratitude for putting up with all this Goodreads Choice Awards propaganda I’ve been bombarding you with for the past month or so, which is really kinda boring, I’m giving away an MP3 ready copy of the wonderful audio book of Code Name Verity (signed of course), read by Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell. They are spectacular. Comment if you’d like to enter the giveaway! Ends 21 December 2012.

I do not really enjoy self-promotion, but I LOVE YOU PEOPLE.
ewein2412: (e Wein)
Check out all the authors I’ve tagged in The Next Big Thing!

Erin Bow

Jeanette Cheney

Tanita Davis

Sarah Hilary (who has just won the Cheshire Prize for Literature!)

Rosanne Rivers

In the meantime, since not all these authors have their posts up yet, here are a couple more to check out:

Erin Johnson, who hasn’t tagged anyone herself. She has a nice rec for my Next Big Thing post on her own entry, and is a fellow SCBWI British Isles member, so I thought I’d tag her back. Erin is working on a doctorate at Oxford, researching masculinity in the works of the Brontës, and is also working on a young adult historical fantasy called Belladonna.

James Bow, who is Erin Bow’s husband and tagged in her blog post too - he’s working on a book called Icarus Down, YA sci-fi, inspired by a dream about a boy who tries to fly around the world on a kite. This is one I’m going to be reading!

I’ve also got an interview up with Katja Weinert on her blog at YA’s the Word, here, and I’ll be making a guest appearance on Saturday on the Booksmugglers to join in their Smugglivus celebration.
ewein2412: (harriet writing (text))
I have always been pretty jealous of debut writers' groups who get together and sing each other's praises and find solidarity in a communal marketing plan for their first books - and then continue to support each other as their careers build. I made my publishing debut in 1993, not quite before the internet (remember Genie, anyone?) - but, yeah. Not the same.

But now! The internet is my friend. And at the moment there's a great meme going around among authors' blogs called 'The Next Big Thing,' where everybody promotes everybody else. You Reveal All (or a bit, anyway!) about your next book, and then you tag five other authors (whose work you like, and whom you think might be The Next Big Thing) to Reveal All about their own WIP the following week.

Teresa Flavin tagged me. We met at a reception given by Teen Titles during the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August. I was delighted to meet her because she'd designed the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators British Isles (SCBWI BI) logo:

uk logo small

We originally requested it for our masthead for Words & Pictures, the SCBWI BI newsletter which was my baby and brainchild in 1996. Teresa, like me, is an American ex-pat living in Scotland. She's the illustrator of a number of picture books, but now has headed into YA territory - her second novel, The Crimson Shard, is just out from Candlewick Press in the US. Here's her website; and here’s her 'Next Big Thing' post.

And now, my own 'Next Big Thing' question time!

• 1) What is the working title of your next book?

It didn't have a title for a long time and everybody just called it 'Rose's book.' But the real title will probably be Rose Under Fire.

• 2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

The book is about a young American Air Transport Auxiliary pilot, Rose Justice, who is delivering planes and taxiing pilots for the RAF in the UK just after D-Day (summer 1944). For one reason and another she ends up 'uncertain of position' over enemy lines and is forced to land at a German airfield - she's then sent to the women's concentration camp at Ravensbrück.

I give this background before answering the question because the answer is, a book about Ravensbrück has been simmering in me for most of my life. Corrie Ten Boom's The Hiding Place was my first introduction to World War II, when I was about eight. I had a Ravensbrück plot line going when I was 12. When I read Mary Ann Shaffer's The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, the memory of what I knew about Ravensbrück rose to the surface and grabbed me by the throat.

Nabokov talks about how a short story can grow 'the wings and fangs of a novel.' I think it is fair to say that my early story (what might be called 'juvenilia') has 'grown wings.'

• 3) What genre does your book fall under?

'Historical Fiction.' Ptbbbb ptbbb ptbbbb :P

• 4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Ohhhh…. Who could play Rose?

Katharine Hepburn, maybe? Rose is supposed to look a little like Katharine Hepburn, a cross between Hepburn and Amelia Earhart, tall and freckled and wholesome, well-heeled but from a small town in Pennsylvania.

• 5) What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

See question 2, above? 'Young American ATA pilot Rose Justice ends up in a concentration camp in Germany.' Hmm, I might have to work on that - it sounds dire. And Rose is very resilient and determined.

• 6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My awesome agent, Ginger Clark, has placed this book under contract with the same editors who published Code Name Verity, namely Stella Paskins at Egmont UK (with the Electric Monkey imprint), Catherine Onder at Disney Hyperion in the US, and Janice Weaver (filling in for Amy Black on maternity leave) at Doubleday in Canada.

• 7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Two years. One thing I haven't mentioned is that Rose is a budding poet - so the manuscript includes several of her poems. These actually stalled me quite a bit and were the hardest part of the book to write.

They were also wonderful to write, because they were such hard work. Rose is not as accomplished a poet as me, not as experienced a reader as me, and has a different writing style to mine anyway. So I had to make Rose's poems sound like Rose's poems, not E. Wein's, and this was a real challenge.

I actually wrote several of her Ravensbrück poems on site at Ravensbrück. I would go back in a minute just to be able to be that productive again.

• 8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Dudes. I am unique.

Haha. I am only half kidding. I don't know any other books about girl pilots in concentration camps. I don't know any other books, other than non-fiction, about a women's concentration camp. I confess that most of my concentration camp reading has been non-fiction, so I can't really compare Rose's book to other books within my 'genre.' It's probably more like Micheline Maurel's An Ordinary Camp than anything else ('An Ordinary Camp' is a title I really, really like - it means, 'not a death camp'), right down to the poetry she includes. I am pretty sure Rose's book is not like The Boy in Striped Pajamas by John Boyne or Briar Rose by Jane Yolen, but I have not read those, so I may be wrong. It is nothing like Jane Yolen's The Devil's Arithmetic, which I have read.

Remember I said the sort-of working title was 'Rose's book'? Not 'the Ravensbrück book,' but 'Rose's book.' Like everything I write, it is character driven. How this character, how Rose deals with the setting is what I'm interested in.

• 9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

It was partly because while I was researching Code Name Verity I discovered that about 20 per cent of the female Special Operations Executive agents sent into occupied France ended up in Ravensbrück. It was partly that the Shaffer book reawakened my interest in Ravensbrück. But if I had to name one person, I think it would have to be Wanda Półtawska. Her book, And I Am Afraid of My Dreams, chronicles her own imprisonment in Ravensbrück. She was subjected to horrific experimentation and eventually, she, along with her fellow experimental 'Rabbits,' staged a quiet revolt against the camp administration which I've attempted to recreate in fictional form.

Wanda Półtawska's Wikipedia page, translated from Polish)

Wanda Półtawska speaking in a report about Pope John Paul II

• 10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

EXPLOSIONS. Because, seriously, what thriller doesn't have explosions?

There are a couple of themes that weave throughout the text of Rose's book, and one of these is the flying bomb - otherwise known as buzz bomb, doodlebug, pilotless plane, or V-1 retaliation weapon. These were essentially the first 'guided missiles' and were launched at London throughout the summer of 1944. They figure significantly in the plot - first because they are a threat to Rose on the ground in England, later as a threat to her in the air over France, and finally because as a prisoner she finds herself put to work making flying bomb fuses.

So, the book has a lot of flying in it, too (and seriously, the miracle of flight ought to rock your world a little).



And now, in alphabetical order, here are five other writers you should check out, who are going to answer the same questions NEXT week. Check back and see what they have to say about The Next Big Thing.

Erin Bow (blog here) is the lyrical author of the young adult novel Plain Kate, which won the Canadian Children's Literature Award in 2011. Her eagerly awaited second YA novel, Sorrow's Knot, is due out any moment now, and she's got a truly tantalizing list of works-in-progress. Erin has also published collections of poetry for adults.

Jeanette Cheney (who is exactly 17 days younger than me) has an impressive list of short fiction to her name in various science fiction and fantasy publications - her persistence is about to pay off, with novels Of Blood and Brandy and The Seat of Magic to be published by Penguin Books in Autumn 2013 and Spring 2014. We met at Worldcon in Glasgow in 2005 and clicked on a writerly and emotional level. She has Airedales.

Tanita Davis and I met through Finding Wonderland: The Writing YA Blog, which Tanita writes in conjuction with two other bloggers, aquafortis and citysmartgirl. I'm pretty sure [livejournal.com profile] sdn (Viking and Firebirds editor Sharyn November) introduced us. When Tanita and I discovered we were both ex-pats living in Scotland (do you sense a theme?), we became friends, and remain a Mutual Admiration Society in terms of books. My favorite of Tanita's is still her Coretta Scott King Award Honor Book Mare's War, about the only black women's regiment to be stationed in Europe during World War II. Her most recent young adult book is Happy Families.

Sarah Hilary and I met online because I commented on an achingly lovely Rebecca fanfic she'd written. It turned out that we both started school in Wilmslow, Cheshire, within a couple of years of each other, and were both lifetime Alan Garner fans. Sarah is a virtuoso flash fiction and short story writer, hugely versatile and prolific, with a singing prose style which is quirky and gritty and brilliant all at the same time. She won the Sense Creative Award in 2010 and was the Most Read Author at Every Day Fiction during their inaugural year. I am pretty well convinced she has a runaway hit crime novel waiting in the wings.

Rosanne Rivers is a fellow SCBWI BI member and the author of the Young Adult romance/thriller After the Fear, which debuts in December 2012. She's also got a blog focused on topics of interest to writers and readers. We met via the SCBWI BI online discussion group where 'The Next Big Thing' has been doing the rounds like a game of tag!

If you want to click around and read what other writers' 'Next Big Thing' entries are NOW, check back to Teresa's blog - or do a google search and see what turns up! The nice thing about this meme is that you don't need to be tagged to start your own chain, so get to work, kids!


And finally, I thot I'd stick these in for color. Um, pun intended. Taken yesterday about 3.30 pm. Can't possibly do this rainbow justice, as I couldn't fit the whole thing in the picture - two complete arches. Also, I am not good at adjusting the light on my camera. It was all MUCH MORE INTENSE in reality.

The first two pics were taken at the back of our house, and the last two in the front garden.

back of house rainbow 121120

back of house rainbow 2 121120

front garden rainbow 2 121120

front garden rainbow 121120

ewein2412: (queenie)
Code Name Verity has made it to the finals. The finals! THANK YOU.

I am cross with myself for not having read any of the other finalists except for The Fault in Our Stars. Which I loved.
ewein2412: (queenie as WAAF)
Code Name Verity has made it to the semifinals of the Goodreads Choice Awards!

So now if you voted, I think you all get to vote again. And I get to do some more preening. So what the heck. I am preening, I will do it properly. Here’s a list.

Code Name Verity is:

A School Library Journal Best Books title, 2012
A Booklist Books for Youth Editors’ Choice, 2012
An Amazon Best Teen Books 2012 title
A Barnes & Noble Best Teen Books of 2012 title
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Award 2013

That’s not the full list. That’s just what’s turned up in the last two days. That and the Goodreads Choice Awards Semifinals. Sooooo….

The semifinal round ends 18 November 2012. I have let the timing of the announcement run away with me because… I didn’t actually realize CNV was through to the semifinals till people on my Twitter feed started tweeting that they’d voted for it.

The winners of the giveaway are [livejournal.com profile] jillheather, [livejournal.com profile] carihunter and Lauren (who commented on the Goodreads link to this blog). Please send me your snail mail addresses at ewein2412 [AT] yahoo [dot] co [dot] uk

There’s a Goodreads giveaway ending 4 Dec. 2012 for three more copies running at:


‘Next Big Thing’ post and more details about the next book coming up next week!


CNV Special Ops, you rock. my. world.


ewein2412: (Default)

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