ewein2412: (e vane)
My latest YA novel, The Pearl Thief, was released in the USA on 2 May by Disney Hyperion and in the UK on 4 May by Bloomsbury. To celebrate the UK release, we had a belated launch so close to home that we were able to walk to the venue. Mark and our neighbour Betty came along with me and Helen – my college roommate to whom the book is dedicated, who’d travelled up from London for one night so she could be there – it was a gorgeous evening for walking. Tim joined us when he got home from work. (Poor old Sara the film student was stuck in Salisbury.)


Helen & E Wein

The event was held in the Perth Museum. The Pearl Thief, a mystery and a coming of age novel featuring the title character from Code Name Verity, is set in rural Perthshire, and it felt most appropriate to connect the living and real local heritage to the fictional cultural landscape of the book. There was a little reception gearing up when we arrived at the museum – Lizz Skelly and Charlotte Armstrong from Bloomsbury Kids’ had set everything up ahead of time with cooperation from the museum and Waterstones. At this point a ton of people I knew began to arrive – other writers, SCBWI folks, my book group from Perth, friends and neighbours, bell ringers – and Jess Smith, my co-star.


Left to right - a true assortment of guests: Alex Nye (author), Bess (student & reader) & her mum Lara Haggerty (Keeper of Books at Innerpeffray Library), Joan Taylor (Secretary for Friends of Innerpeffray and Mark & Sara's voice teacher), me, Gavin Lindsay (Perth & Kinross Heritage Trust), Lizz Skelly (Marketing, Bloomsbury), and Jess Smith (author & Traveller)!

For the launch, we’d dreamed up a panel event framed as a conversation between me and Jess, whose many books and whose background as a Scottish Traveller had proved invaluable to me in the creation of The Pearl Thief. Held in the museum’s lecture hall, the event was moderated by Gavin Lindsay of the Perth & Kinross Heritage Trust, whom I’d met as a result of volunteering at the Moredun Top hill fort dig in September 2016. Jess and I had spent literally hours on the phone last year, but we’d never met in person, so this conversation in front of an audience filled with our friends and family was the first time we’d ever spoken face to face! We had complementary slide presentations – Jess’s showed photographs of Travellers in the past, and mine showed contemporary Perthshire landmarks and vistas. The soundtrack to Jess’s images was her poem “Scotia’s Bairn,” a lyrical tribute to a Traveller childhood in its difficulty and its beauty. We talked about history, and landscape, and the difference between writing fiction and non-fiction. Jess spoke of the prejudice she’d been subjected to as a child, and to which Travellers today are still subjected.

The conversation was thrown open to the audience toward the end to invite questions, and I was struck by the comment made by a cousin of Jess’s, about how the cultural legacy of your heritage can affect you even when you aren’t raised in the traditional circumstances or land of your ancestors.

Afterwards Jess and I both signed our books and were given many floral tributes from well-wishers and from Bloomsbury – I feel obliged to single out fellow writer and SCBWI member Sheila Averbuch. Not only did she grow her bouquet it in her own garden, but she has now been shortlisted for Scotland’s Gardener of the Year. She included lilacs specifically with Rose’s VE-Day lilacs from Rose Under Fire in mind. Sheila, incidentally, wrote a very thoughtful blog post of her own after the event, bringing together threads from her recent reading and themes that came up during my discussion with Jess.


Sheila's flowers

The thing about the launch that really, really appealed to me in a million different ways was how self-referential to The Pearl Thief it was – often in ways I wasn’t expecting. Gavin, who’d just begun reading the book, told me in such a deadpan voice that he’d driven over from Brig O’Fearn that I almost didn’t catch that he was talking about a place I'd made up, having so accustomed my own ear to the place names of my imagination (the real village is called Bridge of Earn). Through a series of coincidences, one of the guests who came along was Lara Haggerty, the Keeper of the Innerpeffray Library – the oldest free lending library in Scotland (circa 1680) – and the one on which I based the imaginary Inverfearnie Library of the novel. (Also, coincidentally, Lara featured in one of my slides). And, in another complete coincidence, the Carpow Bronze Age log boat – on which the significant log boat of The Pearl Thief is based – had returned to the Perth museum for the first time in five years, where it is now on permanent display – Jess and I posed for many pictures in front of it!


E Wein, Gavin & Jess with the Carpow Bronze Age log boat

I am so grateful to Bloomsbury, the Perth Museum, Waterstone’s Perth, the Perth & Kinross Heritage Trust, Jess and Gavin and Lizz and Charlotte for pulling it all together – to Helen and everyone else who came to enjoy the buzz and the banter – and to Debby Harris and Elizabeth Kerner Ewing for wearing their pearls.

I really couldn’t have dreamed up anything more appropriate if I’d been 15 years old again and wishfully imagining my future as a Scottish author.
ewein2412: (Default)

This year my novel Rose Under Fire was chosen as Central Pennsylvania’s “One Book, One Community” read across a six-county region including over 90 libraries. The program is described in detail here. It’s essentially a great big geographically-organized book club, based on an idea that originated in Seattle in 1998. In Central PA, the campaign really got off its feet in 2004 when a couple of two-county groups combined their readerships. This is the twelfth year for a collaboration of library systems in Berks, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Perry and York Counties, along with several college libraries and the Pennsylvania State Library.

Needless to say, to have any book be chosen for this initiative is a phenomenal honor – and if I’d been able to wish this for any of my books, it would have been for Rose Under Fire. TELL THE WORLD! That was what the doomed prisoners at the Ravensbrück concentration camp shouted to their surviving companions as they were dragged to the gas chamber. Tell the world: the need to tell the world is what kept Ravensbrück’s victims of Nazi experimentation from despair in their darkest hours of imprisonment. Rose Under Fire is my own small attempt to tell the world what happened at Ravensbrück, and One Book, One Community has amplified my voice – and by extension, the voices of all the women, living and dead, who were imprisoned at this often-forgotten Nazi concentration camp.

During the first week of April 2017, I went along to a number of events connected with OBOC in Lebanon, York, Dauphin, and Berks Counties. Part of what made this mini-tour so wonderful was the fact that I was in my home territory – like my character Rose, I grew up in Central Pennsylvania. Rose’s fictional hometown is a thinly disguised Lebanon, PA. No doubt this hometown connection was part of the attraction for area readers – so in the Q&A I’d get really localized questions like, “Why did you include the paper box factory?” and “Who was your instructor at Reigle Airfield?” And my favorite comment: “This is the first book I’ve ever read that mentioned opera fudge!” In fact opera fudge doesn’t get mentioned in the book – that was either a test to see if I really am a local girl who knows what opera fudge is, or I did my job so well that the reader is lulled into the false impression that I sneaked opera fudge in there along with the Lebanon bologna, shoofly pie, fasnachts, and Cope’s dried corn.

The two big events of the week were an author talk at Congregation Beth lsrael in Lebanon, and a Readers’ Celebration held at the Reading Regional Airport. The Beth Israel talk was organized by Judith and Joe Clark, who’d invited me to appear as their annual speaker. They were superb hosts, taking me and my aunt and uncle to dinner at the Lebanon Country Club and putting me up for the night in the nearby Patriot House bed & breakfast in Annville – which just happens to have been built and owned by my great-great-great-grandfather, the town’s nineteenth-century carriage maker. He raised 13 children there - it is a very big house! My great-great-grandfather and grandfather grew up here, and my grandmother celebrated her birthdays here (a local girl for sure).

Patriot House B&B, Annville, PA

At Beth Israel, there was a beautiful reception ahead of my speech, which included as a lovely touch of bunches of pink and yellow roses - Maddie’s wedding flowers from early in the book.

The really wonderful thing about this talk, and indeed about every talk I gave over the week, was that so many people had actually read Rose Under Fire. They were engaged and prepared and interested. I got asked about Americans in Ravensbrück, about prisoner escapes, and if I’d ever had any former prisoners or relatives of prisoners contact me as a result of reading the book. We talked about why the book is considered young adult fiction. (There were not many young adults in the Beth Israel audience, but there were a few.) We talked about how I use my academic training as a folklorist to enhance my fiction writing!

In between the big events, there were some friendly little ones – lunch with Karen Hostetter of the York Library system, who was instrumental in planning my visit, and Mary Ann Heltshe-Steinhauer, Community Relations Manager for the Lancaster Library System, who coordinated the events and liaised with the OBOC Committee.

Gift basket of local York County-made products!

There was a private reception at the Martin Library in York, where Chris Reilly, the York County Commissioner, welcomed and thanked me; the Mayor of York, Kim Bracey, sent me apologies and a "white rose" lapel pin! I spent an unscheduled hour with the Annville Free Library staff; had dinner with three of my favorite teachers from Harrisburg Academy, where I went to high school; and enjoyed a meal out with the staff of the Midland Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg, and a signing there afterward. There was another big bunch of roses waiting for me at the Midland Scholar that had been sent by my fourth grade teachers from Steele Elementary School in Harrisburg, Miss Golob and Miss O’Brine!

Midtown Scholar Bookstore

The final event of the week, the Readers’ Celebration, was a full afternoon in the departure lounge of the Reading Regional Airport (there were no departures going on but it felt faintly illicit to walk straight past airport security without anybody caring whether you opened your bags or kept your shoes on). Entertainment for forty or so guests included a lunch buffet, a slide show about Ravensbrück and the background to Rose Under Fire, informational displays and period and wartime artifacts, re-enactors in 1940s costume, and a silent auction – wow. When the Q&A and signing were finished, many of the visitors (including me and my aunts and uncles) drifted across the airfield to the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum for a tour.

The OBOC Readers' Celebration team - Mary Ann and Karen are on the right.

The whole package was undoubtedly the most moving and exciting celebration of my writing I’ve ever experienced – the combination of me and my character both being local girls was a bonus, but the real reward was without a doubt the enthusiasm of everyone who participated in the OBOC read.

I am so, so privileged and grateful to have been able to share this week with so many friends, family, and dedicated readers. Thank you, One Book, One Community!

PS We sent written invitations for the Readers’ Celebration to all our senators and representatives from the six or so inventively-shaped PA congressional districts represented by the OBOC community. None of them turned up.

PPS Here’s an odd little feel-good story from Berks County – at the end of this video clip there is evidence of the small but far-reaching reverberations of how One Book, One Community helps to Tell the World.

ewein2412: (osprey hair)
With fellow CABA honorees Nnedi Okorafor, Elizabeth Zunon, Miranda Paul and (partly visible) Sean Qualls

It’s been a wonderful month for Black Dove, White Raven. It’s nearly a year and a half since its publication in May 2015. It was shortlisted for the Scottish Children’s Book Award but has otherwise been a quiet book for me, so it’s sheer delight to have experienced the sudden burst of love for it that was the Children’s Africana Book Award festival.

Sponsored by Africa Access and a number of university African Studies centers, the festival was based in Washington, DC, and for me consisted of three days of school visits and book talks, including speaking at the Library of Congress Young Readers’ Center and the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art on the National Mall. The schools I spoke to included the Richard Wright Public Charter School for Journalism and Media Arts, the Washington School for Girls, and Northwood High School. Every student at these events was given a copy of Black Dove, White Raven by An Open Book Foundation, an amazing charity whose remit is to “promote literacy among disadvantaged children and teens in the Washington, DC area” as they work to bring authors and their books together with students and readers.

With students and staff at Richard Wright, as well as representatives of An Open Book Foundation

I think that for many listeners the highlight of my Richard Wright performance was when I responded to one of the teachers in Jamaican patois! (I was as surprised and delighted as anyone.) For me, the highlight was the poise and technical skill of the young people who filmed an interview with me for their video channel, a testament to the success of the Richard Wright School’s focus on journalism and media.

The Washington School audience was warm and sensitive – one of the girls asked me if my parents were proud of me, and I had to confess that they’d both been dead for 30 years. But, I said, I felt sure that my mother in particular would have been proud of Black Dove, White Raven, more so than of anything else I’d ever written. And all the kids burst into spontaneous applause.

Northwood's cool photo collage!

At Northwood, for the first time ever I actually had a sprinkling of native-born Ethiopian students in the audience. It made my slide images of Ethiopia so much more engaging to have kids there who recognized the sites and ceremonies I was showing them. There was a student whose mother had worked with one of my travelling companions in Ethiopia and recognized his name when I mentioned it. It was pretty wonderful to feel such a strong connection with an audience.

Black Dove, White Raven was one of the two Children’s Africana Awards Best Books named in the Older Readers category – the other being the charming Who Is King? by Beverly Naidoo. The winners and honorees in all categories were feted at a gala dinner at Busboys & Poets in the center of DC. As well as me, there were five other authors and illustrators able to attend: Nnedi Okorafor and Mehrdokht Amini, one of the winning author/illustrator teams in the Best Books for Young Children category for Chicken in the Kitchen; Kathy Knowles, who wrote Nana and Me, one of the Young Children Honor Book winners; Sean Qualls, the illustrator of the Young Children Notable Book Emmanuel’s Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson; and Miranda Paul and Elizabeth Zunon, the author/illustrator team behind the Young Children Notable Book One Plastic Bag. In addition, the elegant and eloquent subject of One Plastic Bag, Isatou Ceesay, had travelled from The Gambia to attend the ceremony. (Most unfortunately, Edmund Opare, the Ghanan illustrator of Nana and Me, was refused a visa at the last minute.) Part of the joyful ceremony included us each being honored with hand-woven kente cloth sashes made by Chapuchi Ahiagble. I was shyly thrilled to have Isatou Ceesay place mine around my neck.

(I overheard a pretty funny conversation among a bunch of award-winning authors recently, comparing their literary trophies, and I felt quite proud to be the possessor of a CABA kente cloth sash.)

I loved the intimacy of the awards dinner – the familiarity of the CABA representatives with each other and with many of the attendees, the informal yet elegant atmosphere, the multicultural mix in attendance – and it was wonderful to know and recognize people there, too. I sat at a table with librarians who worked with an old bell-ringing friend of mine – I’d taken one of them punting in Cambridge, England, at a conference in 1998!

With Brenda Randolph and Harriet McGuire...

When Brenda Randolph, founder and Director of Africa Access and Chairperson of CABA, and Harriet McGuire, Vice President of Africa Access, introduced me to the gathering, I spoke of how proud my idealistic and charismatic young mother – who died at 35 - would have been of this book and this award. Her younger sisters Susan and Kate, who in many ways have filled her place for me, were both present as my guests. My last two books were dedicated to them, Rose Under Fire to Kate and Black Dove, White Raven to Susan. Susan served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia for two years, and it was she and her husband Roger who sparked my own interest in this intriguing and beautiful country* and who took me there in 2004. After the ceremony several people wanted pictures of me and my aunts. I was so happy to be able to share this celebration with family!

...And with my aunts Kate and Susan.

The following day was the Children’s Africana Book Awards Festival at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art – there were a number of projects and book-themed activities going on, as well as incredible performances by young drummers and dancers. The day’s events finished with a panel of authors and illustrators discussing their work and an exchange of ideas with a diverse and invested audience.

Balsa airplane projects at the CABA Festival

I really can’t say how proud and happy and humbled I am to have been part of this celebration.

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Five days later I was in Providence, Rhode Island, speaking at the Lincoln School and at Seekonk High School in Massachusetts in conjunction with the Rhode Island Festival of Books and Authors at the Lincoln School. I wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for Martha Douglas Osmundson, whom I’d met at NCTE in November 2015, and who asked me if I’d ever consider coming to Rhode Island (of course I said yes! In a heartbeat. Has no one figured out that I am always willing to play?)


Elizabeth Wein selfie with Lincoln School student Elizabeth Wein!

I gave two presentations at the Lincoln School. One was a talk to attentive middle-school students who asked excellent questions, and one was a workshop on structure to 9th graders who had all read my short story “The Battle of Elphinloan” in Taking Aim, edited by Michael Cart. That was fun because I was able to show them some of the scenes that had inspired me – the village of Pittenweem in Fife, with its concrete tidal swimming pool, castle and dovecote.


With Morgan Hellmold and Suzanne Larson at the Seekonk School



The event at Seekonk High School was sheer pleasure. The students there had read Code Name Verity as a “Whole-School Read,” so we had all the high school English classes gathered there and the event was set up as a conversation between me, library media specialist Suzanne Larson, and English teacher Morgan Hellmold, with students able to ask questions as well. There was lots of time given to pick apart plot-points and character and moral issues that I’m not usually able to address without giving away spoilers.


The Seekonk students had done a project to come up with appropriate code names for themselves!

Afterwards, the Rhode Island Festival of Children’s Books and Authors geared up with a signing session on Friday night. Author and illustrator talks and more signings took place all day on Saturday, and young readers came from all over. There was a wide range of books available – I noticed that a LOT of people ended up going home with copies of A Tyranny of Petticoats.

I had quite possibly the most wonderful book-signing experience of my life that day.

The reader was a sixth-grader named Lionel Wolfe. It was the day before his 11th birthday, and he’d discovered the link to the RI Festival on my website and asked to be taken there for his birthday. The whole family came all the way from New York, including mother, father, and big sister, 18-year-old aspiring novelist (and Code Name Verity fan) Lauranne. Lionel, who told me that Black Dove, White Raven was his favorite book, had made (for a school project) the most amazing model bi-plane whose wings folded like a book – the wings were decorated with an origami white raven and a black dove, and a booklet containing an in-depth analysis of Black Dove, White Raven.



It was a joyful exchange and held up the signing queue a bit, as we all exclaimed and took photos and professed our mutual inadequately expressed admiration for each other for quite some time. But everyone else in line was just as excited and enchanted by Lionel’s enthusiasm and ingenuity as I was! The woman next in line was actually in tears by the time the Wolfe family departed, much to her teen daughter’s embarrassment. When they finally got their turn she said, “I’m not crying! These are old tears.”





It was… Just. So. Wonderful.

And you know, it is moments like this that remind me why I do what I do. I know that I, like many of my fellow authors, find myself frustrated at the lack of media attention, the indifferent sales, the disparities in the industry and the ignorance about the value of writing for young people. The real lure of events like these is the opportunity to meet readers and writers – both young and old, both published and unpublished, both aspiring and successful, in many different aspects.

The evening finished with an elegant farewell dinner at the Rhode Island School of Design, hosted by Chris and Lisa Van Allsburg. I owe so much gratitude to them, and to organizers Meagan Lenihan and Colleen Zeitz for inviting me to the festival!



And my month of literary excitement isn’t over yet. Still to come in October: the West Scotland Heat of the Kids Lit Quiz, and school visits in the Western Isles in connection with Faclan, the Hebridean book festival. Because I am always willing to play.

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*A sombre note: As I write this, Ethiopia is imploding. In the past two weeks it has entered a state of emergency. It has been heartbreaking to watch this happening from a distance while celebrating its history, people and culture.
ewein2412: (osprey hair)
Letter from a teen reader, received 25 August 2016, posted here unedited (with the writer's permission).

Dear Elizabeth,

I'm writing simply because I just want to say how much your book has affected me. This is the first book written by you that I've read and, since receiving it as a Christmas present last year, I've read it nine times! No matter how many times I read it, though, a new element hits me and surprises me. I don't think I can remember the last time I could connect to a character as well as I have with Rosie or have read such a hard-hitting book telling about life in a concentration camp in such detail. Your book inspired me to conduct more research into these "rabbits" and ravensbrück to the point where I plan to give a presentation in the coming school term for my English speaking exam. The poems and use of them are incredible, I have learnt all of them off by heart! I particularly loved "like taut wings fly" and "kite flying". I used to be an avid reader but was forced to stop due to having such a full timetable but Rose under fire has rekindled my love of books and reading. Really, I just want to thank you for writing such an incredible book and imprinting the memories of the 150,000 women into my, and so many others' minds. This is not a book I will be letting go of any time soon. So again, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
Yours.


ewein2412: (osprey hair)
Sometime last year, Sheila Averbuch and Louise Kelly, in their role as organizers for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) SE Scotland Network of the SCBWI British Isles Region, asked me to represent the SCBWI at an event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (EIBF). I was flattered and pleased and of course I blithely accepted, with absolutely no idea of what I was getting myself into.

The event, chaired by Daniel Hahn, was premised on Anthony McGowan (author of The Knife that Killed Me, Hellbent, and Henry Tumour among others) saying controversial things about young adult literature and me responding in my role of ruling “middle-aged white woman who writes YA” – while waving a sheaf of oft-misquoted and under-interpreted statistics.

The floor was then opened to the opinions of a truly glittering array of YA and Middle Grade writers including Jenny Downham, Christopher Edge, Patrice Laurence, Annabel Pitcher, and Philip Womack (who gate-crashed the event but was a very welcome addition). This phenomenal crew was seated, rather unfortunately, in the front row with their backs to the audience rather than on the stage – however, the arrangement was set up to allow anyone who was participating in the Festival’s children’s programming to attend and participate (the five authors lined up there featured in other events as well).

So Anthony McGowan got up and ranted for ten minutes and I responded with a counter-rant, after which we had mini-rants from the other authors, and then the audience was allowed to throw in a few rants of their own. I don’t believe anything new and exciting was revealed, but everyone enjoyed ranting. Many teens were given a voice, which was wonderfully welcome, as they’re clearly the readers on the front lines here.

Here are some interpretations of the event:

Ann Giles (Bookwitch)

Sophie Cameron

Anthony McGowan’s own take

Barrington Stoke blog

Barrington Stoke’s blog entry… Well, gosh, I think it was me who said the “YA Debate” was getting old, which seems to be their sum total of my counter-rant! Of all the quotables to be picked up on. Their response “well we're still interested” feels like yet another misinterpretation. I didn’t mean YA isn’t worth talking about. Yes, yes, of COURSE we want to talk about it. But do we really need to continue to perpetuate these myths about it?

Let's BUST SOME OF THEM.

Myth 1): Most readers of YA are not teens.

I’ve written about this before.

That post is a bit outdated now, but people are still quoting numbers from the articles I’ve referenced in it, and other numbers such as the Publishers Weekly article referenced below. I cannot believe how often I hear people chirp “80 percent of people reading YA are not teens” when the statistic they are actually quoting is “80 percent of people buying YA are not teens.” You can draw your own conclusions by going to the source. (It doesn’t convince the MMR vaccine naysayers to go to the source, so if you’re convinced that more adults than teens read YA, no amount of arguing from me is going to change your mind.)

Publishers Weekly report on last year's Nielsen Summit

Bear in mind that most teens DON’T SPEND THEIR MONEY ON BOOKS. Ask a teen if you don’t believe me! They get books from the library, from educators, from parents, as gifts, and they do a LOT of borrowing from friends. I don’t hear anyone complaining that “100 percent of people buying board books are not babies.”

Basing your assumption of who reads YA on con attendance is simply and obviously erroneous. Most teens do not have the wherewithal to travel to London or wherever and stay in a hotel for three nights.

Also, WHO CARES if adults are reading YA? Really… who the heck CARES? I’ll read what I feel like reading.

Myth 2) YA is tripe, lacks depth and beauty, and always has a happy ending.

It’s lame, I guess, to counter every argument with your own books, but I do feel I have some modicum of legitimacy in responding with three words:

Code Name Verity.

“A part of me is broken off forever. A part of me lies buried in lace and roses on a river bank in France. A part of me will always be unflyable, stuck in the climb.”

Just… whatever.

Myth 3) (MYTH DU JOUR!) YA is stopping readers from moving on to adult [ie, worthwhile] fiction.

Yeah… whatever. Keep kicking the anthill, peeps.

Myth 4) YA has only been around for 20 years.

I actually spent quite of a bit of time researching this before the event, with the help of Jenny Kristine Thurman (@jennygadget on twitter), and can link you to some interesting articles tracing the history of YA from its origins 200 years ago to its acknowledged existence and value in the early 20th century:

“200 Years of Young Adult Library Services History” complied by VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)

A useful chronology of Young Adult Literature by Ernie Bond of Salisbury University.

“The Value of Young Adult Literature” by Michael Cart, a white paper issued by YALSA (the Young Adult division of the American Library Association), January 2008. Also contains useful historical context.

“What Does Young Adult Mean?” by Jen Doll in The Wire

“The Surprising, Short History of Young Adult Fiction” by N. Jamiyla Chisholm in Real Simple

“A Brief History of the Young Adult Services Division” by Carol Starr on the YALSA website

Yada yada yada.

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I think the reason I feel this so-called “debate” is getting old is because people just seem to be so. damn. eager. to ignore the facts, to skip the research that would back or disprove their arguments, or to read ANYTHING in the oeuvre other than the current bestselling titles.* So we have John Green held up or reviled as the single example of a literary luminary in the field. Sally Gardner’s name did not come up in our debate; nor did those of Francesca Lia Block, Cornelia Funke, Virginia Hamilton, W.E. Johns, Katherine Paterson, Gene Stratton Porter, Jason Reynolds, Marcus Sedgwick, Steve Sheinkin, Rosemary Sutcliff, Robert Westall, or Jacqueline Woodson, to name a few at random off the top of my head – over a century’s worth of male and female, black and white prolific authors of fabulously readable fiction and non-fiction and poetry, accessibly told with intelligence and elegance.

It’s an exciting time to be writing for young adults, that’s for sure. I guess that my ennui regarding the “debate” and my lack of ennui in the field is based on the incredible feedback I continue to get from teen readers. During the signing after the EIBF event, I was told twice by readers that “Code Name Verity is my favorite book of all time.” I’ve lost track of how many teens have told me this. Honestly, an author can get no higher praise or greater incentive to keep going – whatever the media says.

Incidentally, all my major breaks in children’s publishing came about through connections made because of the volunteer work I’ve done for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). If you’ve any intention of writing for children, I urge you to join.

SCBWI website

SCBWI British Isles website

*(This is where I feel the YA Debate resembles the MMR vaccine debate. Why are we still debating it? THERE IS NO DEBATE. YA is worth reading, is read and loved by teens, has been around for 200 years, and is not going anywhere. Get your kids vaccinated and give them a book and stop listening to the anthill-kickers.)
ewein2412: (osprey hair)
For the past 18 years, Scottish Friendly Assurance have sponsored a series of week-long book tours in cooperation with the Scottish Book Trust, bringing authors and illustrators directly into schools: four per year in Scotland and two each year throughout the rest of the UK. I was lucky enough to be asked to tour as a Scottish author in Norfolk, England, this year.


Old school selfie – camera on timer! Beth, E Wein & Tom in King’s Lynn

With a pair of phenomenal representatives from the Scottish Book Trust, Beth Goodyear and Thomas Jefferson, I visited nine schools throughout Norfolk and managed to squeeze in a presentation to three more at the University of East Anglia’s FLY Festival of Literature for Young People in Norwich in the middle of the tour.

To start with, though, I got to meet with and enjoy a relaxed meal with Calum Bennie, the communications manager with the tour’s sponsor, Scottish Friendly. He is a dedicated supporter of the tour himself and stayed on to attend my first event. Later in the week we shared another evening and much book talk with the vibrant Mandy Steel of the Norfolk School Library Services, who was responsible for organizing and coordinating the events. It is fantastic to see so much enthusiasm and effort made to encourage young readers in these VERY TRYING TIMES. I was hugely impressed with Norfolk’s libraries – the old one at King’s Lynn is grand. But the
Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library
, where the FLY Festival was held – WOW! So many events and services, including a Polish club for children and being home to the 2nd Air Division USAAF Memorial Library – a beautiful working space well used.


King’s Lynn Public Library


Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library

Our Monday visits included a virtual tour of Ethiopia for enthusiastic participants at Cottenham Village College and a workshop on structure for the eager and diligent writing students at Downham Market Academy; Tuesday’s visit to Iceni Academy’s keen readers in Thetford combined aspects of both. I was so pleased with the students’ interest, their intelligent questions, and their hunger for books! This enthusiasm couldn’t have manifested itself more appropriately than it did on Tuesday afternoon, when we were surprised to see a familiar cover featured in the promotional banner for St. Clement’s High School:


St. Clement’s High School banner


Close-up of that banner… presumably taken during the Carnegie Shadowing 2013!

Beth and Tom had researched venues for both lunch and the evening meal each day, and on the drive between schools I basically sat in the front passenger seat taking pictures of windmills, pointing out items of interest with the aid of 25-year-old Ordnance Survey maps, demanding side-trips to places like Oxburgh Hall and Norfolk Lavender, and being stuffed with an apparently limitless assortment of comfort food that Beth had stashed in the back of the Scottish Book Trust minivan.


Lunch in King’s Lynn

Alderman Peel High School in Wells-next-the-Sea was a large group – ninety strong - who were focusing on heroism and its ramifications, and clearly just as eager to get stuck into a story of spies and pilots as the more intimate gathering in the lovely bright library at Dereham Neatherd High School in East Dereham. We couldn’t believe how many copies of Code Name Verity got snapped up that day. They were all gone by the end of the trip.


This bucket was full of books before our visit to Sprowston!

It was at Sprowston Community High School on Thursday morning where I learned that Edith Cavell, one of the heroic women mentioned in Code Name Verity, is a Norfolk native. The ensuing discussion of “famous last words” turned about to be an unusual way to hook new readers.

After the FLY Festival Event at the fabulous Millennium Library on Thursday afternoon, we finished the week with a visit to Caister Academy in Great Yarmouth, and had an entertaining and animated discussion with the year 9 English students at Thorpe St. Andrew School (I made the mistake of telling them not to blow their noses in my silk escape map. A lot of fake sneezing ensued). The Caister year 7s had all done amazing research projects on the women of the Special Operations Executive and put together a fantastic display of the results. I was disappointed I didn’t have time to read them all.


Caister Academy SOE project


Caister Academy readers

I ended up the week by myself in Peterborough, overflowing with images, names, faces, scenery, libraries, and youthful enthusiasm as I waited for my train home the following morning. What a lot of preparation went into this tour by so many different people, and how lucky I am to have been able to participate in it! It was hard not to feel a bit blue now that it was all over. I spent the evening glued to the BBC and Twitter as the results of the EU referendum were discussed all around the world.

I had one last outing before catching my train: Peterborough Cathedral. It turns out to be the first burial place of Mary Queen of Scots, before her body was moved to Westminster Abbey by her son James I (James VI of Scotland). It made me feel curiously at home to see the Saltire hanging there so unexpectedly after a week in deepest England.


Former burial place of Mary Queen of Scots in Peterborough Cathedral

-----------------
What we didn't indulge in:


ONLY because it was closed.


And this is probably the best of the 420 pictures of the moon I took early in the week. Unretouched!

---------------------
Note to Americans: almost all British kids wear school uniforms.
ewein2412: (fiction writer not detective)
The YA Dash is now finished and the winner is Melissa P.!



I think my writing owes a lot to the mystery genre. A slow build in the beginning, introducing a lot of characters and setting the stage for later - sprinkling red herrings to lead the reader down the wrong path on purpose - then thundering breakneck action in the last third of the book - are all features of my own style. I think I construct my novels this way because I really love the pacing of mysteries. So here are two truths and a lie about my mystery history.

(If you participated in the YADash, you’d have had to find my hidden clue in the sentence that contains the lie. By linking back to my website author biography page, and the book page for Black Dove, White Raven - links provided below - you can discover what is truth and what isn’t! A full retrospective of the YADash is here.)

I lived in Jamaica from 1970-1973, and my mother used to buy me a Hardy Boys book each week at the grocery story. I’d read it, and she’d take it back the following week and say, “Elizabeth’s already got this one - can we exchange it for another?” (You can read more about my early life on my author biography page, here.) Inspired by the Hardy Boys, a friend and I devised a series called The Churcha Girls, and, amazingly, when we were 7 years old, we actually wrote a Churcha Girl book. The Hidden Treasure wasn’t novel-length, but it filled a notebook. It had red herrings and captures and rescues and closure.


Me at 7 in Jamaica with neighbors Madge Henriques and Patrick Taylor

I left Jamaica soon after, but I did not lose sight of my desire to be a writer. When I was 14, I completed an even longer mystery called The Green-Eyed Beauty, about the supposed kidnapping of a glamorous teen who was actually a spy (yup, even then). My own best friend described this as “the stupidest book I have ever read.” She was probably right. I have got better at titles since then, too.

Black Dove, White Raven, which is published novel Number 8 for me (and the one associated with the YADash prize – read about Black Dove, White Raven here), is not a mystery. And yet it follows that same structural pattern of the slow build with menace and tension which explodes into violence late in the book. It’s set in 1935, as Italy prepares for its invasion of Ethiopia, and focuses on an American teen brother and sister settled in Ethiopia as we did in Jamaica, who get caught in the storm as war erupts around them.



What am I working on next? It's a mystery.

---------------------

A total of 10 suspense and mystery authors were involved in the YADash. You can check out their blogs and books here:

Susan Adrian
Lindsay Cummings
Lee Kelly
Y.S. Lee
T.A. Maclagan
Valynne Maetani
Diana Renn
Laurie Stolarz
Mary Elizabeth Summer



Rafflecopter giveaway


ewein2412: (Dancing Creme Egg)
[The giveaway connected with this post ended on 5 April 2015. The lucky winner was Sophie Jordan.]

Hi there from your itinerant online friend E Wein! And for those of you coming here from other blogs who don’t know me, I’m Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity, Rose Under Fire, and just this month, Black Dove, White Raven. I'm reviving my half-dead blog so I can participate in an online treasure hunt organized by author Teri Terry to introduce readers to a wide range of Young Adult authors writing in the United Kingdom.

Our lucky winner has received a fabulous grand prize of signed books by over thirty young adult authors[ who write and live in the United Kingdom. As a participant, I’ve donated a set of the UK editions of all three of my recent books, signed and personalized.

3_ElizabethWein_Rev

Although the egg hunt is now over, you should still be able to follow the links at the end of our posts for the blog hop and explore a variety of UKYA authors.

I’m American by birth, but I’ve been living in the UK for over 20 years, and in Scotland for the last fifteen of those. I have been here so long that I now qualify not only as a UK writer, but technically and specifically as a Scottish writer. I really love this. In times of yore, when I was a more dedicated blogger, I did a lot of posting about what it’s like to be an American living in Scotland. So just as a taster, here are some photos taken this month. It really is this beautiful. (Even when it's raining.)

Glen Quaich

Glen Quaich


dead phone box

Abandoned phone box, Kenmore




crannog on loch tay

Crannog on Loch Tay


snowdrops at scone palace

Snowdrops, Scone Palace, Perth




snowdrop cookies

Snowdrop Tea at Cambo House, Fife


The UKYA Egg Hunt closed at noon (UK time) on Sunday, 5th April 2015 (yeah, Easter day), but here’s the link to the next UKYA blog if you're interested in exploring – meet Clare Furniss, author of The Year of the Rat, which has just been shortlisted for the prestigious UK Literary Association Book Award. The UKLA book award is fondly known as the “teachers’ Carnegie” and honours excellence in literary fiction aimed at children. Jump to Clare's blog at clarefurniss.com/blog.

You can find out more about me and my books on my website at www.elizabethwein.com. I tweet far more regularly than I blog. My Twitter handle is @ewein2412.

So enjoy meeting some awesome UKYA authors and their books!





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"!

ewein-special-ops

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.

http://www.ala.org/yalsa/teens-top-ten
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: (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: (verity text)
[livejournal.com profile] tiboribi has created a Spoiler Friendly CNV discussion group on Goodreads, here:

http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/70433-code-name-verity-spoiler-friendly-zone

This is actually something I've been wanting to do for a while, but sort of thought it ought to wait till after the US book release. There are an awful lot of blogger reviews out there and they are all, without exception, extremely careful about revealing anything. So here's a place to speculate about whether You-Know-Who and You-Know-Who actually end up together, or whatever.

I'll be lurking - I think it might not be appropriate for me to join in the converation, so I'll try to keep my oar out. Go take a look if you're interested. BUT ONLY IF YOU'VE READ THE BOOK, FOR GOSH SAKES.
ewein2412: (queenie as WAAF)
On women's roles in wartime and the writing of CNV, over at the Daily Fig on figment.com. It was an inspired idea to write this from V's point of view, but OH. MY. GOD. How I wept over that final paragraph while writing it. Thank god for ball point pens.

http://dailyfig.figment.com/2012/05/22/verity-speaks/
ewein2412: (looking the wrong way)
I have two weeks.

I would like to write something heroic and inspired before I go up in fireworks, but I am too stupid and sick with dread to think of anything. I can’t even think of anyone else’s memorable defiance to repeat. I wonder what William Wallace said when they were tying him to the horses that would rip him into quarters. All I can think of is Nelson saying ‘Kiss me, Hardy.’


--------------------------

OK, so I’m not really sick with dread. And nothing actually ever happens on a book’s ‘launch day’. You wait and wait and wait and wait, you waste years of your life waiting, and the publication date comes and goes and if you don’t mark it with a handful of confetti of your own, you find you’re actually just waiting again—for reviews or ratings or feedback of some kind—only now the waiting has no demarcated limit and eventually trickles off into waiting for the next book. I know, I know. Special Ops Exec. Write -

I’m not ‘sick with dread’, but I am apprehensive about Code Name Verity in a way that is new to me. It is new to me because it has real hope in it—hope that is gradually sloughing off its gild of cynicism. And that is because people are reading and enjoying this book. I sit here at my computer and I see what’s going on, in the blogosphere and the reviewing world, and I can’t quite believe it. I certainly can’t see where it’s going. I am almost as apprehensive of success as I am of disappointment.

CNV is, for example, an Amazon Editor’s Pick for Best Book of the Month in May. This may generate what a couple of reviewers are calling ‘hype,’ but it isn’t hype in and of itself. Hype didn’t put it there - the book put itself there. And that just makes my jaw drop.

Of course, it’s already out here in the UK. I’ve no idea how well it’s doing—the excitement of the first ‘Book Birthday’ has tapered off, and I don’t know if it’s selling according to plan. A team of guerrilla CNV Special Ops agents send me pictures of the book displayed in the windows of independent booksellers, or occasionally on a prominent shelf in the chains, bearing a handwritten staff recommendation card. I don’t quite know where to file these small triumphs in my brain. They astonish me. When the phenomenal review of CNV in Publisher’s Weekly turned up, and I found it online before my agent or even the publisher knew it was there, I didn’t tweet it for three days because I was sure it must be an error. But it wasn’t an error.

OK, you all know the location of the first aid kit and the fire extinguisher, right? And how to open the hatches in the event of a forced landing? Echo Echo Whiskey, ready for departure.

---------------------------

‘I may be going to hell in a bucket, babe, but at least I’m enjoying the ride.’ - The Grateful Dead

---------------------------

Comment, and we'll do one of our lame 'Sara picks a name out of a hat' giveaways - an autographed copy of the UK edition of CNV. Closes 8 a.m. BST Sat. 5 May 2012 (that's 8 a.m. British Summer Time, so Friday midnight in California, I think. That way I can mail it on saturday morning and you have a chance of getting it before the release date. Yes, I will ship internationally. I am wild that way.)

CNV linky

Feb. 12th, 2012 02:29 pm
ewein2412: (verity text)
collected all in one place, wow!

--------------------------------

Last Monday's live interview on BBC Radio Scotland (no longer live):

Bookcafe page
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0079gb9

Programme page for Mon. 6 Feb. (last day available!)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01bmm32

Podcast for Mon. 6 Feb. (available for 25 more days)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/bookcafe

----------------------------

Blog tour posts:


Booktrust: On the theme of friendship in CNV
http://www.booktrust.org.uk/books-and-reading/teenagers/blog/308

I Want to Read That: my personal encounters with wartime aircraft
http://www.iwanttoreadthat.com/2012/02/encounters-with-wartime-aircraft-by.html

Bookbabblers: Apparently I am their "author in residence" this month (news to me), so my footprint is all over this site:

My favorite books (oh brother):
http://bookbabblers.co.uk/author-in-residence/

Author interview (the osprey gets a mention):
http://bookbabblers.co.uk/2012/02/q-a-with-elizabeth-wein-author-of-code-name-verity/

On the inspiration for CNV:
http://bookbabblers.co.uk/2012/02/guest-post-from-elizabeth-wein-author-of-code-name-verity/


Over at Finding Wonderland, Tanita Davis has essentially put up a CNV review every day for 3 days running:

On War Stories
http://writingya.blogspot.com/2012/02/war-stories-further-musings-on.html

I Don't Do History: the Case for Historical Fiction
http://writingya.blogspot.com/2012/02/i-dont-do-history-case-for-historical.html

Turning pages: review of CNV
http://writingya.blogspot.com/2012/02/turning-pages-code-name-verity-by.html


Daisy Chain Books - on the real people who inspired CNV:
http://daisychainbookreviews.blogspot.com/2012/02/blog-tour-author-elizabeth-wein-on-real.html


Booksmugglers - Literary inspiration behind CNV (I really like this post):
http://thebooksmugglers.com/2012/02/guest-author-elizabeth-wein-on-inspirations-influences.html

Booksmugglers review (they gush. I have refrained from commenting because it is rather overwhelming).
http://thebooksmugglers.com/2012/02/book-review-code-name-verity-by-elizabeth-wein.html

Scottish Book Trust - inspiration, work in progress, and Why I Live in Scotland:
http://www.scottishbooktrust.com/blog/teens-young-people/2012/02/elizabeth-wein-writing-code-name-verity

if you hunt for it, you CAN find Verity's real name revealed on line (not in this review, despite outward appearances). Her real name isn't really a spoiler. But most people are treating it as one. I LOVE THIS.

---------------------

Not part of the tour but fun:

Chachic's Book Nook: Nice review with a boatload of interesting yet spoiler free discussion in the comments:
http://chachic.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/code-name-verity-by-elizabeth-wein/

Lovely and emotional review here at By Singing Light:
http://bysinginglight.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/code-name-verity-elizabeth-wein/

[livejournal.com profile] estara is auctioning a copy of CNV (with author-signed bookplate) in support of Con or Bust: Fans of Color Assistance Project here:
http://con-or-bust.livejournal.com/105641.html

-------------------------------

And Books for Scotland has chosen CNV as their Children's Choice of the Month. They're the ones who called me an "American born Scottish author"!
http://www.booksfromscotland.com/

------------------------------

If you want to order it yourself and don't have an independent bookstore where you can go demand it in person, the Book Depository ships free anywhere in the world.

http://www.bookdepository.com

------------------------------

Set Europe the world ablaze!
ewein2412: (verity text)
My personal encounters with wartime aircraft on I Want to Read That:

http://www.iwanttoreadthat.com/2012/02/encounters-with-wartime-aircraft-by.html

(I am such a nerd)

Also do check out Tanita's rants/riffs on "war stories" and the term "historical fiction" over on Finding Wonderland, using CNV as a case in point:

http://writingya.blogspot.com/2012/02/war-stories-further-musings-on.html

http://writingya.blogspot.com/2012/02/i-dont-do-history-case-for-historical.html

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