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.

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: (harriet smile)
my christmas present from ACB just arrived. This time it is Harriet Vane.

more of her gear. Note the picnic! (The sandwich is wrapped in wax paper.)

of course she comes with an academic gown and also the HAT. (But what I really love is the button for the hood on her back.)

nightie & kimono.

...um... (the lace! I wanted to show off the detailing.) (right)

ready for a car journey, I think...

the fur collar is monogrammed on the inside!
ewein2412: (Default)
"I reckon if there's anything you ought a know about cooking, it's this."
"That's just lard, ain't it?"
"No, it ain't just lard," I say. "It's the most important invention in the kitchen since jarred mayonnaise."
"What's so special about" - she wrinkles her nose at it - "pig fat?"
pig, it's vegetable." Who in this world doesn't know what Crisco is? "You don't have a clue of all the things you can do with this here can."
She shrugs. "Fry?"
"Ain't just for frying. You ever get a sticky something stuck in your hair, like gum?" I jackhammer my finger on the Crisco can. "That's right, Crisco. Spread this on a baby's bottom, you won't even know what diaper rash is." I plop three scoops in the black skillet. "Shoot, I seen ladies rub it under they eyes and on they husband's scaly feet."
"Look how pretty it is," she says. "Like white cake frosting."
"Clean the goo from a price tag, take the squeak out a door hinge. Lights get cut off, stick a wick in it and burn it like a candle."
I turn on the flame and we watch it melt down in the pan. "And after all that, it'll still fry your chicken."

--Kathryn Stockett, The Help

...The secret ingredient to whoopie pie filling and all commercial cake frosting in the USA! I have to mail order mine. This passage must be an utter mystery to Waterstones and Tesco bookbuying readers. "Who in the world doesn't know what Crisco is?"

(I knew she was going to talk about Crisco from the first sentence. Although, to be honest, I did not use it in my own cooking till I began making whoopie pies.)
ewein2412: (harriet writing (text))
I have an an essay on disability in the Percy Jackson series up at Smart Pop Books, here:


It'll be there till Tuesday 11 Oct 2011, when it'll revert to excerpt mode. I am feeling smug about having had the foresight to update my Smart Pop bio to include CNV at least a year before I'd sold it.


There is a funny story behind my work for Smart Pop. When Benbella asked me if I'd like to write for them, I chose Percy Jackson because I'd heard rave reviews about The Lightning Thief and was curious. I'd never heard of the other series they invited me to write about, and when I checked it out I decided (with an eyeroll) that I didn't have the strength to be witty and intelligent about a high school vampire love story I was very likely to detest.


From a strictly financial viewpoint, I SO REGRET this decision.


May. 17th, 2007 03:52 pm
ewein2412: (harriet writing (no text))
1) Gramma

I didn't post about Gramma's progress for a while she wasn't making any and it was very discouraging. After what seemed like a phenomenal recovery, 6 weeks after her injury and with her pelvis mostly healed, she suddenly found herself stricken with debilitating and inexplicable pain on the other side of her body. We thought it might be sciatica. After an MRI scan, turns out she actually had two other breaks that the initial x-rays hadn't picked up, one in her hip and one in her tailbone (?) or thereabouts--so they confined her to the walker/zimmer frame and wheelchair for another 6 weeks. She improved very rapidly (again) after that, and 3 weeks later was back to saying, "I'm fine, but they're still making me use this stupid walker." (Apparently, at her last check-up with her GP, she asked permission to start driving again, and the GP accused her of coercion--that's the specialist's department!)

As far as I know she spent last weekend in Richmond with my aunt (her youngest daughter, Kate) and Kate's daughters. Her first big trip since her accident, and it is a big trip, a 5 hour drive. I will have to have a long transatlantic gossip with her soon.

2) Moonwalk Reminder

Me and my team the "Fair City Fillies" are supposed to be in training for the Moonwalk, a sponsored walk to raise money to support breast cancer projects within Scotland. The freaks that I hang out with consider that appropriate "training" for a 13 mile power walk is to go on a 14 mile hillwalk over rough terrain AT THE SAME PACE as the power walk; i.e., if you don't pass out or end up in the hospital with tendonitis you'll be fine for the half-marathon, which will be considerably less difficult than your training. So anyway, I have been training. I will just about recover in time to do the actual half-marathon; donations always gratefully appreciated here , and many thanks to those of you who have made donations in the past. I will keep you posted when the big day arrives!

Everyone's feet hurt last week. Tim has a mysterious infection in his right foot which was so swollen I finally managed to make him go to the doctor, and antibiotics seem to be improving it. Unbelievably, the day before he went, the CAT turned up limping pathetically on 3 legs with a big fat swollen paw, and SHE had to go get antibiotics as well (or whatever it is they give cats). Tim took her; apparently he asked the vet if he could get a shot in his foot, too.

Tim's ridiculous attempt to explain the strange foot maladies going around:

"Your feet are the bellwether of your soul."

3) Perth, the cultural haven at the end of the motorway system

We went to see the Waterboys at the Perth Concert Hall last night. They were fantastic--I didn't actually expect to enjoy the concert as much as I did. I am not real familiar with their recent stuff and had never heard the "Peace of Iona" song or their marvellous setting of Yeats's "The Stolen Child" (painfully topical, too). And--


I love Scotland.

4) Navel Gazing

As far as I am aware The Lion Hunter is on schedule for its 14 June 2007 debut. I know that there are at least two people on my friendslist who claim to be more excited about this book than about HP7 ([livejournal.com profile] marguerlucy said I could quote her on that, so I am). Your reward is…

Somewhere, someone in the dim and distant Internet past (and they probably don't even read this blog) expressed a whimsical desire for a Medraut/Turunesh fanfic. I don't know if it counts as fanfic if the author of the fandom writes it herself, but I have produced a drabble. A DRABBLE! Moi! I wrote it a while ago and was too embarrassed to post it. But what the heck. It is here and here at [livejournal.com profile] rarelitslash. madwoman.


ewein2412: (Default)

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