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)
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: (maddie in headset)
This is what. I went to the 60th Anniversary conference of the British Women Pilots’ Association (BWPA). That is such an understatement in terms of the emotional roller coaster the event put me through. It was held at White Waltham airfield, the home of the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA), and where the BWPA was founded by half a dozen ex-Air Transport Auxiliary pilots in 1955.

Clubhouse at White Waltham

The thing is, White Waltham airfield is also the home of the West London Aero Club, and long before I’d ever heard of the ATA, for five years this was my flying club. My husband kept a plane at White Waltham. I had my first flying lesson here. I took a flight in a Tiger Moth from White Waltham, and looped the loop in an open cockpit over Henley-on-Thames. I was on the airfield at White Waltham when I went into labor, ten hours before giving birth to my daughter, my first child. She had her first flight five weeks later, also from White Waltham, in an Antonov AN-2.

That's me and Sara on the right! Tim is next to me. He flew this thing under instruction from the pilot in the pink shirt in the center - an ex-Concorde pilot. As a result of this flight Tim has a taildragger rating. 0.o

It is more than 15 years since I last set foot on White Waltham airfield, so just being there was a huge nostalgia trip for me. But of course, since then, I have written two novels about ATA pilots. I know the names and faces of the women who flew there seventy-some years ago. When people use photos of ATA pilots to make Code Name Verity fan art, I can identify “Maddie” as played by Pauline Gower, or Joan Hughes, or Maureen Dunlop.

Original ATA flag in the West London Aero Club clubhouse. The flag is on permanent loan from the ATA Museum in Maidenhead.

The West London Aero Club logo incorporates a pair of ATA wings with the ATA’s motto – “Aetheris Avidi” – eager for the air. I didn’t notice this on the souvenir mugs in our kitchen until after I’d written Code Name Verity, ten years after we’d left White Waltham. Now I have this whole other level of historical interest and association with White Waltham – in many ways, just as emotional as the personal association for me.

The BWPA conference this weekend was a delight, inspirational and informative and convivial. I met one of the first members, Muriel Tucker, which was a thrill; I caught up with people I knew from other aviation events; I met older women who have achieved dizzying firsts and younger women struggling to build hours. Pilots, poets, historians, adventurers, astronomers – men and women both – all turned out in their evening wear for the gala dinner on Saturday night. I was SO glad I went!

We got a display from a visiting Spitfire!

And Saturday was just so darn gorgeous, with unlimited visibility, that it would have been ridiculous not to go flying. So I paid for what was essentially a “trial lesson,” but was really part sightseeing and part familiarization – my last logged flight in control of an aircraft was three years ago. Highclere Castle – aka Downton Abbey – was definitely the highlight of the trip. I said to the instructor, “OK, you have to fly so I can take pictures. You have NO IDEA what this is going to do for my street cred back in the States.”

Highclere Castle

Greenham Common and Berkshire

The highlight of the conference, for me, was probably Candy Adkins’s talk about her ATA pilot mother, Jackie Moggridge (nee Sorour). Candy had brought along a ton of her mother’s memorabilia – her original logbook was amazing. For fans of Code Name Verity, here’s the page where she first flies a Lysander – there are “Puss” flights (as in Puss Moth) also on the page! (I took a ton of pictures of entries in this log book.)

Candy told a wonderful story of how her mother used to give her “Spitfire flying lessons” under the duvet before bed. “Now hold the controls and close your eyes – just think you want to turn right. Just think it, and you’ll turn.” When her mother died, Candy – not a pilot herself - was given the opportunity by Carolyn Grace to scatter Jackie’s ashes from the Grace Spitfire, which has dual controls. Halfway through the flight, Carolyn said to Candy – “Hold the stick now – you have control! Just turn her gently right – ” Candy said, “I thought of those lessons under the duvet, and I just held the stick and thought… I want to turn right. And I did.” When they landed, Carolyn said to her, “You certainly are your mother’s daughter.”

It was much, much later in the day that I remembered why the name “Jackie Sorour” – Jackie Moggridge’s maiden name – is so familiar to me. She inspired an accident and an incident in Rose Under Fire. She is the ATA pilot who, while ferrying a Tempest, encountered a V1 flying bomb in mid-air and went after it – though she failed to get close enough to tip it before it detonated and destroyed a village.

Jackie Moggridge, nee Sorour

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)
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)
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 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: (Default)

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