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Blog: Silver Apples of the Moon (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: I'm old, The Moody Blues, Add a tag
Blog: Children's Book Reviews and Then Some (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Picture Books, Add a tag
Very Little Red Riding Hood by Teresa Heapy, illustrated by Sue Heap, is the first in a series of picture books that re-imagines classic fairy tales with toddlers as the stars. When you think about it, this is a pretty good idea since kids are fascinated with fairy tales from a very young age. The problem is, when you don't Disney-fy the classics, the can be a bit dark for the littlestAdd a Comment
Blog: Bartography (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Bartography Express, Chris Barton, Laurie Ann Thompson, Modern First Library, Add a tag
My friend Laurie Ann Thompson‘s debut, Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something That Matters, comes out today. I’m so enthusiastic about this book that I’ll be giving away a copy and featuring an interview with Laurie in this month’s edition of my Bartography Express newsletter (which you can sign up for here).
I was happy to join other author friends of Laurie’s in showing support for her book in a series of posts last week on the EMU’s Debuts blog. Several of us recounted our own experiences in trying to make the world a little bit better. Have a look, read the rest of the series, and think about who you know that might love a book like this.Add a Comment
Ich freue mich sehr, dass ich für den Ellermann Verlag nach "Peter Pan" einen weiteren wunderbaren "Klassiker zum Vorlesen" illustrieren durfte, diesmal "Der kleine Lord", nacherzählt von Angie Westhoff.
|Cedric und der Graf|
Hier ist eine kleine Einleitung zur Geschichte:
Ein Klassiker der Weihnachtszeit: Endlich auch für die Kleinen. Eines Tages erfährt der kleine Cedric, dass er ein Lord werden soll. Doch im fernen England hat es der kleine amerikanische Junge erstmal schwer: Sein Großvater ist ein alter Griesgram und verbietet obendrein der Schwiegertochter, bei ihnen zu leben. Zum Glück erweicht Cedric mit seiner unbekümmerten Art schon bald das Herz des Grafen. Ob es jetzt allen gemeinsam gelingt, eine fiese Hochstaplerin zu überführen?
Eine der herzergreifendsten Geschichten der Kinderliteratur nacherzählt für Jungs und Mädchen ab 4 Jahren.
Viel Spaß beim Vorlesen!
This year I got to illustrate another children's book classic for Ellermann Verlag, "Little Lord Fauntleroy" , retold by Angie Westhoff (the first book I illustrated for Ellermann publishing house was "Peter Pan"). I hope you will enjoy reading it!
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Blog: Manga Maniac Cafe (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Action/Adventure, Review, Middle Grade, Pirates, Add a tag
May Contain Spoilers
I was offered a copy of Hook’s Revenge for review, and how could I possibly refuse? Pirates! Sword play! Adventure! It was a no-brainer to load this on my Kindle and start reading. Following Jocelyn, Hook’s 12 year old daughter, on her grand adventure to Neverland, I was captivated from the first page. Jocelyn is a rough and tumble girl, with no patience for manners, baths, or hair brushing. She’s brave and intelligent, but when she’s sent to Miss Eliza Crumb-Biddlecomb’s Finishing School for Young Ladies to learn how to behave in polite society, she bristles at every lesson. She gets off on the wrong foot with her classmates, and once they discover that she’s the dreaded Captain Hook’s daughter, watch out! Nobody wants to be her friend, and one of her roommates begins bullying her unmercifully. While there is little that Jocelyn is afraid of, she is miserable and friendless at school.
Then Jocelyn meets Roger, the cook’s helper. Suddenly, everything seems bearable again. That is until the horrible Prissy finds a way to hurt Jocelyn by having Roger dismissed from his position at the school. Dreadfully unhappy, Jocelyn makes a wish, and ends up receiving a mysterious letter from her father, delivered by Edger, a talking bird. Before she knows it, she’s been whisked off to Neverland to face her father’s nemeses – Neverland’s crocodile. Will she be able to carry out his final wish and defeat the monster that devoured her dad?
I enjoyed Hook’s Revenge because Jocelyn is such a capable girl. She doesn’t sit around and wait for someone to come to her rescue. Instead, she creates her own opportunities for rescue and adventure, relying on her bravery and intelligence to make her own luck. Unlike her father, she’s a kind girl, though she longs to step into Captain Hook’s shoes, and be as terrifying as her father was. The captain of her own ship, with Smee and the rest of her motley (a barely capable crew) at her command, she sets off to face the crocodile. What she doesn’t expect is how terrifying the beast is, or how many dangers she’ll face during her quest. She faces cannibals, rival pirate crews, and the Fairy Queen with equal aplomb, but will it be enough to see her safely to the end of her adventure?
Hook’s Revenge is a fun read with a humorous and droll narrator. I really liked Jocelyn. Peter Pan makes a few guest appearances, as do the Lost Boys, and it was interesting seeing Neverland through fresh eyes. There’s room for a sequel, so I hope I’ll be able to spend more time with Jocelyn soon.
Review copy provided by publisher
Twelve-year-old Jocelyn dreams of becoming every bit as daring as her infamous father, Captain James Hook. Her grandfather, on the other hand, intends to see her starched and pressed into a fine society lady. When she’s sent to Miss Eliza Crumb-Biddlecomb’s Finishing School for Young Ladies, Jocelyn’s hopes of following in her father’s fearsome footsteps are lost in a heap of dance lessons, white gloves, and way too much pink. So when Jocelyn receives a letter from her father challenging her to avenge his untimely demise at the jaws of the Neverland crocodile, she doesn’t hesitate—here at last is the adventure she has been waiting for. But Jocelyn finds that being a pirate is a bit more difficult than she’d bargained for. As if attempting to defeat the Neverland’s most fearsome beast isn’t enough to deal with, she’s tasked with captaining a crew of woefully untrained pirates, outwitting cannibals wild for English cuisine, and rescuing her best friend from a certain pack of lost children, not to mention that pesky Peter Pan who keeps barging in uninvited. The crocodile’s clock is always ticking in Heidi Schulz’s debut novel, a story told by an irascible narrator who is both dazzlingly witty and sharp as a sword. Will Jocelyn find the courage to beat the incessant monster before time runs out?Add a Comment
Blog: The Children's and Teens' Book Connection (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Fantasy, Graphic Novels, Teen fiction, Young Adult fiction, book spotlight, Bryan Lee O'Malley, Seconds, The Children's and Teens Book Connection, Add a tag
I’ll be focusing on graphic novels this week. Hope you enjoy it.
The highly anticipated new standalone full-color graphic novel from Bryan Lee O’Malley, author and artist of the hugely bestselling Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series
Katie’s got it pretty good. She’s a talented young chef, she runs a successful restaurant, and she has big plans to open an even better one. Then, all at once, progress on the new location bogs down, her charming ex-boyfriend pops up, her fling with another chef goes sour, and her best waitress gets badly hurt. And just like that, Katie’s life goes from pretty good to not so much. What she needs is a second chance. Everybody deserves one, after all—but they don’t come easy. Luckily for Katie, a mysterious girl appears in the middle of the night with simple instructions for a do-it-yourself do-over:
1. Write your mistake
2. Ingest one mushroom
3. Go to sleep
4. Wake anew
And just like that, all the bad stuff never happened, and Katie is given another chance to get things right. She’s also got a dresser drawer full of magical mushrooms—and an irresistible urge to make her life not just good, but perfect. Too bad it’s against the rules. But Katie doesn’t care about the rules—and she’s about to discover the unintended consequences of the best intentions.
From the mind and pen behind the acclaimed Scott Pilgrim series comes a madcap new tale of existential angst, everyday obstacles, young love, and ancient spirits that’s sharp-witted and tenderhearted, whimsical and wise.
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 15, 2014)
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Blog: OUPblog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: *Featured, British, Current Affairs, History, Journals, Politics, Anthony Carty, British politics, London Review of International Law, Mairianna Clyde, oxford journals, restUK, scotland, scottish independence, scottish independence referendum, scottish politics, Scottish Referendum, Add a tag
With Scotland voting on independence on 18 September 2014, the UK coalition government sought advice on the relevant law from two leading international lawyers, James Crawford and Alan Boyle. Their subsequent report has a central argument. An independent Scotland would be separatist, breaking away from the remainder of the UK. Therefore, the latter (known as restUK or rUK) would be the continuator state – enjoying all the rights and duties of the existing UK, while Scotland would be new state having none of rUK’s rights and especially no membership of any international organizations it enjoys now as part of the UK. The bargaining power of rUK as to what it might concede of the UK’s rights would be complete, e.g. with respect to a common currency. This legal opinion has created a confrontational atmosphere around the referendum vote and caused anxiety among Scottish voters about to ‘jump into the unknown’.
It is essential to unpack the distracting complexity of the expert international law professionalism of this advice. Firstly, Crawford and Boyle gloss over the actual legal circumstances of the contract of union between Scotland and England, in particular that the Union was a bargain among powers equal in the eyes of international law at that time. More specifically, the England which, with Wales, concluded the Treaty of Union is exactly the same entity standing opposite to Scotland now as then (leaving aside the North of Ireland which has the option under the Belfast Agreement of leaving the UK by referendum).
There is no international standard, in the event of a dissolution of a union, which can provide any objective criterion to determine that Scotland is the breakaway entity. In international law, recognition of new states is largely a matter of the political discretion of existing states. It depends on an international consensus, or lack of it, where political preference may or may not trump any possibly objective standard of political legitimacy, e.g. self-determination by democratic consent. The vast amount of state practice which Crawford and Boyle’s legal opinion displays is misleading insofar as there is, in fact, no definitive legal marker of guidance. This is shown by the fact that England is the continuator state because it is larger than Scotland. Legally, there has to be a continuator state. But since this obviously cannot be Scotland, it must be England. Even Scotland assumes this to be the case.
It is necessary to focus upon an international legal history of the individual states, rather than the more general international law offered by Crawford and Boyle. The Anglo-Scottish Union displays a phenomenon that Linda Colley has referred to as the composite state. This is where two or more sovereign nations agree to merge their highest governmental level institution (parliament) into a single state made up of several nations – a state-nation – but other lesser local institutions might remain. In the Europe of the 15th to the 17th century this was a common phenomenon, the most celebrated being in Scandinavia, involving Sweden, Denmark and Norway in a variety of partnerships from the Kalmar Union (1397) onwards. The logic of these partnerships was that they were always open to renegotiation. Now, this is precisely what the English generously recognize in the Edinburgh Agreement. The logic of the composite state does not cover the many cases in which a core nation forms itself into a state and then jealously guards its territorial integrity against dissident minorities, which are then regarded as separatist and destructive of national unity. It is possible that an aura of this type of scenario runs through the legal opinion of Crawford and Boyle, although they have to accept the consensual context of the advice they are being asked to give.
The real issues facing Scotland have to be confronted on a basis of equality and mutual consent in accordance with the international law established as apposite for this case. These issues are a matter of history, not merely that of the 17th-18th century, but also the evolution of the 1707 Treaty of Union (implemented through separate Acts of Union passed in the Scottish and English Parliaments) to the very recent past – especially the Thatcher years and the neo-liberal revolution in English-dominated UK politics. It has to be recognized that there are profound differences of social philosophy now between Scotland and England around the issue of neo-liberalism and the defense of community. These provide good reasons to revisit that 1707 bargain. This revisiting should be on the basis of complete equality. The sharing of common institutions of the United Kingdom, such as the currency, would have to be negotiated after reaching an agreement in which neither side – as so-called continuator state – would have a higher standing.
The post RestUK, international law, and the Scottish referendum appeared first on OUPblog.
Blog: Here in the Bonny Glen (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Books, Dori White, forgotten books, middle-grade, Sarah and Katie, Add a tag
The other day I mentioned I’ve been meaning to write a post about the 1972 middle-grade novel Sarah and Katie by Dori White. THIS IS NOT THAT POST. This is purely a curiosity itch I can’t wait to scratch. I took my query to Twitter, too, and…crickets. Now, ordinarily the merest mention of any book on Twitter, let alone a childhood favorite, garners zillions of immediate and enthusiastic responses. People love to talk about their childhood books.
Which leads me to believe that no one I know either on Twitter or here has heard of this book!
Can this be? Am I alone in my Sarah and Katie mini-obsession?
Illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman, you guys. It was a Scholastic Book Clubs book; I’m sure that’s where I came across it.
This book haunted me. I don’t remember what age I was, maybe eleven? Story of two best friends, sixth graders, in Depression-era Oregon. Thick as thieves, a regular Betsy-Tacy pair, but the arrival of a new girl in their midst doesn’t work out quite as well as when Tib shows up. (Then again, B-T and Tib were around six in that book. Big difference between six and twelve. Trios are much trickier, at twelve.) The new girl is dazzlingly beautiful, a cloud of red curls, glamorous, dazzling, a wee bit manic; and everyone including Sarah is smitten—except Katie, who sees through Melanie’s stories. Ring a bell? No? There’s a play, and of course Melanie gets THE PART, and she’s amazing in it, she’s this incredible actress, but that too sticks in Katie’s craw…
And the whole scene when they go to Melanie’s crummy apartment, and she’s playing it up, lady of the manor, lavish, starletty…until her mother comes home and suddenly she’s TOTALLY CHANGED—clothes, hair, voice, manner. All meek and humble. And Katie’s like I KNEW IT!
What haunted me about it was the disturbed and disturbing tone, the undercurrents caused by Melanie’s deception. And the idea, which must have been new to me then, that a girl could so thoroughly fool people, could fool even her own mother. And the gradual realization, handled so deftly by Dori White (as I noticed when rereading it last year for the first time in maybe two decades), that there was a deep longing and desperation behind Melanie’s actions, that she wasn’t just someone you could slap a Bad Guy label on. Katie awakens to this slowly, painfully, and she brought me right along with her. The only other children’s book I remember experiencing that same awful poignancy—almost a sense of guilt—was The Hundred Dresses.
Okay, so now I sort of have written the post I was thinking about, I guess. But really what I want to know is, have none of you heard of it?Add a Comment
Marian Schwartz was recently awarded one of the 2014 Read Russia Prizes, for her translation of Leonid Yuzefovich's "postmodern whodunit" Harlequin's Costume, and at Russia Beyond the Headlines Phoebe Taplin profiles her.
Among the interesting bits:
"Having translated about 70 books over the last 35-plus years, fewer than five of them, probably, have been at my initiative," she told the Moscow audience for the Read Russia Award Presentations. "I found, appreciated, and translated Harlequin's Costume on spec, convinced that it would find a publisher eventually."I haven't seen this one yet; it'll be interesting to see whether the trilogy now gets picked up by a larger publisher and takes off (maybe not, to judge by the post-award Amazon-sales-ranks -- still in the 1,000,000 vicinity at both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk ...). See the Glagoslav publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk. Add a Comment
In the end, the book was finished only with help from a grant, and it was several years before Glagoslav published it in 2013.
Blog: Guide to Literary Agents (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Poetic Forms, Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides Blog, What's New, Add a tag
What do you get when you mix two super popular Italian poetic forms, specifically the terza rima and villanelle? The terzanelle, of course!
It combines the lyricism of the terza rima with the repetition of the villanelle to make a powerful one-two punch in only 19 lines. The traditional stance on the terzanelle is that the lines should be written in a consistent iambic meter, but there are plenty of contemporary terzanelles that just aspire to keep the lines a consistent length throughout.
Here’s the rhyme and refrain order for the Terzanelle:
Publish Your Poetry!
Learn how to get your poetry published with the latest (and greatest) edition of Poet’s Market. The 2015 Poet’s Market is filled with articles on the craft, business, and promotion of poetry, in addition to poet interviews and original poetry by contemporary poets.
In fact, it has an entire section covering various poetic forms.
Plus, the book is filled with hundreds of listings for poetry book publishers, chapbook publishers, magazines, journals, contests, grants, conferences, and more!
Here’s my attempt at a Terzanelle:
The hardest thing to do is remember
what I just did and what I want to do.
I can still recall that one December
when both the moon and snow surrounded you
like a whisper. Am I losing my mind?
What I just did and what I want to do
vanish completely as soon as I find
the answer. The question a question mark
like a whisper, “Am I losing my mind?”
I’ve never felt comforted by the dark,
but I still remember that winter night
the answer, the question, and question mark
unraveled beneath the frozen moon’s light
like there was something worthwhile to forget,
but I still remember that winter night
in the park in the dark when we first met.
The hardest thing to do is remember
as if there’s something worthwhile to forget.
I can still recall that one December.
Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits Poet’s Market, Writer’s Market, and Guide to Self-Publishing, in addition to writing a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter and poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.
Ever since college, he’s loved learning and fumbling around with new (to him) poetic forms, whether it’s the shadorma, paradelle, or triolet. When he’s not messing up another sestina or other traditional form, he’s bound to be making up forms to fit the poems he writes.
Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.
Find more poetic finery here:
- Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 279.
- Call for Submissions: 2016 Poet’s Market.
- Rosemary Rhodes Royston: Poet Interview.
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Issue 37 - Fall 2014 of the Quarterly Conversation is now available, with the usual variety of interesting literature under discussion -- well worth setting aside some time for.Add a Comment
Blog: Writing and Illustrating (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: writing, authors and illustrators, How to, Middle Grade Novels, Kami Kinard, online writing class, Agent Rachel Orr, Rebecca Petruck, Crafting the Kidlit Novel , Add a tag
Crafting the Kidlit Novel - Four Week Online Class
starts October 6, 2014
One Bite at a Time: How Writing a Novel is Like Eating a T-Rex and Other Things That Bite Back
With Children’s Authors
Kami Kinard and Rebecca Petruck
The idea of writing an entire novel can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be when you learn how to move in stages. Children’s authors Kami Kinard and Rebecca Petruck break down the elements of solid novel writing, beginning with the hook and on through pitch, character development, plot structure, and practical tools for writing through to the end. Though the focus will be on middle grade and young adult writing, the tools are useful for anyone who wants to complete a publishable work.
NaNoWriMos! This class will organize your approach so you launch into November with a plan that will result in a novel-like construction and not simply 50,000 words.
Bonus Critique: Register before September 20, 2014 and receive a free five-page critique and 20-minute Skype session with Kami Kinard, redeemable within six months of the course’s completion.
In addition, you will be entered to receive a free written critique of the first chapter of your novel (up to 5 pages) from Agent Rachael Orr of Prospect Agency.
You have the option of registering for the four-week class for $250 or the class PLUS a 25 page critique with a 60 minute telephone or Skype conversation for $350.
Click this link to register and read more: http://www.kidlitwritingschool.com/crafting-the-kidlit-novel.html
Filed under: authors and illustrators, How to, Middle Grade Novels, writing Tagged: Agent Rachel Orr, Crafting the Kidlit Novel , Kami Kinard, online writing class, Rebecca Petruck Display Comments Add a Comment
Blog: Read Roger - The Horn Book editor's rants and raves (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Featured, Lolly's Classroom, School, books in translation, books with messages, elementary school, Spanish language, Add a tag
Lately — and by accident — I’ve been reading Spanish versions of many French-authored children’s picture books. For some reason, most of the books I’ve recently bought from bookstores in Lima and Buenos Aires to use for storytelling in Spanish were translated from French authors. I didn’t realize it at the time, but once I started to read them together I realized that they shared a strong message about the “we” instead of the “me.”
This prompted an informal search for other books that would have the same underlining message. For example, Pedro y la Luna by Alice Brière-Hacquet and Célia Chauffrey is about a boy who wants to bring the moon to his mom. To do so, he has to involve his entire community and beyond. Then there is the Portuguese story O Grande Rabanete by Tatiana Belinky. In it, a grandfather decides to plant radishes and progressively needs help with the harvest because of the radishes’ large size.
I then tried to think about other books that send the message of doing things together for a common cause and couldn’t think of many other than the classic stories “The Pied piper of Hamelin” and “The Little Red Hen.” In the 1990s there was The Rainbow Fish by Swiss author-illustrator Marcus Pfister. A fish with the shiniest scales in the sea refuses to share his wealth and then becomes lonely. He rediscovers community only once he shares his scales. And of course, there is also The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, a book published in 1971 that depicts what happens to a verdant land when the “Once-ler” chops down all the truffula trees and drives the (Seussian) animals away. The last hope to rebuild the environment — and the community — is for a boy to plant the last remaining truffula tree seed.
So much of children’s literature, especially today, is about common things that happen to kids, such as the boy a lost his bear and found it swapped in the forest in Where’s My Teddy? by Jez Alborough, or the boy who misbehaves with his mom in No, David! by David Shannon, or the classic Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, no Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst. The list is endless.
All this made me think about the often repeated phrase, “literature is life.” So, are these books a reflection of our society? Are children’s books in other societies a reflection of a more “communal” (we) society instead of a more self-centered (me) society? Or is it that younger children relate better to stories that have more of a personal narrative tone? Can anybody think about books that transmit this message in their original languages?Add a Comment
Being a shut-in means missing every poetry reading, art gallery opening, the Hollywood Bowl, and such normal activities as grocery shopping or gardening. The aftereffects of my double surgeries in July have mostly subsided now, and I am looking forward to getting out among 'em by the end of the month. There are so many events not to miss.
From Texas to California, this week's mailbag brings a handful of excitement.
Santa Barbara • September 27
Houston • September 27
Arte Publico Press sends news of LibroFEST held at multiple locations across the city. Visit LibroFEST website for details.
Highland Park Los Angeles • September 28
Highland Park's Avenue 50 Studio hosts a pair of monthly readings, including the recently-held Bluebird Reading, and the upcoming La Palabra. Both series showcase emerging and established talent from diverse LA poetry communities. In addition to the spotlight readers, a lively Open Mic generates energy for the often SRO audiences. Parking in the rear is available.
Pomona CA • October 8
Move over, LA's westside. Make room for the westside of the Inland Empire, Pomona, where an arts community thrives, centered around the dA Center for the Arts.
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Blog: Manga Maniac Cafe (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Historical, Interviews, Romance, Interview, Add a tag
Good morning, Lecia! Describe yourself in five words of less
Mother, Writer, Shy, Perceptive, Sentimental.
Can you tell us a little about your book?
WHAT A LADY MOST DESIRES is the third book in the Temberlay series, which began with HOW TO DECIEVE A DUKE and THE SECRET LIFE OF LADY JULIA. This book is Stephen Ives’s story. He’s a dashing, charming, elegant gentleman with a brilliant career as a soldier and a diplomat, and he’s happy with his life just the way it is, without love to complicate it. He’s tried love, and failed, and he has no interest in trying again. Ever. And if he was ever to be tempted, the last lady on earth he’d choose would be Delphine St. James, the most ambitious, flirtatious, and annoying lady in London. When Delphine sets her cap for Stephen, he sets his with just as much determination to deny her.
But Delphine is not a lady who takes no for an answer. When she and Stephen meet again at a ball before the Battle of Waterloo, she renews their acquaintance. When the call to arms sounds in the middle of their dance, they share a passionate farewell kiss that surprises them both. The battle leaves Stephen blind, wounded, and accused of cowardice, but Delphine stays by his side. Afraid and in pain, he’s surly and rude, but she’s determined to help him heal, and to at least be his friend, even if she can never be more.
As Stephen comes to know Delphine through every sense but sight, he realizes she isn’t the flighty society miss he thought she was. She’s everything he’s ever wanted. But a blind and accused coward cannot aim so high.
As a diplomat, Stephen is a man who depends on his eyes to read his opponents. Without sight, he must come to know the world through touch, sound, scent, and taste. As he falls in love with the woman he once thought unsuitable, he cannot help but wonder if she is all he sees in his mind. As they are drawn apart by obligations and accusations, Stephen desperately tries to hold on to Delphine, and in doing so, betrays her trust. He becomes the pursuer, and must prove to Delphine that he’s exactly WHAT A LADY MOST DESIRES.
How did you come up with the concept and the characters in the story?
Opposites make the most interesting pairings, don’t they? I love watching each character bend, adapt and change to find true love with their prefect match. It’s not that the characteristics weren’t there all along—it’s just that love brings the best part of us into focus, and changes us forever.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I love creating situations that force each character to become more honest, authentic, and worth loving. That involves a lot of conflict before we finally get to happily ever after. Creating conflict for my characters is such wicked fun!
What gave you the most trouble with this story?
Understanding what it feels like to be blind. I am extremely nearsighted, and without contact lenses and glasses for reading or driving on top of those, I’m just a point or two from being legally blind. Without eyewear, I see colors and shapes, light and shadow, and I am very grateful that my vision is correctable. I love nature and art and photography, and I can’t imagine never seeing the faces of the ones I love again if I lost my sight. So creating a sense of fear in Stephen and showing him managing his dark world was a very challenging part of the book.
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
I think I’d choose Loreena McKennitt’s Never Ending Road. It tells of the endless journey of someone continually seeking her heart’s desire. I think that describes a writer’s life very well. You can listen to Loreena’s wonderful song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fv2kmFZTDeY
Name the one thing you won’t leave home without.
I never go anywhere without a notebook, just in case an idea wanders in, clouts me over the head, holds me at pencil-point and demands to be written down at once.
Name three things on your desk right now.
There’s Emma, one of my five cats, in a box lined with her favorite sweater. There’s a miniature bottle of Writer’s Tears whiskey I got in my stocking last Christmas (half full) which I use to toast reaching the end of each manuscript I write. And there’s a small container of soil from the battlefield of Waterloo, a gift my daughter brought back for me when she visited Belgium on a school trip a few years ago. I must admit my desk is a testament to creative disorganization. Actually, “creatively disorganized” should have been two of the five words used to describe me in the first question of this interview!
If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?
Anyone, present or past, real or fictional, just ONE? Remember the old TV show Quantum Leap, where the hero was part of a time travel experiment gone wrong? He ended up in a new body in a different era every episode while trying to get back to his own life. I’d try that—a new character every day. I’d be Catherine The Great one day, or Anne Boleyn (not THAT day!), or Eleanor of Aquitaine, or Wellington, or Napoleon, or Cleopatra, or Boudicca, or Jacqueline Kennedy. So many wonderful lives and adventures!
What are some of the books you’ve enjoyed recently?
Books are my worst/best addiction! I’m always reading three or four at a time (no, it’s not ADD, just the bad habit of a writer who wants to read EVERYTHING!). I just finished re-reading an old favorite, Edith Pargeter’s Eighth Champion of Christendom. Her brilliant descriptions stay with you forever. I also recently read Mary Balogh’s latest book, The Escape, and I’ve just started Larkswood, by Valerie Mendes.
What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
I love to cook with my family (Moroccan cuisine is our latest favorite), and to garden—though my plants must endure good intentions, benign neglect, and Calgary’s harsh growing conditions if they want to live here. I also hook rugs when I have the time, including buying old wool sweaters at thrift shops, shrinking them down, cutting them into strips, and designing the patterns.
How can readers connect with you?
I love hearing from readers and I answer every single e-mail and Facebook comment! You can drop me a line at email@example.com, visit my website at www.leciacornwall.com for excerpts, blogs, and news, or visit my Facebook page at
For a visual look at each of my books, check out my Pinterest pages. You can find the one for WHAT A LADY MOST DESIRES here: http://www.pinterest.com/leciacornwall/what-a-lady-most-desires/
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What a Lady Most Desires
The Temberlay Series # 3
By: Lecia Cornwall
Releasing August 26th, 2014
On the night before the final battle against Napoleon, Lady Delphine St. James finds herself dancing with the one man she has always wanted, Major Lord Stephen Ives. He makes it clear he has no time for a lady he sees as flirtatious and silly, but as the call to arms sounds, she bids him farewell with a kiss that stirs them both. When he returns gravely injured, she is intent on caring for him, even if his surly behavior tests her patience.
After the battle, Stephen is not only wounded and blind, but falsely accused of cowardice and theft. The only light in his dark world is Delphine, the one woman he never imagined he could desire. But she deserves more than he can give her.
As their feelings deepen and hidden enemies conspire to force them to part forever, can their love survive the cruelest test of all?
Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2014/07/what-lady-most-desires-temberlay-3-by.html
Lecia Cornwall is a PRO member of the Romance Writers of America’s Seattle and Calgary Chapters. Her background includes all facets of writing, including running a successful freelance writing business specializing in direct marketing and advertising. Both history and writing have been lifelong passions. Lecia currently lives and writes in Calgary, Alberta, the heart of the Canadian West.
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The post Interview with Lecia Cornwall, Author of What a Lady Most Desires and Giveaway appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.Add a Comment
Blog: Ink Splot 26 (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Would You Rather, harry potter, hermione would you rather, Add a tag
Would You Rather Be Hermione Granger?
If you are a Harry Potter fan, then you know that Hermione has been in some very scary situations. Since September 19th is Hermione’s birthday, we’re celebrating with today’s Would You Rather quiz. So raise a glass of butterbeer, and get your wands ready to answer the following questions inspired by Hermione’sadventures!
Would You Rather . . .
- Fight a mountain troll OR a Dementor?
- Go to the Yule Ball with Victor Krum OR Ron Weasley?
- Be the smartest kid in the class like Hermione OR the “chosen one” like Harry?
- Have a cat like Crookshanks OR a rat like Scabbers?
- Be in Ravenclaw OR Hufflepuff? (If you couldn’t be in Gryffindor!)
- Learn spells from Hermione OR learn practical jokes from Fred & George?
- Use a Time-Turner to take extra classes OR just take the normal amount of classes?
- Have a scar on your forehead OR crazy-frizzy hair?
- See Hermione marry Ron OR see Hermione marry Harry? (even J. K. Rowling has mixed feelings on this one!)
Leave your answers (and birthday wishes to Hermione!) in the Comments below!
Ratha, STACKS WriterAdd a Comment
Blog: OUPblog (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: *Featured, Arts & Leisure, Books, Philosophy, Anna Marmodoro, Aristotle, Aristotle on perceiving objects, classic philosophical texts, classic philosophy, coffee, perception, Sense, sensory perception, Add a tag
Imagine a possible world where you are having coffee with … Aristotle! You begin exchanging views on how you like the coffee; you examine its qualities – it is bitter, hot, aromatic, etc. It tastes to you this way or this other way. But how do you make these perceptual judgments? It might seem obvious to say that it is via the senses we are endowed with. Which senses though? How many senses are involved in coffee tasting? And how many senses do we have in all?
The question of how many senses we have is far from being of interest to philosophers only; perhaps surprisingly, it appears to be at the forefront of our thinking – so much so that it was even made the topic of an episode of the BBC comedy program QI. Yet, it is a question that is very difficult to answer. Neurologists, computer scientists and philosophers alike are divided on what the right answer might be. 5? 7? 22? Uncertainty prevails.
Even if the number of the senses is a question for future research to settle, it is in fact as old as rational thought. Aristotle raised it, argued about it, and even illuminated the problem, setting the stage for future generations to investigate it. Aristotle’s views are almost invariably the point of departure of current discussions, and get mentioned in what one might think unlikely places, such as the Harvard Medical School blog, the John Hopkins University Press blog, and QI. “Why did they teach me they are five?” says Alan Davies on the QI panel. “Because Aristotle said it,” replies Stephen Fry in an eye blink. (Probably) the senses are in fact more than the five Aristotle identified, but his views remain very much a point of departure in our thinking about this topic.
Aristotle thought the senses are five because there are five types of perceptible properties in the world to be experienced. This criterion for individuating the senses has had a very longstanding influence, in many domains including for example the visual arts.
Yet, something as ‘mundane’ as coffee tasting generates one of the most challenging philosophical questions, and not only for Aristotle. As you are enjoying your cup of coffee, you appreciate its flavor with your senses of taste and smell: this is one experience and not two, even if two senses are involved. So how do senses do this? For Aristotle, no sense can by itself enable the perceiver to receive input of more than one modality, precisely because uni-modal sensitivity is what according to Aristotle identifies uniquely each sense. On the other hand, it would be of no use to the perceiving subject to have two different types of perceptual input delivered by two different senses simultaneously, but as two distinct perceptual contents. If this were the case, the difficulty would remain unsolved. In which way would the subject make a perceptual judgment (e.g. about the flavor of the coffee), given that not one of the senses could operate outside its own special perceptual domain, but perceptual judgment presupposes discriminating, comparing, binding, etc. different types of perceptual input? One might think that perceptual judgments are made at the conceptual rather than perceptual level. Aristotle (and Plato) however would reject this explanation because they seek an account of animal perception that generalizes to all species and is not only applicable to human beings. In sum, for Aristotle to deliver a unified multimodal perceptual content the senses need to somehow cooperate and gain access in some way to each other’s special domain. But how do they do this?
A sixth sense? Is that the solution? Is this what Aristotle means when talking about the ‘common’ sense? There cannot be room for a sixth sense in Aristotle’s theory of perception, for as we have seen each sense is individuated by the special type of perceptible quality it is sensitive to, and of these types there are only five in the world. There is no sixth type of perceptible quality that the common sense would be sensitive to. (And even if there were a sixth sense so individuated, this would not solve the problem of delivering multimodal content to the perceiver, because the sixth sense would be sensitive only to its own special type of perceptibles). The way forward is then to investigate how modally different perceptual contents, each delivered by one sense, can be somehow unified, in such a way that my perceptual experience of coffee may be bitter and hot at once. But how can bitter and hot be unified?
Modeling (metaphysically) of how the senses cooperate to deliver to the perceiving subject unified but complex perceptual content is another breakthrough Aristotle made in his theory of perception. But it is much less known than his criterion for the senses’ individuation. In fact, Aristotle is often thought to have given an ad hoc and unsatisfactory solution to the problem of multimodal binding (of which tasting the coffee’s flavor is an instance), by postulating that there is a ‘common’ sense that somehow enables the subject to perform all the perceptual functions that the five sense singly cannot do. It is timely to take a departure form this received view which does not pay justice to Aristotle’s insights. Investigating Aristotle’s thoughts on complex perceptual content (often scattered among his various works, which adds to the interpretative challenge) reveals a much richer theory of perception that it is by and large thought he has.
If the number of the senses is a difficult question to address, how the senses combine their contents is an even harder one. Aristotle’s answer to it deserves at least as much attention as his views on the number of the senses currently receive in scholarly as well as ‘popular’ culture.
Headline image credit: Coffee. CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay
Blog: The Children's Book Review (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Ages 9-12, Books for Boys, Books for Girls, Fairy Tales, Fractured Fairy Tales, Knopf Books for Young Readers, Liesl Shurtliff, Magic, Mystery, Rumpelstiltskin, Add a tag
In Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin, author Liesl Shurtliff crafts an entertaining fractured fairy tale based on the Brothers Grimm character by the same name.Add a Comment
Blog: Ingrid's Notes (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Writing Craft, Do you need a prologue, Prologues, Types of Prologues, Add a tag
There’s an ongoing debate about prologues. Do you need them? Are they superfluous? Do they set up the story, or should you cut ‘em and get to chapter one already?
Plenty of opinions exist, and many opinions have to do with taste. So, before we jump on the “prologues never contribute to the story” bandwagon, I think the first step is to identify what kind of prologue one is writing and the objective of that prologue. We need to know what we’re writing and why, before we let the opinions of what’s “in vogue” influence our writing decisions.
Let’s take a look at four different kinds of prologues.
1) Future Protagonist
This prologue is written in the same voice and style as the main story and from the POV of the same protagonist. When done really well, this kind of prologue changes everything the reader thought. As the reader continues with the story, there’s a point when he will come to understand why the prologue was included. When this reason becomes clear, the reader’s perspective of the story undergoes some kind of change. The reader has an “Ah-ha!” moment. An example of this type of prologue can be found in Unleaving by Joan Paton Walsh.
2) Past Protagonist
Something happened to the protagonist in the past that the reader has to know. Batman’s back story is an example of this. You have to know that his parents were murdered to understand the story and his motivations. This type of prologue usually includes a strong emotional event that starts off the story. Examples of this type of prologue: Pixar’s Up, The Scorpio Races, Smoke and Bone, and Batman.
3) Different Point of View
This prologue is not told from the POV of the protagonist. In this case, the writer has to justify this switch; the relevance MUST be made clear and the pay off has to be worth the disruption of the narrative voice. A successful example of this would be Boy in the Burning House by Tim Wynne-Jones.
4) Background Prologue
This is the kind of prologue that gives prologues a bad wrap. This prologue somehow explains setting and back story. But It can also be a “bit of a trudge.” The writer has to be careful to make sure that the information shared in a background prologue is relevant to the story. It’s not an excuse to share exposition, which is often found in science fiction and fantasy novels that start with trudging prologues. This information has to be truly necessary.
A spin-off of this type of prologue is the background montage, which in effect, is a back story prologue in a film. You see these in movies and television shows like: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Hobbit, Amile, Pushing Daises, and Maleficent. This technique is often more successful in film due to the short time frame. Where as, an author has more time and opportunity to share back story and exposition in a book. The film viewer tends to be more forgiving of a background montage than the reader is of a background prologue.
Looking for more resources on prologues? Try these:
- When to Use a Prologue and How to Write One by Marg McAlister
- The Seven Deadly Sins of Prologues by Kristen Lamb
- Once Before A Time: Prologues Part 1 and Part 2 by Therese Walsh
- Why Prologues Often Don’t Work by Kristen Nelson
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Blog: A Chair, A Fireplace and A Tea Cozy (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: 2014, Christine Heppermann, fairy tale retellings, harper collins, poetry, reviews, Add a tag
The Good: Seriously, I just adore retellings. Whether it's looking into the historical origins of fairy tales, modernizing them, twisting them -- I just love what people can do with the familiar and the unknown, making them new and fresh.
Poisoned Apples approaches fairy tales with a particular question: what do they say about what it means to be a woman? What does it mean in today's world?
"The action's always there
Where are the fairy tales about gym class
or the doctor's office of the back of the bus
where bad things can also happen?"
Where bad things happen. There, right there, it shows that the darkness of the fairy tales is what will be examined.
So many good, tight poems, and each is independent, so it's hard to write about because how to select just one or two.
Some are cynical -- the "Prince Charming" who is charming to parents but says to the girlfriend
you look amazing. That sweater
makes your boobs look
Others are not. "
Retelling" says, "What the miller's daughter should have said
from the start
or at any point down the line is,
And then offers a better solution:
"Once upon a time
there was a miller's daughter
who got a studio apartment
took classes during the day."
"Retelling" may be my favorite because it says, you can say no. You can put yourself first. And that means a happier ending for everyone.
Poisoned Apples is a short book but not a quick read. There is a lot here to discuss; a lot to think about it; a lot to question. And the questions are not just about fairy tales and the poems. It's about what it is to be a woman, what that means, what society and family and friends say it means.
I reviewed this from an electronic galley; and let me say, I want to get my hands on the final print version because I think it's going to be an even more intimate reading.
Other reviews: Sense and Sensibilities and Stories; Kirkus Reviews.
Amazon Affiliate. If you click from here to Amazon and buy something, I receive a percentage of the purchase price.
© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy Add a Comment
Blog: A Fuse #8 Production (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Best Books, Best Books of 2014, Reviews, Reviews 2014, 2014 nonfiction, 2014 reviews, 2015 Sibert contender, Charlesbridge, Christine Liu-Perkins, nonfiction, nonfiction middle grade, Add a tag
When I say the word “mummy” what springs into your mind? Movies starring Brendan Fraser? Egypt and scarabs and rolls of crumbling papyrus? Absolutely. But what if I told you that recently the best-preserved mummy in the world was found? And what if I told you that not only was she a woman, not only was she surrounded by treasure, but she was also Chinese. Now I’ve known about mummies in South America and frozen on mountains. I know about bog bodies and bodies that were dried out naturally in deserts. But I had no idea that there even was such a thing as a Chinese mummy. In At Home in Her Tomb author Christine Liu-Perkins breaks everything down for you, bringing us a story that’s part forensics, part history, part family story, and all interesting.
Same old story. One minute you’re happily munching muskmelons. The next you’re dead and your corpse has been interred with miniature servants, silk paintings, scrolls, and countless other treasures. And the story might stop right there, except that in two thousand or so years nothing changes. Your body does not rot. Your treasures stay complete and unchanging. So when archaeologists excavated the tomb of Lady Dai, they can be forgiven for being completely astonished by what they found. In At Home in Her Tomb author Christine Liu-Perkins takes you not just into the mystery surrounding Lady Dai’s astonishingly well-preserved body, but also into ancient China itself. A more complete and exciting (and I use that word sparingly) glimpse into Qin and early Han Dynasties for children would be difficult to find.
Why do we love mummies as much as we do? I think it might be a mix of different reasons. Maybe we’re so attached to our own bodies that we find a weird bit of hope in the fact that they might last beyond the usual prescribed amount of time allotted to an average dead carcass. My husband, I should note, hasn’t been completely thrilled with the fact that I leave this book lying about as much as I do. As he rightly points out, what we have here is a bloated corpse book. He’s not wrong and it’s not a particularly attractive dead body either. So why the fascination? Why should I care that her joints were still movable when they found her, or that her fingerprints and toe prints were clear? I can’t rightly say, but it’s a curiosity that kids share with adults. We want to know what happens beyond death. The next best thing, it seems, is to find out what happens to our bodies instead.
There was a time when the television show C.S.I. inspired whole waves of kids to dream of jobs in forensics. Naturally the real world applications are a lot less fast-paced and exciting than those on television. At least that’s what I thought before hearing about forensic anthropology. Author Liu-Perkins brings it to vivid, fascinating life. It’s not all that’s alluring about this title though since the layout of the book is rather clever as well. Rather than just stick with a single narrative of the discovery of the body and tomb, the author punctuates the text with little interstitial moments that talk about what everyday life for Lady Dai might have been like. Liu-Perkins allows herself a bit of creative freedom with these sections. Obviously we have no idea if Lady Dai “sigh[ed] in weariness” while tending her silkworms. To eschew accusations of mixing fact and fiction without so much as a by your leave, Liu-Perkins begins the book with an Introduction that sets the stage for the interstitial Lady Dai moments. She writes how the artifacts from the tomb caused her to imagine Lady Dai’s life. From there it seems as though the historical fiction sections are directly tied into this statement, clearly delineated in the text from the longer factual sections. Authors these days struggle with making the past live and breathe for their child readers without having to rely on gross speculation. This technique proves to be one answer to the conundrum.
Admit it. A lot of booksellers and librarians are going to be able to hand sell this book to their customers and patrons by playing up the gross factor. Just show that shot on page 24 of the corpse of Lady Dai and a certain stripe of young reader is going to be instantaneously enthralled. Maybe they’ll take it home for closer examination. Maybe their eyes will then skim over to the text where phrases like “her eyeballs had begun falling out” lead to the factors that explain why the decay in the body stopped. They may then flip to the beginning and start reading front to finish, or they might skim from page to page. Honestly, there’s no wrong way to read a book of this sort. When you’re dealing with a title about the “best preserved body in the world” you’re already in pretty awesome territory. Credit then to Christine Liu-Perkins who gives the subject matter her full attention and presents it in such a way where many children will willingly learn about Chinese history in the process. A beautiful book. A heckuva mummy.
On shelves now.
Source: Final copy checked out from library for review.
Like This? Then Try:
- Written in Bone by Sally M. Walker
- Secrets of the Terra Cotta Soldier by Yin Chang Compestine and Vinson Compestine
- The Many Faces of George Washington by Carla Killough McClafferty
Professional Reviews:Add a Comment
Blog: Jump Into A Book (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: A Year in the Secret Garden, activities, Audrey Press, Crafts, gardening fun., Jump into a book, nature activities, recipes, The Scret Garden, The Toymaker, Add a tag
Marilyn Scott-Waters loves making things out of paper.
Her popular website, www.thetoymaker.com, receives 2,000 to 7,000 visitors each day, who have downloaded more than six million of her easy-to-make paper toys. Her goal is to help parents and children spend time together making things. She is the creator of a paper toy craft book series The Toymaker’s Christmas: Paper Toys You Can Make Yourself (Sterling), and The Toymaker’s Workshop: Paper Toys You Can Make Yourself (Sterling). She is also the co-creator with J. H. Everett of the middle grade nonfiction series, Haunted Histories, (Christy Ottaviano Books / Henry Holt Books for Young Readers).
On top all of this…..Marilyn is also my co-author and co-creator of the upcoming children’s book A Year in the Secret Garden.
I have known Marilyn for almost years now and these last three years have been a delight. It started in September of 2011 when I went to St. Paul Minnesota to attend The Creative Connection Conference. I was sitting in a hotel lounge writing in my notebook when this very cheerful woman came up to me and said, “Oh you have a moleskin. Can I pull up a chair and sit down?” Never would I say no to such a request. As she sat down she said,” Hi I’m Marilyn from California.”
The post A Year in the Secret Garden: CoAuthor Marilyn Scott-Waters Interview appeared first on Jump Into A Book.Add a Comment
Blog: Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast (Login to Add to MyJacketFlap)
JacketFlap tags: Interviews, Picture Books, Add a tag
– From Anna’s Heaven
(Click to enlarge spread)
This month, I reviewed Stian Hole’s Anna’s Heaven, released by Eerdman’s in September, for BookPage. That review is here.
You all know I like to follow up reviews with art from the books I write about, if possible, but for this one I also decided to chat with the award-winning illustrator himself (pictured here) about this book, what’s next for him, how picture books differ in the U.S. and overseas, and more. In fact, he poses a question to readers below (regarding U.S. publishing), if anyone is so inclined to weigh in.
The chat today includes art from Anna’s Heaven, as well as a couple of older picture book titles of Stian’s, published here in the States. Stian also shares images from a forthcoming book, which will also be published here.
Let’s get right to it, and I thank him for visiting.
Jules: Your photocollage work is beguiling. I imagine you always on the look-out for vintage photographs and vintage books. Am I right? Where do you typically find source material?
Stian: Yes, I am a collector of bits and pieces that I move around and try to put together. That is what I do for a living. Like in a theater, I have a huge prop stock. By the way, have you noticed all the things theatre and picturebooks have in common?
Some years ago I used to search libraries and second-hand bookshops. Now, databases and collections on the internet have opened up new possibilities. Isn´t it amazing what people out there collect?
Most of the time I find something other than what I am looking for, though. So, more and more often I take a walk instead and use the camera on my cell phone.
Jules: Yes, in Uri Shulevitz’s Writing with Pictures, he says that a picture book is closer to theater and film—silent films, in particular—than other kinds of books. Fascinating.
I love that you honor open endings in your picture books. Americans, it seems, get sort of twitchy sometimes about open endings. What do you think are some of the biggest differences between children’s book publishing here in the States and overseas?
Stian: Your question is interesting, but too big for me to answer, I am afraid. Hmm, I will try to find a way …
I wonder why someone would feel insecure about open endings in children´s literature. Life isn´t always a safe place, so why should it be in picture books? Wouldn´t it be a fraud to tell children that life is always sweet? Anyway, I think kids already know it isn´t so. I believe picture books are a quiet—and safe—meeting place for wonder and reflection. Picture books are often read by adults and children together, and they give a valuable opportunity for thoughts, conversation, and mind-traveling for people of different ages. It is a magic place for opening secret doors, for listening and sharpening your senses.
Anyway, I believe what is scary in life becomes less scary when you speak with someone about it.
‘I bet she’s wearing her new dress, the one from Spain.’”
– From Anna’s Heaven
(Click to see spread in its entirety)
It is a good thing when books travel. I wish more books could travel across borders. When I follow my books around, I sometimes get small glimpses of other cultures´ traditions and views on children´s literature. I love to meet people that think differently than I do. It makes me think.
One difference I have noticed across the Atlantic sea, though, is that for some reason I don´t quite understand there is sometimes—or rather in some places in the U.S.—a reluctance of skin, nakedness, and sexuality in children´s and young adults´ books. The U.S. is the only country who has asked me to put more clothes on the characters in my images or else they will not publish them. I once had to remove a boy that was peeing, for some reason. Not even the Arabic countries asked me to do that.
So, I try to turn my head upside-down and look at Nordic picturebooks from the other side of the sea. But I find it difficult to see oneself. Can someone of your readers help me? Anyway, I must say that my publisher in the U.S. has always been thorough and honest with me, and I must pay tribute to them for publishing my weird books.
Nightguard with poems by Synne Lea
Jules: I don’t have an answer for that, but perhaps some blog readers will weigh in with some thoughts.
Did anything in particular from your life inspire Anna’s Heaven?
Stian: I usually only have a starting point when I start working on a story. That is all I have; the rest is a strange journey, sometimes fragile and frustrating, sometimes sweet and joy-filled.
In this case, I saw a girl hanging upside-down in a swing and remembered doing the same thing as a boy. It made me stop and think that I still want to do that as an author and illustrator: to turn things upside-down and see the world from another angle! So I realized it was something I had to investigate further.
‘Like redder.’ ‘And Anna,’ Dad says. ‘Hurry up now or we’ll be late.’ Even though she is looking away, Anna notices that her father is restless. She can feel it in the air, in the grass, in the scar on her knee, in the mole on her neck, and in every hair on her head. Anna knows that her dad gets restless when he is not looking forward to something.”
– Opening spread from Anna’s Heaven
(Click to see spread in its entirety)
Along the way, many things inspired me — memories, personal experiences, and lots of influences from different people. When I work on a story, I always keep an alert eye and ear for things I might use in the story. Not only pieces for the illustrations, but also words, feelings, and incidents. Anything. Often I find something else than what I was looking for, things that catch my attention but probably don´t belong in the story. Nevertheless, I pick them up, write it down, and sometimes use it later in another story. You know, people like me are collectors and researchers. One of my favourite authors, Peter Høeg from Denmark, once said, “I am a scientist. I investigate my heart.”
– Final spread from Anna’s Heaven
(Click to see spread in its entirety)
Jules: How much do the illustrations, as you’re working on them, inform the text — if at all? (Or vice versa.)
Stian: In picturebooks, the images and the text should not say quite the same. It is the dialogue between them that is the engine of the picturebook. The third hub is the reader. The author should strive to open up the story, so different readers can add thoughts and help co-write the book. Books do not work without readers.
Jules: What are you reading now?
Many of the American classics have had an impact on my artistic life — J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, Edgar Lee Masters´ Spoon River Anthology, Fitzgerald´s The Great Gatsby. I must also mention the Canadian writer Alice Munro´s short-stories, among many others.
Jules: On that note, what picture books have you loved lately? Or whose work have you seen that you think deserves some love and attention?
Auntie Borghild asks. ‘I’m scared,’ Garmann answers,
wondering how butterflies get into your stomach.”
Then she smiles and speaks. ‘Yes, a hundred and fifty years ago,’
she says, and laughs so hard she shakes.”
Auntie Borghild nods slowly. She takes a hairbrush from her bag and runs it through her silver-grey hair, which glistens in the sun. ‘Yes, Garmann, I’m scared of leaving you.
But the big garden could be exciting.’”
but first of all you have to be buried.”
released by Eerdmans in 2008, but originally published in Norway in 2006.
Click each image above to enlarge and read the full text.]
Jules: What do you, as an artist, find most challenging and satisfying in the creative processes you employ?
Stian: That is a good question. I often feel that reading and writing stories have something important in common. They makes me feel like I live multiple lives. I am thankful for that. It is very satisfying to live parallel lives, since only one life can feel so short. I am also grateful whenever art open doors inside me, to rooms and places that I have not visited for a while or maybe never been. Sometimes art open the doors all the way to my heart.
But sometimes when I am daydreaming, falling down the rabbit hole, floating inside a bubble, working on a story, I get afraid that I am not present enough in reality. Then I promise myself to hug and tell my wife and my boys that I love them when they come home from school and work. These things feel so important in my life, but hard to explain — does it make sense to you?
Garmann answers, pretending to adjust a telescope. ‘Hello, Planet Earth! This is Comrade Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space. I can’t see God up here,’ he says, disguising his voice. ‘Hello, Ground Control heer. That’s probably because
you don’t know what you’re looking for!’ Johanna laughs…”
Who am I?’ Garmann says. All they can hear is the wind rushing through the treetops and a woodpecker a long distance away. Johanna shrugs. ‘Silence,’ Garmann says.”
released by Eerdmans in 2011, but originally published in Norway in 2010.
Click each image above to enlarge and read the full text.]
Jules: Yes, that makes sense to me. Art is taking you outside of yourself. My favorite singer-songwriter/musician, Sam Phillips, has this lyric in one of her songs (called “Lever Pulled Down”):
I’m a lever pulled down / I’m a flipped switch / I’m a lever pulled down / from the fire in the air / … and I’ll give my life for the lightning in our dreams …
I think that’s what you mean. Perhaps.
(I wish I could link to the song, but it’s one of her rare tracks and not online.)
p.s. I have a Sam Phillips lyric for EVERYTHING in life.
So, what’s next for you?
Stian: Soccer. All three boys are playing matches this weekend, and I will be there. On Sunday, I am goalkeeper when the Norwegian author´s team meets the Italian author´s team. They have come all the way to Oslo.
Then there will be new stories to write. Always. I hope the next book will be a love story. I want all my books to be love stories.
Photo of Stian Hole taken by Jo Michael.
All artwork here is used by permission of Stian Hole and Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, Grand Rapids, Michigan.Add a Comment
The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Frankétienne's Ready to Burst, finally translated into English, by Kaiama L. Glover, and published by Archipelago Books.
Though not much of his work has been made readily available in English, he remains quite well known -- see, for example, The New York Times' profile from a couple of years ago (which unconscionably puts a possessive apostrophe into his mouth where none belongs: "He admires James Joyce, and it shows. "Finnegan's Wake was like a crazy book, just like I write crazy books," he said."). He's also coming to New York to launch Ready to Burst, and will be at this weekend's Brooklyn Book Festival -- on a panel that includes high-wire man Philippe Petit and Geek Sublime-author Vikram Chandra.
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