Jacqueline West, Writer

Bestselling author of The Books of Elsewhere and Dreamers Often Lie

Endangered Authors, Week 2

April 22, 2013    Tags: , , , ,   

It’s the end of another exciting/exhausting week on the road!  The “Endangered Authors” show is running like a smooth and bookish circus: We pile out of the minivan, snap the set together, talk and laugh with kids, and zoom away again, leaving the scent of Sharpies in our wake.  For another (and another) perspective on the tour, check out this review in ( and this blog by a teacher at Carver Middle School, Miami (  Thanks for spreading the word, Pamela and Janas!

This was my fifth visit to Texas in two years — the Lone Star state has been awfully good to me — and we had a great time in Houston and Austin on Monday and Tuesday.  Thanks again to everyone at West University Elementary, Bunker Hill Elementary, Mills Elementary, Kiker Elementary, and to the booksellers at Blue Willow Bookshop (where, by the way, signed copies of our books are currently in stock), and to the fabulous folks at Perma-bound.

IMG_20130415_103939(A slew of signed books at West University Elementary)

Then it was off to Chicago, where torrential rain caused some crazy flooding, turning roads into rivers, schoolyards into swamps, and cemeteries into zombie aquariums…or so we imagined.  Dozens of schools were forced to close, including Hester Junior High, where we were supposed to stop on Thursday.  [Students/staff at Hester JHS: We’re sorry we missed you. If you’d like to arrange an email interview, or get some signed bookplates, or schedule a future in-person visit with me, please get in touch any time.]  To everybody at Lincoln Middle School, Cossitt Middle School, Heritage Middle School, Lincolnwood School, and Oak Terrace School: You were awesome.

Here’s the crowd at Lincolnwood on Friday morning, making us feel welcome (and slightly deaf):IMG_20130419_101056

Chicago is a wonderland of indie booksellers.  To find signed copies of The Books of Elsewhere, The Chronicles of Egg, Wereworld, and A Tale Dark and Grimm, visit The Book Stall in Winnetka (where Robert can answer all of your kids’ lit questions), Magic Tree Bookstore in Oak Park (thanks again for braving the deluge, Rosie!), and Anderson’s in Naperville.

While the rest of the troupe flew home to NYC for some family-hugging and underwear-washing, Curtis and I headed on to DC.  We spent today visiting TWELVE local bookstores to sign books (it was supposed to be THIRTEEN, but we were just a few minutes too late for the downtown B&N), so for a limited time, you can find signed copies of Wereworld and The Books of Elsewhere at almost every DC-area Barnes & Noble, at Books-A-Million in McLean and at Dupont Circle, and at the practically perfect Politics & Prose Bookstore.

Here’s the staff picks display at the Rockville, Maryland Barnes & Noble, which made me very happy:

(Not staged, I swear)

And here’s famous author Curtis Jobling in the children’s section at Politics & Prose:


And lastly, here’s some student art from Lincolnwood Elementary:

Read Forever Lincolnwood El

“Read Forever.” Good advice.




Endangered Authors Tour, Week 1 (mostly pictures and thank-yous)

April 11, 2013    Tags: , , , ,   

Hey, everybody!

We’re wrapping up our first week of traveling, school-visiting, and book signing.  Things have been marvelous all around, although I’m starting to feel a bit loopy and disoriented. (This morning, I couldn’t find my glasses, my phone, or the buzzing alarm clock, and I spent several seconds wondering where on earth I was and whether I was supposed to be asleep there before I found my glasses, saw palm trees out the window, and remembered that I was in my very own hotel room in Miami.)  Geoff Rodkey and Curtis Jobling are top blokes, as Curtis himself might say, and they’ve both been blogging about the tour.  You can read their delightful observations here and here; I’m feeling too out of it for a full-scale recap.  Maybe later.  For now: Pictures!!!

IMG_6387Watching Curtis mock One Direction and sparkly vampires at the Davis Academy in Atlanta, Georgia

IMG_6408Chatting with readers at the Davis Academy

IMG_6422Assembling the crazy collapsible set

IMG_6472The crowd at St. Thomas More School in Decatur, Georgia

IMG_20130410_103152Curtis enthusiastically signing books at Page & Palette between school visits in Fairhope, Alabama

Speaking of signed books, you can now find signed copies of all four of our series (A Tale Dark and Grimm, The Chronicles of Egg, Wereworld, and The Books of Elsewhere) at the following fantastic independent bookstores:
Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH
Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, GA
Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL
Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL

These are the kind of bookstores that give me hope for the future.  Huge, HUGE thanks to all of the booksellers who have hosted us, and who have connected us to these amazing schools:

– Campbell County Middle School, Alexandria, KY
– Davis Academy, Atlanta, GA
– St. Thomas More School, Decatur, GA
– Fairhope Intermediate School, Fairhope, AL
– J. Larry Newton School, Fairhope, AL
– Carver Middle School, Coral Gables, FL

The enthusiasm, insight, and warmth of the kids at each of these stops has blown us away. Palmer Trinity School and Gator Run Elementary: We’ll see you tomorrow!


In Minnesota, there’s an April snowstorm.  In Miami, there’s an orchid in my drink.


Hey, Winona! (Not you, Ryder.)

November 15, 2012    Tags: , , ,   

This Sunday–November 18th–I’ll be a guest at Kids Day, part of a special open house event at The Book Shelf in Winona, Minnesota. If you’re in the area, or if you know anyone who is, please spread the word! (Now would be a great time to stock up on holiday gifts from a fantastic independent bookstore. Just saying.) I’ll be reading, signing books, chatting, and bringing supplies for some Books of Elsewhere-related art and writing projects. The event goes on all weekend, but I’ll be there from 10:00 – 11:30ish on Sunday only. Or, to put all of this another way:

I’d love to see you there.

“Under the Bed” had its premiere and its closing in quick succession (that’s how it goes when there are only two performances), and I got to attend both.  The students, staff, and families who helped out with the production at Twin Bluff Middle School did amazing work, and the audience seemed to love it, and I’m still hearing nice things from people around town.  I didn’t take any photos of the set or of the cast in costume, but if I can find someone else who did, I’ll post some images here.

And while I’m talking about past events, another huge thank you to the kids, teachers, and volunteers at Mosinee Middle School, who hosted me last week.  It was a joy.  Same goes for the kids at Fairmount School in Downer’s Grove, IL, who I got to visit with via Skype yesterday.  I’m one lucky writer.

I should have some big Books of Elsewhere news to share in the very near future, so stay tuned!  In the meantime, if you’ve been enjoying the books, please consider writing a review at (or Goodreads, if you’re a Goodreads-user.  A Goodreader?).  This kind of individual recommendation can mean a lot.  It certainly does to me.


Fall Leaves and Steel Wrists

October 1, 2012    Tags: , ,   

(My just-waking-up view: The maple tree through our stained glass window.)

Happy autumn, everyone.  This is my favorite time of year: Rich colors, Halloween preparations, getting to wear long sleeves again… By the end of September, I’m practically euphoric.

I spent the last beautiful week visiting all nine elementary schools in Stillwater, Minnesota, courtesy of the Valley Bookseller.  Kathy, the store’s amazing children’s specialist, coordinated the entire tour, and she took care of everything from scheduling the stops and arranging sales to keeping me fueled with sandwiches and caffeine.  (Kathy: You rock.)  At each school, I gave talks, read aloud, answered questions, played guessing games, and signed books and signed books and then signed a few hundred more books.  Whew. Writers may not be known for impressive physical strength (something to do with sitting at desks and staring into space for hours each day, I suppose), but we’ve got wrists of steel, I tell ya.

Getting to talk with so many enthusiastic young readers and writers was a pleasure.  Thanks again to the staff and students at Lake Elmo, Withrow, Andersen, Rutherford, Stonebridge, Oak Park, Afton-Lakeland, Lily Lake, and Marine Elementary Schools, for making us feel so welcome.

(Signed and personalized books waiting for their readers at Afton-Lakeland and Rutherford Elementary.  Yes, Rutherford. If there had been a Dunwoody or Horatio Elementary, I would have started to think I’d dreamt the whole thing.)

Speaking of fall fun: On Sunday, October 28, from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m., I’ll be at Karma Gifts in River Falls, WI for a special Halloweeny open house.  I’ll read and chat and answer questions, books will be available for sale and signing, there will be art and spell-writing projects for kids, and as anyone who came to last year’s event knows, Val’s autumn treats and decorations are out of this world.  Please come join us!

Now back to work on Volume Five.


Release events! (Just 6 days to go!)

June 29, 2012    Tags: , ,   

Here’s the final Friday clue about the contents of THE SECOND SPY:

Now, on to the events!


ONLINE RELEASE PARTY: Thursday, July 5th.  Keep an eye on the  blog Novel Novice; they’re planning some surprises to celebrate the release of THE SECOND SPY.  Read the announcement here…and then please join us for the big day!

ART FESTIVAL: Saturday, July 7th, from 12:00 – 6:00.  You can find me at Red Wing’s Anderson Center for the annual Summer Celebration of the Arts.  I’ll have all three volumes of THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE (and Cherma too) with me to sell and sign.  I won’t be giving a reading or a talk, but if you feel like spending that Saturday wandering around a gorgeous estate, listening to live music and browsing local art, please stop by my table and say hello.

BOOK RELEASE PARTY: Friday, July 13th, at 7:00 p.m.  I’ll be at the Red Balloon Bookshop (891 Grand Avenue, St. Paul), and I would love it if you were there too!  There will be an art contest for kids, I’ll read from the THE SECOND SPY, I’ll chat and answer questions,  books will be available for purchase and signing, and there will be CAKE.  That’s right.  CAKE.

BOOKSTORE EVENT: Saturday, July 28th, at 2:00 p.m.  I’ll be visiting the beautiful Valley Bookseller in Stillwater, Minnesota to read, talk, and sign books.  Join us!







A glass of Dandelion Wine

June 7, 2012    Tags: , , , ,   

Ray Bradbury died yesterday.  The thought of him being gone followed me throughout the day, turning the whole world a different, darker color.   I never met him in person, but his work had such a profound impact on my life that I’m not sure I could separate it from myself now, from the way I think, the way I write, the way I look around me.

There’s the powerhouse that is Fahrenheit 451, of course, and the gorgeous nightmare of Something Wicked This Way Comes, and the classic Martian Chronicles.  “A Sound of Thunder” is still one of the most memorable short stories I’ve ever read, and “Zen in the Art of Writing” is packed with inspiration and wise advice.  But it was Dandelion Wine, which I first read when I was twelve, that turned me upside down.  The way it depicts the inner and outer worlds of a child growing up in a small Midwestern town (just like I was), and makes those worlds so rich with magic and danger and romance and wildness, was a revelation.  It showed me that everything–a new pair of running shoes, a jar of fireflies, an unusual flavor of ice cream, playing shadow tag, even mowing the lawn–was layered with life and meaning and possibility.  I reread it every summer, and when I’m done, I look around with brand new eyes.

Thank you for this, Mr. Bradbury.

I’m currently in the middle of week of school visits in Fairfax County, just south of Washington D.C.  (Eagle View and Laurel Hill: Thank you!  Union Mill and Fairfax Villa: I’ll see you soon!)  This means I get to visit with wonderful relatives and wander the city in between book events.  Here I am on the National Mall…


…and at the Hirshhorn Museum, about to be eaten by one of Ai Weiwei’s Zodiac Heads.

Yesterday afternoon, I stopped by Politics & Prose to sign their in-stock copies of The Shadows and Spellbound.  If you’re in the D.C. area looking for a signed book of your own, this is the place to find them (and you should stop in even if you don’t want my books, because the store is absolutely amazing).  While you’re there, you could pre-order The Second Spy.  Just 28 days to go…



<< Newer Posts

Subscribe to Jacqueline's Journal with RSS

Jacqueline West on Facebook
Jacqueline West on Instagram  

Contact Jacqueline:   Email   •      •      •   Mail

© Jacqueline West