Jacqueline West, Writer

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Summer of the Workshops

May 4, 2016    Tags: , , , , ,   

Hello, hello, hello.

I can’t believe it, but DREAMERS OFTEN LIE has been out in the world for nearly a month now. (Haven’t read it yet? You can enter to win a signed hardcover over at Bookhounds YA — or you can make me extra happy, and ask for it at your local library or bookshop. And if you have already read it, please consider writing a review on Goodreads and/or Amazon. Especially if you actually liked it.)

Dreamers cover and petals

April and all of its attendant Shakespeare celebrations is over, but fun things are still turning up — like this piece from the New York Daily News, which includes DREAMERS in its list of new Bard-inspired books, and this article on Bustle, featuring 13 Shakespeare-inspired YA novels. It’s been a busy month online, but a strangely quiet one for real-life events. However, during this month and the next, things are REALLY going to kick into gear: Three school visits, two radio shows/podcasts, a book club visit, four writing workshops, a library festival, and–finally–some more bookstore events. Which are, of course, free and open to the public. Which means all of you are invited. Which means please come.

Upcoming public events (more info can be found on my appearance calendar, as always):

  • May 20: Authors After Hours, Valley Bookseller, Stillwater, MN. 6:45 p.m.
  • May 21: Reading, chatting, and signing DREAMERS OFTEN LIE, Fair Trade Books, Red Wing, MN. 12:00 – 2:00 p.m.
  • June 4: Hudson Area Library Summer Reading Kickoff, Hudson, WI. 9:00 – 12:00. MG/YA panel at 11:00 a.m.
  • June 11: First Annual “B-Fest” Teen Reading Festival: Barnes and Noble Galleria, Edina, MN. 1:00 p.m.
  • June 14 – 16: Minneapolis Young Writers Workshop (evening keynote speeches and book signings are open to the public; visit http://www.mplsyoungwritersworkshop.com for more)

And if you are a young writer in MN/western WI and you’d like to study with me, this summer is your chance. Upcoming workshops include:

  • June 14 – 16: Minneapolis Young Writers Workshop
  • June 23: Teen Writers Workshop, Fox Den Books, River Falls, WI. 3:00 – 5:00. Contact the store for details/to register.
  • June 28: Teen Writers Workshop, Dakota County Heritage Library, Lakeville, MN. 10:30 – 12:30.

I’ll also be visiting with the young writers in Red Wing Public Library’s Summer Writer’s Camp on June 29th. The Writer’s Camp is a two week program for grades 5 – 8 (sessions run from June 13 – 29), and I know past attendees have LOVED it. If you’re in the Red Wing area, check it out: http://redwing.lib.mn.us/summer-reading-2016/

 

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Happy Birth-and-Death-Day, Shakespeare (and Hello, DREAMERS OFTEN LIE)

April 21, 2016    Tags: , , , , , , ,   

So, DREAMERS OFTEN LIE was officially released two weeks ago, and the intervening time has been so packed, I haven’t had the chance to put up a blog post. Thanks again to everyone who came to Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul to celebrate, and double thanks to everyone who is already reading/has read the book. Finally seeing this book in the hands of actual readers is like a crazy dream (pun only partially intended). DREAMERS OFTEN LIE release party 1

If you missed the release party but want to catch me in person sometime this spring–and if you live in/will be visiting the upper Midwest–you’ve got several chances. Currently in the lineup:

May 20 – Valley Bookseller, Stillwater, MN. 6:45 p.m. “Authors After Hours” chat with Heather Anastasiu, Anne Greenwood Brown, and me. Plus great coffee! What more could you want?
May 21 – Fair Trade Books, Red Wing, MN. 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. Speaking, reading, and signing books.
June 4 – Hudson Area Library (with Chapter2Books), Hudson WI. 11:00 a.m. Summer Reading Kickoff Celebration! Crafts, snacks, and bookish fun of all kinds. Panel with S.A. Bodeen, Shelley Tougas, and me at 11:00.
June 11 – Barnes & Noble Galleria, Edina, MN. 1:00 p.m. First inaugural B-Fest Teen event! (More info to come…)
June 14 – 16 – Minneapolis Young Writers Conference (See www.mplsyoungwritersworkshop.com for all the amazing details)
June 23 – Fox Den Books, River Falls, WI. 3:00 – 5:00. Teen writing group discussion and workshop. (Call or visit the store for specifics…)

More are being added all the time, so check my events calendar if you’re curious.

Ooh — and Adventures in YA Publishing hosted me for an interview on release week. If you’d like to know more about the process behind DREAMERS OFTEN LIE, please go forth and read.

Cobbe_portrait_of_Shakespeare

This weekend marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare — April 23rd, 1616. April 23rd is probably his birthday too. Nobody knows his exact birth date, but church records show that he was baptized on April 26th, so historians estimate that he was born just a few days before that (they got babies baptized ASAP in those days…). A not-so-little life rounded with a sleep.

There are all kinds of bookish online celebrations in Shakespeare’s honor this week. Goodreads is hosting a special “Ask the Author” event, and I’m one of the happy participants. Visit us here to learn more or to start peppering us with questions.

I could write for pages and pages (or even a whole novel! Ha!) without summing up everything that Shakespeare’s work has meant to me, but I wrote a post for Nerdy Book Club trying to describe how it impacted me as a kid. Comments there are very welcome.

…And, for those of you who haven’t already seen it, here is my middle school obsession, as mentioned in the Nerdy Book Club piece: the brilliant Reduced Shakespeare Company, performing Hamlet in 30 seconds. Backward.

 

 

 

 

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One Day More

April 4, 2016    Tags: , , , , , ,   

(Yes, that’s a Les Mis reference for all my fellow theatre nerds out there.)

So…DREAMERS OFTEN LIE will be released TOMORROW.
You can preorder it right now from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or better yet, you can request it at your favorite indie bookstore. Best of all, if you’re in the Twin Cities area, you can come to the release party at the Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul (6:30 p.m., Friday, April 8) and eat cake, play Shakespearean Mad Libs, listen to the baby’s animal sounds, and get a signed and personalized copy of your very own.

If you can’t make it to the release but want to know where I’ll be next, keep an eye on my events calendar; new things are being added all the time.

Speaking of new things: Reviews! Giveaways! Interviews! Guest posts! Lists! A battalion of links and blurbs to share…

  • The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books has reviewed DREAMERS, saying
    “West’s use of quotes from Shakespeare’s various plays is restrained but perfectly timed, and her allowance for the characters to go off script offers both moving and humorous moments… Shakespeare’s characters really shine as they come to life in the twenty-first century.” Thank you, BCCB.
  • The Minneapolis Star Tribune ran a review in their Sunday book section; you can read the whole thing here.
  • The blogs Book Stop Corner, Log Cabin Library, and Sharing Stories have all posted early reviews. (Thanks, everyone. If you’re a book blogger who has reviewed DREAMERS, feel free to send me a note pointing me in your direction.)
  • Teen Vogue has selected DREAMERS OFTEN LIE as one of its “Best YA Books of April”; check out the whole beautiful list here.
  • Adventures in YA Publishing is offering a giveaway of one signed hardcover copy. Read more and enter, and stay tuned for a full-length interview later this week…
  • Brenda of Log Cabin Library was also kind enough to host me last week. Read my guest post about moving between middle grade and YA here.

Now I shall say good night ’til it be morrow.

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Springing Ahead

March 16, 2016    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

It shouldn’t feel like spring yet. It’s too early. It’s eerily early. But here we are in mid-March in Minnesota, and it’s sixty degrees and drizzly, and the hostas and lilies are starting to send up little green nubs all around our house, and book events are piling up faster than I can post about them. All signs that spring is definitely here.

And, because this tends to happen when you don’t manage to write a blog post for more than a month, I have a slew of things to share.

First, more lovely reviews for DREAMERS OFTEN LIE have come in. Here are a few of them, in flashy poster format:

dreamers-poster-ad

(That Booklist line made me glow all day.)

Second, event news:

On Saturday, March 26, at Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, I’ll be moderating a Penguin Teen panel featuring Sabaa Tahir (AN EMBER IN THE ASHES), Alison Goodman (THE DARK DAYS CLUB), April Genevieve Tucholke (WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT), Rachel Hawkins (REBEL BELLE and MISS MAYHEM), Karen Bao (DOVE ARISING and DOVE EXILED), and Alwyn Hamilton (REBEL SANDS). I can hardly believe how amazing this lineup is. (If you’re an avid YA reader, your jaw has probably already dropped to the floor, and you’ll have to pick it up with both hands.) This is a ticketed event, and space a Red Balloon is limited, so reserve your spot now.

Then, at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 8th, Red Balloon is having me back for the official DREAMERS OFTEN LIE release party (!!!!). There will be Shakespearean Mad Libs, treats, books galore, and at least one baby making loud animal noises in the background (Beren’s repertoire expands daily). Please come and join in! Here’s the event link at Red Balloon’s site.

If you can’t make it to the release party, or if you’d like an even more intimate, in-depth writing chat, come to Stillwater, MN for May 20th’s “Authors After Hours.” I’ll be there with my writing group cohorts Anne Greenwood Brown and Heather Anastasiu, whose new YA collaboration, GIRL LAST SEEN, was called ‘a sexy, fascinating, fast-paced, and darkly dynamic mystery for teens’ by School Library Journal. This is another ticketed event, so make your reservations pronto. I can’t wait for this one myself.

And from June 14 – 16, I’ll be teaching at the first ever Minneapolis Young Writers’ Workshop. This three-day event includes workshop sessions with writers like Ally Condie, Jeffier Nielsen, Jay Asher (…and me), offers tracks for writers of fantasy, speculative, and realistic fiction, and provides critique opportunities with professional authors and editors. The evening speeches and signings are free and open to the public–with registration–but the workshop itself is only open to registered writers from ages 13 – 19. (I practically rub my hands together with glee whenever I think of meeting a classroom full of enthusiastic young writers…) The workshop is sure to fill up fast, so reserve your place now.

More things are in the works, events-wise; I’ll post again when things solidify. As always, you can keep an eye on my appearance calendar to see which schools/stores/libraries I’ll be visiting. (And teachers/librarians/bookstore people: spring always seems to be crazy-wild-chaos time for me, but fall is a lot quieter. If you’d like to book me for the ’16 fall and winter season, now is the perfect time to get in touch.)

 

 

 

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Podcast! (And Kirkus! And a familiar cat!)

January 19, 2016    Tags: , , , , , , ,   

Meant to post this weeks ago: over New Year’s, we got to visit the original Horatio (and his marvelous people) in Madison. I shared a more dignified portrait of him on Instagram (you can find me — and said portrait — here, if you’re interested), but this picture is my favorite.

Horatio photobomb

 

And, as promised, I’ve returned with the link to the first-ever podcast of “Voices in the Valley”! You can listen to the interview — it’s all about the writing process, getting started and keeping going, and DREAMERS OFTEN LIE — here: http://theshireonline.com/2016/01/16/vitv-episode-1-developing-a-writing-routine/

Speaking of DREAMERS OFTEN LIE, the first official, full-book review has come in. It’s from Kirkus, who are notoriously tough, but they had some lovely things to say: “Jaye’s personal drama [still] sets an engrossing stage… A dizzying new twist on one of the Bard’s most famous plays.” You can find the whole shebang here.

Events are starting to solidify. It looks like the official release party will be at the stalwart Red Balloon Bookshop of St. Paul, on Friday, April 8 at 6:30 p.m. More info, links, and confirmation to come, but you can mark your calendars/spread the word/ignore me completely now!

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Let’s Dance to the Song They’re Playing on the Radio…

January 12, 2016    Tags: , , ,   

David Bowie was one of my first crushes. David Bowie in Labyrinth, specifically. Even before I saw the movie, I used to stand, mesmerized, in the video-rental corner of our local grocery store, staring up at the cover image of Bowie as choppy-haired, eyelinered Jareth. Bowie and Labyrinth even get a mention in DREAMERS OFTEN LIE, that’s how big a part of my psyche it was. Later, it was his music that became part of my life, part of my memories–I can’t even think of high school without hearing “Golden Years” or “Space Oddity,” or “Dead Man Walking,” or “Under Pressure” (the list goes on and on and on) start to play in my head. I don’t have anything very eloquent to say, and I certainly don’t have anything more eloquent to say than @JeSuisDean, who tweeted, “If you’re ever sad, just remember the world is 4.543 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie.”

That’s what I’ll be doing.

And now onto some radio news (because that subject line DOES have a point):

I’m thrilled to be the inaugural guest on “Voices in the Valley,” a new radio program hosted by The Shire Literary Center and airing on KLBB 1220 AM. Here are the details (and if you can’t tune in, no worries–the podcast will be made available on The Shire’s website, and I’ll post the link once it’s up):

January 16, 2016 Voices in the Valley on KLBB 1220 AM at 10:00 in the morning

Let’s get going! How to develop a writing routine

The hardest part of writing is, well, actually sitting down to write. New York Times bestselling author Jacqueline West shares with student hosts Rebecca and Jill how she stays disciplined and what strategies she uses to maintain a consistent writing schedule. Mahtomedi Middle School student Ellie provides writing inspiration as she details how she found the time to knock out over 44,000 words in one month.

©Valerie Jardin - For Stephani KLBB-8(Photo by Valerie Jardin)

More DREAMERS OFTEN LIE news is on its way–including release party information–so please stay tuned. And now back to your regularly scheduled programming (I hope it includes some David Bowie).

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Getting ready for DREAMERS OFTEN LIE

December 6, 2015    Tags: , , , ,   

So much stuff to quickly and excitedly share:

    • Last month, I attended the NCTE convention in Minneapolis, where I signed advance copies of DREAMERS OFTEN LIE, had fun at the Penguin/Nerdy Book Club cocktail party, and talked all things YA with teachers, librarians, and my amazing editor (Hi, Jess!). Here I am with the big DREAMERS poster that now lives in my home library and reminds me that this is all actually finally happening.

DREAMERS at NCTE

  • My husband/home tech support/web designer/human firewall has been busy designing a page for DREAMERS on my website. It’s got preordering info, Shakespearean links and references (including a list of all the quotes used within the book), a theatrical glossary, and more. And it’s pretty. Go look.
  • Jaye Stuart, the protagonist/star (she’d prefer that) of DREAMERS, is starting an Instagram account of her own. You can follow her at bluejaye.dramaqueen.
  • My spring calendar is quickly filling with more events, including the much loved and recently revived Books & Breakfast (Saturday, February 13th, from 9:00 – 12:00). Visit the site for a complete list of attending authors, registration info, and more.

There. Now off to make a fresh pot of coffee and decorate a Christmas tree.

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Cover Reveal (and much more): DREAMERS OFTEN LIE

September 4, 2015    Tags: , ,   

DreamersOftenLie_Comp_reveal

Here it is.

The Shakespearean YA novel that I’ve been mentioning (briefly, bashfully) for years has a name, a release date, and a cover–and holy cats, is it a gorgeous one. DREAMERS OFTEN LIE, coming from Dial Books for Young Readers on April 5, 2016.

You can read the opening pages and hear more about the book at EW.com: http://www.ew.com/article/2015/09/03/dreamers-often-lie-excerpt. (Thanks to Lindsay Boggs, my magic-making publicist at PYRG, for this incredible launchpad!)

This is a book I began almost eight years ago, while I was teaching Shakespeare to my high school English students and directing school plays. It was repeatedly nudged to the back burner while I finished THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE and moved and traveled and toured and had a baby, but each time I lifted the lid on that slowly simmering pot, something new was rising to the surface. I think it has finally boiled down to something pretty cool.

Please go and read the sample, pre-order if you like–or better yet, mention the book to your favorite local booksellers and librarians.

It’s very different from THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE…but I’m excited to see this book travel out into the world and into the hands of a whole new set of readers (and maybe to some old ones, who are ready for something else dark and odd and twisty).

Thanks for the love, everybody.

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[A] delightful tale filled with magic, adventure, danger and all the usual challenges of growing up. Written for young readers and featuring charmingly simple illustrations, this will capture the interest of adults as well and leave fans looking for the next installment…

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