Jacqueline West, Writer

Bestselling author of The Books of Elsewhere and Dreamers Often Lie

One more day…

June 16, 2014    Tags: , , ,   

…before STILL LIFE is released.

Actually, it’s not even one day. It’s one evening, one night, and the sliver of morning before bookstores open their doors.

If you can’t wait that long, you can preorder it from your favorite bookseller (and IndieBound can help you find the closest shop: Or, if you’re in my part of the world, you can come to Red Balloon in St. Paul at 6:30 on 6/17, Fox Den in River Falls, WI at 6:30 on 6/20, Valley Bookseller in Stillwater, MN at 2:00 on 6/21, or Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis at 7:00 on 6/21, to buy the book and get it signed by me. And I’ll be very happy to see you there.

Samuel Johnson said, “A writer only begins a book. A reader finishes it.”  And I 100% agree.  Even though I was done writing STILL LIFE months ago, this week is when it’s going to finally feel finished.  After tomorrow, people will be reading it.  People I don’t even know.  They’ll be turning the words into living pictures in their minds, and everything will have finally come to a close: the ideas traveling through paper and time and distance and transforming back into ideas again.  It’s a truly awesome thing.

The Pioneer Press just ran this wonderful piece on the series from beginning to end.

And is hosting a giveaway of THE SHADOWS — comment between now and June 20th to win!

Lots of pictures, new links, and some more coherent thoughts to come.  Til then: Thank you for reading.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.



Un-Still Life

May 25, 2014    Tags: , , , ,   

May is whooshing to its end, and I can’t believe everything that’s been crammed into it: An amazing visit to the school and library in Rye, New Hampshire (read more here: that allowed day trips to Salem and Concord (including a stop at Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House, which was everything my eight-year-old self could have hoped for), the Gaithersburg Book Festival in Maryland, three local school visits, interviews, Skype chats, and increasingly exciting preparations for the release of VOL. FIVE: STILL LIFE on June 17th.

In celebration of the approaching release, Literary Rambles is hosting a giveaway of one of the books in the series (winner’s choice!) and an interview with me:

The Books of Elsewhere is also being featured at The Book Cellar as part of Middle Grade May:

Next week, I head back to the East Coast for a round of school visits in Fairfax County, Virginia, and then I zoom back home for a slew of release events — like this one:

Jacquline West Still Life Launch Invite(That’s right.  You’re officially invited to the Official Launch Party.  If you’re in the area, and you’re free, and you feel like it, please come.)

More info about all of those release events soon…
View from our cottage window, Rye, NH

Incredible headstones in The Burying Point, Salem, MA

The Burying Point, Salem

Louisa May Alcott’s grave, Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Concord


So, four authors and an improv actor walk into an elementary school…

March 30, 2014    Tags: , , , , , ,   

Week one of the Endangered Authors tour (part III!) is done.   It was a more endangering week than any of us expected: we were in outer Los Angeles during Friday night’s 5.4 earthquake.  I was standing at the hotel room sink at the time, and my first thought was that some rude group of people was running loudly up and down the hallway above me, which shows what a weird old curmudgeon I’ve become.  And then the walls started to sway.  I stood in the doorframe, watching the curtains swish back and forth and hoping that I wouldn’t have to run outside in my glasses and my hotel bathrobe…and then the rumbling and swaying stopped, and everything was fine.   (It was kind of exciting, really, at least to this Minnesotan.  Still, if no tornadoes, hurricanes, or Biblical plagues follow us on the next leg of the tour, we all be happy.)

Earthquake excepted, California was very good to us.  Curtis Jobling (Wereworld), C. Alexander London (An Accidental Adventure), Gennifer Choldenko (Al Capone Does My Shirts) and I spent our days getting threatened by diabolically smarmy game show host Holden A. Grudge (actually the brilliant actor Peter McNerney) and being rescued by excited young readers, and the show just keeps getting better.  Thanks to everyone at Lakeview Elementary and Oak Meadow Elementary in El Dorado Hills, to Brittan Acres in San Carlos and Sacred Heart in Atherton, to all the schools and students who joined us at Amador High in Pleasanton, to Grant Elementary in Petaluma and Monte Vista Elementary in Rohnert Park, and to Telesis Academy in West Covina and De Anza Elementary in Baldwin Park, who even helped me sing “Happy Birthday” to my dad — thanks again, guys!.

School Hug(One good morning in California.)

Double-extra-huge thanks to the booksellers at Face in a Book (El Dorado Hills), The Reading Bug (San Carlos), Towne Center Books (Pleasanton), Copperfields (Petaluma), and Mrs. Nelson’s Book Fairs (Los Angeles), all of whom now have signed copies of The Books of Elsewhere, Wereworld, The Accidental Adventures, and the Tales from Alcatraz in stock.

Now we’re in lovely Alexandria, Virginia.  Tomorrow we’ve got two local school visits before we head down to North Carolina.  Nashville, Alabama, Austin: We’ll see you soon!

EA show De Anza




February 19, 2014    Tags: , , ,   

This has already appeared on Facebook and Tumblr (and it may or may not have turned up on Goodreads and Amazon), but here it is again: The lovely, eerie, swirlingly snowy cover of THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE, VOLUME FIVE: STILL LIFE.  I knew how lucky I was to be paired with illustrator Poly Bernatene the very first time I saw his sketches, and with each volume of THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE, I feel even luckier and even more certain that these books should not — or maybe even could not — have turned out any other way.  Thanks to Poly and the brilliant designers at Dial, these are books I would want to climb inside.

large_Still_LifeThe very last volume of the series will be turning up in bookstores, libraries, and mailboxes everywhere on June 17th.

Events are also falling into place.  The release party will be held at the glorious Red Balloon in St. Paul on the actual release date (that’s still Tuesday, June 17th, for anyone who’s lost track) at 6:30 p.m.

The following weekend, I’ll be at Valley Bookseller in Stillwater, MN.  If you’re in the area at 2:00 on Saturday, June 21, I’d love to see you there.

More to come…




Recent events, not-so-recent reviews, and one truly awesome map

November 18, 2013    Tags: , , , , , , , ,   

The last four weeks have been a little crazy: seven school visits, three bookstore events, one book festival, one cross-country road trip, and Halloween in New Orleans.  At Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis, I met with lots of wonderful readers (including one with earrings that looked like miniature copies of The Strangers) and got to pet a chicken on its belly.
photo(3)photo 5

At schools in Wisconsin and Louisiana, I answered questions, signed books, led writing workshops, and received hugs and pralines.

In New Orleans, we visited yet another cemetery — Greenwood — and found the Ducoing family tomb, where John Kennedy Toole (A Confederacy of Dunces) is interred.  We also wandered in the Garden District and the Quarter and Audubon park, and bought lots of books and ate lots of pastry and caught beads at a Halloween parade.

IMG_20131102_192712IMG_20131102_171237IMG_20131031_130609Then I returned home to another school visit (here’s a newspaper write-up of this one), rehearsals for The Little Prince, and a middle grade panel at Addendum Books in St. Paul that included me, Brian Farrey (The Vengekeep Prophecies), Lisa Bullard (Turn Left at the Cow), Kurtis Scaletta (The Winter of the Robots), and Anne Ursu (The Real Boy).  I felt lucky just to share a row of stools with these people.

photo 3As long as I’m in the middle of overdue recaps, here are some reviews of The Books of Elsewhere that I missed when they originally appeared:

A recent and very kind writeup on the blog Remembering Wonderland

Great reviews of each book in the series from Common Sense Media

“My Top Ten EPIC Heroes. Or Heroines!” – a list from the Nerdy Book Club blog that puts Olive alongside Harry Potter and Frodo, which is some awfully good company

And now for the Truly Awesome Map.

On Saturday, November 30 — also known as Small Business Saturday — authors all around the country will be joining in Sherman Alexie’s brilliant “Indies First” project (and if you aren’t already familiar, follow the link) by hanging out at local independent bookstores.  As for me, I’ll be back at Addendum Books from 12:00 – 1:00 to chat with customers, recommend books, dust shelves — whatever Katherine and Marcus want me to do.  To help book-shoppers find out what authors will be where–and there are some HUGE names taking part in this!–IndieBound has created this incredible map of participating bookstores all around the country.  I hope that you’ll check out your local bookstores, maybe drop by one or two or more for signed copies and conversation, and show your brick-and-mortar shops some love.


STARRY-EYED giveaway (and other Halloweeny goodness)

October 14, 2013    Tags: , , , , , , , ,   

October is my favorite month.  Sweaters.  Falling leaves.  Cider.  Pumpkin carving.  An excuse to read creepy books and watch creepy movies and scatter creepy things over every household surface.

Over at my Facebook page, I’m asking readers to share their own favorite things about October.  On Friday the 18th, I’ll pick a winning comment at random, and that winning comment-writer will receive a free signed copy of the new YA anthology STARRY-EYED (and I’m throwing in a signed ARC of THE STRANGERS too, just for fun).  Go forth and comment/share!

This is also the season of All Hallow’s Read

allhallowsread2(Supercool poster by Introverted Wife)

I’ll be in New Orleans over Halloween this year, thanks to the Louisiana Book Festival (which reminds me: Come see me talk at 1:30 on Saturday, November 2nd, at the Capitol Park Museum in Baton Rouge!), so I’m going to celebrate All Hallow’s Read a bit early by putting together a big box of Halloweeny books and passing them on to a nearby school, where I hope they’ll find their way into the hands of young readers who need or want them.  If I had enough money, I’d blanket the entire area with Ray Bradbury and Poe and James Howe books, all dropped from a Jack-O’-Lantern-shaped hot air balloon on spiderweb parachutes…

Maybe someday.

If you’re looking for some All Hallow’s Read books of your own to share, remember that you can catch me and THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE at the Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis at 1:00 on October 26th.

Here’s a lovely new review of THE STRANGERS at Charlotte’s Library.

And finally, here’s me, my mom, and our spiderweb cookies. October: I love you.



A star for STARRY-EYED

October 8, 2013    Tags: , , , , , ,   

STARRY-EYED: 16 STORIES THAT STEAL THE SPOTLIGHT is out TODAY.  Order your copy here or here or here…or head to an actual brick-and-mortar bookstore to order or browse or drink coffee.  (Chances are they’ve got good coffee.)


Booklist gave it a star (yay!) and even mentioned my Midsummer Night’s Dream-themed story in their review (another yay!), which you can read right here:

For any teen who has dreamed of being a star, Starry-Eyed will serve as both encouragement and a reality check. YA authors like Alex Finn, Aimee Friedman, and Garret Freymann-Weye weave mesmerizing stories of talented kids whose lives revolve around music, drama, and the arts. They’ll meet videographers Stringbean and Goose; Becca First, Meghan’s rival for every solo, every role, but keeper of a sad secret; and the vanished Maia Crane, spotted during a bizarre production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Juxtaposed with each short story is an anecdote from artists familiar and less-so: Clay Aiken, Andrea McArdle, Montego Glover, Anthony Fedorov. The amalgam of swoon-worthy and unfamiliar household names is a reminder that TV, Broadway, movies, and records provide myriad opportunities for happiness and career satisfaction, if not fame and fortune. The short stories themselves, each of which is memorable for unique characters and situations, spotlight the importance of the arts in the growth and development—and even the survival!—of a large portion of the teenage population. Complex and focused on far more than art as a high-school extracurricular, Starry-Eyed “breaks a leg” in the finest sense of the word.
–Booklist, starred review

I’ll be hosting a giveaway for a signed copy of STARRY-EYED very soon, so keep your eye on my Facebook page. (And why not keep an eye on Tumblr while you’re at it?)

Speaking of brick-and-mortar bookstores:

This is one more reminder that I’ll be at Wild Rumpus Bookstore in Minneapolis at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 26 for a special Halloween-themed book event.  THE STRANGERS, creative projects, unusual bookstore pets…You know you want to join in.

Also, my schedule for the Louisiana Book Festival (Saturday, November 2nd, in Baton Rouge) has been finalized.  I’ll be speaking from 1:00 – 1:30 on the 3rd floor of the Capitol Park Museum and signing from 1:45 – 2:30, either in the Barnes & Noble main tent or the B&N Junior tent.  If you are in the area, or if you know any readers who will be, please send them our way!

Lastly, for any aspiring or established fantasy authors out there: The Jim Henson company is searching for an author for a new novel set in the world of The Dark Crystal.  It’s an incredible opportunity, and if I wasn’t in the middle of four novels already, I’d be all over this myself.  Details are here.


Release date approaching…

October 1, 2013    Tags: , , , , , , ,   

Just one week until STARRY-EYED hits shelves!  Kirkus really liked it:

Sixteen stories of performing are each paired with anecdotes about life behind the scenes and in front of the footlights.
Even a teen with only a pang of stage or screen hunger will be fascinated by this book, with its various accomplished contributors, from the introduction by Clay Aiken to stars from television shows such as Modern Family and Glee. The stories run a rich and varied emotional gamut… Each story is followed by a first-person anecdote by a noted performer, which is itself followed by a brief biography. Teens needn’t be star-struck to enjoy this collection, as under the hubbub of the theater world are themes that deal with common teenage issues such as insecurity, jealousy, the fear of coming out and young love.
Definitely worthy of applause. (Anthology. 12 & up)

You can read the whole review here, at least for now.

The school visit season is kicking into high gear.  Events are lined up in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Louisiana, and Missouri, with Tennessee and Illinois as additional possibilities. To find out where I’ll be, keep an eye on,and I’ll do my best to keep it up to date, I swear.

It’s October, my very favorite month of the year. It’s time to reread some of my very favorite books and rewatch some of my very favorite movies and listen to the fallen leaves whisper along the curbs. And later, there will be miniature Milky Ways and Twixes.  (Twixices? Twixi? Is Twix already plural?)  The only way this month could be better is if it lasted twice as long. And if Twixes were calorie-free.

Right now, I’m rereading this particular favorite book…
something-wicked new
…although it’s this cover, which was on the copy that I checked out from my middle school library twenty years ago, that left its mark on my mind for good.
something wicked hardcover

Now back to the copy-edits of STILL LIFE. Nearly done…


One of those posts where you’ve procrastinated for too long and now have twenty disparate things to mention

September 10, 2013    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

Yep, this is one of those.

I can’t believe September is already one-third over.  The end of the summer was a whirlwind: a visit from the in-laws, a final round of revisions on STILL LIFE, and my (not-so-little) brother’s beautiful lakeside wedding.

Dan and Katy Getaway CarCongratulations, you two.

Now I’m digging back in to the Shakespearean YA project, which has been put aside for so long that I can see it clearly again.  I’m eagerly destroying and rebuilding, rewriting and reacquainting, and spending a lot of time staring dazedly into the distance as new ideas fit themselves together.  It feels really, really good.

My fall schedule is rapidly filling with school visits and public appearances.  Among the recently added (public) events are:

Wild Rumpus Bookstore, Minneapolis – Saturday, October 26, at 1:00 p.m.  Reading, signing, chatting, and all sorts of special Halloween fun.

Addendum Books, St. Paul – Saturday, November 16, at 1:00 p.m.  This is a group middle-grade author event, featuring me, Anne Ursu, Kurtis Scaletta, and Lisa Bullard. (I’ll be insanely excited just to be in the same store with these writers, so please come and watch me make a fool of myself.)

And new information is constantly being added to the Louisiana Book Festival website.  The Festival is held in Baton Rouge on Saturday, November 2nd; once I know just when and where I’ll be speaking, I’ll share the info here.

Even with book releases, summer tends to be the quietest time of the year for me, events-wise.  I’m looking forward to a new round of school visits… And speaking of schools, this 4th grade class in Milford, CT read THE SHADOWS, created their own magical paintings, and wrote short stories to accompany them.  Learning that your work has inspired others to create things of their own — stories, paintings, playground games, new names and histories for their stuffed animals — is just about the coolest thing in the world.IMG_5605-1

Thanks, Ms. Nastasia, and everyone at Meadowside Elementary. 

Another cool Elsewhere-in-the-wild sighting, this one courtesy of my very own editor:

Water Street Bookstore Exeter NH On display at Water Street Bookstore, with THE SHADOWS sold out, in Exeter, NH.  If I ever/finally get to New England, I’ll have to make a stop there.

And (I was serious about the twenty disparate things) I am starting to use Tumblr at last.  I know a lot of my readers can’t/don’t use Facebook, so I’m hoping this platform will be a bit more accessible.  I don’t think it will take the place of this blog, in terms of actual information, but it may outdo it in number of dog pictures.  We will have to wait and see.


The Book Release Blur

July 27, 2013    Tags: , , , , , , ,   

So much news…

First of all, THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE, VOLUME FOUR: THE STRANGERS was released on July 16th (to a fanfare that played only inside of my own head), and I’m starting to get pictures of the new book in the wild.  Here it is at Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis, and on the new releases shelf at Barnes & Noble, and in the legendary Powell’s Books in Portland…

BoE at Wild RumpusNew releases B&NThe Strangers at PowellsSign at Powells

Also, B&N stores are currently carrying a special display of the paperbacks of THE SHADOWS, SPELLBOUND, and THE SECOND SPY, so if you spot one, please feel free to play a little fanfare inside your head for me.  (Here’s one in Clackamas, OR.  That’s some pretty sweet placement right there.)
Clackamas B&N Display

Meanwhile, THE SHADOWS has made its way back onto the SIBA (Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance) bestsellers list, at #7 in the Children’s Fiction Series category.  Yippee!

This afternoon, I visited one of my favorite bookshops – Valley Bookseller in Stillwater, MN – for a chat and signing.  Thanks again to the fabulous staff and to everyone who came…especially those who had traveled all the way from central Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Texas!  Signed copies are in stock now…

Valley Bookseller SignedValleyBookseller Reading

And way back on July 20th, Karma Gifts of River Falls hosted a book party crammed with the amazing and creative touches of owner Val Lundgren.  There was a glowing fireplace (those who’ve already read Vol. 4 understand the significance), a display of books featuring tattered pages from Twilight drifting from the ceiling, and Mrs. Dewey’s very own Gingerbread Bars and Dutch-Cocoa Sour Cream Swirls. As far as I know, no one lost their memory as a result of eating too many.

Karma decorKarma displayDutch cocoa sour cream swirlsSigning at Karma 2

Everybody knows this is not an easy time for independent businesses.  After four years of bringing unique and beautiful stuff to the main street of my hometown, Karma is closing.  I’m sorry that this was my last event in the shop, but I’m sure that Val will embark on her next adventure with the same strength and style she brought to this one (and if anyone is looking, she would make one incredible events coordinator).

If you missed both of these events but want a signed book, I’ll be at Hazel Mackin Community Library  in Roberts, Wisconsin, for their Summer Reading Finale on Monday, August 5, from 6:30 – 8:00.  I’m giving a short talk/Q&A/reading at around 7:15, but I’ll be signing and selling books both before and after.

In celebration of THE STRANGERS, here’s a new interview–with lots of dog pictures–at Coffee with a Canine, which is truly a blog after my own heart: read the interview at Coffee with a Canine.

You can also read a little sample of THE STRANGERS (page 69, specifically) and hear my thoughts on if and why and how this page is reflective of the book as a whole at The Page 69 Test.

More news to come…


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