Jacqueline West, Writer

Bestselling author of The Books of Elsewhere and Dreamers Often Lie

In which I am Spellbound

August 9, 2012    Tags: , , ,   

A few months ago, I posted pictures of an incredible work-in-progress: Artist Tiffany Vincent’s hand-crafted recreation of the McMartin grimoire, as described in Spellbound. Now, I have the real (almost) finished book right here in my very own office, and it is DAZZLING, as you can see.


In what might be the very best twist of all, Tiffany left the pages blank and unbound, so that I can bring the book to schools and book events to have young (or not so young) readers concoct and contribute their own McMartin spells.  I can hardly wait.

(Happy author, with book.)

If you would like hear and see more of the creation process (and I know you would), visit


Another wonderful gift: This review of The Second Spy, which appeared in the Star Tribune’s summer roundup of teen/tween books by Minnesota authors.

Two other reviews have recently–and belatedly–come to my attention.  This review of Spellbound comes from a blogger in France, and this write-up of The Shadows is thanks to a blogger in Indonesia.  From what I can decipher/translate/guess, they both seem very positive.  Fly, my little world-traveling books!  Fly!


The countdown begins…

May 6, 2012    Tags: , , ,   

There are now exactly sixty days until the release of THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE, VOLUME THREE: THE SECOND SPY.  Not that I’m excited or anything.

Last May, an artist named Tiffany J. Vincent got in touch with me.  Tiffany creates amazing, one-of-a-kind art objects inspired by works of fiction; for examples, check out her Harry Potter and Narnia pieces at her website, Curious Goods:  I drool over Bellatrix’s necklace.  Her niece, Anna (Hi, Anna!) is a fan of THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE, and Tiffany is currently at work on a full-sized replica of the McMartin grimoire, as described in SPELLBOUND.  As a preview, she sent me her smaller-scale test version of the book’s leather cover, and her gorgeous interpretation of the McMartin family tree on the frontispiece.

Here’s a closer look at each:

How lucky am I?  (I’ll answer that myself: Insanely lucky.)

The news has already spread via many writing and publishing blogs, but just in case a writer between the ages of 18 – 25 hasn’t heard about it yet and happens to be reading this: Hot Key Books, in cooperation with The Guardian, is launching a truly incredible prize for young writers of children’s/teen’s fiction.  You can get an overview here and find specifics at the Hot Key Books website.

Publishers Weekly just ran a piece on the Endangered Authors Tour.  For photos and on-the-road stories from my fellow Endangered Authors, read on.

I promised that I would try to post here every day for the two months leading up to the release date.  I already missed yesterday, so I’m not off to the most auspicious start, but I have Good Intentions and a Plan.  There will be more blogging.  Soon.  I swear it.

And thanks for sharing your excitement about THE SECOND SPY, everyone.  Knowing that readers are out there waiting to dive into Volume Three is an awfully welcoming feeling.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.



Hello, Goodbye

February 13, 2012    Tags: , , ,   

I almost (ALMOST!) titled this entry “It Was the Best of Times…” but then I sort of wanted to kick myself.

So, the sad news first:

After eight years in business, my town’s independent bookshop, Best of Times, has closed its doors for good.  As sad as this makes me (and everyone else in town), it naturally wasn’t a shock; we all know how hard it has become for independent, small town stores of all kinds to survive in this age of online mega-retailers and economic insanity.  The few independent brick-and-mortar bookstores that seem to be keeping their heads above water (yes, I know bookstores don’t actually have heads, and I know brick buildings very seldom go swimming in the first place, but I’m feeling too sad and lazy to look for another idiom), like Portland’s Powell’s and Austin’s BookPeople, are massive places that can offer everything the big chains provide: cafes, lots of space and seating, fancy websites, and nearly every book you’re looking for, right there on the shelves.  But the indies can also provide many things the big chains don’t — or can’t. And the smaller indie shops — like Best of Times — provide things that even the larger one-of-a-kind shops can’t, like knowing the name of practically every customer who walks in, keeping local interest and small press books in stock, and hosting events for newer, lesser-known writers…like me.  Best of Times held the release parties for THE SHADOWS and SPELLBOUND, and they kept a signed stock of copies in the store for in-person and online orders.  A ridiculous, windmill-jousting part of me daydreams about opening a bookstore myself one day (other authors have done it!  Like Louise Erdrich! And Garrison Keillor!  And that’s just in the Twin Cities!), but I know that would require a set of skills and an investment of time and energy and love that I don’t have…at least, not now.

So I’ll just be sad.  And miss them.

I got back to Red Wing just in time to attend the bookstore’s goodbye party, after spending two weeks in Plano, Texas, visiting elementary schools.  To all the librarians, parents, teachers, and students who hosted me: THANK YOU.  It was a joy.

And, once I got home, more good news was waiting to spring on me:

First, THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE, VOLUME TWO: SPELLBOUND has been selected as a finalist in the Young People’s Category of the Minnesota Book Awards. THE SHADOWS was a finalist last year, which already felt too good to be true, but making the list two years in a row???  I was pretty sure that there had been a mistake, a la CHIME and SHINE at the National Book Awards.  Perhaps there was a Jacquelyn East on the nominees list.   Or maybe someone had written a book called SMELLHOUND.  (Now that I’ve double-checked the list, and seen the news in the Star Tribune and on the Awards website, I’m starting to believe that they did actually mean me, but it still feels too good to be true — because there is some amazing writing coming out of Minnesota these days, especially in the kids’ lit area: Anne Ursu, Pete Hautman, Lynne Jonell, Kelly Barnhill, Sheila O’Connor…  I’m happy just to share general weather patterns with these people.)

Second, THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE, VOLUME ONE: THE SHADOWS has won a place on the master list of the Illinois Bluestem Award.  Like the Texas Bluebonnet and the Louisiana Young Readers’ Choice Awards, the award is given based on the votes of young readers (which is already very cool), but the best part is that the book will be promoted in libraries and schools around the state.

And Brom Bones was very happy to have me come home.



Subscribe to Jacqueline's Journal with RSS

Jacqueline West on Facebook
Jacqueline West on Instagram  

Contact Jacqueline:   Email   •      •      •   Mail

© Jacqueline West