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Jacqueline West, Writer

Bestselling author of The Books of Elsewhere and Dreamers Often Lie

2018’s Big Bookish Wrap-Up of the Year

December 30, 2018    Tags: , , , , , ,   

It feels like I posted 2017’s wrap-up just a couple of weeks ago, but here it is, already time for another. I am every old-person-dazzled-by-the-passing-of-time cliche.

Writing-wise:
It’s been a crazy year: Releasing THE COLLECTORS with a round of school visits and amazing festivals, having CANDLE AND PINS: POEMS ON SUPERSTITIONS come out into the world (I’ve been writing, publishing, and polishing these poems for almost a decade, and all I wanted was to see them gathered between two covers at last), finishing revisions on my next YA novel (LAST THINGS, coming at you in May!), publishing poems and short fiction in Wee TalesMirror Danceand Enchanted Living/Faerie Magazineand ALMOST completing rewrites of THE COLLECTORS 2 (to be called A STORM OF WISHES). 2018 was mostly a year of rewriting, revising, and re-revising. 2019 should allow me to start some things from scratch, and I can hardly wait for the chance to sit down with a brand new, perfectly blank notebook and plunge in.

Reading-wise:
MOONGLOW – Michael Chabon (aloud to Ryan)
WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON – Grace Lin
THE DEVILS YOU KNOW – M.C. Atwood
TATTOOS ON THE HEART: THE POWER OF BOUNDLESS COMPASSION – Gregory Boyle
INVISIBLE GIRLS – Nova Ren Suma
THOUSAND STAR HOTEL (poems) – Bao Phi
THE WHITE ALBUM – Joan Didion
ARCHIVIST WASP – Nicole Kornher-Stace
BLISS – Kathryn Littlewood
MAGIC FOR BEGINNERS – Kelly Link
MAGDALENE (poems) – Marie Howe
TED HUGHES: THE UNAUTHORIZED LIFE – Jonathan Bate
THE GREAT GHOST RESCUE – Eva Ibbotson
LATCHKEY – Nicole Kornher-Stace
WALKING ON WATER: REFLECTIONS ON FAITH AND ART – Madeleine L’Engle
THE DARK DARK – Samantha Hunt
BROOKLYN – Colm Toibin
THE KEY TO EXTRAORDINARY – Natalie Lloyd
LAURA INGALLS IS RUINING MY LIFE – Shelley Tougas
BAYOU MAGIC – Jewell Parker Rhodes
THE OSTRICH AND OTHER LOST THINGS – Beth Hautala
RED BIRD (poems) – Mary Oliver
THE BLACK WITCH – Laurie Forest
A STUDY IN CHARLOTTE – Brittany Cavallaro
THE FIRST TIME I GOT PAID FOR IT: WRITERS’ TALES FROM THE HOLLYWOOD TRENCHES – Peter Lefcourt and Laura J. Shipro, eds.
CIVILWARLAND IN BAD DECLINE – George Saunders
STRANGER THAN FICTION – Chuck Palaniuk
CRACKED UP TO BE – Courtney Summers
ELSA LANCHESTER: HERSELF – Elsa Lanchester
HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES – Carmen Maria Machado
COLD HARD TRUTH – Anne Greenwood Brown
STONEPICKER (poems) – Frieda Hughes
THE TANGLEWOOD TERROR – Kurtis Scaletta
JEALOUS WITNESS (poems) – Andrei Codrescu
THE LETTERS OF SYLVIA PLATH, VOLUME 1
SELECTED POEMS OF T.S. ELIOT (reread)
THE HAZEL WOOD – Melissa Albert
THE GREEN HOUSE (poems) – Joyce Sutphen
WE’LL FLY AWAY – Bryan Bliss
DREADFUL YOUNG LADIES – Kelly Barnhill
WE ARE OKAY – Nina LaCour
DREAD NATION – Justina Ireland
THE 2018 RHYSLING ANTHOLOGY (poems) – Linda Addison, ed.
THE ASTONISHING ADVENTURES OF FANBOY AND GOTH GIRL – Barry Lyga
AND I DARKEN – Kiersten White
BLOOD, WATER, PAINT – Joy McCullough
LONG WAY DOWN – Jason Reynolds
SING, UNBURIED, SING – Jesmyn Ward
SNOW AND ROSE – Emily Winfield Martin
CALYPSO – David Sedaris (aloud to Ryan)
THE SECRET OF ZOOM – Lynne Jonell
THE WICKED DEEP – Shea Earnshaw
SMILE – Raina Telgemeier
GOTH GIRL RISING – Barry Lyga
POPS – Michael Chabon (aloud to Ryan)
AMONG THE SAVAGES – Shirley Jackson (reread)
BROWN GIRL DREAMING – Jacqueline Woodson
THE MAD WOLF’S DAUGHTER – Diane Magras
WE’LL BE THE LAST ONES TO LET YOU DOWN: MEMOIR OF A GRAVEDIGGER’S DAUGHTER – Rachel Hanel
FUN HOME – Alison Bechdel
A COLLECTION OF NIGHTMARES – Christina Sng
AND THE TREES CREPT IN – Dawn Kurtagich
MIDDLEMARCH – George Eliot
ALL THE CROOKED SAINTS – Maggie Stiefvater
THE LAST OF AUGUST – Brittany Cavallaro (aloud to Ryan)
FURIOUSLY HAPPY – Jenny Lawson
THE GRIP OF IT – Jac Jemc
CRAZY FROM THE HEAT – David Lee Roth (aloud to Ryan)
FICCIONES – Jorge Luis Borges
STRANGE THE DREAMER – Laini Taylor
JERK, CALIFORNIA – Jonathan Friesen
BEAUTIFUL MUSIC FOR UGLY CHILDREN – Kirsten Cronn-Mills
THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU’RE GOTH IN THE COUNTRY – Chavisa Woods
THE CASQUETTE GIRLS – Alys Arden
THE LIE TREE – Frances Hardinge
THE ACCIDENT SEASON – Moira Fowley-Doyle
THE LATEHOMECOMER: A HMONG FAMILY MEMOIR – Kao Kalia Yang
THE DOLL’S ALPHABET – Camilla Grudova
THE GRACES – Laure Eve
LUST AND WONDER – Augusten Burroughs
THE MISSING PIECE OF CHARLIE O’REILLY – Rebecca Ansari
CITY OF GHOSTS – Victoria Schwab
THE STRANGERS – Margaret Peterson Haddix
DEAR SISTER – Allison McGhee
TELLING MEMORIES AMONG SOUTHERN WOMEN: DOMESTIC WORKERS AND THEIR EMPLOYERS IN THE SEGREGATED SOUTH – Susan Tucker
SPOOK – Mary Roach
A PROPERLY UNHAUNTED PLACE – Will Alexander
A ROOM AWAY FROM THE WOLVES – Nova Ren Suma
ROBIN – Dave Itzkoff (aloud to Ryan)
LIFE INSIDE MY MIND: 31 AUTHORS SHARE THEIR PERSONAL STRUGGLES – Jessica Burkhart, ed.
FLANEUSE: WOMEN WALK THE CITY IN PARIS, NEW YORK, TOKYO, VENICE, AND LONDON – Lauren Elkin
DEVILS UNTO DUST – Emma Berquist
DAMSEL – Elana K. Arnold
EVERGREEN TIDINGS FROM THE BAUMGARTNERS – Gretchen Anthony
BAD FEMINIST – Roxane Gay (aloud to Ryan)
THE GIRL WHO FELL BENEATH FAIRYLAND AND LED THE REVELS THERE – Catherynne M. Valente
THIS ONE SUMMER – Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki
HEY, KIDDO – Jarrett Kroscoczka
WADE IN THE WATER (poems) – Tracy K. Smith
THE VANDERBEEKERS OF 141ST STREET – Karina Yan Glaser
THE LETTERS OF SYLVIA PLATH, VOL. 2
LESSONS ON EXPULSION (poems) – Erika L. Sanchez
SADIE – Courtney Summers

 

My six very favorites of the year — HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES, CALYPSO, THOUSAND STAR HOTEL, THE LIE TREE (with DAMSEL, SADIE, and LONG WAY DOWN tied for second in the YA category), SING, UNBURIED, SING, and THIS ONE SUMMER — happen to fall into six different categories (short stories, essay/memoir, poetry, YA novel, adult novel, and graphic novel). They’re wildly different from each other, obviously, but they share that thing about really great books: not only can you barely stand to put them down, but you remember exactly where you were when you read certain passages, what the light was like, where you were sitting. It’s weird that it works this way. You’re completely absorbed in the book, but at the same time, the book is changing you, making you open your eyes and notice the world around you in a new way. So a great book is like a fresh pair of contact lenses.

Happy reading, happy writing, and happy end-of-2018, everybody.

 

 

Spectacles

THE COLLECTORS gets ready to hatch, a giveaway, and my next YA…

August 1, 2018    Tags: , , , , ,   

Just over two months until THE COLLECTORS arrives.

The final weeks of book gestation are some of the weirdest and longest. It’s less like having a baby than laying an egg (I imagine): You’ve done all the work, and then you just have to sit there and worry and try not to lose your mind, and then, FINALLY, out hatches this thing that only sort of feels like yours, because it’s been outside of you for so long.

Now it belongs to itself. And to readers.

And reviewers.

This might be the hardest part of all: when the reviews start coming in. Luckily, the couple that I’ve seen so far have been extremely nice. Booklist called it “a brilliant fantasy adventure exploring the consequences of getting what you wish for.” And according to Kirkus, the most nervous-making reviewer of all, “Readers may not wish to leave this magical world.”

So that’s pretty great.

Speaking of reviews, the book is up and running over at Goodreads, where you can add it to your to-read list (please), review it (once you’ve read it, obviously), and enter a giveaway for one of five advance copies (do it do it do it): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34614114-the-collectors

Tour details are still being finalized, but I can share one big piece of news: I’ll be a guest at this year’s Tweens Read Festival! It will be held on Saturday October 13, in Houston, Texas, and this year’s line-up is incredible. I feel the usual mixture of honored and sheepish to be included. 🙂 Lots more info here: http://www.tweensread.com/index.html

I’m planning to host a special giveaway of my own via Instagram in the near future, so if you’re not already following me there — jacqueline.west.writes — you might want to change that.

Finally, some big big news: My next YA novel, a modern-day Minnesotan retelling of the guitarist-selling-his-soul-to-the-devil legend, is coming next summer. It’s going to be called LAST THINGS, and honestly, I have never been more excited about anything that I’ve written.

Check out the Publishers Weekly announcement:

Spectacles

Book News Pileup: UntitledTown Book Festival, New Poetry Collection, and ARCs!

April 7, 2018    Tags: , , , , , , , ,   

First things first.

In two weeks, I get to be part of something incredibly cool: UntitledTown Book and Author Festival, a four-day literary event held annually (this year, it will be April 19 – 22) in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This year, the lineup of guests includes R.L. Stine, Christopher Moore, and ROXANE GAY (!!!!), among others. Including me. Oh–and the whole amazing thing is FREE.

My schedule, if you’re in the area (or if you’ve been planning a trip to Packerland and feel like dropping in on a lit festival while you’re at it), looks like this:

Saturday, April 21:
12:00 – Creating Characters: Writing Workshop for Kids (and adults!), Brown County Library
2:00 – Kid Lit Panel: How to Write for a Young Audience, KI Convention Center Room 6AB

Sunday, April 22:
10:00 – Dark Magic (Panel): Writing Fantasy for YA and Adults, St. Brendan’s Inn, Waterford Room
2:00 – Wisconsin Writers Invitational (Group Reading), Brown County Library Auditorium

Here’s a very handy FAQ page that will help you register for my (and other instructors’) writing workshop: https://2018.untitledtown.org/2018/04/faq-how-do-i-register-for-youth-writing-workshops/

And here’s the entire schedule. You can sign up/bookmark favorites (although you don’t need to) that you’d like to attend and sync them to your phone, if you’re techy like that.

 

Next, a moment of poetry promotion:

It’s National Poetry Month! And my brand new poetry collection, Candle and Pins: Poems on Superstitions, is now available from Alban Lake Publishing for only $1.99 in e-book format and $6.00 in paperback. Bargain, right? You can also find/order signed copies at my lovely local bookshops, Rivertown Comics and Games and Fair Trade Books of Red Wing, MN.

A little description: The poems of “Candle and Pins” are inspired by familiar—and some unfamiliar—superstitions, ranging from love charms to burial practices, parsley seeds to the evil eye. Like superstitions themselves, these poems explore the terrain where magic and everyday life intertwine, and where beauty, horror, fear, and belief combine in ways both new and ageless.

I’ve been at work on this collection for what seems like ages. Some of the poems appeared in fantasy/horror/scifi journals like Strange Horizons, Goblin Fruit, and Mythic Delirium almost ten years ago, and one was nominated for a Rhysling Award, but most of them had never ventured out in public until now. Having all of these pieces, new and old, published and unpublished, finally put together behind this gorgeous cover with art by Marge Simon is the coolest feeling.

So if you’re into dark magic and creepy poetry — or poetry in general — you could make me super-happy by reading it.

If all of this wasn’t great enough, I also just received my box of ARCs (advance reading copies) of The Collectors.

(Photographic proof!!!)

Stay tuned for a giveaway of a special sneak peek copy or two… Not sure yet if I’ll use this blog, Instagram (where you’ll find me most frequently these days), Facebook, or all of the above, but I’ll do my best to spread the word everywhere.

See you in Green Bay. 🙂

Spectacles

Cover Reveal: THE COLLECTORS.

March 27, 2018    Tags: , , ,   

 

Coming from Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins on 10/9/18.

 

Even the smallest wish can be dangerous.

Look closely.

Do you see that marble in the grass? The tiny astronaut with one arm raised? The old-fashioned key in the gutter?

Van sees them. Van notices all sorts of things. But usually no one notices Van. He’s small, and always the new kid, easy to overlook. But one day he watches a mysterious girl and a silver squirrel dive into a fountain to steal a coin.

And—even more strange—they notice Van.

Suddenly, the world changes for Van. It becomes a place where wishes are real. A place where wishes can be collected, just like his little treasures. A place where wishes can come true.

But that’s not always a good thing.

Not all wishes are good, you see, and even good wishes can have unintended consequences.

And Van is about to find out just how big those consequences can be.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My first middle-grade fantasy in four years (four years!?!) will be released by Greenwillow Books this fall, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

To all the BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE readers who have been patiently waiting for me to write something in same fantasy/mystery/adventure/eccentric-talking-animal ballpark: Thank you. To everyone who has asked me what I’ve been working on over the past few years and oohed at my sheepish description: Thank you. And to everyone at GWB/HC who is making this story into a real paper book at last: Thank you.

I can’t wait to introduce you to Van and his world this October. In the meantime, look look LOOK at this gorgeous cover! Swirling mist! Sparkling stars! Mystery and magic! Who could ask for anything more?!

Spectacles

Old News and New News

June 28, 2017    Tags: , , , , , , ,   

To start with the biggest and OLDEST news (and yes, it’s the same giant news I was waiting to share back in February, when I last posted here):

My next middle-grade series has a title, a publisher, and a (vague) release date!!! THE COLLECTORS is forthcoming from Greenwillow/HarperCollins, and you should be able to find it in a bookstore or library near you in Fall 2018.

Here’s the super-official Publishers Weekly announcement:

https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-industry-news/article/73056-rights-report-week-of-march-13-2017.html

If you enjoyed THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE, then I think this new series is for you. It’s a very different setting and a very different main character, who of course has a whole new set of problems to surmount and mysteries to uncover…but THE COLLECTORS lives in the same quirky-creepy world as THE BOOKS OF ELSEWHERE, and I hope, hope, hope all the middle grade readers who have been asking me for more stories will feel like it’s what they’ve been waiting for. (Plus, it has a talking squirrel. His name is Barnavelt. And I am very fond of him.)

Now, because I’ve procrastinated for so long, I have a double serving of gigantic news to share. Fall 2018 will bring not one but TWO middle grade novels from yours truly.

Last year, the Story Pirates–the New York-based, nationally-loved performance organization dedicated to bringing kids’ stories to life–held a contest asking kids to submit ideas that could inspire a full-length novel, to be written by bestselling author Geoff Rodkey. THE STORY PIRATES PRESENT: STUCK IN THE STONE AGE BY GEOFF RODKEY, AND ILLUSTRATED BY HATEM ALY, BASED ON AN IDEA BY VINCE BOBERSKI, AGE 11 will be released by Rodale Books in March 2018.

Now the Story Pirates are getting ready for a second book — a mystery — which will be written by ME, and which will be released in Fall 2018. So, that’s New News Item #1. New News Item #2 is that the Story Pirates is hosting a second contest right now to gather ideas for a potential mystery book!

The contest is open until July 21. The winner gets $500, ten copies of the book, their name on the cover, and other cool bonuses. If you know any kids between the ages of 6 and 12 who love creating stories (kids need a parent/guardian’s help submitting), check out storypirates.com/spark, and submit your wonderful, creepy, utterly unique ideas. We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

Between these two projects (and some other, still-secret ones!), the rest of my summer will be pretty busy — but if you’re a young writer in the eastern Minnesota/western Wisconsin area, you can catch me at a couple of writing workshops. On July 20 and 27, you’ll find me at Scott County Libraries — Jordan, New Prague, Prior Lake, and Savage, specifically — talking about descriptive writing and character creation. Sign up is now open! Here’s the link to the Scott County Library Summer Reading page; just click on the events calendar link to find more info and enroll.

And in early August, I’ll be teaching at the Summer Writing Intensive at The Shire in beautiful Stillwater, MN. Each week of this two-week intensive features a great menu of genres: fiction, poetry, graphic novels, screenplays and drama, editing, nonfiction — truly something for everyone. If you’re between 6th and 12th grade and in the area, check it out: https://www.smore.com/ft7p4-authors-lead-writing-intensive?embed=1

Thanks for your patience, everybody.

Happy summer!

 

Spectacles

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