Jacqueline West, Writer

Bestselling author of The Books of Elsewhere and Dreamers Often Lie

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.


Lizard-Cats and Olive Costumes (Happy Halloween!)

October 31, 2012    Tags: , , , ,   

Behold: This year’s jack-o-lanterns.  We carved them with friends on Saturday, and mine is already starting to look a bit backward-leaning and droopy (it’s the one that appears to depict a cat crossed with a chubby lizard), but Ryan’s creepy face just gets creepier as it shrivels.

If anyone’s looking for a last-minute literary costume, check out Books Together.  There you’ll find step-by-step instructions for assembling your own Olive Dunwoody costume, and links to several other book-based costume ideas.  (You can also enter to win a set of seven fantastic Halloweeny books published by Penguin, including The Shadows!  Go!  Go NOW!)

Speaking of giveaways: the Facebook All Hallow’s Read giveaway ended this morning, and I’ve contacted the randomly selected winner.  (I asked entrants to name the fictional character they’d least like to encounter in real life, and there were a slew of great responses: multiple mentions of Cthulu and Count Olaf, as well as votes for Randall Flagg of Stephen King creation, Commander Woundwart from Watership Down, Eric Cartman (I agree–he’s terrifying), and Snooki.)  Thanks, everyone.

Poetry news:  My poem, “Wendigo in the 21st Century,” was a finalist for this year’s SFPA poetry contest.  You can read the winners and see the full list here.  The SFPA is also hosting a Halloween poetry reading; visit their Halloween page to hear me reading my Rhysling-nominated poem, “Escaping the Dawn” or to listen to other great poems and poets.

And, finally, my super-cool new t-shirt:

(Here’s the local paper’s write-up.)  Two days until showtime…


All Hallow’s Read (and other Good Things)

October 19, 2012    Tags: , , , ,   

It’s time for my favorite new gift-giving holiday!

If you aren’t familiar with the coolness that is All Hallow’s Read, click here.  If you are, I hope you’re already on the hunt for creepy, wondrous books to give to your favorite readers for Halloween.  Last year, I hosted a giveaway on this blog.  This year, I’d like to try something a little bit different: If you visit my Facebook page, you’ll find an All Hallow’s Read thread, in which I’ve asked readers to share which literary character they would be most terrified to meet in real life.  On October 31, I’ll pick a winning commenter at random, and he/she will be sent a signed hardcover copy of THE SECOND SPY.  (And if you share the giveaway link, you’ll be entered twice.  Got to get around that new “promoted posts” malarkey somehow.)  Go!  Comment!  Win!

Last week, I got to attend another rehearsal of “Under the Bed.”  The actors now have their lines memorized, and getting to see and hear words that I wrote coming out of REAL people’s mouths, without any papers or print between us, was truly something special.  Plus, the kids are smart, and heartbreaking, and so, so funny.

Here they are, being bullied by big sisters/being bullying big sisters and getting trapped by fear-collecting spiders.

I’ve also just learned that THE SHADOWS has made the list for the 2013-2014 Indiana Young Hoosier Book Award, which makes me very,very happy.  Thank you, young readers–Hoosiers and non-Hoosiers alike.


Under the Bed (and Elsewhere)

September 19, 2012    Tags: , , ,   

Last week, I got to do something so extremely cool that I came home ready to gush about it, and then I had a truly crazy weekend, and then a copy-editing deadline popped up, and then my brain was kidnapped by the first chapters of Volume Five, and now, a week after the fact, I am finally able to commence gushing.  So: Last Thursday, I got to attend the initial read-through of my very own play, “Under the Bed.”

It’s a longish one-act abut middle school and fear–two elements that go together, in my experience, like math homework and erasers–and it will have its “world premiere” (yep, we’re gettin’ fancy here) at Twin Bluff Middle School in Red Wing, Minnesota, on November 2nd and 3rd.  The cast and crew of the show, who are in grades 5 – 7, are clever and funny and enthusiastic and creative, and considering how constantly the read-through made me chortle to myself, I am sure–thanks to all of them–that the show itself will rock.

More updates to come as the play develops.

Between “Under the Bed,” school and Skype visits, store events, and other bookish things, my fall schedule is rapidly filling up.  I’ll be spending all of next week in the elementary schools of Stillwater, MN, courtesy of the wonderful people at Valley Bookseller.  Those are private events, but if you’d like to come to a public one, you can catch me at the Waupaca Book Festival on October 12 – 13.  I’ll be visiting schools, signing books, and speaking on a panel with amazing writers like Pat Schmatz (Bluefish), Geoff Herbach (Stupid Fast), and Marissa Meyer (Cinder).  Then, sometime in the pre-Halloween season (perhaps my favorite part of the whole year), I’ll be reading, signing, and chatting at Karma Gifts in River Falls… More info to come when I know the specifics.  And if you’re in the Winona, MN area, I’ll be at The Book Shelf at 10:00 a.m. on November 18 as a part of their Kids’ Day celebration.  (To know what’s coming up, appearances-wise, you can always keep an eye on my schedule at my appearance calendar.)

Now back to work on Volume Five.  I can hardly believe I’m here.




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