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E Wein
The YA Dash is now finished and the winner is Melissa P.!



I think my writing owes a lot to the mystery genre. A slow build in the beginning, introducing a lot of characters and setting the stage for later - sprinkling red herrings to lead the reader down the wrong path on purpose - then thundering breakneck action in the last third of the book - are all features of my own style. I think I construct my novels this way because I really love the pacing of mysteries. So here are two truths and a lie about my mystery history.

(If you participated in the YADash, you’d have had to find my hidden clue in the sentence that contains the lie. By linking back to my website author biography page, and the book page for Black Dove, White Raven - links provided below - you can discover what is truth and what isn’t! A full retrospective of the YADash is here.)

I lived in Jamaica from 1970-1973, and my mother used to buy me a Hardy Boys book each week at the grocery story. I’d read it, and she’d take it back the following week and say, “Elizabeth’s already got this one - can we exchange it for another?” (You can read more about my early life on my author biography page, here.) Inspired by the Hardy Boys, a friend and I devised a series called The Churcha Girls, and, amazingly, when we were 7 years old, we actually wrote a Churcha Girl book. The Hidden Treasure wasn’t novel-length, but it filled a notebook. It had red herrings and captures and rescues and closure.


Me at 7 in Jamaica with neighbors Madge Henriques and Patrick Taylor

I left Jamaica soon after, but I did not lose sight of my desire to be a writer. When I was 14, I completed an even longer mystery called The Green-Eyed Beauty, about the supposed kidnapping of a glamorous teen who was actually a spy (yup, even then). My own best friend described this as “the stupidest book I have ever read.” She was probably right. I have got better at titles since then, too.

Black Dove, White Raven, which is published novel Number 8 for me (and the one associated with the YADash prize – read about Black Dove, White Raven here), is not a mystery. And yet it follows that same structural pattern of the slow build with menace and tension which explodes into violence late in the book. It’s set in 1935, as Italy prepares for its invasion of Ethiopia, and focuses on an American teen brother and sister settled in Ethiopia as we did in Jamaica, who get caught in the storm as war erupts around them.



What am I working on next? It's a mystery.

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A total of 10 suspense and mystery authors were involved in the YADash. You can check out their blogs and books here:

Susan Adrian
Lindsay Cummings
Lee Kelly
Y.S. Lee
T.A. Maclagan
Valynne Maetani
Diana Renn
Laurie Stolarz
Mary Elizabeth Summer



Rafflecopter giveaway


 
 
E Wein
19 March 2015 @ 10:01 am
[The giveaway connected with this post ended on 5 April 2015. The lucky winner was Sophie Jordan.]

Hi there from your itinerant online friend E Wein! And for those of you coming here from other blogs who don’t know me, I’m Elizabeth Wein, author of Code Name Verity, Rose Under Fire, and just this month, Black Dove, White Raven. I'm reviving my half-dead blog so I can participate in an online treasure hunt organized by author Teri Terry to introduce readers to a wide range of Young Adult authors writing in the United Kingdom.

Our lucky winner has received a fabulous grand prize of signed books by over thirty young adult authors[ who write and live in the United Kingdom. As a participant, I’ve donated a set of the UK editions of all three of my recent books, signed and personalized.

3_ElizabethWein_Rev

Although the egg hunt is now over, you should still be able to follow the links at the end of our posts for the blog hop and explore a variety of UKYA authors.

I’m American by birth, but I’ve been living in the UK for over 20 years, and in Scotland for the last fifteen of those. I have been here so long that I now qualify not only as a UK writer, but technically and specifically as a Scottish writer. I really love this. In times of yore, when I was a more dedicated blogger, I did a lot of posting about what it’s like to be an American living in Scotland. So just as a taster, here are some photos taken this month. It really is this beautiful. (Even when it's raining.)

Glen Quaich

Glen Quaich


dead phone box

Abandoned phone box, Kenmore




crannog on loch tay

Crannog on Loch Tay


snowdrops at scone palace

Snowdrops, Scone Palace, Perth




snowdrop cookies

Snowdrop Tea at Cambo House, Fife


The UKYA Egg Hunt closed at noon (UK time) on Sunday, 5th April 2015 (yeah, Easter day), but here’s the link to the next UKYA blog if you're interested in exploring – meet Clare Furniss, author of The Year of the Rat, which has just been shortlisted for the prestigious UK Literary Association Book Award. The UKLA book award is fondly known as the “teachers’ Carnegie” and honours excellence in literary fiction aimed at children. Jump to Clare's blog at clarefurniss.com/blog.

You can find out more about me and my books on my website at www.elizabethwein.com. I tweet far more regularly than I blog. My Twitter handle is @ewein2412.

So enjoy meeting some awesome UKYA authors and their books!





 
 
E Wein
25 June 2014 @ 10:01 pm
25 June 2014 is the release date for Nome in Codice Verity!

There have been quite a few foreign language editions of Code Name Verity released in the last year or so, and often as not I know nothing about their distant existence after I sign the contract. Sometimes I sneakily buy myself copies through some continental bookseller in Euros. I haven’t figured out how to find a copy of the Chinese editions (the publisher will some day send me a few, I hope.)

However, sometimes there is a little more fanfare. As part of the Mare de Libri (Sea of Books) Festival of Young Readers held this year in Rimini 13-15 June 2014, there is an annual competition for students to create a book trailer for forthcoming books in Italian. The competition is organized by three major Italian publishers including Rizzoli, the publisher of Nome in Codice Verity, who invite participation from readers in all the schools of Italy.

By happy coincidence, the winning video for this year’s competition, by Sofia Rivolta, is for Nome in Codice Verity. It is beautiful and utterly haunting.




The 6th place video, by the Sagrado school group, is also a CNV trailer. It looks like this one is accompanied by original music – “Tango Verity”! I am so amazed at the creativity and ingenuity of these kids, though I probably shouldn’t be!



Another cool thing about the Italian edition of CNV is that the kind and conscientious translator, Giulia Bertoldo, got in touch with me regarding a number of subtle queries about the nuance of words used in the book. We talked a lot about the faint difference between “radio operator” (radiotelegrafista) and “wireless operator” (marconista), in addition to “radio” and “wireless set”. Giulia ended up consulting a blogger named Andrea Lawrendel on the site Radiopassioni (“Radio Passions”), who suggested the term “sanfilista” (from sans fils, without wire), and also recommended some relevant reading material for her. She finally went with “operatrice radio” for Verity, noting that “the term operatrice leads to the idea that she was in a way a sort of ‘puppet master,’” and “controllore di volo” (air traffic controller) for Maddie, which is a more modern term but an accurate description of her job.

Andrea Lawrendel has now published a kind review of Nome in Codice Verity on Radiopassioni, as well as wishing the best of luck to both translator and author.

What a great way to celebrate my debut in Italian!
 
 
E Wein
23 May 2014 @ 07:04 pm
Rose Under Fire has been given a makeover for the U.S. paperback edition and I've been given the go-ahead to show it off! What do you think?

RoseUnderFire_PBK_CVR for web


I love how it echoes the look of the Code Name Verity paperback without being too heavyhanded about the imagery.

CNV paperback for web RoseUnderFire_PBK_CVR for web


It's due out 10 September 2014.
 
 
E Wein
04 May 2014 @ 11:26 am
The BBC picked this up because it was trending on Twitter. It appears as a Twitter human interest story on their “BBC Trending” feed, here.

It’s an actual news story in the New York Times in their World Briefing section, both in print and on paper, here.

I picked it up because this morning De Birhan Media/Blog (@DeBirhaner) and Kidane Chane (@KidaneChane) started following me on Twitter. I was intrigued and rather delighted to have picked up two Ethiopian tweeters. They didn’t message me or comment – just quietly started following my feed. Most of my followers are in the children’s book business or are readers of my books, with a few friends and on-line friends, a sprinkling of randomers connected to general aviation, and the occasional confused European wine merchant who doesn’t realize “Wein” is my name.

So I was curious about these two, and checked out their profiles.

This led me to discover yet another terrifying, but unsurprising I suppose, human rights violation currently unfolding in Ethiopia. Global Voices Advocacy has an excellent explanation here of what’s going on. Suffice it to say that 6 Ethiopian bloggers and 3 journalists have been arrested and are being held in prison in Addis Ababa, apparently for daring to voice their political opinions on line.

My fellow bloggers – especially those of you who live in the U.S. and have to cope with all kinds of weird reactionary laws, yet can nevertheless complain and advocate and cry out for your human rights without fear – please spread the word about these brave silenced voices.

How simple and amazing, really, that [so many people can’t live] without fear, without suspicion. I don’t mean the straightforward fear of fiery death. I mean the insidious, demoralising fear of betrayal, of treachery, of cruelty, of being silenced.

I have spent the past week fighting a frustrating battle against Internet sexual harassment trying to stifle someone who was exercising their “right to free speech” by making casual, threatening, and foully filthy anonymous remarks to my daughter and dozens of her online friends. I have successfully silenced an online voice. This is the opposite battle, and I am aware of the irony. All I can say is: Choose your battles wisely. I do try.

Fresh from my triumph over smut on Facebook, and having seen for myself how successful the human voice can be when it shouts in unison, I also feel that perhaps I can make a small difference here. Why did those Twitterers follow me? Were they aware I have a literary connection to Ethiopia – that I have friends and family outside Ethiopia who have been and still are Peace Corps volunteers, missionaries, charity workers, archeologists, teachers and parents when they were inside Ethiopia? That I have written four historical novels set in Ethiopia and am working on another? My connections to Ethiopia are external. But they are there. Or were these new followers merely aware that my last two books are in essence about people whose human rights have been deeply violated, and who are determined, through writing, to make these violations known beyond the walls of their prisons?

Or did those new followers just look at my 3000+ Twitter follower tally and think, well, maybe one of her friends will notice?

Anyway, I am adding my support to the #FreeZone9Bloggers campaign and I encourage those of you who feel strongly about freedom of speech, especially in connection with blogging, to do the same.

Suggestions for ways you can help are here at Global Voices Advocacy.

Tell the world.
Tags:
 
 
E Wein
28 February 2014 @ 11:30 pm
Sara (the 16 year old) is making fun of me because I am sitting here wearing my Twilight Sparkle Stealth Bronie hat as I type. ’Cause she spent all summer watching My Little Pony on her iPod and decided that I needed to watch it too, and as a sort of cultural phenomenon it is curiously addictive, and while Pinky Pie is my favorite, I relate most to Twilight Sparkle – the writer, the scholar, the resident alien. (On the other hand, I really detest Spike, her hideous sidekick house elf slave baby dragon.) Sara said, “You should write, ‘Today what I’ve learned about friendship!’” – as though I were filing a report to Princess Celestia … and you know, I feel like that is kind of what I am doing.

It is really a half-baked report on my weekend at the SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) Midwinter conference in New York. I helped run a day-long “Plot Intensive” workshop, including 16 synopsis critiques and a session on alternative plot structure, and I gave a keynote speech (my first!) on Authorial Responsibility, because I am pompous earnest like that. Lee Wind wrote a very nice summary of that speech for the SCBWI Midwinter blog, here. In a surprising aside that really delighted me, Susan Brody also gave a riff on my speech called “Practice What You Preach” on her own blog, “The Art of Not Getting Published.”. I’d met Susan last September at Children’s Book World in Haverford PA, and I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to say hi to her again at this conference. But MY GOSH it was big! There were over a thousand participants. I don’t think I’ve EVER given a speech to a thousand people before.

So, that was the working part of the event, but the really wonderful part was the networking (hence “Friendship is magic!”). First there was the Illustrator’s Showcase cocktail party on Friday night, then the Gala dinner party on Saturday, and trust me to find myself a sort of afterparty event on Sunday night, hanging out with a small group of extremely kind and welcoming Regional Advisors and the stellar Ellen Hopkins (who has the dubious honor of being the most-censored author in America). In fact, it feels to me like I spent the entire weekend crashing parties, including being taken to lunch at the Yale Club. This is what the SCBWI is all about, people – making these wonderful connections. If you have any aspiration to writing children’s books whatsoever, I highly recommend joining this vibrant and helpful organization. Here’s their website: www.scbwi.org. And here’s their website in the British Isles: britishisles.scbwi.org. Conference recaps are here.

I also went to see a wonderful exhibit of Antoine de St. Exupéry’s manuscript pages for The Little Prince at the Morgan Library. This is terrifically curated and made me sob for a number of reasons. I highly recommend it for WWII buffs, pilots, and children’s book writers, and fans of The Little Prince! It’s on till 27 April 2014. Alas, there is no printed catalogue for the exhibit, but there are a number of related lectures coming up (details on the website) which I would go to hear if I were in New York. Being a desperately adoring admirer of St. X as I am.

I should also mention my visit to the Bank Street Center for Children's Literature, where I received possibly the warmest welcome I've ever been given in a literary context. I spent three hours chatting, eating lunch in the school cafeteria, drinking coffee and tea and eating more lunch with members of the Bank Street Children's Book Committee, and then had a tour of the Bank Street Library. PEOPLE. If you ever get a chance, GO VISIT THIS LIBRARY. It is totally devoted to children's literature and contains a subcollection of elderly classic children's books that have been pulled from the main shelves for various reasons. "Do you recognize any of these?" they asked. "Do I recognize these!" It was like time travel. It was like being transported back to 1976 and standing in the beautiful old Walnut Street library in Harrisburg. EVERYTHING I read as a child was there.

When I looked up the library link I was charmed to see that they have mentioned my visit in their website notes.

And I went ice skating in Rockefeller Center.

I spent my last two days stateside visiting Gramma in Mt. Gretna. It was extremely picturesque in the snow. (I might have sung “Let It Go” till the Frog Pond echoed… literally… hoping I was alone in the woods… Just sayin’.)

mt gretna dining room 2014

Dining room in Mt. Gretna cottage with Gramma at the table!

mt gretna former ghost house 2014

Maple Lodge in Campmeeting (formerly The Ghost House) (not our cottage)

mt gretna frog pond 2014

Frog Pond

mt gretna lake 2014

Mt. Gretna Lake (that is our very own canoe, the Millennium Flocken, on its side)

mt gretna library 2014

Mt. Gretna Library! (to end where I began, on a literary note)

And finally. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed how I keep boasting that Eve Muirhead, the captain of the British women’s curling team, is a local girl? Well now I have the photo to prove it. EVE MUIRHEAD AND MARK. She and her coach came to show off their Olympic bronze medal at Dewar’s Ice Rink in Perth!

eve and mark
 
 
E Wein
14 January 2014 @ 03:06 pm
this is actually a test... pay no attention to that kid behind the curtain.

New pinterest board set up for my kid, called Mark Gatland aka Mark the Mushroom or markthemushroom... we are trying to resolve a private issue involving his use of Steam.

http://www.pinterest.com/ewein2412/mark-gatland-aka-mark-the-mushroom-or-markthemushr/
 
 
E Wein
21 December 2013 @ 10:11 am
If I were going to make a new year's resolution, which I don't often do, it would be to update this journal once a month instead of never.

Part of the reason I have been so unproductive here is because I've written a LOT of guest posts on other blogs throughout the year. And now Chachic of Chachic's Book Nook is hosting a weeklong celebration of my books (!), beginning today - not that I have to do any blogging for it. I just get to sit back and enjoy the show! I love that 21 December is the opening day of "EWeinSpecialOps"!

ewein-special-ops

This is all coinciding with my upgraded website going live at www.elizabethwein.com, courtesy of my friend Tina Stoecklin and YogaWebs - AND with Open Road Media reissuing ALL FIVE of my early books - The Winter Prince, A Coalition of Lions, The Sunbird, The Lion Hunter and The Empty Kingdom, as e-books!

Here's the link to the e-books on Open Road.

So - after all that self-aggrandizing, best wishes for a warm and bright midwinter season (you know the words):

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, fest, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!


- Susan Cooper for the Revels
 
 
E Wein
22 October 2013 @ 12:04 pm
I get challenged again and again: “Why is Code Name Verity considered young adult fiction? The characters are too old. The writing is too literary. The situation is too harsh.” And that is all true. Sometimes these challenges are polite, and made directly; sometimes I encounter them, more hurtfully, online. “Nothing happens in the first 200 pages, it’s so boring.” “There are too many technical details.” “I can’t imagine a teen reader engaging with this book.” “My whole freshman class has to read this and we all hate it.” Oh, man. Author nightmare, your book turned into a school assignment that everybody hates!

I have very little idea how many teens actually read and enjoy Code Name Verity. When I speak to school groups, they usually haven’t read it yet. When I speak at bookstores, the audience is almost always overwhelmingly composed of grown-ups. But every now and then I get a hint that there are target audience fans out there too. In Politics & Prose in Washington, DC, I met a 12-year-old girl who had read Code Name Verity five times (when she was eleven). She said it was her favorite book. She had forced it on her best friend, who had read it twice. I remind myself about these kids whenever I feel down. And also of the occasional amazing school visit like Heart of England, which read CNV for the Carnegie Shadowing scheme. And also of the occasional evangelistic readers my daughter (now 16) meets online. These are the opposite of the nightmare scenario.

I knew that Code Name Verity was one of the 28 titles in the running for the YALSA Teens Top Ten list for 2013, but I totally, totally did not expect it to make the final cut. Last night I was flabbergasted to learn that it came in as Number One.

Here's a congratulatory tweet I received from Jenn Calder which really encompasses what this means to me:




Okay? Okay! People! It doesn’t prove anything about CNV so much as it proves that teens are intelligent, discerning readers. The whole fabulous list does. I’d have been proud to be anywhere on it. Heck, I was proud to be one of the 28 nominees.

Here it is in full.

1. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Disney/Hyperion)
2. The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen (Scholastic/Scholastic Press)
3. Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Harper Collins/Katherine Tegen Books)
4. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (Harlequin Teen)
5. Poison Princess by Kresley Cole (Simon & Schuster)
6. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic/Scholastic Press)
7. Crewel by Gennifer Albin (Macmillan/Farrar Straus Giroux)
8. Every Day by David Levithan (Random House/Alfred A. Knopf)
9. Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross (Egmont)
10. Butter by Erin Jade Lange (Bloomsbury)

Thank you, YALSA teens. I am going to stop doubting myself now.

http://www.ala.org/yalsa/teens-top-ten
 
 
E Wein
12 September 2013 @ 12:10 pm
cover banner small

From 14-26 September I am going on tour to celebrate the launch of Rose Under Fire in the USA and Canada - and for once I have got it together enough to post a list of public appearances more than 24 hours before I make them (just)! Please spread the word if you know anyone who might be interested.

USA: 14-21 September

Sat. 14 September Montrose, CA (Los Angeles)
7.00 p.m. Once Upon a Time Bookstore; 2207 Honolulu Ave., Montrose, CA 91020; tel 818-248-9668 More details here.

(This is my first day Stateside since the Rose Under Fire release, so in my head it’s the launch party: please come!)


Tues. 17 September Decatur, GA (Atlanta)
7:00 pm Little Shop of Stories, 133A East Court Square, Decatur, GA 30030; tel 404-373-6300 More details here

(Famous as the folks who gave the Obamas a copy of Code Name Verity!)


Wed. 18 September Coral Gables, FL (Miami)
7:00 pm, Books and Books, 265 Aragon Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134; tel 305-442-4408 More details here


Thurs. 19 September Washington, DC
2:00-4:00 pm International Spy Museum, Museum Shop, 800 F Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004; tel 202 393-7798 More details here

(this is primarily an informal signing, but. THE INTERNATIONAL SPY MUSEUM!!!)


Thurs. 19 September Washington, DC
7:00 pm Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC 20008; tel 202-364-1919 More details here

(My second event for this hugely supportive indy bookstore – was there in May. Hope they don’t get bored with me.)


Fri. 20 September Fairless Hills, PA (Philadelphia)
7:00 pm Barnes & Noble 2697, 210 Commerce Blvd, Fairless Hills, PA 19030; tel 215-269-0442 More details here

Sat. 21 September Haverford, PA (Philadelphia)
1.00 pm Children’s Book World, 17 Haverford Station Rd., Haverford, PA 19041; tel 610-642-6274 More details here

(I was here in July, but so pleased to be back… they had cake!)


CANADA: 22-26 September

Sun. 22 September Toronto: Word on the Street Festival
12.15 – 1.00 p.m. In Conversation at The Word on the Street with Toronto Star’s Small Print columnist, Deirdre Baker, Remarkable Reads Tent, Queen's Park Toronto, ON. More details here

Tues. 24 September Ottawa
7.00 p.m. Ottawa Public Library event, Sunnyside branch, program room 1049 Bank St. Ottawa, ON; tel 613-730-1082 More details here

Thurs. 26 September Vancouver
7.00 p.m. Kidsbooks (note off site location:) West Point Grey United Church Sanctuary, 4595 West 8th Ave., Vancouver, BC; tel 604 738 5335. Tickets can be purchased online at www.kidsbooks.ca More details here


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If you’re interested, I’ve done several interviews and guest blog entries in connection with Rose Under Fire – links appear below.


Bearing Witness: An Interview with Playing by the Book, 12 Sept. 2013

Interview and Review for Sarah Laurence’s blog, 5 Sept. 2013. ILLUSTRATED! This interview includes a really lovely picture of me at Rose’s age feeding a sparrow from my hand and looking all Edna St. Vincent Millay-ish.

Interview with Audiofile Magazine, 1 Aug. 2013. Also includes the skinny on casting the Code Name Verity audiobook.

Guest blog for The Hive, 31 July 2013 : "Poetry and Survival."

"Ask the Author" Blog interview for The Independent, 26 July 2013. More about the use of poetry in Rose Under Fire.

SchoolZone (Reading Zone) interview, 17 June 2013. In which I reveal a lot of the background for the creation of Rose Under Fire.

First Look with Sue Corbett for Publishers’ Weekly, 13 June 2013