Happy Guy Fawkes Day!
I had an utterly excellent day at RND High School last week, talking to students about Victorian hygiene, inventions, fashion, and radical women (among other things). The students were a terrific audience – courteous, curious, energetic. Thanks for being such exemplars of audience awesomeness! If you heard me speak at Regi and would like to be entered into the draw for one of three Agency t-shirts, remember to email me and either a) ask a question or b) remind me of one you asked last Thursday. I’ll announce the winners next week.
Living in Canada, where Spy hasn’t yet been released, I’ve never seen a copy of my book in a real live bookstore. Really, this whole “I’m a writer” business could just be an elaborate hallucination on my part. But recently, Marie-Louise Jensen, a friend and fellow YA novelist, sent me this: ocular proof that Spy is for sale in the shops. And she faced it out, too – now that’s what friends are for! (The book on top is Marie-Louise’s The Lady in the Tower, which I really enjoyed. Do check it out.)
And finally, here are the winners of my recent contest, Countdown to the Agency. The winner of the UK edition of The Agency: A Spy in the House is Haley Mathiot. Second- and third-place winners of The Agency sticker are Mariana Sanchez and Andrea Lacerte. Congratulations! Please email me with your postal addresses and I’ll get the goods out to you right away. If you didn’t win this time, fear not – there’ll be More Swag coming in the next few months, right up to the March 9 launch of the US edition of Spy.
I’ve realized that it’s ridiculous to post everything people wrote about books that haunted them. (I guess I was expecting 5 or 6 entries…) So I’ve decided to post a small selection of entries, all on books I haven’t read. One of my ulterior motives in asking the “haunted” question (Hallowe’en aside) is that I always love to hear about what others read. Hopefully, you’re the same way.
Becky chose Dream Spinner by Bonnie Dobkin, “about a man with a pet spider that can talk. Together they take people’s dreams and weave them like a thread into a huge tapestry. 3 friends come across his house, and are eager to enter their dreams… but when nightmares start to take over, will they be able to wake up again?”
Mariana chose Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, “because it really made me think about the things you do that affect people around you, even if you don’t notice.”
Haley chose Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith and reviewed it at her blog.
Andrea chose Les Enfants Indigos by Sylvie Simon, “a non-fiction book about a new type of child who is here to lead us to the next level of consciousness! The idea is that these new children need truth, and will not longer settle for the old answers of “just because” or even try to fit into institutions that are not adapting to their needs. The book gives examples of how they see the world… very old souls indeed!”
Mary chose Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. “The writing is beautiful, the plot intricate and the story manages to be tragic, poignant, inspiring and deeply satisfying all at once. The relationships between the characters are so heartfelt they will linger in my mind forever. The tragic part of the story [which I won’t give away in case you haven’t read it] is hauntingly sad.”
Emily chose The Ragwitch by Garth Nix. It’s supposed to be a young adult book, I’m ‘slightly’ older than young adult but it scared me silly! At one point, the girl is trapped inside the mind of the Rag Witch, and the thoughts of the witch are made of rags – makes me shiver just thinking about it!”
Jason chose Circus Parade by Jim Tully, “a memoir of life in the violent, criminal, yet sometimes magical circus world in early 20th century America. What haunted me was how cruel the life on the road could be, but how a rogues’ honour emerged from this cruelty for some, and manifested as evil in others.”
Robin chose We Need to Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Shriver. “The narrator writes about her son and how she never felt bonded to him, and as a teenager he commits mass murder at his school. It was a very harrowing read!”
Jennifer chose Anybody Out There by Marian Keyes, in which “Anna keeps catching glimpses of her husband everywhere and doesn’t understand why he won’t return her calls and emails… The novel is so heartbreaking.”
Finally, when I was at Regi, students asked me a number of excellent questions about writing and publishing. I’ll try to answer these in an orderly fashion over the next month or so. Next week, the first instalment: on writing.