Dear steadfast reader,
It’s official — my new novel To The Bright Edge of the World will be out August 2016! (I knew it was official when I saw it listed on the website of my favorite bookstore, Fireside Books in Palmer, AK. It can also be found on other book websites.)
To the Bright Edge of the World is being published by the same wonderful people who published The Snow Child — Little, Brown and Company in the US and Tinder Press in the UK.
For those of you who have been following its path, this is the novel formerly known as Shadows on the Wolverine. Through journals, letters and documents, it tells the story of an 1885 expedition into the heart of Alaska.
Here’s the publisher’s description:
“In the winter of 1885, Lieutenant Colonel Allen Forrester sets out with his men on an expedition into the newly acquired territory of Alaska. Their objective: to travel up the ferocious Wolverine River, mapping the interior and gathering information on the region’s potentially dangerous native tribes. With a young and newly pregnant wife at home, Forrester is anxious to complete the journey with all possible speed and return to her. But once the crew passes beyond the edge of the known world, there’s no telling what awaits them.
With gorgeous descriptions of the Alaskan wilds and a vivid cast of characters — including Forrester, his wife Sophie, a mysterious Eyak guide, and a Native American woman who joins the expedition — TO THE BRIGHT EDGE OF THE WORLD is an epic tale of one of America’s last frontiers, combining myth, history, romance, and adventure.”
I hope you enjoy it!
Dear long lost reader,
I just looked out the window of my office (yes, I have upgraded from my bare-lightbulb, closet-sized “cloffice” to a room with a view), and saw our little skating rink. It made me think of you, dear reader. I don’t know if you recall years ago I wrote to you about trying to build a skating rink in our yard. We did not have a well at the time, and so we were hauling our water — one of several impediments. Well this year, at last, success! It’s not official NHL dimensions, but it’s big enough to do a few twirls and play miniature hockey with our youngest daughter. Here’s a photo …
I’m also sending you a photo of my new office. Thanks to my husband, Sam, for all his hard work. He literally built it, walls, wiring, sheet-rock, pine trim, and even helped me reconnect my computer when I moved in. On the corkboard above my computer you can catch a glimpse of where my head has been these past months — a fantastical, wild 1885 Alaska.
I wanted you to know that although I have been mostly absent from Twitter and Facebook, and remiss in my letter writing, you have never been far from my thoughts as I work on my new novel. I have a complete manuscript and am now shaping it and polishing it. It is a story told in journals, letters and documents about a military expedition into the heart of Alaska in 1885. Along the way, my Colonel and his men are encountering a mythological world they did not expect. I can’t wait to share it with you!
Dear kind reader,
I’m afraid it’s been too long since I last wrote. Thanks to all of you who continue to follow my blog and check in regularly. I have stepped back from some of my online presence because I am deep into writing my next novel, Shadows on the Wolverine.
Some of you have asked about my new story: it is set on the same Wolverine River I invented for The Snow Child, but it takes place 35 years earlier, in 1885. It is inspired in part by a true-life military expedition that many have called the Lewis and Clark of Alaska. Along the way, however, my fictional characters encounter fantastical, mythological surprises. Part of the fun for me as a writer is that I’ve chosen to tell the story through diaries, reports, letters and other documents.
For those of you who have kindly asked when Shadows on the Wolverine will be available, I’m hoping to get it to my agent and editor this summer, and we will proceed from there. As soon as I have any firm dates, I will let you all know.
Even as I work on this new novel, however, The Snow Child is never far away. In fact, it is taking me from Alaska to Rochester, NY, later this month! The wonderful people at Writers & Books have chosen The Snow Child for this year’s “If All of Rochester Read the Same Book.”
March 19-21 I will be doing a series of events, including book signings and talks, around the Rochester area. You can view my schedule here at the Writers & Books website. Their website also includes an interview with me and other information. I hope to see some of you there.
In the meantime, I will continue my adventure along the Wolverine River.
P.S. I’ll be doing an online chat tomorrow at 8 p.m. ET on the HerRochester Facebook page. Feel free to join the discussion!
Dear fair-weather reader,
Over the weekend, we headed south to the Alaska seaside in a blustery rainstorm, and at the end of the road found sunshine and the warmest of welcomes from fellow Alaskans.
Immense gratitude to Argent Kvasnikoff, the Ninilchik Traditional Council, and Ninilchik Community library — they set the plans in motion by inviting me to come speak in their community. My family and I were so touched by their hospitality and kindness. We felt instantly as if we were among friends.
We also made our way to Homer, with much thanks to poet Erin Hollowell, the Homer Public Library and Homer Bookstore. Again we were welcomed with such warmth and graciousness. It was an honor to get to visit with so many fellow Alaskan writers at the event:
- Erin Hollowell has recently published a beautiful book of poetry, Pause, Traveler.
- Ann Dixon, who has a wonderful collection of Alaska children’s books. Our family favorite is Blueberry Shoe.
- Eva Saulitis, author most recently of the critically acclaimed Into Great Silence: A Memoir of Discovery and Loss Among Vanishing Orcas.
- Nancy Lord, former Alaska State Writer Laureate, a writer who does it all — fiction & essays, including Rock, Water, Wild: An Alaskan Life.
- Tom Kizzia, author of the bestselling Pilgrim’s Wilderness. I recently read this nonfiction book and found it incredibly compelling, heartbreaking, and haunting.
I have no doubt there were other writers there that day, published or soon-to-be, and I’m grateful for the supportive atmosphere that is helping Alaska literature to thrive.
Cheers from the coast,
I never imagined, when I received the shocking news this week that The Snow Child was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, that anything else related to my writing career would ever be so powerful and moving.
And then I learned yesterday that independent booksellers across America had selected The Snow Child for their 2013 Indies Choice Award for debut fiction.
It is difficult to express my gratitude and wonder.
Certainly it is thrilling to have the book be considered for the Pulitzer — this is an award with a long, rich, admirable history, and that history includes many of the very novels that made me want to be a writer.
That said, the knowledge that American booksellers, the people who are the life-force of the book world, who read voraciously, talk endlessly about books, and offer their expertise up to the world, often for very little pay or benefit — that these booksellers would choose to champion my novel is the highest honor I can imagine.
I am no longer working at Fireside Books — my schedule with both The Snow Child and my novel in progress have become all-consuming. But after nearly 10 years there, I still think of it as a second home. I still think of booksellers as my colleagues, my comrades, my friends. And to you I say thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Dear faithful reader,
Anyone in New York City this week? I’ll be doing an event 7 p.m. Wednesday March 6 at the Barnes & Noble at 86th and Lexington. It is in conjunction with the Discover Great New Writers program.
In other news, I’m excited to announce that my US and UK publishers have offered me a contract for my next novel.
Here’s an article from The Bookseller magazine:
Headline imprint Tinder Press has acquired a further novel by the author of The Snow Child, Eowyn Ivey.
Publisher Mary-Anne Harrington acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in Ivey’s second novel, Shadows on the Wolverine, through a world rights deal brokered by Jeff Kleinman at Folio Literary Management and Little, Brown US. The publication date is still to be confirmed.
Shadows on the Wolverine tells the story of an adventurer who travels deep into unexplored Alaskan territory to discover that native legends are real and have come to life. The story unfolds through diaries, newspaper clippings, letters and apocrypha. It is inspired by an actual 1885 military expedition.
– See more at: http://www.thebookseller.com/news/tinder-buys-second-snow-child-author.html#sthash.iM8hutQM.dpuf
Dear international reader,
I’m preparing for a month-long, whirlwind book tour that will take me to Australia, New Zealand and Europe. I’m hoping I’ll see some of you along the way. Anyone in Paris, London, Auckland, or Brisbane?
Here’s my schedule so far:
Sept. 13 Auckland, New Zealand. 6-7:30 p.m. I’ll be at Takapuna Library for a book talk and signing.
Sept. 17 London:
- 11 a.m. I’ll be at Waterstones Worchester for a book signing.
- 7 p.m. Waterstones Kensington will host a signing that includes cocktails and live music from Miss Maud’s Folly.
Sept. 20-23 Paris, Festival America. I’m on several panels, including discussing “characters in search of a writer,” and writing from an extreme local. And some of my very favorite authors will be at this international festival.
I’ll post letters and photos whenever I have the chance. In the meantime, I’m trying to figure out how I can pack everything I need for this trip into a single carry-on.
P.S. Thank you for your comments on my last letter — I so enjoyed reading your stories about wishing for water, dowsing for water, and sometimes getting too much of it. As I write to you just now, Sam is wiring and plumbing, and professionals are installing the pump in our well. So close I can almost taste that first cold, refreshing glass of water …
Dear kind readers,
First and foremost, thank you so much for all the wonderful support in the nomination for the Guardian First Book Award. Ten readers have already posted their thoughtful reviews on the website on the Guardian’s website. And thank you for the clarification from cravingpages: you have to register with the Guardian, which is free, and log in before you can post a review.
Another note of gratitude — we are nearing 1,000 likes on The Snow Child’s Facebook page!
And finally, I received a fun email the other day from a member of a book club on the Currituck Sound in North Carolina that recently read The Snow Child:
It was 90 degrees that day…..but the home was decorated with snowflakes and outside we had a mockup of Faina. Shown in the photo are the 3 hostesses with Faina. It was a great discussion with 26 gals attending! We served “moose meat” sandwiches, potato salad, stuffed eggs, blueberries, carrots, white cake and cranberry cordials.
As I’ve mentioned, I am a member of a book club here in Palmer, Alaska, and it gives me such joy to think of women around the world gathering to share their love of books.
Have you ever hosted a theme book club, either around The Snow Child or another book? What kind of decorations and food did you feature?
Dear writerly reader,
First I want to thank you all for your brilliant/lovely/surprising descriptions of summer nights. Comments appeared both here on my blog and through the website goodreads. Cicadas, fireflies, sparrows, the late-setting sun, noisy traffic, hooting owls — I was transported to London, Florida, Chicago, Australia, Iowa, the Netherlands, Italy. You all are amazing!
I also want to share some exciting news. I learned this morning that The Snow Child is among reader-nominated titles being considered for the long list for The Guardian First Book Award. This is one of UK’s most prestigious book prizes, and I am so thrilled to have my book in the mix.
The long list for the prize consists of 10 books, fiction and nonfiction, published in the UK during the current year. It must be the author’s first book. The Guardian has already selected nine titles for the long list, but the final title will be chosen based on reader response.
According to The Guardian:
“If you have read The Snow Child, add your review to the book page and have a say in the final selection. The 10th title will be announced at the end of July.”
The Guardian will announce the 10th title at the end of July, and it’ll go forward to the longlist, to be judged as by Waterstones books groups around the country, along with a central panel.
I have been so touched by the response from readers around the world. Thank you everyone!
During the past few days, I’ve had a few messages and comments from friends wondering if everything is OK because I haven’t written in a while. So here I am, sitting at our kitchen table and looking out at a quiet, rainy summer morning here in Alaska and wondering — why do writers sometimes run out of things to say?
Maybe because at times life is too intense, or too dull, too overwhelming, or underwhelming, to know what to make of it. Writing, even if it’s just a letter to friends, requires you to say something that you hope is at least slightly interesting or important. And that isn’t always easy.
As I mentioned in my last letter, part of my distraction is seasonal. This time of year, I find such joy working in the greenhouse or garden or taking a walk at 9 p.m. around our property with my husband as we talk over dreams of a log-cabin sauna here and an apple orchard there. Writing is a reflective act that requires us to live in our heads, to reprocess the past and imagine other times and places. Sometimes it feels good to live here and now. It feels good to get my hands dirty and think of nothing but how many shovelfuls it’s going to take to fill this wheelbarrow.
In truth, part of my distraction comes from the sort of challenges we all face at one time or another in our lives — the unexpected heartbreaks and wonders that knock us off our feet and make us question what is important and how we can best spend our time.
And part of it might be a bit of social networking overload. Without any prompting from editor or agent or colleague, I jumped with both feet into Facebook, Twitter, and blogging more than a year ago, and I’ve spent quite a bit of time each day doing it. Maybe I’m trying to find a balance now between this new life as a published author and my old life of seclusion.
I am still doing other kinds of writing. As we gear up for the paperback release of The Snow Child in the US and the UK this fall, I’ve been writing essays and articles and short stories. I have an article about the art of picking blueberries that will come out in the next issue of Alaska Magazine, and I’m working on a short story for a UK publication that I’m really excited about.
It feels good to write these kind of pieces, reworking the structure and themes and sentences to make something new. So I guess I am writing, just not as many letters or tweets.
Even sitting here, though, I have thought of a few letters I’ve been meaning to send to you. (Thanks to my book club Betties for some of these ideas.) Maybe a photo of our backyard in broad daylight at midnight. Or thoughts on some amazing and frustrating books I’ve recently read. Or maybe a recipe for rhubarb jam.