The Snow Child book trailer

Dear modern reader,

Trailers are a relatively new trend in book promotion. They are short videos that are posted on websites and circulated online through social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

When they started out about 10 years ago, book trailers usually featured authors reading passages from their books or talking about how they were inspired. They have evolved into more exciting short films similar to movie trailers, with music, actors, animation, graphics and an artistic flare all their own. They are even recognized through Moby Awards, and this trailer took top honors last year.

For the past few months, my UK publisher Headline Review has been working with Little, Brown, and Co., an artist and a designer to create a trailer for The Snow Child. So with much gratitude, and without further ado …






The good, the bad …

Dear busy reader,

As if this time of year isn’t crazy enough, I’ve had an unusually hectic week. On the downside: my laptop died just three weeks after its one-year warranty expired, our water pump is leaking all over our basement floor, we ran out of heating oil, and our oldest daughter had to get painful, expensive braces put on her teeth.

On the upside, some fun news related to my debut novel The Snow Child, so much news  … that I can’t tell you about yet. I know it’s unfair of me to drop hints like this, but I truly wish I could spill the beans. All I can say is I’ve been emailing, talking on the phone, and doing a lot of hopping up and down. But here in the next few weeks, I hope I can let you in on all of it.

In the meantime, here are a few news items I can pass along:

  • The social networking site for readers,, is giving away 20 copies of The Snow Child during the next month. Sign up to win here. Unfortunately, the contest is only open to readers here in the US.
  • And at the end of January, I’ll be off to Denver for an author event at one of the world’s most fabulous bookstores, Tattered Cover. It’s an all day event with four authors — Karen Essex, Courtney Sullivan, Thrity Umrigar, and me — meeting with readers and talking about books and writing. Tickets for the event are on sale now. Learn more here.
  • For those of you in Alaska, Fireside Books is giving away a Snow Child tote bag with every copy you pre-purchase by coming into the store, while supplies last.

Wishing you a holiday season filled with all of the good and none of the bad,



A few of my favorite surprises

Dear December reader,

This time of year is full of surprises, magical and happy surprises. And this weekend proved it.

My first surprise was a Kirkus review of my debut novel, The Snow Child:

“… The mystery of Faina’s provenance, along with the way she brightens the couple’s lives, gives the novel’s early chapters a slightly magical-realist cast. Yet as Faina’s identity grows clearer, the narrative also becomes a more earthbound portrait of the Alaskan wilderness and a study of the hard work involved in building a family. Ivey’s style is spare and straightforward, in keeping with the novel’s setting, and she offers enough granular detail about hunting and farming to avoid familiar pieties about the Last Frontier. The book’s tone throughout has a lovely push and pull—Alaska’s punishing landscape and rough-hewn residents pitted against Faina’s charmed appearances—and the ending is both surprising and earned. A fine first novel that enlivens familiar themes of parenthood and battles against nature.”

My second surprise — a starred review from the Library Journal:

“Here’s a modern retelling of the Russian fairy tale about a girl, made from snow by a childless couple, who comes to life. Or perhaps not modern–the setting is 1920s Alaska–but that only proves the timelessness of the tale and of this lovely book. Unable to start a family, middle-aged Jack and Mabel have come to the wilderness to start over, leaving behind an easier life back east. Anxious that they won’t outlast one wretched winter, they distract themselves by building a snow girl and wrap her in a scarf. The snow girl and the scarf are gone the next morning, but Jack spies a real child in the woods. Soon Jack and Mabel have developed a tentative relationship with the free-spirited Faina, as she finally admits to being called. Is she indeed a ‘snow fairy,’ a ‘wilderness pixie’ magicked out of the cold? Or a wild child who knows better than anyone how to survive in the rugged north? Even as Faina embodies a natural order that cannot be tamed, the neighborly George and Esther show Jack and Mabel (and the rest of us) how important community is for survival. VERDICT A fluid, absorbing, beautifully executed debut novel; highly recommended.” [See Prepub Alert, 9/21/11.]–Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal

And my third surprise:

My husband and two daughters built this sweet snowman while I was away this weekend.

Wishing you many happy surprises,


A passing glimpse into Twitterland

Dear tweeting reader,

In an earlier letter to you, I mentioned that I was venturing onto Twitter. It is a strange format — 140-character messages at a time, thrown out into a great, teaming conversation with hundreds, thousands, sometimes millions of people.

Through Twitter, I’ve connected with so many wonderful readers, writers, bloggers, book reviewer, editors, and many more. Today, I want to share with you a few of the tweets flying around out there. This is an interactive letter, so you might have to use google translate.  And it will seem entirely random and disconnected, which is exactly how Twitter works. But please click on the links, and I promise a few surprises.

  • Cindy and Luis UrreaUrrealismCindy and Luis Urrea. Today’s the day: Queen of America launches today. 26 years working on this project. It is a good day.



  • Eowyn IveyEowynIvey This is soooo funny! As fellow seller of used books, I can totally relate. The horror 🙂 @thebookmaven@MissLiberty


  • Einaudi editore Einaudieditore “È un romanzo dell’anima, questo primo bellissimo libro di @EowynIvey“. Mariapia Veladiano recensisce LA BAMBINA DI NEVE su Repubblica.


  • julie lemay julielemay “Pine trees hold soft snow/flakes cling to the garden rose/first snowfall of year.” #haiku


  • Eowyn IveyEowynIvey Lovely Library Journal review including SNOW CHILD and @jcbaggott PURE


  • Alaska Dispatchalaskadispatch Whiteout blizzard conditions, serious snowfall forecast for Southcentral #Alaska



  • Andrea Walkerandreabwalker@EowynIvey Sorels forever! I have purple ones that I absolutely love. Rink looks amazing.


  • Morgan HaleMorganHale So we board again / maybe we’ll take off this time / Not holding my breath. #FlyingHaiku #AlaskaAir #CanWeGo?




Hola and Ciao!

Dear multilingual reader,

While my debut novel The Snow Child will be released here in the United States on Feb. 1, it is coming out in countries around the world during the next few months. The first was Norway, where it was published this fall as Snøbarnet and it has received tremendous support from book bloggers like this and this.

The Spanish edition is next and comes out any day now as La Niña de Nieve. Here’s a preview from a Spanish-speaking reader.

And at the end of November, Einaudi in Italy will release La Bambina di Neve. Here is a preview from an Italian blogger.

I also recently learned that my UK publisher Headline Review will distribute to New Zealand, as well as Australia and South Africa. And Little, Brown & Co. here in the United States will also be sending The Snow Child to Canada.

So I just want to say hello, hola and ciao to readers around the world.



Bonjour France!

Dear worldly reader,

I wish I could say these are the crepes I cooked, but it didn't cross my mind to take a photo of them at the time, and in truth they weren't this pretty.

I haven’t made crepes in years. Maybe decades. When I was in high school French classes with my brother-in-law Dan, I think we went through a phase of making lots of crepes topped with strawberries and cream. But it’s been a long time.

So it was a strange coincidence that the other night I spontaneously decided to cook crepes for the family. I don’t think our daughters had ever had them. I flipped the hot crepes out of the pan and onto their plates, and they quickly spread them with butter and syrup.

The second coincidence is that my husband and I had decided to get serious about  our passports, just in case any travel opportunities arose. We had the applications printed out that evening ,and after we ate crepes we started filling them out.

Why is this all such a coincidence? Because the next morning I got an email from my French editor, Deborah Druba with Fleuve Noir.

“We have just heard that Festival America, a very prestigious and influential festival held every two years in Vincennes near Paris is inviting you for next year’s edition.”

And then I opened the attachments and read the invitation. The Festival America brings writers from North and South America to France for a celebration that in past years has included authors like Margaret Atwood, Richard Ford, Donna Tartt, Tobias Wolff, Barbara Kingsolver, Chang Rae-Lee, Chuck Palahniuk … this is where I started to swoon.

In Vincennes, on the eastern side of Paris, we organize four days of readings and panels, a “café littéraire” and a book fair but also movies, concerts and exhibitions in order to celebrate the wealth and diversity of literature coming from an entire continent. Thousands of people attend this event which gets mass press and media coverage.

So it appears I will be going to France in September. And, when I informed my UK publicist Samantha Eades, we discussed the possibility that I might be able to stop over in London and for the first time meet people with Headline Review, my publisher there. Perhaps in this letter I sound calm and accepting of this turn of events, but in fact I have been dancing around the house for two days straight.

My only worry is my poor French. But my friends with Little, Brown & Co. pointed out that I surely remember the key phrases. “Une biere, s’il vous plait.” And “… des gateaux! Et du fromage! Et du pain au chocolat!” And, of course, “Non, je suis CANADIENNE” or at least “Je suis Alaskan.”

So now my only question — why didn’t I cook crepes before now?

Santé !


In search of Snegurochka

An 1899 painting of Snegurochka, the snow child, by the Russian artist Victor Vasnetsov. This is one of the many images that inspired me as I wrote The Snow Child.

Dear artful reader,

Do you have a pile of snow in your yard? Or are you planning on traveling to a museum or art show? I’m hoping that during the next month or so, you will be on the look out a “snow child.” I want to create a gallery on the website to share snow child images from around the world.

I’m viewing it through very loose guidelines. I’m hoping people search far and wide for different ways to imagine her. It could be an actual figure made out of snow in your yard, or a photograph, painting, sculpture or a piece of fiber art that somehow says “snow child” to you. It could be images of just snow flakes, or just children, or tracks in snow. I’m  hoping somebody discovers an embroidered coat like the one the snow child wears. And I might even award a few little prizes.

I have collected a few images already, including an amazing illustration from a UK artist and, of course, the many book covers from around the world.

I won’t officially ask for you to send them until later in the winter. But I hope you will all begin to keep your eyes open. I can’t wait to see what you find.



News from Alaska and farther afield

Dear steadfast reader,

I’m a little worn out today. As you will soon see, I’ve been busy with  more than just sledding down our driveway and shelving books at Fireside Books. These past two weeks I’ve also been fortunate enough to participate in some wonderful interviews. So today, I’m going to kick back, relax, and let everyone else do the writing. Here are two links for you to follow:

Melodie Wright, Alaskan author and blogger

Have you ever wanted to know how many cords of wood we burn each year to keep our house warm, or how I found my literary agent? Here’s a Q&A with Alaskan author Melodie Wright who was so kind as to feature me on her blog, Forever Rewrighting. I loved her questions!

I also chatted on the telephone with British journalist Charlotte Williams, who writes for The Bookseller, the UK equivalent of Publishers Weekly. The article came out today, and can be found online here. Much gratitude to Charlotte for writing such a kind article, and to Alaskan photographer Stephen Nowers for a photograph of me that doesn’t make me cringe.



More gratitude, more books …

Dear returning reader,

Last week I wrote about how I received endorsements from fellow authors — by choosing books I admired and writing to the authors to ask if they would read The Snow Child.

In gratitude to the authors, and to give you some ideas for your next read, I am sharing their books. I want to point out, too, that these authors have many other wonderful books they wrote before and since these titles. But I want to share the books that first caught my attention and inspired me.

So here are the rest.



The Woman Who Married a Bear, by John Straley. Like all of Straley's Alaska mysteries, it's in the tradition of hardboiled detective novels, but has a dark heart of poetry. Beautiful writing!

The Girl with Glass Feet, by Ali Shaw. This strange, beautiful, haunting novel tells the story of Midas Cook and his love for Ida, a woman with a terrible affliction.

The Spanish Bow, by Andromeda Romano-Lax. With some of the most exquisite descriptions of music I have read, the novel follows cellist Feliu Delargo through the turmoil of 20th century Europe and his own passions.

Alice I Have Been, by Melanie Benjamin. This captivating historical novel tells the story of Alice and how her long life was affected by "wonderland." A fabulous read!

The Stolen Child, by Keith Donohue. A modern retelling of the changeling folktale, it blends fantasy with reality. Moving, utterly believable, and lyrical.

In gratitude to authors & readers …

Dear book-seeking reader,

I’ve learned a lot about publishing since my debut novel was acquired by Little, Brown & Co., and I’m sure I’ll learn more.  But one of the biggest surprises has to do with endorsements from fellow authors. They are the quotes that appear on the back cover of a book, extolling its virtues.

Like many people, I assumed these “blurbs,” as they are called in the business, were the result of nepotism. Somebody knows somebody’s editor, or they have the same publisher, or they went to the same university. I didn’t know many famous authors, so I figured I was out of luck. I was in for a pleasant surprise.

With encouragement from my agent and editor, I chose books that I loved, books that inspired me and made me want to be a better writer, books that I handed to my favorite customers at Fireside Books. Then I went about writing letters to the authors. It wasn’t easy. I apologized for bothering them, told them why I admired their books, and asked if please would they take a look at The Snow Child to see what they thought. And here’s what they had to say.

In heartfelt gratitude to the authors, and as a gift to you, my dear reader, I want to share their books. So here are four. In my next letter, I’ll share the others.



Gap Creek, by Robert Morgan. Julie Harmon is perhaps my very favorite character from literature. She earns a hard life in late 19th century Appalachian high country.

A Reliable Wife, by Robert Goolrick. A Gothic, mysterious historical novel with one of the most finely crafted plots I have ever encountered.

The Green Age of Asher Witherow, by M. Allen Cunningham. An incredibly lyrical novel, it's set in a California coal mine in the 1800s. Grounded yet otherwordly, poetic yet compelling.

Ahab's Wife, by Sena Jeter Naslund. This historical novel takes a lesser character from Moby Dick and creates a moving, atmospheric story that swept me away.