Headed south to the seaside
Dear long-lost reader,
Where has the time gone? Someone recently pointed out that it has been more than two months since I last wrote.
Gardening, fishing, picking berries, visiting with friends and family, working on house projects — like most Alaskans, we find there isn’t enough time in the summer. Strange, when you consider the sun stays in the sky nearly 20 hours each day. We often find ourselves out in the yard, filleting salmon or watering the tomato plants in the greenhouse, at 10 at night. We have to force ourselves to come inside and slow down.
In the middle of this Alaskan summer mania, I am also hard at work on my new novel, Shadows on the Wolverine. It is a thrilling process, as I gather stories, ideas and images and let them roll around in my imagination.
And although I am doing fewer than last year, I am also squeezing in a few Snow Child events.
This weekend, I head south to the Alaska seaside communities of Ninilchik and Homer .
Saturday at noon I’ll be at the Homer Public Library to read from The Snow Child. Books will be available at the library, and I’ll be happy to sign copies after the reading.
Homer is on the shore of Kachemak Bay on the southwest side of the Kenai Peninsula, about 200 road miles southwest of Anchorage. It is known for its halibut fishing and its diverse, artistic community of about 5,000 people.
Then, at 3 p.m. on Saturday, I’ll be in Ninilchik for a question-and-answer session and book signing at the Ninilchik Community Library. The event is sponsored by the Ninilchik Traditional Council. A limited number of copies of the book will be available for purchase, with proceeds benefiting the Ninilchik Community Library.
Ninilchik is also located on the Kenai Peninsula, just north of Homer, and has about 1,000 residents. The village was originally a Dena’ina Athabaskan lodging area used for hunting and fishing. Russian colonists moved there from Kodiak Island in 1847 before the Alaska Purchase.
I’m so looking forward to this roadtrip to the sea. In the meantime, I’ll be soaking up every last little bit of summer in Alaska.
Wishing you long, happy days,
Postcard from Juneau, Alaska
Hello from Alaska’s state capital – Juneau! I so enjoyed my short stay here, seeing old friends, making new ones, visiting with fellow authors, and soaking up some of the amazing history and culture here. A highlight of the trip was a whale watch cruise, organized by the delightful owners of Hearthside Books. As several of us Alaska writers shared our current projects and books, we sipped wine and watched as humpback whales rolled and leapt beside us.
I also had a morning on my own, so I explored the marble halls of the capitol building, strolled past the governor’s mansion, and walked around historic downtown with its totem poles and Gold Rush buildings. And then I rode the tram up the mountain. It was foggy and rainy, but beautiful all the same.
One of my favorite things about these Southeastern Alaskans is the way they embrace their weather. It’s one way you can separate the tourists from the locals – you might catch a visitor grumbling about the cool, rainy days. But locals respond: “Rainy? It’s just the way we like it!” You don’t see them huddling under umbrellas, and half the time they don’t even wear rain coats. It’s as if rain is as natural to them as air.
So I head back north with a newfound affection for this place and its artistic, hardy, welcoming people. I got some photos and, of course, a suitcase full of books that I picked up along the way. And most unexpectedly, I’ve gathered some fantastic material here, from the habits of rufous hummingbirds to the mapping of Alaska, as I continue work on my next novel, Shadows on the Wolverine. Thank you to naturalist Bob Armstrong ( www.naturebob.com) and Dee Longenbaugh of The Observatory.)
Most of all, thanks to Deb and Susan at Hearthside Books, everyone at Juneau Public Library, Maggie, Frank & Liz, MJ & Mike, and all the wonderful writers and readers I met on this visit. It was wonderful fun!
Postcard from Ketchikan, Alaska
Greetings from lovely Ketchikan! The sun is out, the water is shining, the eagles are calling, and the wild strawberries and salmonberries are in bloom. Here you can see where I stayed in one of NY Hotel & Cafe’s creekside cabins. I’ve had a lovely time with Maggie, Charlotte and all the welcoming people at Parnassus Books and the Ketchikan Public Library these past two days. Thank you all for the hospitality and sharing your beautiful scenery.
Next up — the state capital of Juneau.
Seeing more of Alaska
Dear Alaska-bound reader,
One of the most amazing things about Alaska is its sheer size. I grew up here, and I have traveled around it quite a bit — from Anchorage to the North Slope, Chicken to Chickaloon, Cordova to Fairbanks, yet there are huge areas I have never seen. Southeast Alaska is one of those regions. For many visitors on cruise ships, this is the gateway to Alaska. But for those of us who live in Southcentral, it can seem very far away.
I’m thrilled to finally have a chance to see this part of the state. Tomorrow I fly to Ketchikan for an event at 6:30 pm at the Ketchikan Public Library in conjunction with Parnassus Books. (More information is available by calling 907-228-2307.)
Then I go on to our state capital Juneau where Thursday 7-8:30 pm I’ll be at the Juneau Public Library, Friday 1-2 pm I’ll sign books at Hearthside Books in downtown and then that evening I’ll participate in Hearthside’s Authors at Sea Cruise, which sounds like wonderful fun. For more information and tickets, you can visit Hearthside here.
This has been one of the unexpected blessings of the publication of The Snow Child — it has given me the chance to meet booksellers, librarians and readers and to see new parts of the world, even those unexplored lands close to home.
Postcard from Bend, Oregon
Dear Oregon reader,
You know how you sometimes beat your own postcards home? Well, that is what has happened to me. I’m already back in Alaska, but today is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and write a postcard to you.
First let me say that the rumors are true — Deschutes County truly has the most fantastic one community, one read program. For the past 10 years, “A Novel Idea” has featured a book each year that thousands of people read together and then celebrate with programs over the course of several weeks. Past selections include The Kite Runner, The Help, and Rules of Civility. This year they chose The Snow Child, and it was an incredible privilege.
This is the only place in the world I’ve been where the community makes a debut novelist feel like a rock star. For the first (and probably only) time in my life I got to see my name on a marquee. I spoke in front of a sold-out house at the Tower Theatre — 500 people. For a book event! Then another several hundred people came to a nearby high school for another event the next day. And the library gets this kind of turnout every year.
This is a community that knows how to celebrate books. They sew quilts inspired by the book, they paint paintings, sketch pictures, write lovely bluegrass music — all based on the book of the year. It was a moving experience as a writer to see how others had retold the story through fabric, colored pencils, and vocal harmonies.
And most of all I enjoyed getting to know the library staff. In ways, being a writer is a lonely endeavor. There are times that I miss the office banter, the collegial joking that goes on between co-workers. The Deschutes Public Library has the kind of staff anyone would envy, and you can tell they have a lot of fun together even as they work hard. But what was most remarkable was the way they included me, even welcomed me, into their friendship and laughter. For that I will forever be grateful.
So to the quilters, artists, musicians, book clubs, readers and librarians of Deschutes County — Cheers! And thank you!
P.S. For those of you who know my troubles with homophones, I thought I’d confess that this postcard initially read “my name on a marquis” instead of “marquee.” I guess my name tattooed on a nobleman would be interesting, but I prefer the marquee.
Snow Child events north and south
Dear fun-seeking reader,
I want to let you know about some events I have coming up.
This Friday I’ll be in Anchorage at Cyrano’s Theatre Company with Leigh Newman. She recently published her memoir Still Points North about growing up in Alaska, seeing the world, and then coming home again.
The event is 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, April 26. Expect a reading from each of us as well as “snacks, fizzy beverages and merriment!” It should be lots of fun.
Then next week I head south to Bend, Oregon for Deschutes Public Library’s “A Novel Idea…Read Together.” It has been an delightful honor to have The Snow Child chosen for their annual program.
Everyone in the publishing world keeps telling me this is one of the best community reads programs in the country. It kicked off with three weeks of free cultural programs, book discussions, films, food tastings, lectures and art openings.
The program culminates with two presentations in Bend. On Friday May 3, I’ll be reading at the Tower Theatre, but I understand these tickets are sold out. However, I’ll also be at a non-ticketed event on May 4th at 11:00 a.m. at Ridgeview High School in Redmond.
So whether you’re in Anchorage, Alaska, or Bend, Oregon, I hope you’ll stop by and say hello.
A heart full of gratitude
Dear reader, bookseller, friend,
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.
Waiting for Spring
Dear patient reader,
The first day of spring came and went and left behind … well, winter. First we had a cold snap, with the thermometer at our house dropping to 15 below zero F. Then the clouds rolled in and we got nearly a foot of new snow. As much as I love winter, I confess that I’m ready to bid it farewell.
But I’m still finding the sunny side. The days are growing longer and longer each day. We have a new floppy-eared, happy puppy bouncing around the house. And in our kitchen is a vase of tulips.
Ironically, just as I’m craving spring the most, I’m heading farther north. But I hear there might be some sunshine in Fairbanks this weekend, and I’m very much looking forward to several events. While I’m there, I’ll be doing a school visit. Then, on Friday afternoon, I’m at the University of Alaska Fairbanks for a craft talk. Also on Friday, at 7 p.m, I’ll be at the Wood Center Ballroom for a reading and book signing as a part of the Midnight Sun Visiting Writers Series.
On Saturday, I’m signing books at Gulliver’s Books from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
In the meantime, I’m spending my days working on the next novel, cuddling with a puppy, and pretending it’s spring.
A few of my favorites
Dear bookish reader,
Barnes & Noble recently asked me to recommend a few books on their blog, which I was thrilled to do. Here’s my response.
“It’s dangerous to ask a bookseller and avid reader to recommend books – and it depends a lot on what I’ve read most recently and who I am recommending it to. But here are a few of my current favorites:”
I go on to list three books: a collection of poetry, a novel, and a strange and wonderful blend of genres. The poetry book is a tattered and well-loved copy, the novel is an e-book, and the third is a beautiful new hardbound edition.
Read more here.
And how about you? Reading anything good at the moment? What is your favorite to recommend?
News from here and there
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