September 3, 2020 § Leave a comment
|I’m thrilled to announce the impending release of a new audiobook of Will Poole’s Island—narrated by yours truly! It turns out that recording an audiobook is an exacting, time consuming process—but also a surprisingly enjoyable one. This slightly whimsical fish-eye photo taken by producer and sound engineer Reggie Martell in the spare room of my Vermont house that he converted into a sound studio doesn’t really do justice to how rewarding it was to re-immerse myself in that first published novel, a book that will always hold a special place in my heart.|
|Years had passed since I’d last revisited Will Poole’s Island; there were moments when I felt like I was reading it for the first time. And I’m pleased to report, in my humble opinion, that the story holds up well, offering a rewarding temporary escape from the tense stretch of history we’re currently living. This is especially so thanks to Reggie’s professional expertise and the hauntingly beautiful original musical interludes composed by the talented ETC Kid.|
|The audiobook and Kindle e-book are set to be released on September 15, with a new edition of the paperback to follow in Spring ’21. If your interest is piqued, I encourage you to ORDER THE AUDIOBOOK NOW from Audible or the vendor of your choice. You’ll have my sincere gratitude. And I know you’ll enjoy listening to the novel!|
|The last time I was in Havana was January, 2020, but it feels like fifty years ago! Very much looking forward to getting back next year. Care to join me?|
|As a place to visit Cuba is as interesting as ever, perhaps even more so given the effectiveness of the response to COVID-19. Unlike certain other countries in the world, the country has been used its excellent medical system and organizing capacity to good effect, keeping new cases of the pandemic limited. In fact my Cuban friends are constantly checking in to express their worries about how we’re all doing up north in the U.S.—which says quite a bit about the situations in our respective countries.|
|Depending on how things go, the next year or so looks to be an opportune time to revisit this fascinating country that I know and love so well.|
|I’m considering putting together two or three small-group trips to Cuba, dates TBD, in winter/spring 2021, late fall 2021, and/or winter/spring 2022.|
|I’m also available to set up custom independent trips if you have a small group of family or friends that want to go. If either of these options is of more than casual interest to you, please send me a note with any thoughts on what your interests are in terms of trip content, and if there is a best time frame for you.|
|I’ll keep a careful list and update you specifically as I hear from people and actual trip dates begin to take shape. You can also bookmark this page, on which I keep an updated list of upcoming writing workshops, travel programs, talks, readings, and other events.|
|Meanwhile, I hope you are holding up well, staying safe and healthy, and managing to enjoy life in all its varied moments! Please don’t hesitate to send me a note if you’d like to touch base in a more personal way. |
March 28, 2018 § Leave a comment
“There’s an unwritten rule that dreams have no place in fiction. Perhaps you’re aware of it. No? Then maybe you haven’t taken enough workshops. It’s pretty high on the list of fiction-writing no-nos.”
Click here to read my thoughts on why fictional dreams AREN’T actually forbidden, and other thoughts on why breaking the rules is an essential skill for writers . . .
February 8, 2018 § Leave a comment
Honored to be on this list, which also includes Laurie Halse Anderson’s Fever 1793, Christopher Paul Curtis’ Bud, Not Buddy, and Ann Rinaldi’s Numbering All the Bones. An excerpt of the review on Homeschooling Teen website, the list’s publisher:
“This novel has everything a teen could hope for in a historical fiction book, including elements of magic, a journey across the sea and enough conflict and suspense to keep the pages turning. Moreover, the novel provides excellent, although indirect, commentary on current events.”
Find out everything you need to know about Will Poole’s Island here.
April 24, 2017 § Leave a comment
Take a look at Crystal King’s recent article at Literary Hub regarding the relevance of historical fiction to contemporary society. Crystal, the author of Feast of Sorrow, a gripping new novel on ancient Rome, makes some excellent points about the ways in which the visceral experience of history that comes from reading novels based in the past can inform our understanding of the present. The article also presents the perspectives of ten contemporary historical novelists in whose company I’m quite honored to be included, including Jenna Blum, Anjali Mitter Duva, Margaret George, Heather Webb, and Marjan Kamali. Our current political leaders would do well to read this one!
March 29, 2017 § Leave a comment
A nice profile of yours truly is up at The Commons, a first-rate independent newspaper covering my home territory of Windham County, Vermont. You might be tempted to call it a “puff piece,” but the author, Richard Henke, asked some good questions and the article is almost entirely accurate. I’m definitely not complaining! Give it a read if you’re interested.
June 8, 2016 § Leave a comment
What a fun privilege it was to serve as a judge for the Rudyard Kipling Award for Young Writers, the culminating ceremony for which was held this past weekend at the Latchis Theater in Brattleboro. The purpose of the award is to encourage local youngsters to engage with writing and literature, and to celebrate the significant and little-known legacy of Rudyard Kipling in the local area.
And if you get a chance to visit the great writer’s historic home, Naulakha, near the base of Black Mountain in Brattleboro, it’s a magical place and I highly recommend it. The contest winner’s prize included an overnight with her family and friends!
July 10, 2015 § Leave a comment
Looking forward to discovering a brand new corner of the world next week: Star Island, one of the Isles of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire. I’ll have a chance to get some creative work done and explore the Atlantic waters around the island, and, as the theme speaker for participants in the All-Star 2 Family Conference, I’ll be delivering a five part lecture series: “Life Stories: Creative Adventurers, Adventurous Creators.” I’ve had a lot of fun planning and researching these lectures, which focus on figures who have engaged in a deep and life-changing way with some of the parts of the world that are important to me from life and work. Here are the subjects:
Charles Darwin and the Voyage of the Beagle
Ernest Hemingway in Spain and Cuba
Georgia O’Keeffe: American Visionary
In my final talk I’ll discuss how my own engagement with place influenced the writing of Will Poole’s Island.
If you or an organization you belong to is interested in booking me for one of these talks or something new, send me a note. My schedule is busy but flexible, and I love doing this kind of thing. It’s quite possible that we can work it out!
April 21, 2015 § 2 Comments
It was a pleasure to be interviewed recently by the author M.K. Tod for her Inside Historical Fiction series. We had a nice talk about the ingredients that go into the making of great historical fiction, the research process, recent trends in the genre, and more. Here’s an excerpt:
MKT: Are historical novels inherently different from contemporary novels, and if so, in what ways?
TW: There’s a quote that I love from Andrew Miller, writing in The New York Times Book Review a few years ago, about the appeal of distance, and of “the strangeness such distance produces and of the lives lived recognizably in the midst of that strangeness.” He compared historical fiction to science fiction, pointing out that both genres require the writer to depict the only world he or she can possibly know—“the here and now”—in other terms.
To me, this notion captures much of what I love about historical fiction, both in the writing and in the reading: it’s at once a dream we have to enter and an oblique reflection of ourselves. In my experience, this kind of mind-altering immersion is harder to find in contemporary novels—if by “contemporary” we mean novels that are set in times and places very similar to the quotidian spheres in which we tend to live out our lives.
Read the full interview here.
March 23, 2015 § 3 Comments
Very pleased to note that Will Poole’s Island has made the prestigious Bank Street College of Education’s annual list of “The Best Children’s Books of the Year.” Will Poole’s Island was chosen in the “Mystery and Adventure” category, and although the novel was not written exclusively for children, it’s a great honor to make the list—and it increases the likelihood of getting it into the hands of more readers of all ages. The 2015 edition recognizes books published in 2014.
March 20, 2015 § Leave a comment
Looking forward to a busy spring and summer of talks and appearances! If you’re attending any of these events, I look forward to meeting you there. If you can’t make any of them but are interested in similar content, there are still openings in these wonderful, intensive writing seminars at GrubStreet in Boston.
April 24 – 26, 2015: Talks on the Jungian Shadow in YA Fiction and Image Systems in Fiction. New England Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Conference, Springfield, MA
May 1 – 3, 2015: “Voice and Dialog in Historical Fiction.” GrubStreet’s Muse & The Marketplace Conference, Boston, MA
July 12 – 17, 2015: “Life Stories: Creative Adventurers, Adventurous Creators” (5-part lecture series). All-Star 2 Family Conference. Star Island, Isles of Shoals, NH July
18 – 24, 2015: Guest author, Writing in Prague program (Putney Student Travel)