Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Visit from Novelist Jacqueline West - by Nicholas

Allan's Note: How exciting it would be if you get a chance to talk with the author of your favorite novels! That is what happened to Nicholas  - the author of  the novel series "Elsewhere" visited his school on "Author Visit" day. Nicholas read one of the books already and is on the waiting list at local library for another. He actively participated the author's presentation - asked and answered questions. He was really proud that he was rewarded with a signed "Elsewhere" bookmark.

Jacqueline West, the author of the Books of Elsewhere came to my school on January 17, 2012. She has written The Shadows, Spellbound, and The Second Spy. Coincidentally I read The Shadows already!  So far she has only written these 3 books. But in the author visit, she said she plans to make a series of 5 books in total, one each summer before working on a book for teenagers.

She gave us a PowerPoint slide show called - The Story of a Story (Or How a Book Becomes a Book). The presentation covered the writing process from her inspiration (she saw a creepy, spooky house every day on her way to middle school combined with things that she liked or interested which gave life to the Books of Elsewhere)to the publication (her editor and illustrator, how they worked together)of her book. She started out with what she was like during her childhood. Then she moved on to books that she liked as a child. Surprisingly, she liked The Hobbit as well as books with talking animals in them, some of them which I enjoyed reading as well. Then she talked about what the experience of writing was like. It hardly surprised me although the fact that she took breaks in between writing and that she once nearly deleted her story did. She then included a group discussion on her books, a reading from The Shadows (the entire chapter 4), a game (a fun and exciting game sort of like name that book in which the author gave us the first sentence of a book and we were asked to name it), and a Q/A which I enjoyed.

I really liked Jacqueline West’s presentation and the added bonus was that I got a signed Books of Elsewhere bookmark from her. But sadly, I have lost the bookmark and so I am desperately trying to find it.

Appendix: the books of Elsewhere

The books of Elsewhere, Volume One: The Shadows - Old Ms. McMartin is definitely, dead, and her crumbling Victorian mansion lies vacant. When eleven-year-old Olive and her dippy mathematician parents move in, Olive is right to think there's something odd about the place--not least the strange antique paintings hanging on its walls. But when she finds a pair of old glasses in a dusty drawer, Olive discovers the most peculiar thing yet: she can travel inside these paintings to Elsewhere, a place that's strangely quiet...and eerily familiar. Olive soon finds herself ensnared in a plan darker and more dangerous than she could have imagined, confronting a power that wants to be rid of her by any means necessary. It's up to her to save the house from the shadows, before the lights go out for good.

The Books of Elsewhere, Volume Two: Spellbound - With no way into the house's magical paintings, and its three guardian cats reluctant to help, Olive's friend Morton is still trapped inside Elsewhere. So when Rutherford, the new oddball kid next door, mentions a grimoire - a spellbook - Olive feels a breathless tug of excitement. If she can find the McMartins' spellbook, maybe she can help Morton escape Elsewhere for good. Unless, that is, the book finds Olive first.

The Books of Elsewhere, Volume Three: The Second Spy - Some terrifying things have happened to Olive in the old stone house, but none as scary as starting junior high. When she plummets through a hole in her backyard, however, she discovers two things that may change her mind: First, the wicked Annabelle McMartin is back. Second, there's a secret in an underground room that unlocks not one but two of Elsewhere's biggest, most powerful, most dangerous forces yet. With the house's guardian cats acting suspicious, her best friend threatening to move away, and her ally Morton starting to rebel, Olive isn't sure where to turn. Will she figure it out in time? Or will she be lured into Elsewhere, and trapped there for good

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