Dear Readers,

It’s a frigid January day.  I’m sitting in a coffee shop looking out a picture window at a snowy intersection.  A line of red and white bells hangs across it, a sift of snow falls slantwise from the pale grey sky.  I’m content with my cup of peppermint tea and my secluded corner on the couch.  It’s cold outside and chilly in, but I’m cozy in my mukluks and anorak and scarf and hat.  It’s a northern thing, maybe, to remain nearly fully dressed for the outdoors when inside, and be okay with it.  I do it at home pretty often, too.  Heat’s expensive, and sometimes even when it’s blasting it doesn’t overcome the chill.  So I have my favorite indoors hat and scarf, my elderly fleece-lined boots that have sprouted holes, the fingerless gloves my friend Robyn knit me.

Robyn is a fellow writer who was also among the earliest readers of the next book I have coming out, THE EDUCATION OF IVY BLAKE, a novel aimed at ten to fourteen year olds.  She sent me a photo the other day that I love:  her daughter Grace reading the bound galley of the book.  She said Grace read the book from beginning to end in one sitting and pronounced it good.  A big compliment, and reassuring to the sometimes uncertain author.   It’s a great thing to have a dozen or so adults read the book and love it, but even greater to hear it from someone in its intended audience.  She was my first young reader of this piece, and though I’ve never met her, I feel a bond with her over this.  Maybe it’s the same one that’s forged between a writer and every reader, though mostly they never meet and never need to.  What needs to be communicated has happened somewhere between the eye and the page, between the story and the reader’s sympathy for it.

Grace reading IVY BLAKE.

Category: Life 11 comments »

11 Responses to “Dear Readers,”

  1. Laura

    Can’t wait to read Ivy Blake myself! Wearing extra stuff indoors here in Hemlock too… watching the snow outside and remembering Grand Marais.

  2. Bill Kent

    My 13 year old can’t wait to read the new one. She loved Prairie Evers.

  3. Eve Howe

    sitting here in wool sox & slippers sweater and vest ,warm leggings,tucked in my lazy boy chair, heating on 64, watching another snow storm roll into Traverse City,anxious to read your new book, and thinking of you in Grand Marais, my favorite summer journey! Miss my white fish sandwich! See you in the Late Spring.

  4. mary

    I am so excited to see it come out!!!!!!

  5. Jana Rector

    Hi Ellen, I love what you wrote above, but my comment is about S of S. I brought it with me to Mesa, AZ this winter for my sister-in-law to read. She said, “The book was wonderful. It makes me want to live there!” Now, that’s a perfect comment to an author, yes? BTW she visited GM with us back in 2004. There’s the lake, right? There’re the parks, right? Her fondest memory is the glass of milk she had at the diner. She still says, “It was SO cold!!!!” ha, ha, ha

  6. Amy J.

    My almost 12 year old daughter and I are anxiously awaiting it’s release. We both loved Prairie Evers!

  7. Rich Anderson

    Good comment about the heat, and its not just in the UP where heat is a premium. My old house down here is running all out and I’m at 60 degrees, so I wear a lot of outdoor gear inside. Also, how many people feel the need to keep a sleeping bag in the car for emergencies?

  8. Jann Whalen Parks

    Dear Ellen, I am very glad you wrote a young person novel. I am sure they are in need of good books also.
    But we adults who just like a good story set in normal places like northern Michigan do also. My sister in law and I bought your first novel from you in your restaurant and both of us are looking forward to your next one. I will buy your second on, read it and pass it on to my great grand daughter to read.
    Sincerely Your fan.

  9. Pam Gardner

    it’s wonderful you write for young adults but we are in need also! (old adults). When oh when might we expect a new book?

  10. pat jarvis

    Hello Ellen..want to tell you how much I love your book SOUTH OF SUPERIOR…lol ,I have read it 4 times..when I run out of books , I always know its there waiting for me…love the way you write about real people…makes me feel I know them like my friend next door

    Thats what makes your writing so special…thanks for the book

    I do second the women who wrote asking for another adult book !!…will now read your young adult books in the mean while
    Cheers…pat j

  11. ellenair

    Thank you so much, Pat. I appreciate your kind words.

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