What We’re Reading Now

The rain has set in (here in the Pacific Northwest), we’re long on candy and short on daylight. Books are good companions for days like these. What are we reading?

From J. Anderson Coats:

I’ve just started THE REAL PROM QUEENS OF WESTFIELD HIGH by my agency sib Laurie Boyle Crompton. It’s about a very unlikely candidate for prom queen on a hidden-camera reality snow, and it’s already hilarious and charming and very page-turny. Can’t wait to see how it ends!Real Prom Queens


From Cat Winters:

My son and I are reading Heidi Schulz’s highly entertaining middle-grade novel, HOOK’S REVENGE, which was mentioned on last month’s “What We’re Reading Now” post. I’m sure young readers will be drawn to the novel because it’s about Captain Hook’s daughter, but I’m thoroughly enjoying it because it’s the tale of an opinionated, hysterically funny girl who enjoys bucking tradition and being herself.


From Jennifer McGowan:

I’m reading THE SIXTH EXTINCTION by James Rollins–a thriller that mixes science and history with all of the save-the-world action. It starts out with a re-imagining of Charles Darwin’s voyage to South America in 1831, and the terrible things he might have discovered during a side-trip to Antarctica, which figure prominently in the present-day adventure. 


From Sharon Biggs Waller:

I just this minute finished reading ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER by Stephanie Perkins. It’s just as adorable and heart-warming as her other two books in the series.  Interestingly, there’s a part in the story where Isla reads a book about an orchid hunter and tells her boyfriend how dangerous the occupation was.  I had to laugh because my next novel is about an orchid hunter, and yes it was dangerous.Isla


From Katherine Longshore:

I recently (and finally!) started reading OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon.  It has been recommended to me so consistently and so frequently that when I spotted it in an airport bookshop, I snapped it up.  I haven’t seen the Starz show yet, and will now have to wait until I finish the book.  Anybody else out there feel like you have to read the book before seeing a movie?


From Laura Golden:

I’ve just finished SKELLIG by David Almond. It tells of ten-year-old Michael and his discovery of a Skelligmysterious man/creature half living, half dying in the darkest corner of the garage. It is elegantly written and a fast read. Though the book was published as middle grade, it received a Printz Honor in 2000, the award’s inauguration year. There is a prequel, MY NAME IS MINA, that I can’t wait to get my hands on. Almond’s writing is certainly something to aspire to. Gorgeous. (And to answer Katy’s question, above: yes! I must always read a book before seeing the movie. It’s for this very reason I’ve not yet seen The Maze Runner. At the rate I’m slogging through my to-read pile, I likely never will. ;-))


From Jessica Spotswood:

I just finished Atia Abawi’s THE SECRET SKY, which is set in modern-day Afghanistan. It’s about a Hazara girl who falls in love with her childhood best friend, a Pashtun boy, with dire consequences from their families, their village, and the local Taliban-esque thugs who believe they are enforcing Islamic moral law. The author is an NBC correspondent and this is a really powerful, heartbreaking, ultimately hopeful story.Secret Sky


From Susan Hill Long:

I just started reading the second in Cynthia Voigt’s trilogy about Solutioneer Max Starling, MISTER MAX and the Book of Secrets. I thoroughly enjoyed the twists and turns of the first book in the series, and look forward to more.

What are you reading? Let us know in the comments!


Cat Winters and THE CURE FOR DREAMING Interview

CureforDreaming_finalcover (214x324)[1]Today we celebrate the much-anticipated release of THE CURE FOR DREAMING, by our own Cat Winters, available now from Amulet Books, and which Kirkus Reviews calls “[a] gripping, atmospheric story of mind-control and self-determination.” The Corsets, Cutlasses & Candlesticks bloggers interviewed Cat about this, her second YA novel following the stunning IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS.

About the book:

Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud.

Interviewer interjects: “Wow! That sounds really, really cool.”

About Cat Winters:

Cat was born and raised in Southern California, near Disneyland, which may explain her love of haunted mansions, bygone eras, and fantasylands. She received degrees in drama and English from the University of California, Irvine, and formerly worked in publishing. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS, was named a 2014 Morris Award Finalist, a School Library Journal Best Book of 2013, a 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults pick, and a 2013 Bram Stoker Award Nominee. Cat lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two kids.

Our Interview:

From Jennifer McGowan: THE CURE FOR DREAMING is your second book, but it’s a standalone, so you didn’t have a “built in” world to rely upon. What made you choose this subject as the focus for your second novel, and what was the most challenging part of writing it?​

You’re exactly right, Jenn: with standalones you have to start from scratch and build an entirely new world. I began writing THE CURE FOR DREAMING around October 2011, when I was waiting to see if IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS would even sell to a publisher. I didn’t want to put all of my eggs in one basket, so I decided to come up with something entirely new that would still fall into the category of YA Gothic historical fiction.

At the time, I was listening to Kristen Lawrence’s eerie and dreamlike Halloween music (see HalloweenCarols.com), which put me in the mood to write something theatrical and Victorian, with a dash of horror. Erin Morgenstern’s THE NIGHT CIRCUS–a novel about Victorian magicians–was all the rage that fall, so instead of using the same subject matter, I decided to turn my thoughts instead to the idea of a late-nineteenth-century stage hypnotist. For a long while, I had also wanted to write about the suffrage movement in the early twentieth century, and a thought struck me: “What if a man hired a hypnotist to rid his daughter, a budding young suffragist, of her rebellion?”

The most challenging aspect was figuring out how to create the supernatural qualities of the hypnosis itself. I go beyond real hypnosis and allow my character to see the true state of the world and gender roles in 1900 America. I didn’t want to come across as completely anti-man, so I tiptoed on a delicate line, showing that the women’s rights movement has never meant that women hate all men, but still also portraying the stifling restrictions placed upon females in an era when women were treated as second-class citizens. ​

From Laura Golden: Olivia Mead is a strong and headstrong heroine who strikes me as the type who becomes more determined to fight the status quo the more people tell her she should simply follow the rules. Was there a specific woman who inspired Olivia? What parts of her can you see in yourself?

I’m so glad you asked this question, Laura, because I haven’t yet had a chance to talk about the historical figure who inspired one of Olivia’s pivotal scenes: Nellie Bly. I became intrigued by Bly, a pioneering Victorian-era journalist, as a child when I was given a book about her. When Bly was nineteen, she became enraged over a disparaging column in the PITTSBURGH DISPATCH titled “What Girls Are Good For.” She wrote a rebuttal under the name “Lonely Orphan Girl,” and the editor was so impressed, he ended up seeking her out and hiring her as a writer for the newspaper. I won’t say too much about Olivia’s similar experience in THE CURE FOR DREAMING, but she does read an opinion piece that infuriates her and writes an anonymous rebuttal—despite the fact that she’s been hypnotized into verbally silencing her anger.

I see a great deal of myself in Olivia, especially the Olivia who appears at the beginning of the novel (minus the controlling father and Victorian lifestyle). Like her, in high school I was shy and bookish and extremely awkward around boys. Speaking my mind amid people I didn’t know well sent me crawling into my shell. Olivia’s journey toward gaining confidence and strength is certainly one to which I can relate.

​From Sharon Biggs Waller: Hypnosis is such an interesting subject. How much research did you do to learn about it? Actually, what I really want to know: have you ever been hypnotized?

​I’ve had two experiences with hypnosis, Sharon. The first occurred in high school when a stage hypnotist performed in our gym. I remember being flabbergasted by the things he was able to make people do, including convincing my sweet and conservatively dressed Spanish teacher to dance like Madonna—and my teacher started unbuttoning her top in front of everyone! The hypnotist stopped her before things went too far, thankfully, but I remember being shocked and astounded.

In college I took a drama class in which a professor used us as guinea pigs for his theory that actors could perform better under hypnosis. I remember the experience being extremely relaxing. I was aware of everything that happened, but my body felt heavy and utterly at peace . . . and I ended up impressing the professor with whichever Greek tragedy monologue we happened to be performing while hypnotized. I used these two experiences, along with a great deal of research into the techniques of hypnotists and early-Victorian mesmerists, to create the hypnosis scenes in THE CURE FOR DREAMING.


From J. Anderson Coats: Both IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS and THE CURE FOR DREAMING have a delightful undercurrent of the supernatural running through them. What tips do you have for integrating supernatural elements into historical narratives without one overpowering the other?

I love this question, Jillian. I use two key methods for integrating supernatural elements into my historical narratives:

1. I start with a heightened version of reality that already involves fear. A ghost doesn’t appear in IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS until a hundred or so pages into the novel, but my protagonist, Mary Shelley Black, is already coping with a paranoid world that’s suffering from the strain of a world war, the terror of a lethal flu pandemic, and a growing obsession with spirit photography and séances. Even if my ghost never made his way into the novel, my protagonist would still be frightened. Readers are already expecting to be scared.

The same is true with THE CURE FOR DREAMING. The book opens in a theater on Halloween night in the year 1900. Olivia—a fan of horror novels, especially DRACULA—experiences a hypnotism show on a grand stage filled with glowing jack-o-lanterns, organ music, smoke, and magical young performers dressed in glamorous attire. Her imagination is stirred, even before she’s ever hypnotized. By setting up the scene of an imaginative girl spooked and entranced by the theatrics of a Halloween night, I can then easily walk my readers into my more supernatural scenes.

2. I give plausible explanations to my supernatural elements. My characters typically aren’t born with otherworldly powers. They’re regular people from bygone eras, but something happens to them that triggers the paranormal in their lives. With IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS, Mary Shelley gets struck by lightning and endures a near-death experience that awakens an ability to communicate with spirits (a phenomenon that some real-life near-death experiencers have claimed to have encountered).

In THE CURE FOR DREAMING, Olivia is hypnotized into seeing the world the way it truly is and people for who they really are. In my mind, she’s already a girl who can figure out people’s true natures, but before she’s hypnotized, she doesn’t pay close attention to—or she chooses to ignore—the ugliness and other hard-to-swallow realities around her. The hypnotism holds up a surreal magnifying glass to what she probably already knows to be true. My young hypnotist character, Henri Reverie, uses genuine hypnotism commands and methods, grounding the book in reality, but the result goes a step beyond normal hypnotherapy.

​From Katherine Longshore: As a person who loves great titles but finds it impossible to think of one, I have to ask—where did THE CURE FOR DREAMING come from? And can you tell us a little about how it applies to Olivia’s story?

Oh, thank you, Katy. I’m glad you like the title! I started off calling the book THE MESMERIST, but, as my agent and I both agreed, it seemed like we could try for something with a little more pizzazz. When I first sent the proposal to my agent, I included this sentence: “I’m currently calling the book THE CURE FOR DREAMING, but I’ve been compiling a list of other potential titles, such as MESMERIZING, HEAR ONLY ME, WHEN YOU AWAKEN, and THE AWAKENING OF OLIVIA MEAD.” She liked THE CURE FOR DREAMING the best.

The name came to me in the middle of one of my title-creating brainstorming sessions. I realized the main issue in the book is that a man is trying to cure his daughter of her “unladylike” dreams of voting and receiving a higher education, and it hit me: why not call the novel THE CURE FOR DREAMING? I immediately ran the title past my sister, who loved it, partly because she’s a big fan of the band The Cure. 🙂

From Jessica Spotswood: What’s the most interesting bit of research you found for THE CURE FOR DREAMING?

Ooh, Jess, that’s a hard one for me to decide. I found so many fascinating details about women’s suffrage and stage hypnotism, but I will say I particularly loved diving into all the gory details about Victorian dentistry. Originally, I made Olivia’s overbearing father a doctor, but I realized how much creepier he’d be if he were a dentist—and how his fondness of extracting patients’ teeth would correlate well with his desire to remove his daughter’s rebellion from her head. My starting point was a book called THE EXCRUCIATING HISTORY OF DENTISTRY: TOOTHSOME TALES & ORAL ODDITIES FROM BABYLON TO BRACES, by James Wynbrandt (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2000). Some of my favorite finds made their way into the novel, such as the tendency of dentists to use leeches on patients’ inflamed gums to suck out the blood.

From Susan Hill Long: Cat, the wraparound cover of THE CURE FOR DREAMING– gorgeous and evocative! Can you tell us a little bit about what went into the making of it?

I’m glad you love the dust jacket as much as I do, Sue! The scene on the front cover is a photograph of an actual hypnotized Victorian girl. I found the image when I first researched late-nineteenth-century stage hypnotism, and I included the photo inside the manuscript, right before the opening chapter. My Amulet Books editor, Maggie Lehrman, and designer, Maria T. Middleton, liked the image so much, they decided to use it on the cover.

I love how Maria chose to place only half of the image on the cover. It looks like the young woman is floating off the chair. When you look at the dust jacket on the hardcover, however, you’ll see, as you just said, that the image wraps around to the back. In some ways, I think the full image, which includes ropes tied around the young woman’s legs, is even more shocking than the idea of her levitating.

You can see the full photograph—minus the color and the spooky wallpaper created by Maria—in the novel’s book trailer:

Thank you for chatting with me, ladies!

What We’re Reading

Today we’re checking in with the Corsets, Cutlasses & Candlesticks crew to find out what we’re reading.

Laura Golden:

I’ve just started reading LOOKING FOR ALASKA by John Green. This is my first time reading a book by Green (please don’t pelt me with spoiled fruit!), and so far, though I’m just under 100 pages in, I love it. Miles is a rather witty narrator, and the fictional Culver Creek School portrayed in the novel is based on Indian Springs School which is about 30 miles southwest of my home. It’s like an inside peek into boarding school life there.

I’m also re-reading THE MIRACLE AT ST. BRUNO’S by Philippa Carr. It’s a dark, moody novel set in England during Henry VIII’s rule. It’s the first in Carr’s “Daughters of England” series of which I’ve read nine of the nineteen books. The series is a multi-generational family saga, each novel following the daughter of the previous book’s heroine. Incidentally, Philippa Carr is just one of eight or nine nom-de-plumes of Eleanor Hibbert. She was so prolific it makes my head spin! Oh, what wouldn’t I do for just a fraction of that prolificness?

Jessica Spotswood:

I just finished reading SINNER by Maggie Stiefvater. Charismatic, self-destructive Cole and strange historyprickly, clever Isabel were always, my favorite characters from the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, so I was thrilled that she wrote a companion novel from their points of view.

I’m also reading THE STRANGE HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN QUADROON by Emily Clark, which delves into the lives of free women of color in antebellum New Orleans. That’s research for my PETTICOATS & PISTOLS short story.



J. Anderson Coats:
Jonathan Rose, a history of working-class reading culture and cultural
literacy focusing on the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Its
goal is to question a lot of received assumptions—namely, that the
working classes couldn’t (or didn’t) read or read only fluff, that
classics were foisted on the working classes to indoctrinate them, and
that education at this time was uniformly a negative experience. I’m also
reading the gripping, page-turny YA mystery LATITUDE ZERO by Diana Renn.

Elizabeth May:

I’m currently reading Tessa Dare’s ROMANCING THE DUKE. I’ve been reading a great deal of romancing the dukeDare’s backlist lately and love how wry, witty and intelligent her characters are. Like all of her books, RTD is such a fun read! It’s a bit Beauty and the Beast Meets Gothic Romance, about a penniless heroine who inherits a crumbling castle currently occupied by a very prickly duke who contests her ownership. Sparks fly, hilarious dialogue ensues!

Katherine Longshore:

I’m taking a break from researching right now and trying to get through my TBR pile (which is appallingly large). I’m reading THE 39 DEATHS OF ADAM STRAND by Gregory Galloway. It’s an interesting take on suicide and so far elicits many more questions than answers. Compelling.

Jennifer McGowan:

This biography of the famous “prophet-seer” of France presents a fully articulated picture of the young life and development of Nostradamus, who played such an important role in the 1550s–his most famous predictions were first published in 1555, four years before the setting of my books. I am working on edits for my third Maids of Honor tale, Maid of Wonder, in which Nostradamus plays a key role!

Sharon Biggs Waller:

I’m busy on a new work in progress, which is coming out Winter 2016, so I’m doing lots of

Children_Playing_Before_a_Statue_of_Herculesresearch, as per usual when I’m writing a first draft. My latest find is called IN THE ARMS OF MORPHEUS: The Tragic History of Laudanum, Morphine, and Patent Medicines. Opium and its derivatives feature pretty heavily in my story so I was super excited to get this book. It’s incredible because we assume addiction is a modern thing, but addiction stretches back many centuries, and it all began with opium. I’m also reading CHILDREN PLAYING BEFORE A STATUE OF HERCULES by David Sedaris. This is a collection of short stories (chosen by Sedaris) from some of our greatest writers. The book is to benefit 826NYC, which helps children and teens develop writing skills.

Cat Winters:
I’m also reading for a novel-in-progress. For me, it’s a close study of Shakespeare’s HAMLET. Hopefully, I’ll get to announce why soon.

Wow! Laudanum and opium and prophets and romance and reading. Can’t wait to learn more about Cat’s new novel! What are you reading this summer?

Happy Birthday!

Whistle jkt legal

Today I’m celebrating two birthdays: my own, and my book’s! Whistle in the Dark is brand new in paperback this summer, and I’m looking forward to this year’s fresh new edition of me. Or whatever.

I love my summer birthday–as a kid, I often got to unwrap a new hardcover book. Here’s the inscription my sister painted inside her gift to me one year.



When Whistle in the Dark was published last fall, the Corsets, Cutlasses & Candlesticks team asked me all about it, and (following Katherine Longshore’s lead on the recent celebration of her new book, Courted) I’ll link to that excellent interview here.  The book enjoyed an exciting first year – appearing on Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2013, and Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books, 2014, honors I share with many of my writer-friends and idols, and for which I’m truly grateful.

I hope you enjoy a season of summer reading: now that’s always something to celebrate.


Susan Hill Long grew up in New England, and lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two daughters. Her books for beginning readers have been published by Macmillan and HarperCollins, and her fiction has appeared in Hunger Mountain. She is the recipient of the Katherine Paterson Prize.




A Visit with Katherine Kirkpatrick, author of BETWEEN TWO WORLDS

Today we welcome Katherine Kirkpatrick to the blog, to talk about her new book, BETWEEN TWO WORLDS, Wendy Lamb Books/Random House April 2014.


On the treeless shores of Itta, Greenland, as far north as humans can settle, sixteen-year-old Inuit Billy Bah spots a ship far out among the icebergs on the bay–a sight both welcome and feared. Explorers have already left their indelible mark on her land and its people, and a ship full of white men can mean trouble. 
      By turns lyrical and gripping, Between Two Worlds is an impassioned coming-of-age novel set in a land of breathtaking beauty and danger, where nature and love are powerful and unpredictable forces.

Now, on to some questions! Katherine, what made you realize you wanted to be a writer? Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

In the sixth grade, I wrote a story about vampire bats attacking a scientist. That year I won an English prize, the first of many, and writing became “my thing.”

My advice to aspiring writers is to take all assignments, paid and unpaid. Contribute to your school’s alumni magazine and local newspaper. Think about what organizations you belong to. Blog. Volunteer your talents, make people laugh, feel appreciated, hone your skills.

Why did you choose to write historical fiction for young adults?

My mother loved history and partly for that reason my parents chose to settle in a community rich in colonial and maritime lore, the Three Villages (Stony Brook, Setauket, Old Field), Long Island, New York. My family liked to tour historic houses and visit old cemeteries and our local carriage museum.

When I started to write novels, I found myself drawn to the coming-of-age themes of independence, discovery, maturity, and relationships in young adult fiction.

Where did you get the idea that sparked Between Two Worlds?

In the Hall of Meteorites at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, I noticed a photo of four-year-old Marie Peary, the daughter of Arctic explorer Robert E. Peary, onboard a ship with a gigantic meteorite. After researching Marie’s life, I started a novel. I showed it to editor Mary Cash at Holiday House, along with stunning photographs of Marie in Arctic Greenland. With the photos in mind, Mary encouraged me to write a nonfiction book, The Snow Baby, published in 2007.

Years later I returned to the novel. It took on new life when I decided to switch perspectives, telling the story from Billy Bah’s, an Inuk girl’s, point of view.

I really enjoyed reading The Snow Baby. Can you tell us a little bit about your work writing both fiction and nonfiction, and how one approach may inform the other?

I’d published four novels before I wrote The Snow Baby, so I brought to that photo essay/biography the novelist’s ability to think in terms of drama and scenes. After eight years of publishing nonfiction books, I returned to fiction with Between Two Worlds. By this time, I’d learned to focus more on character development than historical research and, as a result, greatly improved my craft.

Between Two Worlds is based on a true story. What’s real and what’s made up? 

About 80 percent of the book is based on historical events. Sixteen-year-old Billy Bah joined the Peary family on his ship Windward, which became locked in ice for eight months in 1900-1901. Just about everything but the triangle love story and conversations with the ancestor-ghosts is historically based.

Tell us about the real Billy Bah. 

Billy Bah, also known as Eqariusaq, was born around 1884 in a remote coastal area of Arctic Greenland. When she was about eleven, she spent a year in Washington, D.C. with Peary’s family. She was both orphaned and married around age fourteen. Peary referred to her as his most expert seamstress. She sewed the fur coat that explorer Matthew Henson wore during the famed Peary expedition of 1909 to the North Pole.

The setting of 1901 Arctic Greenland plays a distinct and significant role in the novel. Also, you use a lot of Inuktun (Polar Eskimo) words in the book. Were these challenges for you, in terms of making Billy Bah’s story come alive for YA readers?

The key to historical fiction is to put the past into the present, to bring out universal themes that a modern-day audience can relate to such as the desire to belong or the need for independence. People have always shared many of the same core fears and desires. One common teenage dilemma is that at some point we must act under pressure and make difficult choices.

In earlier drafts, I used a lot of Inuktun words. My editor Wendy Lamb cut out most of them, smoothing out the prose, while skillfully leaving in hints of the native sounds. Wendy also had me tone down aspects of traditional Inuit life that modern readers might find off-putting. I downplayed the cultural norms of uncombed hair, unwashed bodies, head lice, and body lice.

We all struggle to maintain “balance” in our writing lives. Could you describe your typical writing day?

I block out about fifteen hours of morning time, Monday to Friday, for writing, and this time is for writing only. I’ll work in email before or after, and in between my family-related commitments, such as taking my two middle-school-age children to their music lessons. Though I don’t write in the evenings or on weekends, I’ll sometimes do work-related reading or editing.

What are you working on now?

My novel in progress is set in England and Egypt in 1922-1923, during the opening of King Tut’s tomb. Two years ago, I visited the book’s Egyptian settings. The highlight was flying over the Valley of the Kings in a hot air balloon. This past April, I visited my novel’s main British setting, Highclere Castle in Berkshire, outside of London. Highclere is now popular as the set for the hit British TV series “Downton Abbey.” I’ve been enjoying myself researching and writing, and I hope that spirit of fun and adventure will go into the book.

What was it like to have the great Madeleine L’Engle as a writing teacher?

Madeleine was the most extraordinary person I’ve ever known. Quite tall, regal, and magnificent in her long purple and blue dresses, she projected the same sense of wonder as her classic fantasy novel A Wrinkle in Time. Her expansive vision included a belief in angels, whom she was sure appeared regularly to all of us.

As a writing teacher she wasn’t what you would expect. Instead of talking about plot, character, or story structure, she preferred more abstract themes about the larger role of writing and art in our lives. Her belief about writing was that it’s an entry into the larger Cosmos. In the ten years I knew Madeleine, she taught me about the life of spirit and the value of community. To learn more about Madeleine, see A Circle of Friends: Remembering Madeleine L’Engle (http://www.katherinekirkpatrick.com/book_02.html ).

Thanks for visiting with us, Katherine!

Thanks for interviewing me, Susan!Image

Katherine Kirkpatrick is the author of seven fiction and nonfiction books, including The Snow Baby, a James Madison Book Award Honor Book and a Booklist Editors’ Choice and Top Ten Biography for Youth; and Mysterious Bones, a Golden Kite Honor Book for Nonfiction, a NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, a Washington State Book Award Finalist, and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. She lives in Seattle.