Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Not an April Fool
It's Publication Day for EXODUS in the USA. A bit of a worrying date! So I did a quick check on Amazon.com but it's definitely there.
It's been a long journey for Exodus to reach the USA. When it was first published in 2002, America was, understandably, caught up in the aftermath of September 11th. A novel about a flooded world was just the wrong book at the wrong time, though it was going down a storm here, published as it was during a summer of mass floods in Asia, Europe and the UK. My home city, Glasgow, which I'd envisioned engulfed by floods in the year 2100 had cars floating down the streets that monsoon summer.... I felt like a prophet of doom.
Now, it's been published in many countries and America has suffered its own catastrophic floods too. So for all the wrong, sad reasons this feels like the right time for the book there. The responses so far have been amazing. But it's early days. Books provoke all kinds of reactions, so we'll see....
But so far so good. The ALA (American Library Association) BOOKLIST made Exodus a front page feature, which was wonderful. See Love Among The Ruins Booklist feature and review.
Another review from Jen Robinson's fantastic site - a small universe of books in one blog, and, oops, I've managed to lose the links for the other nice ones, like the US School Library Journal. Obviously I won't put them all up but publishing a book is as scary as it is exciting. Anyone can strangle your baby, so to speak, so it's great when people welcome it to the world. Most of all, I've been overwhelmed by the passion of young readers - their emails and debates are furiously passionate, obsessional, inspiring!
If you are a reading group, a teacher or librarian and want to get the debate going, Walker have published a wonderful reading guide for the US publication, downloadable here.
Facts and reality are often too overwhelming. Humans have always needed stories. I think of stories as a map, torch and compass to take on the journey through life. Maybe that's why Mara's journey, and the other young characters in Exodus and Zenith, have such resonance for young people (and a lot of older ones too) who are wondering and worrying about the future. It's such a vast, exciting and scary unknown. But an epic adventure with characters you love - well, all I can say is I loved writing it, even when it's bending my brain!
And it's currently bent in three 3 different directions: remembering what I wrote in Exodus for a US interview, doing events on the new paperback of Zenith (the 2nd book), and writing Aurora.
Today, as Exodus starts a new journey, I decided to do something special. I'm writing the ending of AURORA, the last book in the trilogy. (Though there's a gaping big bit in the middle still to be written...) Writing with goosebumps, a racing heart. And a big box of tissues.