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.

20 comments:

Jen Robinson said...

Congratulations on US publication day, Julie! I'm glad that you found my review. I'm certain that Exodus will be well-received by US audiences. And I look forward to reading Zenith, and, eventually, Aurora. Enjoy the day!

JULIE BERTAGNA said...

Cheers, Jen! Thanks so much for your kind wishes - much appreciated.

Someone directed me to your site, having spotted your review of Exodus, and I'm so glad they did - it's wonderful, a real treasure trove. It must take a huge amount of reading and effort on your part, but people obviously love it!

bookwitch said...

That'll be the witch in me who started me on Exodus right now.

Jen Robinson said...

Hi Julie,

I don't think of the work that I do for my blog as effort - it's how I would spend most of my time, if I didn't have pesky other things like a "real" job. Reading kids and YA books, and talking with people about them ... it's a gift to be able to do both.

Cheers!

JULIE BERTAGNA said...

bookwitch, that IS impressive - your witchiness just knew. What else do you foresee?

Jen, I just clicked through to your site - we seem to be in a very pleasant blogosphere loop! (As with bookwitch above. You two really should meet. May I introduce you?).

Many thanks, Jen, for that fantastic post today.

Well, daughter has made fruit muffins, husband has just handed me a glass of champagne (it's 8pm here). Lots of kind messages coming through in the email and here.

Am having a very nice publication day ; )

Jen Robinson said...

Julie, I would love to be introduced to the Book Witch. I've actually been reading her blog for a while now.

Glad that your publication day is going so well. I love a good champagne occasion. And I love this kidlitblogosphere that lets us connect despite many miles and a lot of ocean in between.

JULIE BERTAGNA said...

Jen, it's fantastic, isn't it? A few years ago we would never have known each other existed. And it's fun.

bookwitch has witchy feelings about things so I'm sure she'll soon pick up the vibes on the blogosphere if I say:

Jen, please let me introduce the bookwitch. And bookwitch, may I introduce you to Jen. It's surely a blogospheric meeting of kindred spirits!

Jen Robinson said...

Pleasure to meet you, bookwitch. I'm sure that we are kindred spirits.

bookwitch said...

The Anne Shirley kind?

I have been round to yours before, Jen, and I think you must have linked to or mentioned me a while ago. I know, because I got excited about where you were, until I realised I'd got my place names mixed up. (Nothing wrong with your place, I'm sure.)

I'll bookmark your site, so I won't lose it.

What I don't know is where my husband's USB thingy is. The one I thought of as being at risk of going missing about three days before it did. I just knew...

Jen Robinson said...

Is there any other kind of kindred spirit than the Anne Shirley kind, Bookwitch? I don't think so. You know know, if Anne could have conceived of kindred spirits via blog. Good luck with the USB key.

Kaylyn said...

Wow. I just picked up the book today while in Borders. I looked at the original publication date, but didn't go farther than that. I had no clue we (we being the US) got it only 6 days before. That's just weird for me to pick something up this early on.

Well, here's wishing you a success in the US!

And, even though I'm only on page 66, I'm really enjoying Exodus!

-Kaylyn

JULIE BERTAGNA said...

You must be one of the very first US readers, Kaylyn - that's great. Hope you enjoy it! Let me know....

Kaylyn said...

Alright, just finished reading it about 10 minutes ago. I stayed up until around 1:30 or 2 in the morning reading when I'd actually got into bed around 11:30. I only put it down when I could barley keep my eyes from closing.

Amazing. I really enjoyed it, and loved what Mara said at the very end. That was the thing that probably stuck out the most for me.

I'll definantly be watching for Zenith to make it to the US.

-Kaylyn

JULIE BERTAGNA said...

I never expected you would let me know as quick as that, Kaylyn! That's wonderful. I just hope I'm not responsible for making you completely exhausted today...

ZENITH will be out next spring in the US. In fact, tomorrow I will be tweaking the proofs for the US edition (making sure there's nothing too confusingly British, spellings like 'colour' and 'grey' and all sorts of odd and interesting things we say differently). And then it will be off to get a new US cover...

That's a lovely message, Kaylyn, thank you. You have inspired me to do another shift on the laptop tonight, writing some more of AURORA (the final book in the trilogy.) I'm at a particularly heartbreaking bit.

Thanks for the helpful inspiration : )

bookwitch said...

They read fast over there! I took several days.

Aurora; we don't want too much heartbreaking, please.

JULIE BERTAGNA said...

Well, I took several years to write it!

Not too much heartbreak; just the right amount. I promise.

Just realised Exodus has been bookwitched over at your place. So glad you liked it. Would have been very worrying if the bookwitch had cast a bad spell upon it. Who knows what might have happened then?

kaylyn said...

Well, it more or so depends on the person, I for one, eat up books. It's insane how fast I go through them.

I also lent Exodus to my freind for this weekend, so hopefully she likes it.

And what's the Shelfari thing on the right of this blog?

JULIE BERTAGNA said...

Hi Kaylyn, the Shelfari thing is a 'widget' - a blog gadget. It's a virtual bookshelf that shows what you are reading and what you think about the books (I haven't done that yet). You can use it to chat and network about the books you are reading. if you click in the Shelfari label it takes you through to the main site.

Nice of you to lend out Exodus - hope your friend likes it.

Varshini said...

Oh WOW! Hi! Julie? Have you finished Aurora? If not, Best of Luck! I really can not wait! I'm getting rather nervous with your talk of tissues and heartbreak!

JULIE BERTAGNA said...

Sorry it took ages to put your comment up, Varshini - it seems to have got lost in the ether somewhere, I don't know why!

I'm nervous too!

(But in a good way, I promise.)