Hope in the Mail: Reflections on Writing and Life (Hardcover)
Part writing guide and part memoir, this inspiring book from the author of Flipped and The Running Dream is like Bird by Bird for YA readers and writers.
Wendelin Van Draanen didn't grow up wanting to be a writer, but thirty books later, she's convinced that writing saved her life. Or, at least, saved her from a life of bitterness and despair. Writing helped her sort out what she thought and felt and wanted. And digging deep into fictional characters helped her understand the real people in her life better as well.
Wendelin shares what she's learned--about writing, life, and what it takes to live the writing life. This book is packed with practical advice on the craft: about how to create characters and plot a story that's exciting to read. But maybe even more helpful is the insight she provides into the persistence, and perseverance, it takes to live a productive, creative life. And she answers the age-old question Where do you get your ideas? by revealing how events in her own life became the seeds of her best-loved novels.
Hope in the Mail is a wildly inspirational read for anyone with a story to share.
About the Author
Wendelin Van Draanen spent many years as a classroom teacher and is now a full-time writer. She is the author of many award-winning books, including the Sammy Keyes mysteries, Flipped, Swear to Howdy, Runaway, and Confessions of a Serial Kisser. Ms. Van Draanen lives with her husband, two sons, and two dogs in California. Her hobbies include the “three R’s”: reading, running, and rock ’n’ roll. Wendelin Van Draanen and her husband are also the founders of Exercise the Right to Read, a nationwide campaign designed to get kids reading and running and to help schools raise funds for their libraries. Ms. Van Draanen ran her first marathon when the campaign kicked off, and seeing athletes with disabilities running strong provided much of the inspiration for this book. To read more about Wendelin Van Draanen’s books, please visit WendelinVanDraanen.com, and to learn more about Exercise the Right to Read, visit ExercisetheRighttoRead.org.
"Van Draanen may not be the first to offer a writing guide for young people, but this book is one of the best. Will be of great benefit to newbie writers of any age." —Booklist, Starred Review
"Van Draanen's voice is charmingly no-nonsense, and the themes she explores are sure to benefit aspiring writers of many ages. Thoughtful and entertaining." —Kirkus Reviews
"Suitable for both teens and adults, her amusingly told path to publication may serve as a beacon of hope for some struggling writers, and her creative suggestions may prove useful to those looking to sharpen their writing abilities."—Publishers Weekly
"Van Draanen offers readers and future writers guidance, laughter, and depth in this lighthearted writing guide. Her storytelling abilities will inspire writers of all ages." —School Library Journal
"A pure delight! Only Wendelin Van Draanen can make the painful, awful, agonizing aspects of writing seem so joyfully manageable. Hope in the Mail is a toolbox and a source of renewable energy. If you're a writer, or a teacher of writers, you need this book." —Andrew Smith, author of Winger and Grasshopper Jungle
"Content is the king of writing, and it turns out Wendelin Van Draanen is the queen of finding it. Read her book, set some good writing habits, pick up your pen, and get going." —Jack Gantos, author of Dead End in Norvelt, Hole in My Life, and Writing Radar: Using Your Jornal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories
"Wendelin Van Draanen shares essential truths and very good advice for writers of all genres and levels of skill. This is a must-have for all writers." —Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of V-Wars and Broken Lands
A beautifully illustrated non-fiction book that is perfect for those kids who always ask "why?". A perfect book for teachers but also sweet enough to read every night as a bedtime story. The more often you read it, the better you will be at reading large numbers! Has a wonderfully accessible back matter page. - Jessica