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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 was a classroom teacher for many years before turning to writing full-time. Her first Sammy Keyes mystery, Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief, won the coveted Edgar Award. She is also the author of many beloved stand-alone novels, including Flipped, The Running Dream, Wild Bird, and The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones. She lives in Central California with her husband. You can read more about her work online at WendelinVanDraanen.com or follow her on Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram at @WendelinVanD--or on Facebook: @SammyKeyesBooks.
"Van Draanen may not be the first to offer a writing guide for young people, but this book is one of the best." —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
"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
Could there be a better young adult historical fiction storyteller than Stacey Lee? The Downstairs Girl rings with honesty about the plight of Jo Kwan, living in Atlanta in 1890 in an abandoned basement below an unsuspecting family that runs one of the town's newspapers. Jo becomes the unseen advice columnist "Dear Miss Sweetie" as she uses her considerable wit to answer letters - all the while working as a maid to a privileged and cruel teen. Romance, racial inequities and family squabbles all result in Lee's outstanding development into a glimpse of Atlanta's storied genteelness. This is a sure winner! - Maureen