Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Elizabeth Wein

Elizabeth Wein has lived in Scotland for over ten years and wrote nearly all her novels there. Her first five books for young adults are set in Arthurian Britain and sixth century Ethiopia. The most recent of these form the sequence The Mark of Solomon, published in two parts as The Lion Hunter (2007) and The Empty Kingdom (2008). The Lion Hunter was short-listed for the Andre Norton Award for Best Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction in 2008. Wein also writes short stories.

Her latest novel for teens is a departure in a totally new direction. Code Name Verity is a World War II thriller in which two young girls, one a Resistance spy and the other a transport pilot, become unlikely best friends.

Last month I asked the author what she was reading.  Her reply:
What is Elizabeth Wein Reading?

It would almost be easier to answer, What isn’t she reading?

I am in the middle of, I swear, 42 books. OK, maybe not 42. But I seem to pick up books and put them down and then wander into the next room and pick up two other books and put them down and never finish any of them. We recently bought a Kindle for very cheap, kind of to experiment as to whether or not we’d actually use it. My problem with the Kindle is that I forget what I’m reading on it if it doesn’t appear on the screen when I turn it on. Currently I’m in the middle of the Kindle version of the following random novels:

Ride for Rights by Tara Chevrestt
The Spies of Warsaw by Alan Furst
Tamar by Mal Peet
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (ok, maybe not such a random list. It is heavy on World War II related spy stories, since I still haven’t entirely recovered from writing Code Name Verity).

I will happily pick up any of these Kindle books and read for half an hour, but I have so much other stuff distracting me at the moment that I’m finding it hard to focus on any of them. Maybe I should narrow it down to one book and stick with it! The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green also await me on the Kindle if I ever finish the others.

Sitting open-spined on my coffee table, actually piled on top of each other, are physical paper copies of Terms of Endearment by Larry McMurtry and The FitzOsbornes in Exile by Michelle Cooper (another vaguely World War II related spy story, go figure!). I romped through the first half of the Cooper, put it down, piled the McMurtry on top of it, and promptly forgot about it. I don’t know what’s wrong with my reading brain.

And that’s just the fiction. I’m also working on half a dozen non-fiction titles associated with the new World War II novel I’m writing, which is partially set in the Ravensbrück women’s concentration camp. As you can imagine, this is not light going. Maybe the reason I’m finding it so difficult to get absorbed in fiction at the moment is because I’m having to work harder than usual at portraying my own fictional world.
Visit Elizabeth Wein's website and blog.

Writers Read: Elizabeth Wein (January 2008).

--Marshal Zeringue