- to win an autographed copy of Guest TeachingAuthor Karen Schreck’s newest YA novel, While He Was Away (Sourcebooks Fire), you must enter by 11 p.m. Monday, May 14, 2012 (Central Standard Time). Read my interview with Karen for all the details; and
- for our TeachingAuthors Third Blogiversary Giveaway Contest prize of one of THREE $30 gift certificates to Biblio.com (where you can purchase new and used books from independent booksellers around the world, often with free shipping!) you must enter by 11 pm (CST) Monday, May 21, 2012. See April's post for more information.
Here's a description of the book from the official Between Shades of Gray website:
In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina is preparing for art school, first dates, and all that summer has to offer. But one night, the Soviet secret police barge violently into her home, deporting her along with her mother and younger brother. They are being sent to Siberia. Lina's father has been separated from the family and sentenced to death in a prison camp. All is lost.
Lina fights for her life, fearless, vowing that if she survives she will honor her family, and the thousands like hers, by documenting their experience in her art and writing. She risks everything to use her art as messages, hoping they will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive.
It is a long and harrowing journey, and it is only their incredible strength, love, and hope that pull Lina and her family through each day. But will love be enough to keep them alive?
I met Ruta Sepetys a few weeks ago when she visited the Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville to celebrate the paperback release of Between Shades of Gray. She spoke then about the connections between her own family history and her novel. Her words reminded me of stories my mother told of her childhood in Italy, when German troops occupied her small mountain village. And that leads me to today's Writing Workout.
Researching Our Family Stories
Are there stories your relatives have told that could make interesting seeds for a story? Did any of them live through unusual or difficult circumstances, such as war, economic hardship, or natural disaster? Don't know? Then ask! Schedule time to sit down with a family member and really listen to his or her stories. Take notes. Then write a short story that captures part of his or her experience. If you need some inspiration for how powerful this process can be, go to the official Between Shades of Gray website and watch the video about how Ruta Sepetys researched her novel. And for another Writing Workout about writing family stories, see this post by April.