A New GRACELING Audiobook, an Excerpt from SEASPARROW, and a Moment That Inspired Me

Hi all!

I’ll start with a reminder that I’m now doing events for Seasparrow, which releases on Tuesday, November 1. I’ll be at An Unlikely Story on Tuesday 11/1, I have an online event with Once Upon A Time on Wednesday 11/2, and I’ll be at Harvard Book Store on November 15. Please see my Events page for details.

Next, you can now read a short excerpt from Seasparrow! Thanks to Tor.com for making this possible. Read the excerpt here.

Another Seasparrow announcement: Fairyloot and Gollancz are doing a special signed Seasparrow edition, to match their signed editions of the earlier books. An exclusive cover, solid sprayed edges, patterned endpapers. Supplies are limited! Learn about the Fairyloot edition here.

A poster for the Seasparrow Fairyloot special edition, showing the Gollancz UK cover (a reddish-golden bird flying above an anchor, with ice at all four corners, on a black background) and golden edges.

Next, I’m pleased to announce that Graceling is being newly released in audio, read by Xanthe Elbrick, who narrates all the other Graceling Realm audiobooks in the US. I love the work Xanthe does bringing my worlds to life, so this is lovely news. The audiobook releases on January 10, 2023, and you can preorder it on your favorite digital audio retailer now!

Audiobook cover for Graceling, with art by Kuri Huang. Read by Xanthe Elbrick. A stylized woman holds a knife in a forest, in colors of green, blue, brown, and white.

Finally, I’ve been sharing some photos over on twitter from my artist residency with The Arctic Circle, an experience which directly influenced much of the setting of Seasparrow. For just over two weeks, we sailed on the tall ship Antigua through the Arctic Ocean around Svalbard. (Search my blog with the term “Arctic Circle” if you’d like to see lots of pictures.) In Seasparrow, Hava learns how to climb the mast, and finds it a frightening but also liberating experience. Here are a couple of photos of the research I did. John Hirsch took the first one (with the phone I shoved at him!), and Barbara Liles the second.

On the left, I stand on ropes in the rigging of a tall ship, wearing winter gear, while on the right, Captain Mario Czok climbs with me and gives me tips. An icy sea is behind us.

On the right, Captain Mario Czok gives me tips as I begin my first climb.

Here I am climbing on my own. My harness had two hooks, so I was always hooked in. Nonetheless, it was scary! The ship was moving, and it fell very high and cold.

That’s it for today. I suppose I’ll have to come back soon to share my Halloween costume :), but in the meantime, happy reading, and I hope I’ll see some of you at an event in the coming weeks!

SEASPARROW Events, a Preorder Gift, and a Peek at My Writing Notebooks

Hi all!

A note that if you’re not interested in tour events for Seasparrow or the preorder campaign but you are ARE interested in my writing process, scroll down past the two big, informative squares :). I share photos below of some of the tools I used to sustain my emotional mood while writing Seasparrow.

First, events. The release of Seasparrow is just around the corner — November 1 — and I have gatherings to share! I’m doing three local, in-person events and one virtual event. Everything’s listed below and you can get all the details at my Events page. (Please note that I’ll be signing books BEFORE my panel at the Boston Book Festival on October 29, NOT AFTER. I’ll add those details to my Events page as soon as I have them.) Please come join me and Hava!

Tour Schedule – SEASPARROW Boston Book Festival Saturday, October 29 3:15-4:15pm Power to Make You, Power to Break You (YA Fantasy) Kristin Cashore and Elizabeth Lim Moderator: Rory Power Event listing: https://bostonbookfest.org/2022-headliners-presenters/ Tuesday, November 1 7pm EST An Unlikely Story 111 South St Plainville, MA 02762 Event listing: https://www.anunlikelystory.com/cashore Wednesday, November 2 8pm ET / 5pm PT Once Upon a Time – virtual event Event listing: https://www.shoponceuponatime.com/event/seasparrow Tuesday, November 15th 7pm EST Harvard Book Store 1256 Massachusetts Ave Cambridge, MA 02138

 

Also, my US publisher, Penguin Random House, is running a preorder promotion for US readers. Readers in the US, preorder Seasparrow in any format, from any vendor, and register/upload your receipt here. Please hit @PenguinTeen at Twitter or Instagram with questions!

Announcement for a preorder gift for SEASPARROW: an enamel pin, with red text on a gold background, that says, "Love is hope for other people." Go to https://bit.ly/SeasparrowPreorder to enter.

 

Finally, I have some photos to share from my writing notebooks for Seasparrow. Before Seasparrow, I always wrote in large, college ruled, spiral-bound, hard-covered notebooks — always, for every book. But a couple things changed as I transitioned from writing Winterkeep to writing Seasparrow. One change is that my physical pain increased and I started to have more hand and finger problems. I started to need more forgiving pens. I taught myself to write with my nondominant hand and began using both hands alternately to write my books.

Another, unrelated change is that for whatever reason, the voice or mood of Seasparrow felt different to me from anything I’d done before. I knew the book was going to be told from Hava’s first person perspective, and for some reason, I found myself searching for notebooks that felt Hava-ish to me. She doesn’t keep a diary, but if she did, maybe she would like the notebooks I chose?

 

The picture below shows a sampling.

An array of notebooks, one showing three white rabbits carrying nets and collecting stars; another showing a woman surrounded by foxes; a third a fantastical scene of a woman whose hair looks like waves, with a ship and the tentacles of some creature on her head; another showing a butterfly, another showing flowers; another showing waves; another showing a bear holding an umbrella, flying a magic carpet.

 

The beautiful art shown in the two pictures below was created by Elise Hurst. You should definitely check out her website.

 

On October 23, 2018, I began the first serious first draft of Seasparrow on the page below.

 

Sometimes these notebooks gave me an opportunity to decide how Hava herself would fill in the boxes. 🙂

And inside page of a notebook with boxes for the writer to write their information. It says: NAME: Hava. DATE: winter. CONTACT INFO: The Monsea, Brumal Sea. FAVORITE BEACH: The Winterkeep coastline, as seen from an airship.

 

I also added stickers to my writing pages, as I’ve talked about before. The fox sticker below is the work of Kate at BearandFoxCo.

On a notebook page, a large sticker showing a painting of a red fox whose bottom half is composed of pine trees. My own scrawled writing is visible around the fox sticker.

 

On the page below, I lined up a series of stickers to look like a skyline.

At the bottom of a notebook page, a series of stickers showing the city skyline composed of many castles, with mice crawled writing above it.

 

And Katie Harmon at PinkPolish Design created the very Hava-ish sticker below.

At the bottom of a notebook page, on the left, a sticker showing a tall ship. On the right, a sticker showing a fantastical image of a woman who seems to have birds in her hair. Around these stickers, my scrawled writing is visible.

 

There’s a beauty and ease to filling your workday with images that feel like the writing you’re doing. Before I go, though, I’ll mention that there’s a hazard that goes along with it — namely, that when you read your own writing to assess whether it has the emotional impact you mean it to have, your judgment is clouded by the emotional impact created by the art around you! It’s the same with listening to music while you write, which is something many writers do effectively. It’s great if it works for you, but you need to make sure that when you read your own writing, you’re assessing its impact and its impact alone — not merely being swayed by the music you’re listening to. Use the tools that help you get through the hard work of creation, but don’t forget that the reader will be reading your words, and your words only. Your words must carry the book.

And that’s my news for today. I hope to see some of you out in the world for the release of Seasparrow! Happy reading, everyone.

Welcome to My New Website

Hi everyone. Today, I’m so very pleased to introduce my new website. It was made by Jenny Medford at Websy Daisy, whom I recommend enthusiastically. On my end, everything was straightforward and easy; Jenny was patient, responsive, and imaginative; the parts of website-building that were beyond my abilities were magically lifted from my plate; I was delighted with her design instincts. And here it is! I hope you enjoy looking around! (If you’re receiving this as an email, please do click through and have a look.)

The paper collage art was created by me. Though it wasn’t my goal to represent characters or objects from my own books exactly, it was my goal to invoke my book worlds generally, so, if you’re familiar with my books, you may see objects or characters that ring a bell. If you see objects that don’t ring a bell, it might be because I wasn’t just working with my published books here. I was keeping my future books in mind. So some of these collages are teasers for books that will come out in time.

In terms of blogging, you may have noticed that I’ve dropped off recently. This is partly because during the pandemic, I’ve needed to simplify my life and my responsibilities a bit, for survival (I’m guessing you understand). It’s also partly because given the challenges we’re facing these days with the state of our democracy and basic human rights, I often find I don’t have anything useful to say in blog form. I feel like my most useful contributions to the conversation will be my books. So I’ve been focusing intensely on my books.

Despite breaks from blogging, I do intend to continue my series on the craft of writing, make announcements, and blog on random topics sometimes! I’ll close with a few photos from the process of making one of my collages.

I had the idea to make a picture of raptor monsters flying out of my book Fire. (You can see it on my Books page.) So, first, I opened up my Fire hardcover, and took a couple of photos. This one below for the left side of the page,

A photo of my book Fire in hardcover, held in my hand, open to pages 68-69.

And the one below for the right.

A photo of my book Fire in hardcover, held in my hand, open to pages 354-355.

I printed them, cut them out and shaped them, glued them together, cut a box out of the right side, and added page-looking edges from a picture in a magazine I found somewhere. Note (below) that on the left edge I had to scrabble together some pieces, because I didn’t have a piece big enough to cover that whole edge. I knew at this point that one of the raptor monsters flying out of the book would have to cover that patched spot on the left.

A photo of the beginnings of a collage held in my hand, showing pieces cut out of the previous two photos and glued. It looks like an open book, with a page of Fire on the left (page 68), and a page with a big empty box cut out of it on the right.

I added a few more things and then sent the following photo to my sisters, who told me they couldn’t believe it was flat.

Held in my hand, a flat paper object that looks very much like a three-dimensional open book. The left side is page 68 of Fire, the right side shows an illustration of a mountain peak, winter trees, and a blue and lavender sky. The book has a red cover showing at the edges.

So I sent them the following photo next.

A photo of the 3D-looking book described in the previous image, shown sitting flat on a desk.

At this point, I started making little birds and playing with where they should go and how they should look. I cut out, glued, and ended up rejecting a lot of birds!

Lying on my desk, my 3D-looking book collage, now with three different collaged birds of various yellows, golds, and pinks, positioned randomly. Behind it on the desk, my own pencil sketches.

But in time, I got to the look I wanted. The finished collage is below.

The finished collage. An open book with writing on the left side, and, on the right side, an illustration of a mountain scene. Three colorful birds are flying out of the mountain scene and out of the book. On the right, the birds are purple and fuchsia. The bird on the left is shades of yellow, green, and red.

When I was done, I had a little moment of serendipity. I hadn’t been paying much attention to the page of Fire I was working with, beyond knowing it involved mountains and raptor monsters. I hadn’t bothered to check how many raptor monsters, or what color they were. Imagine my delight when I read the actual page and saw the words, “Three raptors, two shades of fuchsia and violet and one apple-green.” Will you believe me when I say that this was an accident? I was looking for the numbers and colors that worked best with my background, nothing more. These types of serendipitous accidents happen in writing sometimes too. It’s one of the small delights of the process.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my explanation of how one of my collages was made — and I hope you’ll enjoy my new website! Welcome.

Announcing SEASPARROW, Graceling Realm Book #5, out November 1, 2022!

I’m so very happy to announce that my next Graceling Realm book, Seasparrow, will release on November 1, 2022. Scroll down for my beautiful covers in the US and the UK! I’ll also include links for pre-ordering at the bottom of this post.

Seasparrow is told from the point of view of Hava, Queen Bitterblue’s secret sister and spy, who has the Grace of changing what you think you see when you look at her. In other words, the Grace of hiding in plain sight. In Seasparrow, Hava sails across the sea toward Monsea with her sister, the royal entourage, and the world’s only copies of the formulas for the zilfium weapon Hava saved at the end of Winterkeep. As in all of my books, adventure ensues — the kind of adventure that will cause Hava to do some soul-searching. While Bitterblue grapples with how to carry the responsibility of a weapon that will change the world, Hava has a few mysteries to solve — and a decision to make about who she wants to be in the new world Bitterblue will build. Seasparrow was edited by Andrew Karre. Thank you, Andrew, for helping me help Hava find her wings!

Prior to today, I’ve only been talking about this book on Twitter, where I don’t have a lot of space to say meaningful things. I have space on this blog, so here are a few non-spoilery bits of info about Seasparrow.

* Unlike my other Graceling Realm books, this one is told from the first-person point of view. Why? Because it was right for this book. Hava is a character who’s so internal that often other people don’t even know she’s there. I suppose I can’t entirely explain why, when I started writing, I knew I needed to write in first person, but maybe it’s because in order to write about Hava, I needed to get deep inside, where she was. I don’t think I’ve ever written a book from the perspective of someone so hidden before. And yet, from the start, Hava let me in. It felt like she was the one making the decision about what point of view we needed.

* Though the page count is higher (624!), the word count is not higher than any of my other Graceling Realm books. That’s because Hava’s story is told in a lot of pretty short chapters. That felt right for Hava and the way she processes things; again, it felt like she was the one making this decision. Short chapters have a way of creating a sense of empty space inside a printed book, which is an effect I’ve always liked, so I went with it.

* The interior art that Ian Schoenherr created for Seasparrow is spectacular. Maybe more than any of my books prior to this, I’m excited for the day when I’ll have the finished product in my hands.

* Four years ago, I spent some time in the Arctic on a tall ship. I planned this book while I was on that trip. I started writing it the moment I got back. I could not have written this book were it not for my experience doing an artist residency with the organization The Arctic Circle. If you’d like to see some of the photos from my Arctic experience, search for “Arctic Circle” in the search engine.

And now for the covers! Here’s the US/Canada cover for Seasparrow, which will be published by Dutton/Penguin Random House. Kuri Huang is the cover artist. Jessica Jenkins is the cover designer. And as I’ve already said, the interior will include beautiful art by Ian Schoenherr.

 

And here is the UK/Australia/New Zealand cover for Seasparrow. My editor at Gollancz is Gillian Redfearn. Micaela Alcaino is the cover artist and Tomás Almeida is the in-house designer.

 

 

Finally, here are some direct pre-ordering links! Seasparrow can be ordered in the US at:

Bookshop.org

barnesandnoble.com

Target

Amazon

 

And in the UK at:

UK.Bookshop.org

Waterstones

Blackwells

 

…and wherever books are sold.

 

Happy holiday weekend for those celebrating. And happy reading!

New Year’s Reflections

Just after the New Year, I spent some time in Vermont.

View of a snowy field and mountains through a frost-covered window.

I go to Vermont to write, but ever since the start of the pandemic, I also go there for some clarity of thought. Sometimes it’s easier to figure out how you’re doing if you can get some distance from everything. Where I go, I have no cell service, internet, or email. I keep my fingers crossed that when I arrive, I won’t discover frozen pipes. I haul a lot of wood (so much wood! Wood is heavy!). I start a fire in the stove and hole up for a while, blessed with the great good fortune to be allowed to turn briefly into a hermit.

Occasionally I’m able to talk to Kevin on the phone, and our conversations go something like this: Hi! How have you been? Could you please tell me the names of Henry VIII’s wives in order and also which ones were executed?

Because, again, I have no internet. So I keep a running list of all the things I’ve been wondering. And when you’re listening to the audiobook of Wolf Hall while staring out the window,

 

Glorious orange sunrise over a rolling range of mountains.

 

sometimes you realize you want some spoilers. (The answer, if you’re interested: (1) Catherine of Aragon. (2) Anne Boleyn, beheaded. (3) Jane Seymour. (4) Anne of Cleves. (5) Catherine Howard, beheaded. (6) Catherine Parr.)

So anyway, I went to Vermont at the New Year. In previous years, I’ve loved the New Year. It’s been a time of reflection and planning for me, a time to find balance and reconsider my intentions. Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve lost that New Year ritual to a certain extent, because time and its passage have gotten quite confusing. It doesn’t seem possible, for example, that Winterkeep was released in 2021. Wasn’t that eons ago? But also, I finalized a new book in 2021 (more on that, as soon as I’m allowed to say more) and am more than halfway through writing a new one, plus I have three other ideas begging to be written. How is that possible? Hasn’t it been only a year? Didn’t time used to be less springy than this? How old am I anyway? Did winter always used to make me this emotional? Why did I used to dislike my gray hair and now I love it? Why did I ever, EVER, put up with itchy tags in my clothes before now? Have my hands always been this cold? When will I see my friends’ faces again?

It’s really hard to sum up my last year and make plans for the next. I’m thinking in mushy blobs of time, rather than weeks, months, or years. But I am still hoping and planning.

Here are three plans I have for the nearish future:

1. I will finish a draft of a new, contemporary book that I’m currently loving writing. (I actually think this will happen this spring!)

2. I will unveil a website. Finally, after more than a decade, I’ve hired someone to build me a website! I’m having so, so much fun making my own art for it. I think this will get sorted this summer.

3. I will make some strides in a project currently occupying me and some other family members: dual USA-Italian citizenship.

These are my plans. Of course, every new piece of news and frankly the world in general can gum up the works pretty easily these days. So, we’ll see how everything goes. I’m trying to learn flexibility.

I hope you’re able to find some flexibility too, and also some clarity of thought, as we move through the New Year.

 

A vibrant purple, pink, and gold sunrise over a range of mountains, with a field of snow in the foreground.

 

Upcoming Online Events with Gareth Hinds for the GRACELING Graphic Novel!

Hi again folks. Just announcing some upcoming events for the release of Gareth Hinds‘ graphic novel adaptation of Graceling:

Tuesday, November 16, 7pm – East City Books, online, Gareth Hinds and Kristin Cashore in conversation.

Friday, November 19, 7pm – Oblong Books, online, Gareth Hinds and Kristin Cashore in conversation.

Saturday, November 20, 3pm – Books of Wonder, online, Gareth Hinds, Makiia Lucier (Year of the Reaper), and Kristin Cashore in conversation.

Saturday, November 27, 6pm – An Unlikely Story, Plainville MA — this event is in-person + Facebook and is just Gareth — I will not be there — but that means Gareth will do more drawing and process stuff!

You can pre-order signed copies now from any of those stores. Follow the links to order books or sign up for the events. Hope to see you there!

 


 

How to Buy Signed/Personalized Copies of My Books

Hi everyone! Just checking in with a nice announcement: I am once again signing/personalizing books via my local indie, Harvard Book Store

I no longer live around the corner from the store, so I expect to go in for signing and personalizing only about once a month or so — so please order ahead if you anticipate wanting something! Once I have more info about holiday deadlines, I’ll come back and blog about that. In the meantime, feel free to go ahead and start ordering. Here is the link: https://shop.harvard.com/kristin-cashore-signed-copies

Notice the instructions at the top: When checking out, indicate in the comments field that you would like a signed copy. Include any personalization you’d like as well. I’m happy to honor requests to wish someone a happy birthday, good luck with their writing, etc., but please do note that if you ask me to write something I’m not comfortable signing my name to (!), I won’t honor those requests. (Yes, I’ve occasionally been asked to write some head-scratchers…) 😂

Hope everybody is doing well. I’ll be back very soon with info about upcoming online events for Gareth Hinds’ graphic novel adaptation of Graceling, which releases on November 16! And now I’ll send you off with a picture from today, in Mount Auburn Cemetery.

Trees with red, orange, yellow, and green leaves in Mount Auburn Cemetery.

Tiny Quick Update

Hi everyone,

I’m deep into revising the next Graceling Realm book (starring Hava), which is why I haven’t been here on the blog. It’s also why over on Twitter, mostly I’ve just been tweeting pictures of candles. I am Very Absorbed. Also, we moved to a new apartment last month. Also life. Also the pandemic and self-care. I hope you’re doing well.

Gareth Hinds’s adaptation of the Graceling graphic novel comes out in November! He’s been tweeting some lovely stuff on Twitter, and Graceling: the Graphic Novel is now available for pre-order wherever books are sold. Including at your local indie.

I’ll be back when there’s more news and/or when I have a minute for blogging, whichever comes first.  Until then, leaving you with a few of my recent candles…

 

Yellow beeswax candle, spherical, with vine-like designs on the outside.

Small turtle-shaped yellow beeswax candle on my writing desk.

White soy candle, cubic, with a hive-patterned surface, the variegated surface illuminated by the flame inside.

These Texas Organizations Need Our Support

Here are a few organizations that need our support right now: 

Fund Texas Choice. A nonprofit organization funding abortion travel for people in Texas. 

Frontera Fund. Making abortion accessible for people in the Rio Grande Valley. 

Clinic Access Support Network. Providing transportation, lodging, emotional support, and more to those seeking abortion care in Houston, TX. 

Bridge Collective. A full spectrum doula collective, nonprofit organization based in Austin, TX. 

The Afiya Center. An advocacy organization based in Dallas, TX, dedicated to transforming the lives of Black womxn and girls through reproductive justice. 

Texas Equal Access Fund. Providing financial and emotional support to people seeking abortion care in the north, east, and panhandle regions of Texas. 

Lilith Fund. Financial assistance, emotional support, and building community spaces for people who need abortions in Texas — unapologetically, with compassion and conviction. 

West Fund. Working to make abortions accessible and affordable to people in West Texas. 

Thank you to the folks at @FundTexasChoice who helped me compile this list.