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Abáloc-- and this and my other worlds...

"Mythical beings out of the past..."

After the storm, lost at sea...

"Mythical beings..." Not very long after my rediscovery of E. Nesbit, I began reading up on fairy-survival tales. In Britain medieval fairy beliefs had survived through Elizabethan times, and in some rural areas on to the edge of the twentieth century. In one old book I came across and made a note of a report by a long-ago antiquarian of an old Welsh farmer’s account. He had seen one night a long torchlit cavalcade of the Fair Folk leaving the land of men forever, riding across the hillsides and down to the River Conwy. It was there that they took to boats and traveled north to  Read More 

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The Accidental Fantasist

That "book I had been looking for since fifth grade," I mentioned at the end of my last post? Here's that story...

I had a taste for fairy tales as a child, but “fantasy”—except for the OZ books and a few others—was in short supply in America in those days, so I had to sigh and make do with whatever else came to hand. Being a greedy reader, I simply devoured my way along my parents’ and grandparents’ bookshelves. Our Curry grandparents had “sets” of books, most of them soberly unfantastic: all of Nathaniel Hawthorne, all of Dickens, Carlyle, The Letters of the Presidents, George Eliot and assorted other worthies of the nineteenth century. So, even though much of it sailed right over my head, I read them all and—the mind reels—I read evenThe Letters of the Presidents, of which there must have been eight or ten volumes. (I can only hope that I skipped like mad.) Fortunately,  Read More 

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"Um... That Must be Nice for You."

Back when I wrote Beneath the Hill, the first of the Abáloc books, fantasy and fairy tales were still looked on with a lingering mistrust by not a few psychologists and educators in America. The U.K. had a long tradition of fantasy written by well-known literary figures and academics from Lewis Carroll to J.R.R.Tolkein. Not so, here. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its sequels were pretty much it for children from 1900 to mid-century, but even before 1950 there were rumblings from beneath the floorboards, where science fiction and fantasy were enjoying The Golden Age of the Pulps. And treasures from the Scots and Brits did lurk in our bookshops and libraries. Then, in 1954, American Edward Eager came out with Half Magic, Madeleine L'Engle with A Wrinkle in Time in 1963, dear Lloyd Alexander with The Book of Three in 1964, and in 1967 still more, including my Beneath the Hill . We were off and away!  Read More 

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On Setting Sail in a Blog...

I take this dive into blogdom in spite of a certain reluctance/impatience/resentment. I love writing, the thinking-about, the planning, the genuine sensual pleasure of writing in longhand, all of it (except the endless retyping). But until lately those have been private pleasures made only more pleasurable by the welcome shift to computers for revising and polishing. A good two-thirds of the 30-plus books I've written for children and young adults-- mostly fantasy-- have been planned and crafted and then, all strings cut, sent out into the world with a nice mixture of pride and trepidation. In those days it was wave It goodbye, call out "Send a check, dear!" and close the door—then, after celebrating, to trot back to the desk to begin plotting the next harrowing trip through time. Or the next fraud detected by determined kids. Or the tale of a Stone of Power being turned to evil purposes. Well, no longer. Not in this century! Now you have to let the next book slide while you buy or build the dear just-published Thing a website, then hold Its hand and toddle out into the world with It, doing the round-and-rounds of social media. And blog about It while the Next Book sits on the back burner and mutters and twiddles its thumbs…

Hence this blog. However. Knowing myself quite well, I have given it a more skittery title than Jane’s Book Blog, for I suspect that it will end up being all over the map. After all, if I’m going to do it, I might as well have fun! Read More 

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