By willalex

Uncanny & Unbroken

Last year I wrote two short stories for disability-themed collections: Uncanny Magazine #24: Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction and Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens.

The first is online as of today. It’s about an eighth grade field trip to a castle reconstructed in a very inconvenient location. I wrote it while listening to NASA’s Golden Record, and the more I learn about that project the more I adore its optimism. NASA cut an album and then dropped it into the void.

The great Erika Ensign read the story for the podcast, after which I am interviewed by the equally great Haddayr Copley-Woods. 

Unbroken will be in bookstores as of September 18th. It has earned many rave reviews. 

My contribution, “Found Objects,” is about theatrical magic. It’s been a long time since I wrote about theatrical magic, and I’ve missed it. 

This particular story is also my first piece of published YA fiction. I get to be a YA author now. Most people assumed that I was one already, because few know what “middle grade” means, but now the assumption is actually true. 

Neither story is thinly veiled autobiography, by the way. I wasn’t yet disabled in eighth grade, or in high school. Both are #ownvoices, though, and therefore frightening to write. 

I hope you like them, and I hope you also read the astonishing work that they get to share pages with. 

The Festival Will Now Begin

“Ingot used to be the least haunted place in the world.
Now it might well be the most haunted place.”
– Athena Díaz, appeasement specialist librarian (and Rosa’s mom)

Now I must wear the large, feathered, resplendent, and attention-seeking hat of self-promition.

A Festival of Ghosts (the sequel to A Properly Unhaunted Place) is in bookstores as of today! Reviewers have said wonderful things so far:

“Alexander takes readers back to a contemporary world where ghostly haunts are part of daily life and librarians are specialists in appeasing the restless dead in this sequel to A Properly Unhaunted Place… While the first book in the series grappled with the consequences of grief avoidance, this addition turns outward, to the pain of remembering societal stories. Though not all history is pleasant, it all demands, quite forcefully, to be memorialized in some way in the town of Ingot. If mirrors are liminal spaces, perhaps this through-the-looking-glass world endeavors to shine its mirror on our contemporary struggles to honor and grieve the gray-hued past.”
Kirkus

“Readers looking to continue with the adventures of Rosa and Jasper will be delighted with new supernatural dilemmas and dark twists.”
School Library Journal

“Jasper effortlessly understands the living, perfectly balancing the pragmatic and capable Rosa, who feels a kinship with the dead. And Alexander’s message—that acceptance and empathy, not building walls, is the answer—will resonate.”
Publisher’s Weekly

“There are some wonderful touches in Alexander’s follow-up to A Properly Unhaunted Place… Will Rosa and Jasper be able to puzzle out what connects all the ghostly action? Fans of the National Book Award–winning Alexander’s intricately plotted adventures will definitely want to find out.”
Booklist

Signed and personalized copies can be ordered from Bear Pond Books. Library requests are also wonderful, and shape many things in the book world. If you make such requests and orders then my gratitude will haunt you forever… but in a good way? Probably. Hopefully. Gratitude doesn’t usually throw things the way poltergeists do.

*removes the feathered hat of self-promition*

A Love Letter from the Theater

Goblin Secrets is going to be a play.

The great Wyckham Avery has spent years tinkering with an adaptation. This summer they workshopped the script with a full cast of young actors as part of the Greenhouse Incubator Series at Andy’s Summer Playhouse. Last weekend they staged a reading. I was there, and I was overwhelmed.

The novel is my love letter to theater itself.

This adaptation feels like an answering letter.

Here’s a picture of the chairs and ever-useful stage cubes right before the reading. I’m not posting any pix of the actors themselves, because they are kids and one should not post pictures of other people’s kids on the internet. You’ll just have to imagine child-actors transforming into goblins and stacking these very cubes in many artful ways.

Next year they will put on a full and complete production with lights and costumes and masks. SO MANY MASKS.

I like masks.

The guiding ethic of Andy’s Summer Playhouse is “an unrelenting faith in the integrity, dignity, and importance of children and their point of view.” I approve. If you are currently somewhere near southern New Hampshire, please check out their current season.

If you come to the Playhouse next summer, then I’ll see you at the show.

Festive Cover Reveal & Contest Results

Today is Halloween. In the U.S. that means carving pumpkins into candlelit sanctuaries for wandering ghosts. After that we will dress up as monsters in order to be safe from other monsters.

I haven’t picked out my own costume yet. It will probably be some sort of fox mask. I have several of those.

Meanwhile, I also have a seasonal book cover to reveal…

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