The Wrinkled Crown–advance copies arrive!

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 6.52.39 PMIt has been a busy week at work, a busy week at home–busy! So at first I didn’t pay much attention to the battered, taped-together package that one of my kids had hauled inside from where the postman had left it. But then I turned it over and saw a tattered address label: HarperCollins!

Good things come in HarperCollins packages. In this case, VERY good things: the first advance copies of THE WRINKLED CROWN!


I love the cover, and I love this story, and I can’t wait until you meet Linny and the Half-Cat!

“Up in the magical, wrinkled hills, Linny breaks an ancient law. No matter how musical a girl may be, she must not so much as touch a string of a lourka before she turns twelve, or she’ll be spirited off to Away. But Linny, born nimble-fingered and tune-filled, can’t resist: she makes a lourka of her very own. When the curse meant for her strikes her best friend instead, Linny must leave her home behind to try to set things right.
……If you leave the wrinkled hills, you will never find your way home–everyone knows that other law. But Linny has the gift of not getting lost, and she will risk everything to rescue her friend. With her father’s young apprentice, Elias, she travels down into the Plain, where science may have found a cure for magic. Linny and Elias soon find themselves caught up in the age-old battle between the wrinkled places and the Plain. Can Linny keep the fractured land from falling apart—and save her best friend?”

The Wrinkled Crown’s cover: widescreen edition

Something pretty to bring us into March:

Lovely news! Introducing CLOUD & WALLFISH…..

I am delighted, thrilled, and happy to say that more of my books for children are now officially on their way into the world! In 2016 Candlewick will publish my historical spy-vs-spy novel, CLOUD & WALLFISH, set in East Berlin in 1989! The perceptive and talented Kaylan Adair will be my editor, and I really look forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work. Another historical novel will follow–so stay tuned!

I am hugely grateful to Ammi-Joan Paquette, my fabulous, level-headed, warm-hearted agent, for shepherding CLOUD & WALLFISH to its new home.

And here’s the announcement from Publishers Weekly:


The Wrinkled Crown (coming out November 10, 2015) has a COVER!

It has been a lovely week, here in writerland: not only did page proofs arrive for my new fantasy for kids, The Wrinkled Crown (coming out this November from HarperCollins), but I also have the green light to share the beautiful cover with the world! My friends over at the Mundie Kids Children’s Book Review Blog are kindly hosting the cover reveal, so I suggest hopping over there (at, when you get the chance, to take a look at the whole cover in all its glory, but here I thought I would tell you a little bit about this story that is soon to be out in the world.NeverTouchALourka
Up in the magical, wrinkled hills, in the village of Lourka (named after the instrument for which the place is known), Linny breaks an ancient law: girls must not mess with music. No, girls must not so much as touch a lourka. But Linny has the music fire in her and can’t keep away from lourkas and out of trouble. When the punishment comes, however, it strikes her best friend instead of her! Now Linny has to leave the world she knows, to go down into the Plain and look for a way to save her friend and set things right….
I remember the day I first imagined a world in which the magical places would be literally and figuratively wrinkled. I was on a hike in the mountains between France and Spain, on a day when the fog was so thick the path along a high steep ridge looked like a path winding through mysteries:
As I worked on Linny’s story, I learned a lot about courage (from Linny herself) and about the art of instrument-making (from an ancient book lent me by a violin-making friend):
Why do you need to read this book?
1. It’s a tale of magic, music, war, and friendship!
2. There’s a Half-Cat in the story!
3. What’s more, very exciting things happen in many parts of the book, including Chapter 33!
I can’t wait for this book to be truly out in the world. November still seems rather far away, but a book with a cover is a book that is truly on its way, so I hope you will go take a peek at The Wrinkled Crown, at, and let me know what you think!

7 Ways Revising is Very Much Like Combing Out Tangles in Your Kid’s Messy Hair

1. At first, it’s hopeless. RevisionsCombYou’ve watched these tangles develop over days and weeks (months!). The nursery school teachers are beginning to give you looks. They are wondering, like your editors, how you could have lost total control over your baby.

2. The kid, I mean BOOK, won’t even sit down. I mean, she’s got a point: it’s going to take a long time. And it’s going to hurt! Plus the kid is absolutely fine with her tangles. The book thinks it’s already really pretty much a book, too, if you don’t go squinting at the details. Book and kid, running away from you and laughing. And you thinking, “Maybe we could go another few days before we tackle this??” Mmmmm, no: time to catch them and settle them down and bring out that comb….

3. Hair must be wet; screaming starts then. Kids, books, and cats: none of them like getting into the shower. I call the pre-combing hair-wash, “The Editorial Letter.” More tangles are found during this stage. One is tempted to shave all hair off and take on a new career as haiku-writing parent of a bald child.

4. Start at the ends and work slowly. There are little tangles to fix before you tackle that horrible huge mess in the middle. Pick at it with patience. One strand will come free. Another will follow. Really it will. Keep combing

5. Scissors sometimes necessary. Even more true of books than of kids’ hair! Make your scissoring as smart as possible, however. You know how depressing a bad haircut can be.

6. Keep the faith! Somewhere hidden in all these tangles is a gorgeous story’s worth of well-combed hair. That feeling when the comb finally slips from root to end without snagging? Someday soon your whole book will feel that way. I promise.

7. And it’s a glorious feeling when the tangles are gone, but as they say on the shampoo bottles, and oh we know how true it is for everything that matters in hair care, in writing, and in life: rinse and repeat; rinse and repeat.

My children now brush their own hair, but every time I tackle a book revision, I think of tangles, and I reach for the comb.