Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Birth of a Book . . .

The cover of my new book is up on Amazon! This is a book born of the stories my husband tells of his years away at boarding school, a book born, as well, of who I am as a writer and as a human being. It was a book I knew I had to write. It will be released in October so it's time to start preparing for the birth. I will be blogging from time to time to document the journey.  For now, the blurbs are in and I am thrilled. 

From William L. Iggigruk Hensley, author of the wonderful Fifty Miles from Tomorrow:

Debby Edwardson’s “My Name is Not Easy” brought me to tears as I remembered the loneliness and confusion when I left home for boarding school thousands of miles from my home and family in Arctic Alaska.   This young adult novel evokes a time and place in the Alaska Native world that is important to remember—when far off governments and powerful institutions made decisions that began to change our world—and the adjustments we had to make to survive.  It is an excellent work of fiction with important truths to be remembered. 

And from award-winning children's writer and poet Helen Frost:    

We think of the Civil Rights Movement as something that happened in the south, but here is a book from the far north that shows a different, and equally important, side of it.  In the hands of a lesser writer, this could have been an unbearably dark and difficult story, but Debby Dahl Edwardson brings to it such deep love and intelligence that the reader experiences not only the anger and tears of these memorable characters, but also their joy and ultimate triumph. The words soar off the page and then, beautifully, bring us home.

And this one, from my dear mentor Ellen Levine:

My Name Is Not Easy, Debby Dahl Edwardson has given us an extraordinary tale of love, betrayal, and above all, survival, as a group of young Alaskan Natives are transplanted from their home villages to a parochial boarding school in the Alaskan wilderness.  Through their stories, Edwardson reminds us that the landscape we see is also the landscape of our soul, whether arctic tundra or urban canyons.  This is a novel that, like landscape, marks a reader’s soul forever.

Of course one expects something good from a friend and mentor. It's like your mother--they have to say something nice. But this one is from someone I have never met, talked to or even emailed. A wonderful surprise from National Book Award nominee Howard Norman: 

One of the rewards of a work of literature as imitable, haunting, and deftly composed as My Name Is Not Easy, is that it permanently takes up residence in one’s life.  Debby Edwardson writes with perfect verisimilitude.  The cultures of First Peoples in Alaska makes me think of the French poet Eduoard saying, "There is another world, but it is in this one."  Tough minded, full of hardscrabble humor, My Name is Not Easy is old-fashioned storytelling that – with fierce love and first-hand knowledge -- brings beautiful, harrowing, courageous lives along the arctic ocean to readers. This book deserves all great good fortunes.

Oh do let's hope he's right!

BREAKING NEWS: My Name is Not Easy has been picked up by the Junior Library Guild!