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!


  1. Hey there! Congratulations! I am so excited for you and for the book. I look forward to following the prepublication birthing time, and I eagerly look forward to reading the book. I am thrilled about this great news and the wonderful blurbs. Go,Debby! Best, Jay

  2. Thank you so much, Jay. I am going to try to chronicle the process and the kinds of promotional things a writer has to think of, once a book is actully ready to publish. A bit daunting.

  3. Congrarulartions Debby. I cannot wait to read it.



  4. Congratulations, Debby! I look forward to reading the book and appreciate your heads-up on all the promotion that goes into it. And an endorsement from Howard Norman, too. He was my first writing teacher, and I know his support really means something.

  5. Debby - To read these words of praise for your newest book is thrilling, though not at all surprising. :-) Your writing is stunning and I'm very much looking forward to reading MY NAME IS NOT EASY. Best wishes! Dianne

  6. I look forward to this book in a way I cannot describe. Thank you, Debby.

    Mary Lewis

  7. oh, debbie. i cannot wait to read this -- and i already have a list of people i want to give copies to. what a gift of understanding and compassion you offer. congratulations. we should have a baby shower!

    susi gregg fowler

  8. Debby, I know how hard you worked to bring this baby to term. Congratulations! I, too, am eager to make acquaintance with the new member of our literary family! :)

  9. Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments! It's so nice to make this journey with support. The release of a new book is fraught with both joy and terror.

    A baby shower! Yes, I like that idea....

  10. Wow, such praise! I am sure the kudos are well deserved. This is a great "anticipatory set" for the lessons that the book will bring. Looking forward to the fall.

  11. Debby, the blurbs are breathtaking, as I'm sure your wonderful novel is, as well. Congratulations, best wishes, and thank you for writing the stories that mean so much to you, that you knew you just have to write. I will, too. :)

  12. Hooray, Debby! This book has been a long time coming, and is worth the wait! Hugs and congratulations!

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  14. I cannot wait to read it, Debby! I truly believe this is an important theme for the psyche of the Inupiaq nation as well as the U.S. and beyond... I loved Blessing's Bead. It is so inspiring to see someone accomplish such poignant and beautifully crafted works of art from our own small town.. Thank you for sharing the experience!

  15. Thank you so much for your support, everyone. Sarah, your words brought tears to my eyes. Quyanaqpak!