The Seventh Raven Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway ~ (US/Can Only)
Welcome to The Seventh Raven Blog Tour!
To celebrate the release of The Seventh Raven by David Elliott on March 16th, blogs across the web are featuring original content from David, as well as 5 chances to win The Seventh Raven, as well as David's previous YA verse novels Voices and Bull!
On Traveling (and Writing)
by David Elliott
I grew up in a small town in Ohio. It was the kind of place where, every Saturday morning, the farmers’ wives came to town to do their shopping while their husbands sat, chewing tobacco and gossiping, on the wall that surrounded the courthouse lawn. It wasn’t a bad place, but about the time I hit high school, I knew it wasn’t my place. There was a bigger world waiting. And so, after college, I set out on a hegira that lasted nearly ten years.
In the Philippines, I acted as liaison between a Muslim tribe and Christian physicians. In Palau, I taught ESL. After that it was Greece, where, with migrant Roma people, I washed cucumbers at the Cri-Cri cucumber factory. In Israel, I made popsicle sticks. In Mexico, I sang Beatles songs at La Plaza del Sol, and in Libya, well, Libya is a story best left for another day. Though I kept a journal for some of that time, I wasn’t thinking about becoming a writer. I wasn’t thinking about anything, really, except the next place.
But in many ways those years were the best training I could have had. For most of them I was on my own, with very little, sometimes no, money. To survive, I had to learn to be responsive to what was on the road in front of me.
That was a long time ago.
After having published nearly thirty books, I now know that if a writer is to produce work that is both original and authentic, the ability to respond is one of the most vital qualities she can develop. The writer who has an idea, who loves that idea, who is going to stick to that idea – no matter what, dammit – almost always produces work that is predictable and, in the end, boring. Why? Because she is so attached to what she wants the book to be that she cannot hear what the story is telling her it wants to be. But the writer who puts her ego aside and responds to the story’s voice, to its surprises, its vagaries, and its conundrums, well, that writer has the possibility of producing work that shakes us to our core. The great Eudora Welty once said that if a writer hasn’t surprised herself, she hasn’t written. And that surprise comes through responding to the story itself.
Those days of traveling by the seat of my pants are gone. Now, it’s all VRBOs, nice hotels, and pass the croissants, s’il vous plait. I’m not sorry. But I don’t regret those days when I wasn’t sure where my next meal was coming from either, when I had to be quick on my feet and ask myself what’s next, when I had to respond to the life that was happening all around me.
This is my office, the room where I wrote Bull, Voices, and The Seventh Raven – and almost all of my books, in fact. It’s on the second floor to the left of the stairs in the New Hampshire farmhouse where we live. Its furnishings, though, tell a different story. The carpet in the foreground is from the hills of Afghanistan. Under my desk is another rug, Persian. On the walls hang Punu masks from Gabon. The small table next to the wall is a game table from Morocco.
Each time I enter the room, I am traveling. When I sit down at my desk, I am reminded once again to put my own wishes aside, open myself to the world, both inner and outer, and respond as best I can.
★ "Rich with evocative language.... Elliott (Voices) makes the propulsive mix of formal and concrete poetry and blank verse sparklingly accessible for teen readers, with repetitions and Cai’s (Elatsoe) inky illustrations weaving multiple narrators into a beautifully unified volume. Fans of lyrical retellings such as Malinda Lo’s Ash will find this bittersweet quest a warm welcome into myth and verse."
—Publishers Weekly, STARRED review
★ "Elliott brings emotional depth and poignant verse to the Grimms’ 'The Seven Ravens.' This beautifully evocative tale weaves different poetry forms to great effect, achieving short, intense bursts of emotion and deep, wandering musings on identity and fate. Cai’s haunting illustrations add context and visual interest to many of the poems. Although the setting and events may belong in a fairy-tale, the core emotions of this work draw straight from reality."
—School Library Journal, STARRED review
"Elliott once again is a master at poetic form....Within the elegant construction is a simple story of best intentions that reap terrible consequences and a look at how we believe our wishes for others come from a place of altruism when it is more often selfishness."
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"A skillful use of verse; moral conundrums and strange plot twists offer even stronger draws."
Best-selling author David Elliott examines the timeless themes of balance, transformation, and restoration in this evocative tale about a girl who will stop at nothing to reverse a curse that turned her seven brothers into ravens.
And these are the sons
Of good Jack and good Jane
The eldest is Jack
And the next one is Jack
And the third one’s called Jack
And the fourth’s known as Jack
And the fifth says he’s Jack
And they call the sixth Jack
But the seventh’s not Jack
The seventh is Robyn
And this is his story
When Robyn and his brothers are turned into ravens through the work of an unlucky curse, a sister is their only hope to become human again. Though she’s never met her brothers, April will stop at nothing to restore their humanity. But what about Robyn, who always felt a greater affinity to the air than to the earth-bound lives of his family?
David Elliott’s latest novel in verse explores the unintended consequences of our actions, no matter our intentions, and is filled with powerful messages teased from a Grimms’ fairy tale. Stunning black-and-white illustrations throughout by Rovina Cai.
About the Author: David Elliott is the award-winning author of more than twenty-five books for young people, including the picture books Finn Throws a Fit! and the New York Times best-selling And Here’s to You!. He is the author of the critically acclaimed verse novels, Bull, which received six starred reviews, and Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc, which was shortlisted for The American Library in Paris Book Award and is the recipient of the Claudia Lewis Award for poetry. A native of Ohio, David now lives (and writes) in New Hampshire with his wife and their Dandie Dinmont terrier, Quiggy. Learn more about David by visiting davidelliottbooks.com.
- One winner will receive copies of David Elliott's three YA verse novels: The Seventh Raven, Voices, and Bull
- Check out the other tour stops for more chances to win
- US/Canada only
- Ends 11:59pm ET on 5/16
★★★★ FOUR STARRED REVIEWS! ★★★★
Kirkus Best Book / Publishers Weekly Best Book / The Wall Street Journal Best Book
"Stunning . . . . elegant . . . . arresting . . . . supple and harrowing.” —Wall Street Journal
Bestselling author David Elliott explores how Joan of Arc changed the course of history and remains a figure of fascination centuries after her extraordinary life and death. Joan of Arc gets the Hamilton treatment in this evocative novel.
Told through medieval poetic forms and in the voices of the people and objects in Joan of Arc’s life, (including her family and even the trees, clothes, cows, and candles of her childhood), Voices offers an unforgettable perspective on an extraordinary young woman. Along the way it explores timely issues such as gender, misogyny, and the peril of speaking truth to power. Before Joan of Arc became a saint, she was a girl inspired. It is that girl we come to know in Voices. Now in paperback 3/2/21.
★★★★ SIX STARRED REVIEWS! ★★★★
David Elliott turns a classic on its head: this rough and rowdy retelling of the Minotaur myth in verse will have readers reevaluating one of mythology's most infamous monsters.
THE MYTH OF THE MINOTAUR? THAT'S BULL.
Garnering six starred reviews, this update of the timeless story of Theseus and the Minotaur has been called “beautifully clever,” “a literary feast fit for the gods,” "powerful and engrossing," "irresistible, slick, and sharp," "a genre of its own," and "rude...crude, and it's a whole bunch of fun."
Resurrected from the dark depths of the labyrinth, this fresh, deliciously shocking, and darkly comedic novel-in-verse takes on the Theseus and Minotaur myth and shines a light on one of history's most infamous monsters.
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