Hope in the Mail: Reflections on Writing and Life

 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
338 0
Hope in the Mail: Reflections on Writing and Life
Age Range
13+
Release Date
January 14, 2020
ISBN
9781984894663
Buy This Book
      
Part writing guide and part memoir, this inspiring book from the author of Flipped and The Running Dream is like Bird by Bird for YA readers and writers.

Wendelin Van Draanen didn't grow up wanting to be a writer, but thirty books later, she's convinced that writing saved her life. Or, at least, saved her from a life of bitterness and despair. Writing helped her sort out what she thought and felt and wanted. And digging deep into fictional characters helped her understand the real people in her life better as well.

Wendelin shares what she's learned--about writing, life, and what it takes to live the writing life. This book is packed with practical advice on the craft: about how to create characters and plot a story that's exciting to read. But maybe even more helpful is the insight she provides into the persistence, and perseverance, it takes to live a productive, creative life. And she answers the age-old question Where do you get your ideas? by revealing how events in her own life became the seeds of her best-loved novels.

Hope in the Mail is a wildly inspirational read for anyone with a story to share.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Hope in the Mail
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A
HOPE IN THE MAIL is an autobiographical account of the author’s life as it relates to her writing. Wendelin Van Draanen has penned over thirty two books for the kids’ lit community, most notably THE SAMMY KEYES MYSTERIES, which is comprised of eighteen middle grade novels. She’s put in her time as a storyteller, establishing herself as an authority on the subject, and lucky for us, in her latest book, she’s willing to share all about her process. HOPE IN THE MAIL touches on some fundamentals in writing a good story, the business of selling a book, such as acquiring an editor and agent, the road to publication once sold, and the basic financial reality of being an author. Van Draanen shares where she got her inspiration for her novels and ends on some notes of encouragement for aspiring creatives. Frankly, it’s a must-read for anyone who has ever considered embarking on this adventure.

With that being said, while HOPE IN THE MAIL is full of valuable and practical wisdom, what makes it so special is how much Van Draanen shares about her personal life. She had quite an unusual upbringing, surrounded by colorful characters, and she constantly connects lessons she learned during that time to managing the difficulties of writing books professionally. Even in adulthood, Van Draanen wasn’t living the easy life, kicking back because of her books’ advances. What she did have, though, was passion. She literally could not stop herself from writing her books.

I love Van Draanen’s story so much. Not only was I deeply moved by her experiences, and in a certain way, found her Swiss Family Robinson lifestyle romantic— though I’m sure she may contest that notion— I also was inspired. Van Draanen reminds us that in almost all circumstances, it’s possible to write, to keep trying, and to get better. Success is possible no matter where you start if you’re willing to get in there and do the hard work— it’s evident Van Draanen never shied away from it.

Overall, HOPE IN THE MAIL is a beautiful reflection on Van Draanen’s work up to this point. Her optimism and point of view is intoxicatingly refreshing, and this book will appeal to fans of Elizabeth Gilbert’s BIG MAGIC: HOW TO LIVE A CREATIVE LIFE, AND LET GO OF YOUR FEAR.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

A Thousand Questions
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Set against the backdrop of Karachi, Pakistan, Saadia Faruqi’s tender...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Second in a new series about a bright and determined...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
There's a chill in the air and frost on the...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Disney’s classic animated films come to life in the latest...
Fence: Striking Distance
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The boys of Kings Row bout with drama, rivalry, and...
Pirate Nell's Tale to Tell
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
From the author/illustrator team behind The Snatchabook comes a book-filled...
The Glass Queen (The Forest of Good and Evil, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Once Upon a Time meets Game of Thrones in...
Skyhunter (Skyhunter, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A broken world. An overwhelming evil. A team of...
Finding Balance
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Jase Ellison doesnt remember having acute lymphocytic leukemia when...
Be a Voter!: 450 Stickers for Democracy
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Get out the vote! It’s...
I Believe In You
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A charming picture book that inspires confidence, boosts self-esteem, and...
Breathless
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
From Jennifer Niven, the #1 New York Times bestselling...
Of Thorns and Beauty (Twisted Pages Book 1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
You think you know the tale as old time,...
The Verity
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When being eaten alive is the least of your...
Meanwhile
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Celebrate 10 years of this completely original graphic novel take...
Grant Beagan: The Finder's Code
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
He’s just an ordinary teenager who likes astronomy, video games,...

Latest Member Reviews

Fence: Striking Distance
 
5.0
"FENCE: STRIKING DISTANCE is a charming YA contemporary fiction that takes place at a boys' boarding school. We follow different..."
Crossing Lines
 
4.3
"Reviewed for YA Books Central And engaging story about how our differences shape our worldview. ..."
Horrid
 
4.7
"After Jane's father sudden dies, Her mother, Ruth, ends up moving them across the country. They move into her mother's..."
The Oracle Code
 
4.0
"THE ORACLE CODE visits Barbara Gordon (aka Batgirl and Oracle) in her teens after an accident that paralyzes part of..."
The Glass Queen (The Forest of Good and Evil, #2)
 
5.0
"THE GLASS QUEEN is an intense and fantastically written fairytale retelling of Cinderella. In the kingdom of Enchantia, fairytales are..."
The Kingdom of Back
 
5.0
"Marie Lu’s The Kingdom of Back is an historical fantasy based on real-life talents, Wolfgang Amedeus Motzart and his sister,..."
Meanwhile
 
3.7
"'Meanwhile' by Jason Shiga is a graphic novel adventure that will remind readers of the types of books in which..."
Breathless
 
4.0
"BREATHLESS is a book about change, secrets, and the aftermath. Claudine (Claude) is about to graduate high school, and she..."
Skyhunter (Skyhunter, #1)
 
5.0
"SKYHUNTER is an enthralling and lush YA fantasy. Lu really paints the story with her words, and this new novel..."
The Library of Lost Things
 
5.0
"I wasn't sure what to expect with The Library of Lost Things, but I know I didn't anticipate a book..."
Goddess in the Machine (Goddess in the Machine, #1)
 
5.0
"Andra, a teenager from the 2160s, is put into cryogenic stasis fulling expecting to wake up on another planet one..."
Kingdom of Ice and Bone (The Frozen Sun Saga, #2)
 
4.0
"KINGDOM OF ICE AND BONE picks up where the first book left off. Lira and Reyker are separated and each..."
How It All Blew Up
 
5.0
"HOW IT ALL BLEW UP is an absolutely riveting coming-out story. Amir Azadi is an Iranian American who has always..."
Music for Tigers
 
3.7
"A vividly descriptive Middle-Grade work with an ecological focus--enriched by elements of music, friendship, and atypical neurology. When her..."
The Shadow Mission (The Athena Protocol, #2)
 
4.3
"THE SHADOW MISSION is an even better sequel to THE ATHENA PROTOCOL with lots of action and spy-related danger. In..."
Horrid
 
4.3
"HORRID is an intensely creepy story that follows Jane and her mother, Ruth. Jane's father has just died and after..."
Color Outside the Lines
 
4.0
"WHAT I LOVED: The stories vary in genre, time period, and the makeup of the couples, but many of them..."
I'll Be the One (I'll Be the One #1)
 
5.0
"WHAT I LOVED: Haneul "Skye" Shin is talented, fat, and contrary to the max. Her mom tells Skye she..."
Legendborn (Legendborn, #1)
 
5.0
"LEGENDBORN is absolutely thrilling YA fantasy that captivated me from the start. Bree gained early entrance into UNC-Chapel Hill and..."
Blood & Honey
 
5.0
"This is going to be a hard review to write because I have so many words that want to come..."