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What to Expect When You’re Expecting… a Book

My newest novel, EAGLE & CRANE, will hit bookstore shelves on July 3rd. (And don’t forget those library shelves!!!). That day is currently less than a month away now!

I was musing about this blog the other day. I mainly write these entries for non-writers who are interested in getting a glimpse of what it’s like to write and publish fiction for a living (or aspiring writers who want a reality check, haha!).

I’ve mentioned this in previous blogs, but if you are lucky enough to have a book contract (which – yay! What a lovely development!) one thing you’ll do a lot of – one thing you may not expect – is WAIT. On average, at least a year will pass from the time you and your editor polish that final draft till the book will see print. A lot can happen in a year, and if you’re a working writer who needs her paycheck, you’ll start writing the “next-next” book. Personal drama may ensue. People may get sick. People may get better. You might move all the way across the country and take some time to settle into life on another coast. Presidents might do erratic things; it may seem that the news has gone totally pear-shaped. Your book can start to take on a feeling of unreality – for months and months, people will congratulate you in passing, but so much time lapses, you’re like, “Is this book thing I keep hearing about really ever going to happen?”

And then… just when you feel like your novel is an old friend with whom you’ve sadly fallen out of touch (you’ve been meaning to call or email but just haven’t), your book suddenly pops into your life! It’s an interesting feeling… working in isolation for so long, and then suddenly being presented with reviews that are printed in very public places. You’re both excited and eager to reunite with the characters but you also find yourself a little nervous, too, desperately hoping it won’t be awkward, like a bad high school reunion.

And, of course, now you have to have something to SAY about the book you wrote. You spend so much time chastising yourself with the old saw, “show, don’t tell,” and now it’s crucial that you flip the script (tell, tell!) and come up with some key (and hopefully interesting!) points to tell people about your book.

And still, there is more waiting. A publishing veteran once told me there was an old saying in the business about being a month out from your pub date, “This is the calm before the calm.” Har, har. Oh, Publishing, you are such a sassy, snarky business and I love you.

So, this is what I’ll be doing during this month as the days (and hours and minutes) tick down to EAGLE & CRANE’s publication. I’ll be reacquainting myself with the old friend that is my book, and trying to think of good ways to communicate with people about it. Somewhere in the offices of Penguin, people far smarter and savvier than me will be working on ways to help readers find the book. Needless to say, I am extremely grateful for the existence of these individuals, and part of my daily activities includes a prayer of thanks!

In an odd twist of fate, I think this book actually touches on some major subjects that have become even more relevant over the past year or two, and – to be honest – this fact has perhaps come as a surprise. I never expected when I sat down to write a WWII novel it would reveal so many parallels to our contemporary political landscape. But, alas. More on that at a later date.

Dear Readers, I hope you give EAGLE & CRANE a chance! Land feuds in California, a love triangle, aviators and a flying circus – all eventually thrown into stark relief by the turmoil caused by WWII and the internment of Japanese-Americans. And since I can’t resist a solid cheesy pun, forgive me now as I say: Please help this book take flight!

 

Much love,

Suzanne

 

Access an excerpt from EAGLE & CRANE

Hello! Just a quick note to say Putnam formatted a nice little excerpt from my forthcoming book, EAGLE & CRANE, and I'm linking to it HERE, if anyone would like to check it out. There's also still a giveaway going on thru this Thursday on Goodreads (link to that HERE).

I'm jazzed for this summer! Can't wait for those warmer temps, and to share this new novel with all of you. 

The Inspiration Behind EAGLE & CRANE

 Above: My grandfather, Norbert, who worked as a flight instructor teaching World War II pilots how to fly.

Above: My grandfather, Norbert, who worked as a flight instructor teaching World War II pilots how to fly.

 
      New novel out July 3rd 2018.

     New novel out July 3rd 2018.

 

Dear Reader,

I’m full of hope and excitement to share my new novel, Eagle and Crane, with you. This novel holds a special place in my heart, because of all the novels I’ve written so far, this book is the most deeply rooted in elements borrowed from my family’s history.

Eagle and Crane tells the story of group of aviators who travel throughout Depression-era California putting on an illegal “barnstorming” act – a.k.a., a flying circus, wherein the two title characters perform daredevil stunts, such as wing walking. From the time I was a child, my grandfather (who’d served as a flight instructor for World War II pilots) told me exciting stories about wing walkers. Aviation was actually a theme in our family. My father was an U.S. Air Force captain and flew F-111s. My mother – my grandfather’s daughter, and a very petite 90-lb woman – figured, hey, if the men in her life could do this, she could do it, too, and promptly earned her wings. I grew up going to an awful lot of airshows (and yet, in an ironic twist, I myself have a fear of flying!).

But Eagle and Crane is more than just the story of a flying circus. The characters’ call signs – the all-American “Eagle” and the Japanese “Crane” – begin as a racist joke that they then use to create something more positive (their act). The book’s plot eventually intersects with the very real events of Pearl Harbor and Executive Order 9066. The internment of Japanese-Americans divides the characters, both physically and politically.

Two other personal anecdotes moved me to write this story as well.

My great-grandmother owned a ranch and orchard in the region where the majority of this book is set, a place in the foothills that lie northeast of Sacramento, where there was once a large and thriving Japanese community. My great-grandmother’s Japanese-born foreman and his (American-born) family lived on the property, overseeing the orchard, and she recalled the day they were forced to pack up and leave. Having cleaned out the cottage in their absence with a heavy heart, my great-grandmother said the rush they had been in was obvious. She realized she was seeing a glimpse into what would become a very dark and sad chapter of American history.

A second story that left a deep impression upon me was that of my mother's close friend, a woman named Barbara Matsui. I spent time with Barbara when I was a kid; she was one of my favorite "grown-ups" to be around. Barbara was a strong, capable individual, but she also happened to be legally blind. When I asked my mother “why” (as children are wont to ask), my mother told me: Barbara had been born in a Japanese internment camp. Health conditions were not good, and while pregnant, her mother had contracted German measles, which had left the developing baby (Barbara) legally blind. I was shocked; this story was one I never forgot. I remember feeling anger and outrage (I never once saw Barbara express such negative feelings, by the way; she rose above it somehow) that she should be affected by a lifelong health condition... one that could have been avoided, had our government not given into fear and passed policies that were built on racism and paranoia.  

In our present day and age, it seems especially important that we actively remember this part of American history. It is my hope that Eagle and Crane not only spins an entertaining yarn about a flying circus, but also humbly touches upon the very fraught and tragic reality of Executive Order 9066 and all its consequences.

My sincerest thanks for reading,

Suzanne Rindell

 

Let’s Talk About Blurbs…

I’ve been busy! Between defending my dissertation (yay! Finally!), wrapping up EAGLE & CRANE edits, copyedits, etc, and prepping things for the book’s publication later this year – not to mention sneaking in time to start writing something new (we writers always have to be working on something new or we kinda can’t function), the days have been… full.

But having just given my author site a nice new makeover to accommodate EAGLE & CRANE (check out my new author site here), I wanted to take a beat and talk about the subject of blurbs.

Blurbs!

In case this sounds like some kind of coded curse word to you, no – in fact blurbs are those nice little 2-3 line summaries that OTHER authors write to endorse your novel and help it find its way into the big, bad book-world. Blurbs are printed on the book jacket and help folks milling around the bookstore figure out if your novel is something they’d like to read.

How do authors get blurbs for their books? Well, basically: They ASK FOR THEM. Sometimes their editors ask for them. Sometimes their agents ask for them. And sometimes authors just suck it up and ask for blurbs themselves.

Can I just say? – awwwwwkwaaaaard! You’ve basically set yourself the task of making a list of authors whose work you ADMIRE, only to then approach them (email, Facebook, perhaps via a friend-of-a-friend) while shaking the literary world equivalent of a tin cup and trying not to look too pathetic or demanding throughout the entire process. And it’s kind of a big ask, to boot. You’re asking that author to take time away from his/her life and his/her own work to stop and read your book and then say something nice about it. You’re basically interrupting someone’s work day and demanding they do a “book report,” hah!

Needless to say, it can be quite daunting when you’re a shy person (I am, and I think a good many authors are far more timid about this than you might imagine). The hard truth is, there's an unavoidable element of self-promotion to this lil ol' "novelist" job, and it can really push you outside of your comfort zone.

So, on that note, I just wanted to take a minute and mention how GRATEFUL I am for the blurbs we were able to get for EAGLE & CRANE. Except for the thought that not everyone loves alliteration as much as I do, I almost titled this entry "Blurb Beatitude" because these folks (let me not forget, too, others who helped in the past!) have made me feel blessed. Between me, my editor, and my agent, we were able to get five extremely generous blurbs – and so quickly! Having been on the other side of this equation myself once or twice (as in, having blurbed other authors’ books) I know what a kindness this was. And I am super appreciative. As I made my website over to include all my EAGLE & CRANE stuff, I realized again just how lucky I am, and I wanted to share that sentiment!

Here are the blurbs, below, in case you’re interested. My sincerest thanks to Lyndsay Faye, Caroline Leavitt, Fiona Davis, Dominic Smith, and Adriana Trigiani!

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PRAISE FOR EAGLE & CRANE:

“Suzanne Rindell takes to the heavens in this glorious story of two daring aviators during the Great Depression. She’s written an epic love story set against a time of upheaval, suspicion and change. A magnificent novel from a great writer.” —Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Kiss Carlo

“Wildly ambitious and filled with heartbreak (I love heartbreak), Suzanne Rindell’s third novel mesmerizingly pilots us through the Depression, the 1930s, Pearl Harbor, and the love one fierce young woman has for two very different aviators. Passionate, profound and an absolutely daredevil act of imagination.” —Caroline Leavitt, New York Times-bestselling author of Pictures of You and Cruel Beautiful World

"In this blazing saga about a flying circus, Rindell performs death-defying plot twists that race toward the shocking conclusion. Eagle & Crane is a majestic historical novel that is profoundly relevant in today’s world." —Fiona Davis, author of The Address and The Dollhouse

“A white-knuckled historical mystery and collision course of cultures, Eagle & Crane threads a fascinating tale through the half-silenced world of Japanese internment in America. Timely, expertly researched, and provocative.” —Dominic Smith, New York Times-bestselling author of The Last Painting of Sara de Vos

“Elegantly interweaving a lyrical love triangle with the spectacle of Depression-era barnstorming, the plight of Japanese Americans during the Second World War, and a bitter family feud spanning generations, Eagle & Crane poignantly plumbs still deeper waters: how far loyalty and friendship can be tested, and what it means to be an American.” —Lyndsay Faye, Edgar-nominated author of Jane Steele and the Timothy Wilde trilogy

New Book Info - EAGLE & CRANE

eagle and crane_CVR_fnl (1).jpg
 

Thought I'd make a short and sweet post out of the information surrounding my forthcoming novel, EAGLE & CRANE. Here (to the left, or above, depending on whether you're reading this on a computer or on your phone) is the cover image, and below I'll paste the description that will appear in the jacket copy. Putnam/Penguin Random House has set a publication date of July 3, 2018, and I will be posting more about it here soon! 

barnstormer.jpg

 

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

 
Two young daredevil flyers confront ugly truths and family secrets during the U.S. internment of Japanese citizens during World War II, from the author of The Other Typist and Three-Martini Lunch.
 
Louis Thorn and Haruto "Harry" Yamada -- Eagle and Crane -- are the star attractions of Earl Shaw's Flying Circus, a daredevil (and not exactly legal) flying act that traverses Depression-era California. The young men have a complicated relationship, thanks to the Thorn family's belief that the Yamadas -- Japanese immigrants -- stole land that should have stayed in the Thorn family. 
 
When Louis and Harry become aerial stuntmen, performing death-defying tricks high above audiences, they're both drawn to Shaw's smart and appealing stepdaughter, Ava Brooks. When the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor and one of Shaw's planes mysteriously crashes and two charred bodies are discovered in it, authorities conclude that the victims were Harry and his father, Kenichi, who had escaped from a Japanese internment camp they had been sent to by the federal government. To the local sheriff, the situation is open and shut. But to the lone FBI agent assigned to the case, the details don't add up.
 
Thus begins an investigation into what really happened to cause the plane crash, who was in the plane when it fell from the sky, and why no one involved seems willing to tell the truth. By turns an absorbing mystery and a fascinating exploration of race, family and loyalty, Eagle and Crane is that rare novel that tells a gripping story as it explores a terrible era of American history.

***COMING JULY 3, 2018***