Welcome to In Other Lands

Tue 15 Aug 2017 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

In Other Lands coverFive years ago Sarah Rees Brennan emailed Kelly her story, “Wings in the Morning,” for our anthology Monstrous Affections. It was long: 17,000+ words in that early draft — although Sarah told us the actual first draft had been 30,000 words. . . . The final published version was about 2,500 words shorter than the first version we saw after a number of rounds of editing between Kelly and our fab Candlewick editor Deb Noyes.

At some point before the anthology was published Sarah decided to write a prequel short story to “Wings in the Morning” to post on her website for free. Said prequel grew like Topsy and before long the short story was 100,000 words . . .  in other words the short story prequel had morphed into a whole novel titled Turn of the Story. (You can read more about it here.)

Fastforward to today, zip!, and a newly edited, rewritten version of that book-of-Sarah’s-heart, now titled In Other Lands, and with a fancy shiny cover with cover and lovely interior illustrations by Carolyn Nowak is being published.

We like it, so do other people:

Deconstructs children’s portal fantasy, but without ever being mean-spirited about it. . . . this is more of a character book, slyly but charmingly and generously and affectionately examining and often turning inside-out all those familiar portal fantasy tropes, while the central focus is firmly on character. It’s funny, and wise, and sometimes heart-breaking, definitely LGBTQ friendly as the three main characters grow into their teens and discover sex and its attendant emotional landmines. Love-starved Elliott is the main POV, but the narrator dips into others’ POVs when necessary, and expertly presents Elliott with hilarious grace notes of free indirect discourse, adding to my delight. . . . There were moments I laughed so hard my nose hurt.
— Sherwood Smith

The novel has received two starred reviews (Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews) and is a Junior Library Guild pick. I really like that PW called it a “glittering contemporary fantasy” — not because of the shiny cover, but rather because of the fantastic characters on the inside: annoying Elliot, badass Serene-Heart-in-the-Chaos-of-Battle, and the golden boy, Luke Sunborn. Each of them is not what might be expected and over the course of the novel they grow up and as they grow they take the reader with them into the pains and joys of friendship and love and the hard truths of learning to live in the world.

And I hope Colleen Mondor’s review of the book in this month’s Locus goes up online as it is amazing.

You can read Chapter One of In Other Lands on Tor.com as well as read Sarah Rees Brennan’s connected essay: Our Winged Brains: The Appeal of Winged Creatures in Genre Fiction.

If you’d like, you can enter to win one of 10 free signed copies at Shelf Awareness (ends Aug. 26).

Continuing with the irregular events surrounding this book it’s beginning to look like Sarah may be over here in the USA to do some reading in bookstores in January 2018  — some by herself, some accompanied by other writer. We’ll keep you up to date on that. In the meantime, Welcome to  In Other Lands.

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