Hello Mixed-Up Filers!
Today, we’re excited to have Jacqueline West visit and reveal the cover for her new book, LONG LOST!
First, a little about Long Lost:
Eleven-year-old Fiona has just read a book that doesn’t exist.
When Fiona’s family moves to be closer to her older sister’s figure skating club—and far from Fiona’s close-knit group of friends—nobody seems to notice Fiona’s unhappiness. Alone and out of place, Fiona ventures to the town’s library, a rambling mansion donated to the town by the long-dead heiress. And there she finds a gripping mystery novel about a small town, family secrets, and a tragic disappearance.
Soon Fiona begins to notice strange similarities that blur the lines between the novel and her new town. And when she looks for the book again, it’s gone. Almost like it never existed. With stubbornness and a little help from a few odd Lost Lake locals, Fiona uncovers the book’s strange history. It’s not a novel, but the true story of an unsolved century-old crime filled with clues to the mystery. Lost Lake is a town of restless spirits, and Fiona will learn that both help and danger come from unexpected places—maybe even the sister she thinks doesn’t care about her anymore.
Once there were two sisters who did everything together. But only one of them disappeared. New York Times-bestselling author Jacqueline West’s Long Lost is an atmospheric, eerie mystery brimming with suspense. Fans of Katherine Arden’s Small Spaces and Victoria Schwab’s City of Ghosts series will lose themselves in this mesmerizing and century-spanning tale.
Thanks for visiting us today and letting us host the reveal for the awesome cover for Long Lost!
JR: First off, I love the cover! For those who don’t know, can you tell us a little bit about Long Lost and the impetus behind writing it?
JW: This book began with a street sign. There was nothing special about it: It was just a crooked green street sign at a quiet intersection in the woods near my hometown, and I spotted it through the car window as I drove past. But that was enough to plant the seed of an idea in my brain. All at once, I could see a girl discovering an old book in an odd small-town library. I imagined her realizing, bit by bit and street name by street name, that the eerie story inside the book was set in her own little town. And I imagined the book vanishing without a trace before she could read its ending. Everything else grew from there.
JR: That sounds fantastic! Can’t wait to read. Long Lost is a ghost story. What is it about the genre that makes for good books?
JW: I suppose it’s because ghosts are—or were—human. They have human emotion and intelligence, just without the body that makes us vulnerable. Ghosts are familiar and mysterious at the same time. They also let the past and the present exist simultaneously, which, from a storytelling perspective, is pretty great.
JR: I couldn’t agree more. Have you ever had a ghostly encounter of your own?
JW: Oh, I WISH. I love old houses obsessively, and I’ve lived in several of them, including the 1860’s one I’m in now—but they’ve never been haunted, as far as I could tell. As a kid, I was convinced that Bloody Mary’s face appeared in my bathroom mirror, and that I once felt someone who wasn’t there holding my arm as I walked home late one night…but I think those were just stories my imagination wanted to tell me. Not much has changed since then, really. I just tell the stories on paper now.
JR: What’s your favorite ghost story?
I’m going to cheat and name lots of favorites. As a kid, I adored Mary Downing Hahn’s books, and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and Michael Norman’s nonfiction collections Haunted Wisconsin and Haunted Heartland. Next, I fell wildly in love with novels like The Haunting of Hill House, The Turn of the Screw, The Woman in Black, and Wuthering Heights (which is a ghost story, in a way). More recently, I thought Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box was great, and Jewell Parker Rhodes’s Ninth Ward—which is full of ghosts while not being a traditional ghost story—was mind-blowingly gorgeous.
JR: My daughter loves The Haunting of Hill House! Did you have any input on the cover?
JW: This cover is so perfect, I think the sum total of my feedback was: “Yes, let’s move that one tiny spider off of Fiona’s forehead” and lots of incoherently delighted screaming.
JR: That sounds like the usual scenario. 🙂 Who is the illustrator?
JW: The artists behind the cover are the Balbusso Twins, two stunningly talented Italian sisters (http://www.balbusso.com/). That a book about pairs of sisters is fronted by art from a pair of sisters is such kismet, I can hardly believe it.
JR: That really is. When should we be on the lookout for it?
JW: May 11, 2021!
JR: Jacqueline, thank you so much for joining us today. Can’t wait to read Long Lost!
Now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for . . .
That is a gorgeous cover!
To learn more about Jacqueline West, please visit her website at http://www.jacquelinewest.com/
Remember to be on the lookout for Long Lost!
Until next time,