Bestselling author Alice Kuipers was born in London. She moved to Canada in 2003. Her first novel, Life on the Refrigerator Door, was published in 28 countries and won several awards. Since then, she has published two further award winning YA novels internationally (The Worst Thing She Ever Did, 40 Things I Want to Tell You), with a fourth, The Death of Us, coming out on September 2, 2014. Alice has three small children and she began writing picture books for them. Her first picture book Violet and Victor Write The Best Ever Bookworm Book will be published in December of this year. Alice's website is full of tips and hints for those of you who want to become writers too. You can find out more about Alice and her books on her website or find her on Twitter (@AliceKuipers). :)
Dear Emily St. John Mandel,
I preordered Station Eleven on my Kindle and felt surprising irritation that I couldn’t read it immediately. The description from Goodreads had me hooked: An audacious, darkly glittering novel about art, fame, and ambition set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse...
When Station Eleven beamed into my eReader on launch day, I stopped reading everything else and began. Your novel is beautifully written. From the first page, the prose had me lulled into the story. I haven’t finished reading it yet, but I know that this is a book that will stay with me for years. The characters are clearly drawn, vivid, and I cannot stop reading. I’m in the state that I love when I both don’t want to put the book down, but I also want to savour it. I can’t wait to get to the end, but I don’t want your novel to finish.
The book is an adult novel but I think teen readers will love it too. I write YA fiction and Station Eleven will fall into the hands of smart, savvy teen readers who will find it beautiful. And frightening.
The story is of a world in a state of collapse, written through changing timelines and through many perspectives. I had bad dreams of my family suffering from a terrible plague just as you describe. As the mother of three children, the idea that this world isn’t permanent physically hurts. But of course it’s not permanent. Nothing is. Your stunning descriptions of our world before and after the Georgia Flu give me moments of grace and beauty as I hold onto my tiny children. I know I have to send them out into this big, blue world. I have to let them go, whatever the future holds. Your book, despite the death, the destruction, the darkness, gives me light too.
Apparently you’re Canadian. I moved to Canada eleven years ago. Now you live in New York City. You are someone who has transplanted themselves and I feel that in your story. There is a sense of searching for home, something I’ve been doing for years. Once someone moves away, I think there’s always a sense of what’s been left behind. Station Eleven is all about what’s been left behind. What is lost. Yet your book gives me faith that home is exactly where you are in the current moment rather than something to seek. There are passages in the book that I re-read or highlight just because the writing is so fine, or because it takes me somewhere new. The novel is a triumph. You must be so proud of it.
I can’t wait to read your other books. There are three more and I’ve already ordered one. But I can wait to finish this one. I’m going to take each page slowly as I only have a few pages left. Thank you for writing it – I’m sure it was hard work, but so worth it. It’s a testament to the value of art in a scary planet. I love it.
Thanks to much to Alice for the wonderful letter to Emily St. John Mandel. Go check out The Death of Us (and maybe Station Eleven as well)! :)