Thursday, June 1, 2017

Cover Reveal for Out of the Wild Night by Blue Balliett

Happy Thursday! I love when authors and illustrators agree to finish my sentences. Today's special guest is Blue Balliett. We discussed Out of the Wild, ghosts, Nantucket, and school libraries. I wrote the words in purple, and she wrote the words in black. Thank you, Blue! 


There are ghosts in every culture around the world, and stories about their doings have been told and retold for thousands of years.  Most adults have a odd experience of this kind to share, either their own or someone else’s – a person they thought was telling the truth.  A room always becomes quiet when a story like that is told.  And yet, few people I know will say they believe in ghosts.  So… what is going on here?

Everyday life on Nantucket Island, I discovered many decades ago, includes thumps, creaks and spirits.  I lived there year-round for over ten years, and after listening to some amazing tales, persuaded over seventy-five people to let me record and write up their stories.

Sharing an experience no one can explain in scientific terms is brave – will others think you’re crazy? 

To my delight, Nantucket ghost stories are still surfacing.  When I walked into a clothing store on Main Street this past November to buy mittens, I heard two new ones.  The ghosts aren’t gone.

Like my other six novels, Out of the Wild Night is fiction but not.  Set in a real place and packed with real ideas and happenings, it’s a book that’s meant to leave you with an icy shiver and more than a few questions.

Photograph Credit: Blue Balliett

I think Nantucket gets attention these days for having lots of wealthy summer residents, but the year-round community remains somewhat hidden, at least to the outer world.  There are a good number of islanders who are descendants of the early settlers and whaling families.  The stresses of living and working on a small island in which the cost of housing and land have soared are huge.  I wanted to write about that.  Who really has a right to stay?  Is it only those with lots of money?  I can’t quite believe that…
Photograph Credit: Blue Balliett

I hope Out of the Wild Night
gets readers talking about ghosts in our modern world.  Also, about what can happen on Nantucket – and most other places in the United States -- to the interior of a centuries-old building when it’s sold to a buyer who isn’t interested in it as an antique, a treasure. These homes were valued and repaired by generation after generation of islanders, and are a living piece of history.

Many are now being gutted simply because they’re old. What do you suppose the previous owners would think of that?

Out of the Wild Night is a book about the power of kids to transform their world, and the many ways in which all that lives – a person, a tree, a clam or scallop – changes shape and form over time.  It’s about the enduring love within families, despite death and trauma.  Hmmm. 

Photograph Credit: Blue Balliett
School libraries are places of HUGE importance.  I always feel they are the living, beating heart of any school building, and should be protected and supported no matter what.  They are a refuge, a place to refuel, get ideas, dream, and jump worlds…  I was a shy but curious kid, and read my way through school.  The school librarian welcomed me and kept handing me books.  She made me who I am today – school libraries change lives! 

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me whether I’ve seen a ghost myself.  How did I get so interested in hearing stories from other people living on this small New England island?  Why did I collect them?  Ahhhhh, I won’t answer, not yet…


From the New York Times bestselling author of Chasing Vemeer an unforgettable story about an island haunted by the past . . . and the ghosts who must help with the present.

Ghosts are alive on the island of Nantucket. You can hear them in the wind, and in the creaks of the old homes. They want to be remembered. And, even more, they want to protect what was once theirs. The ghosts seem to have chosen a few local kids to be their messengers --and to help save the island. But in this mystery, the line between those who haunt and those who are haunted is a thin one -- and the past and the present must come to terms with one another in order to secure the future.


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