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Viking Celebrates the August Finale of Lev Grossman’s The Magicians Series

This August, Viking will release THE MAGICIAN’S LAND, the spectacular conclusion to Lev Grossman’s New York Times bestselling Magicians trilogy (On-sale: August 5, 2014; 978-0-670-01567-2; $27.95).  Below the details about the series and final book, you’ll find a GIVEAWAY of a MAGICIAN’S KIT which includes a sneak chapter, cool clock buttons, and extra cool postcards from an amazing artist!

About The Magicians Series and The Magician’s Land~

book-magicianslandThe trilogy opened with The Magicians which Junot Díaz called, “Stirring, complex, adventurous…[a] superb coming of age fantasy.” NPR called the sequel The Magician King “a spellbinding stereograph, a literary adventure novel that is also about privilege, power and the limits of being human.”  Legions of fans now await THE MAGICIAN’S LAND, a novel full of the subversive brilliance that has put Grossman at the forefront of modern fantasy, which will bring the Magicians trilogy to a shattering, triumphant conclusion.

Familiar faces return alongside new characters in THE MAGICIAN’S LAND. After being booted unceremoniously from Fillory, Quentin Coldwater returns to his alma mater, Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic, to stake out a new life as a teacher. But the past catches up to him, and before long, he and the brilliant student Plum must set out on a black market adventure, taking him to old haunts, like Antarctica, and to buried secrets and old friends he thought were lost forever. Quentin discovers a spell that could create a magical utopia, a new Fillory—but casting it would set in motion a chain of events that will bring Earth and Fillory crashing together. To save them, he must risk sacrificing everything.

THE MAGICIAN’S LAND is a tale of love and redemption—the story of a boy becoming a man, an apprentice becoming a master, and a broken land finally becoming whole.  Old readers will devour the rich and riveting final book and newcomers can binge-read the series in full.

GIVEAWAY~

The Magician’s Kit goes to one U.S. Winner and will be mailed by Viking/Penguin.

It contains:

  • An excerpt booklet containing Chapter 1 of THE MAGICIAN’S LAND
  • Clock-face buttons in 3 different designs: click to view here
  • A set of 4 postcards featuring Magicians fan art by Christopher Shy

<<<<<Click HERE to link to the Rafflecopter Form and try your luck!>>>>>

Praise for The Magician’s Land~

“Sink your mobile devices into the nearest wishing well and duct-tape your front door against gnomes, pollsters, and other distractions. THE MAGICIAN’S LAND is beckoning, and demands your full attention.”

— Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and Egg & Spoon

“Lev Grossman has conjured a rare creature: a trilogy that simply gets better and better as it goes along. THE MAGICIAN’S LAND is sumptuous and surprising yet deliciously familiar…Literary perfection for those of us who grew up testing the structural integrity of the backs of wardrobes.”

Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus

Lev Grossman, Biography (his words)~

bio-levI was born in 1969 and grew up in Lexington, MA. My parents were both English professors, so naturally I read a lot. I read a lot in college too, and read even more in graduate school, then I moved to New York City and started writing full time.

My first novel, Warp, was published in 1997. My second, Codex, came out in 2004 and became an international bestseller. The Magicians was published in 2009 and was a New York Times bestseller and one of the New Yorker‘s best books of the year. The sequel, The Magician King, came out in 2011 and was a Times bestseller as well. The third and (almost certainly) last Magicians book, The Magician’s Land, will be out in August 2014. The Magicians books have now been published in twenty-three countries and have garnered praise from George R.R. Martin, John Green, Audrey Niffenegger, Erin Morgenstern, Joe Hill, William Gibson, Gregory Maguire, Junot Diaz and many others.

Since 2002 I’ve been the book critic at Time magazine, and the New York Times described me as “among this country’s smartest and most reliable critics.” I’ve  written a dozen or so cover stories for Time, and my work has also appeared in the Believer, the Village Voice, the Wall Street Journal,the New York TimesSalon, Wired, Entertainment Weekly,  Lingua Franca and many other places. I’ve won several awards for journalism, including a Deadline award in 2006. I make regular appearances on campuses, including Harvard, Yale and Oxford, and as a commentator on NPR.

I live in Brooklyn with my wife, two daughters and one son, in a creaky old house.

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You can learn more about Lev Grossman on his website http://www.levgrossman.com and follow him on Twitter @leverus.

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Interview with Emily Croy Barker, Author of A Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic

Today, I’m continuing my coverage of Emily Croy Barker and her debut magical novel, A Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic. For lovers of Harry Potter and A Discovery of Witches or even Alice in Wonderland, the book has fantasy elements as such, with a strong female lead. I’m reading it now and enjoying it!

In the meantime, please get to know the book, and Emily, a little better by reading this interview graciously given by Emily and her publisher, Pamela Dorman Books/Viking/Penguin. Thank you, Emily for taking about your book at Oh, for the Hook of a Book! and I hope I get to further interview you at a later date!

Thinking Woman's photo

Q. Which of the characters in THE THINKING WOMAN’S GUIDE TO REAL MAGIC did you most enjoy writing?

A. Aruendiel, no question. He says exactly what he thinks, and he doesn’t mind giving offense to anyone. Not something that most of us can get away with in our daily lives.

Of course, Ilissa was also a lot of fun, too. Because she’s also honest—Faitoren can’t tell lies—but at the same time, she’s thoroughly deceitful.

Q. Are any parts of this novel autobiographical?

A. You mean, is it about the time I stumbled into an alternate world and started studying magic? Sadly, no.

There were things in my life that I deliberately borrowed for the novel. The way Aruendiel talks about other magicians—I was thinking of how my father, who was a painter, used to talk with his artist friends about other artists, about who was doing good work and who wasn’t. My dad was the kindest and most gentle person ever, but he was ruthless when it came to criticizing bad art. It’s the idea that you have a calling that you have to follow and you don’t sell out.

I gave Nora some of my interests—a penchant for memorizing bits of poetry, a love of cooking—although she’s much better at both things than I am. She’s also braver than me. You could never get me to go up a cliff like the one at Maarikok, even with a levitation spell! And I let her take a path that I considered but never took—going to grad school in English.

Q. Your heroine, Nora Fischer, is swept away by magic into a kind of too good to be true existence.  Even though a part of her knew it wasn’t right she stayed.  Why would she allow herself to be easily enchanted?

A. As Aruendiel himself would point out, Faitoren enchantments are very hard to fight, because they give you something you want. Nora was feeling bruised and defeated, and suddenly she had everything that she thought she was missing.

I also think the kind of idealized femininity that Ilissa offers Nora—being beautiful, being the belle of the ball, having this perfect romantic love—is a very seductive thing, even for someone like Nora who has read all the feminist theorists and has really chosen the life of the mind. Maybe especially for someone like Nora.

 Q. You have so many literary references, John Donne, Miguel de Cervantes, William Carlos Williams, Alice in Wonderland and Grimm’s Fairytales, but it’s Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice that Nora ends up with as her only possession in the alternate world.  What is the significance of this particular book?  Any personal connection to it?

A. Well, Pride and Prejudice is so modern in many ways, although written and set in a premodern time. So it seemed like a good match for A Thinking Woman’s Guide, where a contemporary woman is thrown into a world where women are still second-class citizens, at best. And Pride and Prejudice reflects some of the themes that I was interested in—an intelligent woman engaging with a man who has both higher status and worse manners than she does—without being too closely parallel to the plot of my story. Finally, I love Pride and Prejudice! And so do many other readers. So I hoped it might resonate with those who read my novel.

Q. Words are a powerful tool and language is a very important status symbol in Nora’s new world. Women are uneducated and don’t speak to men the same way Nora does; something she is repeatedly frustrated by.  How did you develop Ors, the language Nora must learn in order to communicate?

A. Language reflects society, so as I thought about Aruendiel’s world, I tried to imagine what sort of linguistic rules it would have to help keep women in their place. And as anyone who has studied a foreign language knows, there are all kinds of subtleties that you don’t pick up right away. You can make blooper after blooper, sometimes for years. So Nora keeps bumping up against things like the feminine verb endings, which she never noticed until Aruendiel rather officiously points them out to her.

I was also inspired by how Tolkien, who was a philologist, essentially began imagining Middle-Earth by inventing various Elvish names. He wrote poems about these characters and, eventually, fiction. I thought, wow, what a powerful tool to create a believable fantasy universe, to develop some kind of logical linguistic framework that underlies your story.

Q. You’re a journalist by trade. What was it like, switching to fiction? Where do you write? Do you set hours or just put pen to paper when inspiration strikes?

A. It took me a while to feel comfortable writing fiction. It’s a different kind of narration. Suddenly, after years of having to be super-careful about collecting facts and double-checking them, I could make everything up. That felt wonderful! But what exactly do you include, what do you leave out? Beginning writers are always told, “Show, don’t tell.” Well, in fact there’s a lot you have to simply tell, or you’ll write twenty pages and your character will still be finishing breakfast.

The journalistic skill that I found most useful in writing fiction was simply the ability to sit in front of the computer and write. Even if you’re just trying to write, even if what you’re writing isn’t great at the moment or if all you have to show after three hours is three sentences. And then to do it again the next day. It doesn’t matter if you have to rewrite it all over again—because you’ll find something that’s worth keeping, or you’ll learn what not to do. The important thing is to keep going.

Usually I write at home on my laptop—sometimes on the train when I travel. I write best during the day. If I try to write at night, I’m usually too tired to get very far. Or occasionally I’ve had the opposite problem—I get really into it and then suddenly it’s way past my bedtime and I’m useless the next day. So starting out, I wrote for a couple of hours every weekend. Then it became every spare moment of every weekend. I still owe huge apologies to so many of my friends for turning down all their lovely invitations to go to museums, parties, movies, et cetera, over the past seven years.

Q. Who would be in your dream book club? Where would you meet and what would you talk about?

A. Henry James, Charlotte Brontë, Scott Fitzgerald, Mary McCarthy, Zadie Smith, and couple of my friends. We’d meet at Florian’s in the Piazza San Marco every third Tuesday in the month—this is a dream, right?—and talk about whatever I happen to be reading at the moment. I imagine it would be a lively group.

Q. Are you a fan of other fantasy novels?

A. Yes, although I certainly haven’t read everything that’s out there. I tend to like the denser, more literary kind of fantasy. Unlike Nora, I love Tolkien. Also Neil Gaiman, Susanna Clarke, Alice Hoffman, Margaret Atwood, Ursula LeGuin, and Kelly Link. Kate Atkinson is best known now for her Jackson Brodie mysteries, but I’m really glad that I didn’t read her Human Croquet until after I wrote The Thinking Woman’s Guide, because in some ways that’s the book I wanted to write.

Q. Your writing is loaded with references from history, literature, and fantasy. What sort of reader did you envision for this series?

A. I tried to write the kind of novel I would want to read, so I guess in that sense I wrote it for myself. And as the book took shape and it became clearer that I would actually finish a draft at some point, I decided I would send it first to one of my oldest friends to see if she thought it was any good.  She and I grew up watching Star Trek and Monty Python, reading Sherlock Holmes and The Black Stallion and Jane Eyre, and doing the ultimate in geekdom—taking Latin—so I trusted her judgment. She liked it, so that encouraged me to keep revising.

Beyond that, I was thinking that it might appeal to some of the adults who loved Harry Potter but who wanted more of a adult perspective and a strong female character at the center of the novel.

 Q. The Thinking Woman’s Guide To Real Magic ends on a cliffhanger. Can you hint at what’s next for Nora and Aruendiel?

A. I’m pretty sure that Nora will find her way back to Aruendiel’s world. The two of them really need to talk and to be straight with each other, don’t you agree? And of course she has a lot more to learn about magic—and how to use it properly.

Check out the guest article by Emily about her transition from journalist to author that was previously posted on my blog HERE!  Watch for an upcoming review and giveaway of the book….!

emily photoAuthor Emily Croy Barker, Biography~

A graduate of Harvard University, Emily Croy Barker has been a magazine journalist for more than 20 years. She is currently executive editor at The American Lawyer magazine. This is her first novel.

A Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic, Synopsis~

Nora’s life is not quite going as planned. The man of her dreams is getting married, but not to her; her academic career has stalled; and there’s a mouse in her kitchen… Getting away for the weekend for a friend’s wedding seems like perfect timing, especially when she stumbles across the unfeasibly glamorous Ilissa, who immediately takes Nora under her wing.

Through Ilissa, Nora is introduced to a whole new world – a world of unbelievable decadence and riches where time is meaningless and everyone is beautiful. And Nora herself feels different: more attractive; more talented; more popular….Yet something doesn’t quite ring true: Was she really talking to Oscar Wilde at Ilissa’s party last night? Or transported from New York to Paris in the blink of an eye?

It is only after Ilissa’s son, Raclin, asks Nora to marry him that the truth about her new friends becomes apparent. By then, though, it’s too late, and Nora may never be able to return to the world, and the life, she knew before.

If she is to escape Raclin and Ilissa’s clutches, her only real hope – and an unlikely one at that – is the magician Aruendiel. A grim, reclusive figure with a biting tongue and a shrouded past, he might just teach her what she needs to survive and perhaps even make it home: the art of real magic.

For fans of Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy, Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, or Lev Grossman’s Magicians series, The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker is proof that magic not only exists but—like love—can sweep you off your feet when you least expect it…

“A marvelous plot, clever dialogue, and complex characters… With the intimacy of a classic fairy-tale and the rollicking elements of modern epic fantasy”
Deborah Harkness, author of the All Souls Trilogy

Thinking Woman's photo

Purchase~

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Womans-Guide-Real-Magic/dp/0670023663/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0

GoodReads:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16158565-the-thinking-woman-s-guide-to-real-magic

IndieBound:  http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780670023660/emily-croy-barker/thinking-womans-guide-real-magic

Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-thinking-womans-guide-to-real-magic-emily-barker/1108935054

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Emily Croy Barker Talks about the Transition from Journalism to Fiction to Write A Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic

Today, I have a guest article from debut author Emily Croy Barker, who has written A Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic!  Published by Viking Penguin, it’s probably one of the hottest reads of this summer and fall.  I’m currently reading it, so a review will come later.  However, right now you can check out what Emily has to say about her decision and transition to step over from journalist to fiction author.  If you are interested in what the book is about too, you can see the information below the article.

If you know me, or are an avid reader of my blog, you know that I interview many men and women authors who’ve come from journalism backgrounds.  As a journalist and aspiring fiction author myself, this topic always interests me as many find it easy, some find it helpful, while others struggle. Now I’m waving my wand and mind-bending you to read the article…hehehe…but first the book cover…

Thinking Woman's photo

A Journalist Turns to Fiction

By Emily Croy Barker, author of The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic

I’ve been a writer and editor for more than 20 years, and for the majority of that time, the writing I did was all journalism—mostly long features for business magazines like The American Lawyer and Inc. When I started writing The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic almost eight years ago, it was strictly for my own enjoyment. I’d dreamed up a couple of characters that I couldn’t get out of my mind, a woman trapped by enchantment and the magician who becomes her ally and teacher. Once I’d figured out a little bit more about who they were and how their stories were linked, I decided that I’d better start writing this down.

Writing fiction instead of nonfiction felt a little bit as though, after I’d mastered one dance—the foxtrot, say—the music changed and I was suddenly trying to dance swing. Some previously learned lessons helped me with this new dance. I already knew how to keep typing, resisting the temptation to turn off the computer and flee, even when I became convinced that what I was writing was crap and that no one would ever want to read it. And I knew that sometimes, when you really get stuck, it’s fine to go off and take a bike ride or watch a movie and come back the next day to try again. I had written long articles about people doing deals or starting companies or arguing in jury rooms; I had learned to look for “color” and the famous Telling Detail; to listen to how people talked; and to pay attention to what they said and what they didn’t say.

That all turned out to be quite useful in fiction-writing. But the actual process of stitching together sentences to make a fictional narrative was daunting at first. Beginning writers are always told, “Show, don’t tell,” which is very good advice. On the other hand, you can’t show everything. I had to learn where I could condense and where I could leave something out altogether. It took me a while—probably one reason why my first draft ended up being 1,300 pages long—and I know there’s still more to learn.

One change from journalism that I loved was being able to make things up. No more coaxing anecdotes out of reluctant or forgetful sources, no more worrying about holes in the story. And yet this new freedom was also a little scary. Suddenly the entire burden was on me to create a credible world. I could no longer rely on details scrounged from reality. What if I got things wrong?

Thankfully, I was writing fantasy about an alternate world, so most description came straight from my imagination. The main thing I had to be concerned with was consistency. If I were to write a police procedural, say, where I had to think about what kind of car a certain character would drive or which make of gun she would carry or whether it really makes sense for a transgender Russian emigré to be running a vegetarian restaurant in a small city in North Carolina, frankly I would be a nervous wreck.

Good journalism and good fiction are both about telling stories and as such, they are hugely satisfying. I have to say that fiction is a bit more fun. Maybe it’s because, when I was sweating over crafting the perfect lede for a magazine article or explaining some complicated twist in a deal or litigation, I was always keenly aware that I was writing for someone else, the readers of American Lawyer or Inc. Will they like this? Will they get this? With fiction, though, I’m writing for a smaller audience: myself. Because if what I’m writing doesn’t move me or excite me or pull me along—if it doesn’t come alive for me—I’m absolutely sure it won’t do that for anyone else, either.

emily photoEmily Croy Barker, Biography~

A graduate of Harvard University, Emily Croy Barker has been a magazine journalist for more than 20 years. She is currently executive editor at The American Lawyer magazine. This is her first novel.

Learn more about Emily and the book, including excerpts, maps, extras and more at www.emilycroybarker.com.

 A Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic, Synopsis~

Thinking Woman's photoNora’s life is not quite going as planned. The man of her dreams is getting married, but not to her; her academic career has stalled; and there’s a mouse in her kitchen… Getting away for the weekend for a friend’s wedding seems like perfect timing, especially when she stumbles across the unfeasibly glamorous Ilissa, who immediately takes Nora under her wing.

Through Ilissa, Nora is introduced to a whole new world – a world of unbelievable decadence and riches where time is meaningless and everyone is beautiful. And Nora herself feels different: more attractive; more talented; more popular….Yet something doesn’t quite ring true: Was she really talking to Oscar Wilde at Ilissa’s party last night? Or transported from New York to Paris in the blink of an eye?

It is only after Ilissa’s son, Raclin, asks Nora to marry him that the truth about her new friends becomes apparent. By then, though, it’s too late, and Nora may never be able to return to the world, and the life, she knew before.

If she is to escape Raclin and Ilissa’s clutches, her only real hope – and an unlikely one at that – is the magician Aruendiel. A grim, reclusive figure with a biting tongue and a shrouded past, he might just teach her what she needs to survive and perhaps even make it home: the art of real magic.

For fans of Deborah Harkness’s All Souls Trilogy, Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, or Lev Grossman’s Magicians series, The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker is proof that magic not only exists but—like love—can sweep you off your feet when you least expect it…

Praise for A Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic

“A marvelous plot, clever dialogue, and complex characters… With the intimacy of a classic fairy-tale and the rollicking elements of modern epic fantasy”
Deborah Harkness, author of the All Souls Trilogy

“Centered on more adult concerns than the Harry Potter books, Barker’s debut is full of allusions to dark fairy tales and literary romances. If Hermione Granger had been an American who never received an invitation to Hogwarts, this might have been her story.” —PEOPLE magazine

For Purchase~

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Womans-Guide-Real-Magic/dp/0670023663/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0

GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16158565-the-thinking-woman-s-guide-to-real-magic

IndieBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780670023660/emily-croy-barker/thinking-womans-guide-real-magic

Barnes and Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-thinking-womans-guide-to-real-magic-emily-barker/1108935054

Watch for upcoming review of the novel, and Q and A with Emily Croy Barker, including a giveaway!

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