There’s something about autumn that beckons to readers. As the leaves turn and the first flakes of snow start to fall, it’s the perfect time to curl up with a blanket, a mug of hot cocoa and, of course, a good book. Whether you’re nostalgic for summer days on the lake, or ready to let your imagination run wild, we’ve got you covered with two outstanding reads for teens and adults. And the best part? Both of our picks are truly homegrown from right here in our neck of the woods.
Capsized by Anne Tews Schwab
Written entirely in verse, Schwab’s debut novel tells the story of Dani, a 16-year-old girl who’s experiencing a long summer of discontent. She lives in a lakeshore town with a big sailing culture (sound familiar?), but she’s decided that sailing isn’t her thing.
We talked with Schwab, who grew up in Mahtomedi, about the road that led to Capsized and her own beloved sailing days.
White Bear Lake Magazine: What inspired you to start this particular story?
Anne Tews Schwab: About a year ago, I finished my MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults. Most of the book was actually my final thesis. It was a story I’d been working on for a couple of years. It’s a lot of sailing stories that are very loosely based on my sailing experiences. The main character sails on a lake called Black Bear Lake, and I grew up sailing on White Bear Lake. I grew up loving sailing. [Dani] is kind of the antithesis of who I was.
WBL: What was it like to write an entire novel in verse?
ATS: I was working with Ron Koertge [author of several young-adult novels in verse]. I said, “I’d like to try writing this in verse.” I kept working and polishing….It’s fun because it’s such a different way to express yourself but frustrating because every word counts! It has to be boiled down to the very essence, and that can be hard.
WBL: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
ATS: I always knew I wanted to be a writer. When I was two or three I had just learned how to write my name, and I decided I was going to be a writer and wrote my name all over the house in red crayon. It was my first experience in editing, too, when my mother gave me a scrub brush.
Capsized is available at piratepoems.com and at Lake Country Booksellers, 4766 Washington Square, White Bear Lake.
Granted by Corrien Killmer
Killmer’s novel takes us into a world that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality. Teenaged Natalie’s chance encounter with Alexander, a Wish Giver, binds him in her service for the rest of her life, and the pair learn to work together to face the consequences—sometimes dire—of instantly granted wishes.
Corrien Killmer, a White Bear Lake native, talked with us about her inspiration for Granted and why she decided on a growing trend: self-publishing.
White Bear Lake Magazine: When did you start writing Granted?
Corrien Killmer: The novel actually came about as my mom, when I was 16, was diagnosed with terminal cancer…I became her caregiver for about ten years. She passed away in 2009, and when she was getting to the end, life was so dark I wanted to distract myself. Originally, it was going to be a distraction for myself and ended up being a story people really enjoyed.
WBL: There are so many publishing options for debut writers these days. How did you decide to self-publish?
CK: Just because of the way the world is now, with social media, it’s so much easier to direct. [You have] creative control over where your book goes and what you can do with it if you’re doing it yourself.
Granted is available as an e-book on amazon.com.