Monday, December 13, 2010

YA Historical Fiction Month: Saundra Mitchell Interview and Giveaway!


Saundra Mitchell

I've always loved history, and not in a particularly sterile or scholarly way. When I was a child, I could tell you as much about Tutankhamun's family as I could my own—and once I fell in love with the legacy of a world swallowed by time, I started making connections. It wasn't enough to know the facts—that Tutankhamun lived in the 18th Dynasty, the 1330s BC wasn't enough. I wanted to put him in context.

What did he see when he stepped onto his porch? What was happening around him? The pyramids were already 1100 years old by the time Tutankhamun set eyes on them. They were as ancient to him as the construction of Reims Cathedral is to us. While Tutankhamun ruled over all of Egypt, a family buried a young woman in Egtved, Denmark. They interred her with with a blanket, and a spray of yarrow flowers.

The Myceneans are concentrating their power against invasions of people we will eventually call the first three Greek waves. In what will become Mexico, the Olmecs have started carving giant stone heads. At the same time, men and women are building earthwork mounds and establishing city complexes along the Mississippi River. At the same time, Shang Dynasty astronomers in China were mapping the stars, and writing down the earliest scientific observances of comets and the planet Mars.

These people all breathed the same air, saw the same sky, they lived and walked on the same day. That's what history is. It's not the dates or the timeline or the dull order of things—it's seeing into the lives of people who are just like us, who came before us. It's understanding our place in the march of time and realizing that one day, we'll be someone else's history.

The ancient Egyptians believed that you could only be destroyed if your name is forgotten. And so I write books—about the present, about the past—about a girl who can see the future from Baltimore 1889, in the hopes that my name will be remembered. If I'm very, very lucky, one day I'll be part of the tapestry of an ancient world that to me, at this moment, is the modern day.

If you're very, very lucky, you'll be remembered there, too.


Saundra Mitchell has been a phone psychic, a car salesperson, a denture-deliverer and a layout waxer. She's dodged trains, endured basic training, and hitchhiked from Montana to California. She teaches herself languages, raises children, and makes paper for fun. She's also a screenwriter and executive producer for Fresh Films and the author of Shadowed Summer and the forthcoming The Vespertine and The Springsweet. She always picks truth; dares are too easy.

***************** ,

Thanks so much, Saundra!

I also have some awesome The Vespertine bookmarks to giveaway to one lucky commenter!


  1. Thx for the insight to Saundra's mind. I loved Vespertine..reviewed on NetGalley, can't wait til it comes out! She's turning into one of my favorite authors!
    twinmomx5 at gmail dot com

  2. Very well said, Saundra! As a proud owner of 2 hardcover copies of Shadowed Summer, I can't wait to read THE VESPERTINE!

  3. Loved the post, my Senior year English teacher talked about being "immortal" or remembered when we read Beowulf. That's the only thing they had going for them at the time. I wonder how people today will be remembered with all this tech we have now.

  4. Wonderful post! I especially loved the point about realizing that someday we'll be someone else's history.

    I'm looking forward to reading The Vespertine. Thanks for the bookmark contest!

    tsuper (at) iupui (dot) edu

  5. I am dying to read this book, the reviews sound amazing and I love swag!
    I'd love to be entered for a chance to win.



  6. Wonderful post! This book looks fantastic.

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  7. Now I need to convince my students of that amazing view of history. I keep talking up great historical fiction, but I have to sneak it in without telling them what it is.

  8. I wish everyone felt this way about history. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I really want to read this book. Please enter me in contest.

  10. i always liked history, but not because my history classes XD I always liked Historical Fiction :D And this on seems really good. The the cover is beautiful, by the way XD

  11. I am really looking forward to The Vespertine.The cover is amazing! I have always been a huge fan of historical fiction.

    Please enter me for the giveaway if its International.

  12. Another interesting book to add to my pile!


  13. That was really interesting, I would love to read the book.

  14. Grr, ANOTHER book to add to my to-read pile......

  15. I am very excited to read this book!! librarianjle(at)gmail(dot)com

  16. I cannot wait to own a printed copy. This is a book I will surely be recommending to my students and friends.



I love getting comments, so feel free to leave your thoughts :)