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LETTERS FROM WAKE ROBIN FARM

Childhood at the Beach

Well, time flies! My little cover model for Someday I’ll Laugh About This, Gillian Stephenson, probably around eleven when she posed for me, just graduated from high school. Congratulations!

Coincidentally, I was just shipping another box of this title to the lovely sisters at Mari’s Books And…..in Yachats, Oregon. I wonder how many titles can claim to be sold exclusively in one store? I was going to write that the book is available on Amazon but nobody buys it there, but when I went to check I saw that, yeah, that’s right, probably nobody has ever bought it through Amazon. That’s kind of what a ranking of 8 million or whatever means! So, Amazon gave up. Can’t blame them.

So, this summer vacation story can be bought only in Yachats, where Mary and Mari, the store's owners, do a great job of hand-selling the book the way only independent book store owners can, doubtless pointing out to customers that Yachats is the actual setting of the book, renamed Perpetua for fictional purposes.

It’s certainly dated in terms of the technology available to my characters; the beloved beach cabin, Sea Haven, doesn’t even have a phone, and cell phones are still in the future. But the heaving emotions of puberty are still the same, and I was so sad to see that last summer, a teenage girl from Eugene died in a rolling-log-in-the-surf accident similar to what I describe in the climax. The need to warn of this Oregon Coast peril will never be out-of-date.

Gillian, my model for Shelby, is the granddaughter of my dear friend, Margaret Anderson, who has herself just released a memoir entitled From a Place Far Away: My Scottish Childhood in World War II.

I loved this book! Read it last night in one sitting and it was so soothing, such an antidote to the current state of political affairs and the degradation of our culture. So pleasant to read about decent people coping with the threat of war as they live through what will in retrospect seem rather idyllic childhoods.

Margaret is a wonderful writer, and she had me laughing out loud over and over, describing her childhood antics. It’s a difficult thing to write about oneself, and she pulls it off to perfection. Fans of her earlier novels—who are no doubt now reading these books to their own children—will definitely want to read From a Place Far Away and learn about the places and incidents that inspired her earlier and much beloved works.

From a Place Far Away is a gem. Don’t miss it!  Read More 
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IN THE KEEP OF TIME by Margaret J. Anderson

We are celebrating the brand new availability of our dear friend Margaret J. Anderson’s charming novel, IN THE KEEP OF TIME, as an eBook. Originally published by Knopf over thirty years ago, the story of four English children sent to Scotland for a bit of summer vacation in the countryside has many fans who adored the book as children themselves and now want to share the time-slip adventure with their own children. That the book--as of today--can be speedily downloaded is especially good news for all of those who have been unable to find the out-of- print paper versions.

It seems particularly appropriate to me that my first book read on a Kindle should be this tale of travel to the past and to the future. It's a story that offers up much food for thought for young readers about the way we care for our planet and yet manages this without miring itself in the darkness of many of the current dystopian titles being published. As a Scot, born in Lockerbie, the charming lingo of “wee bairns” and the like come naturally to Margaret, and her background in science afforded her a prescience in imagining the consequences of global warming long before it was much discussed.

I love picturing a brand new generation of readers being introduced to this exciting and yet somehow cozy adventure by the parents who loved it when it first came out so many years ago. IN THE KEEP OF TIME is a book which has stood the TEST OF TIME!
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