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August 5, 2019

One of the things I want readers to take from my  STAND ON THE SKY is the realization that the culture of Kazakh nomads is not a museum piece:  it's a living culture that exists in today's world. 

Many of the traditions are old -- the art of eagle hunting, for instance, is at least 4000 years old -- but that does not mean they're unchanged.  Traditional elements and modern innovations exist side by side, and the culture is in the middle of many changes.  

Here, Kazakh kids watch cartoons inside their ger.  


 

Alimbai, the eagle hunter, on his cellphone. 

Photo yanked from Pintrest, but we did encounter a young man transporting his eagle on a motorcycle.

(Motorcycles are widely used in Olgii.  I can't drive one but did learn the art of riding pinion while hanging onto the driver for dear life.)  

One of the changes sweeping Kazakh eagle hunting culture is that the newest generation of children training with eagles includes a few girls, which is a shift fro...

June 5, 2019

I have never known an animal so amazing as a Golden Eagle.  


 

My new book, STAND ON THE SKY, is about the relationship between a girl named Aisulu and the golden eagle Toktar.   Aisulu rescues Toktar as a baby -- he's orphaned -- and hand-raises him.  Later she learns to fly him, even though among her people being an eagle hunter is something that's usually done by boys.  


To find Aisulu's story, I went to Mongolia, where I lived with a family of Kazakh nomads who kept two eagles, a young eagle only recently taken from her nest, and a six-year-old eagle captured from the wild and still in training.   

My friend Seanan Forbes was there too, and she took these pictures.   Click to enbiggen.  

All Mongolian pics are by Seanan Forbes, writer, photographer, traveller, teaching artist. The grants that sent me to Mongolia came from the Canada Council and Region of Waterloo Arts Fund.

May 8, 2019

My new book, STAND ON THE SKY, takes place in a Kazakh nomad community in Western Mongolia.  The countryside, wedged between the Gobi desert and the high Altai mountains, is stark and beautiful -- and perhaps in reaction, the Kazakh built world is absolutely jammed with color.  


 

On the outside, Kazakh homes -- yurt-like tents called gers --  are plain canvas, but inside everything is colourful and patterned.   The walls are covered with hand-embroidered panel -- a Kazakh woman will make one every winter.  The tablecloth had flowers.  The bowls were bright red and bright green and gold.  The floor was turquoise linoleum.  More was more and it was beautiful.  

All Mongolian pics are by Seanan Forbes, writer, photographer, traveller, teaching artist. The grants that sent me to Mongolia came from the Canada Council and Region of Waterloo Arts Fund.

January 22, 2019

Of all the gers on all the steppes in all the world, this one is dearest to my heart. In the summer of 2015, I lived here.

Here's the scoop: to find a shape for a story set in Mongolia, I went to Mongolia. Together with my friend Seanan Forbes and our guide Tansaya Khajikhan (daughter of eagle hunters and holder of a degree in gender studies), I lived with and worked alongside a family of Kazakh nomads in the Olgii aimag (province) in Westernmost Mongolia.

My Mongolian middle grade adventure, STAND ON THE SKY, out March 5 from HMH Kids in the US, and from Scholastic Canada in Canada.   Over few months I have many pictures to share, and you can see them on my Instagram, @erinbowbooks, with the hashtag #StandOnTheSkyPhotos.  

Here are some glimpses of the astounding beauty of the Mongolian landscape.  Click to enbiggen.  

All Mongolian pics are by Seanan Forbes, writer, photographer, traveller, teaching artist. The grants that sent me to Mongolia came from the Canada...

March 31, 2018


I am cleaning out the storeroom. Boxes of paper like one of those sand dunes from which archeologists pull papyrus.

A piece of art I bought from Etsy and used as the image for the "painted dress" scene in The Scorpion Rules.  

EK Johnston alters cards to make them the best things ever.  This one for The Scorpion Rules publications.  

When I was still in my twenties I won my first major prize, and it changed my life.  Here's the letter!  

Once upon a time, the New York Times reviewed by debut novel, Plain Kate.  

I wrote a chapbook of erotic poems and published 50 copies of it.  

April 20, 2016

Today, something cool:  a map of the North America as depicted in The Scorpion Rules.  The long-term conflict behind the story -- the disaster that made human-kind nearly destroy itself, 400 years into the story's past -- is sea-level rise driven by global warming.   This redrew the coastlines and displaced billions, igniting famines, plagues, and wars.  Fortunately our robot overlords were there to save us from ourselves.  Thank you, robot overlords!

 

I based the coastline changes depicted here on the research done by the National Geographic Foundation.  It assumes total melt of the Greenland and Antarctic land ice.  This is a 5MB file; if you click on it you can make it as big as you like.  

 

As for the political boundaries here ... some of them I worked out for the story, but when Simon & Schuster suggested this map, I found myself with continent to fill in.  I called my friend E.K. Johnston.  In addition to being a fabulous author (see and read The Story...

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