Wilce, Ysabeau S.

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Wilce, Ysabeau S.

PERSONAL:

Married.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Chicago, IL. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer and military historian.

WRITINGS:

Flora vs. the Butler of Crackpot Hall, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2006.

Flora Segunda: Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House with Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog, Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2007.

Flora's Dare: How a Girl of Spirit Gambles All to Expand Her Vocabulary, Confront a Bouncing Boy Terror, and Try to Save Califa from a Shaky Doom (Despite Being Confined to Her Room), Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2008.

Contributor to Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine.

SIDELIGHTS:

Ysabeau S. Wilce is a writer and former military historian. She initially created the teenage heroine Flora Fyrdraaca and her fantasy world of Califa by contributing short stories to the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. Wilce published the first novel-sized tale of Flora in 2007, called Flora Segunda: Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House with Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog. In it Flora worries that the coming of her fourteenth birthday will require her to start training for the military, for which her mother is the commanding general. Instead Flora wants to practice magic. When she accidentally finds a banished butler in her 11,000-room castle, she gets into trouble as his magical powers grow and she seeks the help of her friend Udo.

Writing on the Strange Horizons Web site, David V. Barrett remarked that "the novel is fun. The characters are all, quite deliberately, just a little bit over-the-top, but you find yourself identifying with and really rooting for Flora Segunda, who has to overcome her self-perception that she is only second-best. Although it gets a bit stodgy in the middle, there are plenty of twists and turns in the plot, which is left with enough details unresolved for a host of sequels to follow." Barrett added that "importantly, for a fantasy novel, the magic feels real." Barrett noticed some artificial language on the first page, saying that "it took a good fifty pages before the great characters, the richness of the description, and the story won me over" after that incident. Barrett stated: "I think the author tries a little too hard for a young voice, making Flora and Udo sound closer to seven than to fourteen." He also added that "in other places Wilce's language is incorrect." Barrett was confused on several occasions between the difference between Flora's fantasy world and Earth, remarking that "the ambiguity is heightened by Wilce's frequent use of references to our own world." Barrett concluded that "despite all these criticisms—perhaps the inevitable flaws of a first novel—Flora Segunda is an enjoyable read."

Norah Piehl, writing on the TeenReads.com Web site, called the novel "ambitious and largely successful," adding that Wilce's "fantasy world is intricately detailed and elaborate." Piehl cautioned that some people "may be put off by the book's heavy focus on military strategy and espionage, as well as by its linguistic and narrative complexity." Piehl conceded that "fans of robust, detailed fantasy … will be drawn into Flora's world wholeheartedly." Tanya Bourdreau, writing on the Curled Up with a Good Kids Book Web site, commented that "Flora is a likable girl who believes in being clever and fast." Bourdreau added that "she shows bravery and resilience in many situations in this book." A contributor to the Midwest Book Review called the novel "magic at its best." A contributor to Publishers Weekly found that "at times the narrative borders on self-indulgent," but concluded that overall it was "good-natured and enjoyable."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, November 15, 2006, Kay Weisman, review of Flora Segunda: Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House with Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog, p. 61.

Books, April 15, 2007, Mary Harris Russell, review of Flora Segunda, p. 9.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March, 2007, April Spisak, review of Flora Segunda, p. 312.

Horn Book Magazine, May 1, 2007, Anita L. Burkam, review of Flora Segunda, p. 293.

Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2006, review of Flora Segunda, p. 1226.

Library Media Connection, August, 2007, Ruth Cox Clark, review of Flora Segunda, p. 69.

Midwest Book Review, February, 2007, review of Flora Segunda.

New York Times Book Review, March 11, 2007, Kerry Fried, review of Flora Segunda, p. 19.

Publishers Weekly, January 1, 2007, review of Flora Segunda, p. 51.

School Library Journal, February, 2007, Connie Tyrrell Burns, review of Flora Segunda, p. 128.

Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 2007, Catherine Gilmore-Clough, review of Flora Segunda, p. 548.

ONLINE

Curled Up with a Good Kids Book,http://www.curledupkids.com/ (January 1, 2008), Tanya Bourdreau, review of Flora Segunda.

Harcourt Publishers Web site,http://www.harcourt.com/ (January 1, 2008), author interview.

Strange Horizons,http://www.strangehorizons.com/ (July 10, 2007), David V. Barrett, review of Flora Segunda.

TeenReads.com,http://www.teenreads.com/ (January 1, 2008), Norah Piehl, review of Flora Segunda.

Ysabeau S. Wilce Home Page,http://www.yswilce.com (January 1, 2008), author profile.

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