The Enchanted Chocolate Pot
A Page for
Caroline Stevermer/C.J. Stevermer
Patricia C. Wrede
illustration by Sherwood Smith, originally appeared in Mythprint, used by permission
Sit down, may I pour you a cup?
Caroline and Pat collaborated on Sorcery and Cecilia, a book they wanted to call The Enchanted Chocolate Pot. The book has been described as “Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer have J.R.R. Tolkien to tea–or chocolate.” A Regency Romance, with Magic. Pat also wrote a couple of novels, Maerelon the Magician, and The Magician’s Ward, set in a similar world–I used to think that these were actual sequels, based upon a report I’d seen online, but Pat told me a couple of years ago that this impression is incorrect. However, an actual sequel, written by both Pat and Caroline, The Grand Tour, appeared in fall 2004. Another sequel, The Mislaid Magician, is forthcoming in November, 2006.
Twin Cities local event:
from the Rivendell Group page:
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18TH 1:30 p.m. at Dreamhaven Books. I noticed that Dreamhaven Books was having a “tea party”–signing & Q&A session with authors Caroline Stevermer and Patricia C. Wrede to celebrate the release of their new book, a sequel in the brief series that began with Sorcery and Cecilia, which Rivendell discussed with Pat & Caroline some years back. Since then, we’ve had a couple further discussions with both Pat and Caroline, but I don’t recall if we ever discussed the second volume, The Grand Tour, and we certainly haven’t taken up the new Mislaid Magician. So I’m suggesting that anyone who’d like to talk a bit about these books gather at about 1:30 at Dreamhaven for an advance discussion to prep us for the Dreamhaven Tea Party with Pat and Caroline. It won’t be in a separate room, so we’ll gather in a corner or something, or in the central area for a discussion. This plan was o.k.’d by Elizabeth, the store manager. If you’ve never read these books, there’s still time–they’re fast reading and a lot of fun. Think Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer as inspiration, plus Magic. I have a web-page up for the work of Patricia C. Wrede & Caroline Stevermer, The Enchanted Chocolate Pot, and I interviewed both writers for Joan Marie Verba’s “TV Bookshelf” series for local cable television (http://tvbookshelf.ws/) and you can see the interviews via the web. The first two books are pretty widely available in a nice paperback edition at places like Barnes & Noble, or via the public library, where they may be in the Young Adults section, (though originally, at least the first book was published as an adult novel). Of course Dreamhaven is the optimal place for buying these, as they are so kind as to host this event and stock all of the local SF writers all the time (as does Uncle Hugo’s SF bookstore).Here’s Dreamhaven’s description of the event at 3 (Elizabeth suggests arriving at least by 2:30 to get in line/ready for the event:
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18TH, 3:00PM PATRICIA C. WREDE AND CAROLINE STEVERMER will be here. We’ll be having a tea party to celebrate the release of their new fantasy novel THE MISLAID MAGICIAN OR TEN YEARS AFTER, featuring Kate and Cecy in an alternate, magical Regency England. Pat and Caroline will be reading, answering questions, and signing books.FFI about the event: email@example.com or call 612-823-6161. If you cannot attend and would like to order signed copies of their books, visit our website http://dreamhavenbooks.com/wrede-stevermer.php or call our mail order department at 612-823-6070 (11:00am – 7:00pm Weekdays, 1:00pm – 6:00pm Saturday, central time).
Note from Caroline:
THE MISLAID MAGICIAN is coming out from Harcourt Nov.1, 2006. (as a YA, as the previous two did.)
“Uncle Bob Visits” (the story I read [in December of 2004 to the Rivendell Group]) sold to Viking’s COYOTE ROAD anthology, but the anthology has been rescheduled for the Far Future. I definitely think reading it to Rivendell folk was good luck.
Cheers and toodle-pip,
Notes from Caroline & Pat.
A Wrede-Stevermer fan wrote:
I wanted to say that it’s nice to have someone maintaining a site with updated information on Patricia C. Wrede’s writing. I had a specific question for you- I’m curious- I saw an item listed on ebay entitled “Magicians of Quality” by PCW & CS, supposedly new, publication date listed as 2005. It is not mentioned anywhere on your site and does not appear on Amazon.com, either. I was wondering what on earth it might be? I havent seen anything of its kind anywhere else. Thanks! Kathy
Yes, this is a selection from the Science Fiction Book Club. It’s an omnibus edition of Sorcery & Cecelia and The Grand Tour. I haven’t actually seen a copy yet myself.
Harcourt has us working on a third (as yet untitled) Kate and Cecy book, which we hope to deliver very soon. (Working title is “Ten Years After or The Mislaid Magician.”)
Another fan wrote:
I was reading Sorcery & Cecelia when I flipped to the back and I saw that both of the authors lived in Minneapolis! I live in Grand Forks, ND not to far away from the Twin Cities so I thought I might be able to check out one of their book signings or see them at a convention. So I googled her name and found your site. And I’m sorry to say that I didn’t see that they would be attending any soon! Are they just busy with other things at the moment? Because I’d really like to see them at a con sometime, Valleycon, or another local con.
Nothing definite for the immediate future; I usually get to Minicon, sometimes to Wiscon, Worldcon, or World Fantasy (but none of the above this year, due to schedule conflicts).
Patricia C. Wrede
The TV Bookshelf Pat Wrede interview is now online (actually has been for a week or so).
As for Stevermer news, you have to check out writer Sherwood Smith’s observations about her current reading on her website, http://sherwoodsmith.net/, check out her entry for Feb. 5, 2005.
Here is another Pat Wrede interview, already online!
Just in case you don’t already know, the February 2005 Fast Forward interview (available in Quicktime on our website – www.fast-forward.tv) is with Patricia Wrede. She talks quite a bit about the experience of collaborating with Caroline Stevermer during the interview.
As of today (Valentine’s Day) we have the Stevermer interview online at the TV Bookshelf site. We hope to have the Pat Wrede interview up within a couple of weeks! Incidentally, Peg Kerr credits Pat with mentoring her work in the interview she has online at TV Bookshelf. Lois McMaster Bujold also cites Pat as an influence and support on her work. These interviews are also being broadcast on various cable channels in the Twin Cities area.
Both Caroline and Pat have recently been interviewed on Joan Marie Verba’s cable access television program, TV Bookshelf, http://tvbookshelf.ws/. Check your local listings in the twin city area for broadcast times. I hope to eventually make one or both of these available in a QuickTime format here.
By the way, both The Grand Tour and A Scholar of Magics DID duly appear in hardcover, Scholar this spring, and Tour in September.
8/18/04 Overdue UPDATE
Per a note from Caroline, The Grand Tour is now scheduled for release this fall–“Harcourt says THE GRAND TOUR will be out in September, 2004. Thought I’d just mention it, as I have said December in the past.”
I am posting a couple of pix of Caroline from last fall’s World Fantasy Convention. One shows her with a college classmate: author, editor and public radio personality Ellen Kushner (author of Swordspoint, Thomas the Rhymer, and The Fall of Kings). Unfortunately, the lighting was too poor to give me very good photographs. But at least on my monitor, the blurry background lights and dimness give them something of a mysterious patina–like old sepia photographs.
I finally had time to read A Scholar of Magics, and after six months of reading all kinds of finalists (and earlier nominees) for the Mythopoeic Awards this year, Caroline’s new book was a total delight: clever, funny, fun but also substantial and intelligent. Run out and buy it, or at least request it at your public library!
1/16/04 Big News from Caroline:
A Scholar of Magics is scheduled for publication in April 2004.
1/14/04 MORE NEWS–
Sorcery & Cecelia has been named to the ALA’s general list of Best Books for Young Adults.
SCHOLARLY MAGICS (an omnibus edition of A College of Magics and A Scholar of Magics) will be the Science Fiction Book Club’s featured alternate selection for Spring 2004.
1/6/04 NEWS FROM CAROLINE:
[note from David: yesterday I received this query from a reader of this page, and I forwarded it to Caroline for a response:
I enjoy your web site. 🙂
I do have a question, however. Do you know WHEN The Grand Tour is due to
I have not found any information more recent than what you have on your
Enchanted Chocolate Pot page.
A few weeks ago, Harcourt said THE GRAND TOUR was scheduled for
December, 2004. This may change, but at the moment, I’m really
hoping it doesn’t. The final manuscript was delivered in mid-
December and they were already working on the cover, so I have high hopes.
I’ll keep you posted.
BIG NEWS FROM DAVID:
I saw the new Sorcery & Cecelia edition in a bookstore (Barnes & Noble)! Clearly, it’s being marketed to Young Adults, while the past edition was marketed to the adult market. I’ll try to gt a picture up soon. Finally, you can buy your own copy! And, it has the “or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot” subtitle on the cover!
BIG NEWS FROM PAT:
12/20/01. Caroline and I have just made a deal with Harcourt to reissue SORCERY AND CECELIA, probably in hardcover, spring 2003, followed by a sequel (tentatively titled THE GRAND TOUR), six to twelve months later. I’m told we’ll see contracts sometime in January, so I think you can add it to your news, if you want.
11/11/02 update [from David, not Pat]: plans continue for this reissue. Pat and Caroline are making progress with the manuscript of The Grand Tour. It will not be a letter game this time. One character keeps a journal, one is being deposed [ for a trial (?)]. Both Pat and Caroline read at World Fantasy Convention a week ago. I was sorry to have missed Pat’s reading, but pleased to hear a delightful chapter of A Scholar of Magics from Caroline.
I heard from a friend of Caroline’s this past week that Delia Sherman, Caroline’s editor, has given her a February deadline to finish final changes to the manuscript of A Scholar of Magics. My sense is that these changes are not terribly extensive, and that this is very likely. I don’t know what tha means for a publication date, but next fall still seems possible, doesn’t it? –David L
11/02 NEW from Caroline:
One of the wonders of World Fantasy was getting to hear a translation of a review of A COLLEGE OF MAGICS from a book published in France. It’s called “Cartographie du merveilleux” and it’s by
Andre-Francois Ruaud. Delia Sherman translated it for me. I was so pleased by it, I can’t resist
sharing. –Caroline Stevermer
Stevermer (Caroline): A College of Magics (1994)
1908: somewhere on the Normandy coast, a private university dominates a little village perched on a cliff. Officially, this school for young girls specializes in the teaching of magic. Paradoxically, the subject is only approached indirectly, in a master course on the balance of the universe.
Furthermore, the students are forbidden to practice magic in college bounds, and there is no course on magic, per se. Strange. . . .
A College of Magics follows the school-life of the young Faris Nallaneen, hereditary duchess of Galazon, a minute kingdom in Central Europe, in the company of her friends and of a rival, daughter of the ruling family of a neighboring kingdom. The dialogue is absolutely delicious, the setting evoked with vigor and realism. A mysterious person watches discreetly over the security of Faris –even though he says that he’s in her uncle’s service, the uncle whom Faris suspects of wanting to get rid of her so that he himself can control the duchy.
At the end of the night of her initiation to magic, Faris is expelled from the college, and recalled suddenly to her duchy by her uncle. There follows a lively journey on the Orient-Express through Europe at the beginning of the century, from Paris to the borders of Ruritania dogged by killers. Once at Galazon, there are court intrigues and swashbuckling fights. . . With contagious delight, this novel recaptures such a flavor of The Prisoner of Zenda, that Anthony Hope’s ingenious adventure novel seems nothing more than a simple historical novel about a neighboring country.
Fresh, unexpected, A College of Magics is a complete joy from one end to the other. The great strength of the author is in the dialogue, but the architecture of the plot is the work of a masterhand, the situations and the reversals twist satisfactorily, the swashbuckling is frankly entertaining, the magic scenes are poetic, humor and drama coexist happily. . . In short, a little-known masterpiece, delicious precursor of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter.
CAROLINE STEVERMER BIO–
I have been asked a number of times for a Stevermer biography. Caroline has responded with this:
Caroline Stevermer grew up on a dairy farm in southeastern Minnesota. She has a sister and two brothers. After high school, she attended Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, where she earned a B.A. degree in the history of art and read everything she could get her hands on.
She knew she wanted to be a writer when she was eight years old. She began by writing dreadful stories in her school notebooks. By the time she graduated from college, she knew she would need to earn money in other ways but she kept on writing. Her first professional sale was The Alchemist: Death of a Borgia, a paperback mystery published by Ace in 1980. In the years since, she has had a variety of jobs and kept on writing. She likes libraries and museums. Her favorite painter is Nicholas Hilliard. Her favorite writer is Mark Twain. She lives in Minnesota.
2/6/02 Note from Caroline:
I’m working on Scholar of Magics right now, hoping to deliver an acceptable manuscript by the end of the month. It is related to College of Magics even though the cast is different. (One character, Jane Brailsford, recurs.) Nothing else right now, though I’m thrilled about working with Harcourt again for Sorcery and Cecilia and the sequel (see news from Pat, above).
older news–and see below–
When the King Comes Home, by Caroline Stevermer is out in mass market paperback. Here’s what one of the year’s Mythopoeic Fantasy Award committee members (and scholar guest of honor at next summer’s Mythcon), Alexei Kondratiev had to say about the book:
The economy of the writing here is what really won me over–not a word redundant or out of place. The realistic story of a painter’s apprenticeship in a(n imaginary) Central European land, ca. 1600, becomes emmeshed with a different, extraordinary tale of necromancy, is taken over by it, and eventually disentangles iteself from it to return to its original concerns.King Julian’s long speech of self-disclosure to Hail in St. Istvan’s is the centerpiece towards which the first half of the narrative strives and from which the second haalf flows to its resolution. One is left with a sense of grave, reflective beauty.–Alexei Kondratiev
I wrote to Pat: I seem to get a lot of requests from school children for biographical information about writers on my web-pages, do you have a standard autobiographical sketch or note that I could forward to any such inquirers?
See her website: http://pcwrede.com/about-patricia/
I’ve read with great interest your Rivendell group discussion summary of
Sorcery and Cecelia. In my search for a copy of this book, I’ve found that
it is much sought after and sells for $45 – $100 for a used copy. I’ve
e-mailed Ms. Wrede and have been directed that I should be asking
publishers, not the author, for the possibility of a reprint. I’ve come
across posts from people on the Internet that are also searching for a
reasonably priced copy. What do you think are the possibilities of a
letter-writing campaign to a publishing house to get this book reprinted?
What are the possibilities. Well, if no one wants to reprint it, Pat and Caroline might be able to get it reprinted by an “on-demand” publisher. In the meantime, I just read Caroline’s new book, When the King Comes Home (or some such title) last night and very much enjoyed it! My daughter and I also heard Pat read from a work-in-progress that we quite enjoyed earlier this year, but that’s probably a couple of years away from publication (alas!).
But as for Sorcery and Cecilia, are the rights still with Ace? After an even longer time, P.C. Hodgell’s first two Jame books are finally reprinted (as Dark of the Gods) this year. I would think with both Pat and Caroline publishing books that there would be interest in reprinting the book, though. I wonder if some kind of SF Book Club omnibus volume of S & C along with the Maerelon books might be possible?
On checking, I learned that there IS already a omnibus volume of the Maerelon novels, sans Sorcery and Cecilia, so I suppose that’s not going to happen.
More News from Caroline:
December 2001. When the King Comes Home is out in mass market paperback.
May 2001. A recent program featured Caroline Stevermer–
Last April 7, at the Southdale Public Library, a panel discussion featuring experts on and writers of children’s fantasy: FROM HOBBITS TO HARRY POTTER: Children’s Fantasy since Tolkien
Peg Kerr, author of the VOYA-reviewed novels Emerald House Rising and The Wild Swans. Peg has also taught at the University of Minnesota.
Laura Krentz, a Hennepin County children’s librarian and coordinator of the Children’s Fantasy bi-monthly correspondence circular, Once Upon a Time.
Claire Lenander, an 11-year-old member of the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award committee.
Caroline Stevermer, author of River Rats and several other novels, including her latest book, When the King Comes Home. [Pictured at left. To see a photo of the panel, visit the Once Upon a Time page].
This program was co-sponsored by the Southdale Public Library, the Rivendell Group of the Mythopoeic Society and The Minnesota Science Fiction
Society (Minn-Stf).10/26/00. Yesterday I read When the King Comes Home cover to cover! I really enjoyed it! Now in bookstores, clearly, as I bought my copy in one on Tuesday.–David L.
The February 2000 Einblatt reports that Caroline has now delivered her completed manuscript for When the King Comes Home to Tor.
1/25/99. A news tidbit for your Caroline Stevermer page: According to the January issue of Locus, she has sold her new fantasy, When the King Comes Home, to Patrick Nielsen Hayden at Tor; Delia Sherman will be the editor.–Christina Schulman
11/6/97. I ran into Caroline this week and asked about her future publishing plans. She has been at work for some time on another book set in the world of College of Magics. She describes it as the most complex and ambitious structure for a novel that she has so far attempted. Though set in the world and even the same city of Greenlaw College some time before the events of College, it is not exactly a prequel to the earlier book. There is only one minor character who overlaps between the books. She told me her working title, observing that she was now tired of it, and the publisher would doubtless change it, anyhow. I can’t report it as I promptly forgot it afterwards. But after hearing how her recent acquiring of a driver license and vehicle has partly inspired her writing, I decided that the title of the book should be “The Enchanted Motor Car.”
Caroline was photographed at Minicon in 1999.
News of Pat:
3/25/00. Recently, my daughter and I attended a reading by Patricia C. Wrede from a novel-in-progress about a world in which there are many shape-shifters, including the apparent protagonist, a teen-ager beginning to undergo her first change in the excerpt which Pat read. Pat said that this is the first of a “triptych, not a trilogy” of novels, which have to be written partly simultaneously as they provide differentperspectives on some of the same events from different characters. Claire and I very much enjoyed the story, and hope that Pat will be able to finish and sell it, soon.
12/15. Pat will be signing at Uncle Hugo’s. The new Enchanted Chocolate Pot book, The Magician’s Ward!
Pat, on the right, is pictured at a discussion with The Rivendell Group a few years back. This picture of Pat is from the Rivendell homepage.–David Lenander
11/97. Pat has new books out. See her web site for complete Wrede news: http://pcwrede.com
Coming soon: A Review of Sorcery and Cecilia by Berni Phillips
A Rivendell Group Discussion Report of Sorcery & Cecilia
Here’s a review from Mythprint of Maerelon the Magician:
Mairelon the Magician, by Patricia C. Wrede
Review from Mythprint, November, 1992
By Berni Phillips, used by permission
Stressed out at work? Looking for a pleasant diversion? Mairelon the Magician is sheer entertainment. Patricia Wrede plops us back into the Regency England she and Caroline Stevermer introduced in Sorcery and Cecilia. In Wrede’s Britain, magic is real and the Royal College of Wizards wields power other than political.
Teenaged Kim is an orphan living by her wits and somewhat dubious set of skills. She poses as a boy to avoid a life of prostitution, but obviously this is not a charade she can keep up forever. How fortunate for her, then, that after being caught illegally snooping around she is not turned over to the police but is given a chance to follow and assist the traveling Mairelon.
Kim becomes caught up in the mystery of searching for the still-missing pieces of a stolen magical silver serving set. As Mairelon was the theft’s prime suspect, this search can not be done openly. What unfolds is a delightful drawing room farce, as Mairelon and Kim find that are not the only ones searching for the sorcerous silver. Wrede pays hommage to the scene in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro in which numerous people enter a room, only to hide from others heard approaching. It’s a common trick in farce, but Wrede writes it so it is fresh and funny. She even reprises it, in a way, at the climax of the book, and it is just as witty.
Mairelon the Magician is a pleasant light fantasy, the perfect sort of book to take into the bubble bath or the dentist’s office. You’ll find no heavy message or hidden agenda–just good old-fashioned fun.
Left to right: Caroline is pictured on a panel discussion at Minicon 1999 along with a panelist I don’t recognize, (I believe he is an editor and writer), Lois McMaster Bujold and Steve Brust.
Published works of Caroline Stevermer in chronological order:
The Alchemist, as C. J. Stevermer. Ace Charter books, 1980, mass market paperback.
The Duke and the Veil, as C. J. Stevermer. Ace Charter books, 1981, mass market paperback.
“Cenedwine Brocade” in the shared-world anthology Liavek: Wizards’ Row, Will Shetterly and Emma Bull, editors, Ace Books, 1987, mass market paperback.
The Serpent’s Egg, Ace Books, 1988, mass market paperback.
Sorcery and Cecilia, (Collaboration with Patricia C. Wrede) Ace books, 1988, mass market paperback.
River Rats, Harcourt Brace, Spring, 1992, hardcover; Magic Carpet Books, mass market paperback, 1996.
“Waiting for Harry,” in All Hallows’ Eve, Mary Elizabeth Allen, editor. Walker, 1992, hardcover.
“The Springfield Swans,” (Collaboration with Ryan Edmonds), in Snow White, Blood Red, Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow, editors. William Morrow, 1993, hardcover; Avon books, mass market paperback.
A College of Magics, Tor Books, hardcover, Spring, 1994; mass -market paperback, January, 1995.
“Watching the bobolinks,” in The Armless Maiden, Terri Windling, editor. Tor Books, April, 1995.
When the King Comes Home, Tor Books, hardcover, Fall, 2000.
A Scholar of Magics, Tor Books, hardcover, Summer, 2004.
The Grand Tour, (Collaboration with Patricia C. Wrede) Ace Books, 2004.
More from RR#1, in Once Upon a Time, a children’s fantasy apa, ed. by Laura Krentz. Grace Funk discusses more Mennyms books by Waugh, some critical studies by Smith and Egoff (ed.), and reviews an adult fantasy by Caroline Stevermer. (A College of Magics)
A Wrede Page http://pcwrede.com/
A Stevermer Page: http://members.authorsguild.net/carolinestev/