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Jack the Jackalope and Emily Ecton '92

A jackalope named Jack that sports weapons-grade antlers is the central figure in a new novel published this spring by Washington and Lee alumna Emily Ecton, of the Class of 1992.

“Project Jackalope” is Emily’s fourth book for middle schoolers, though she’s aimed this one at a slightly older audience than her first three novels — a series featuring Arlie and Ty. With her latest effort, Emily mixes mad scientists and espionage to spin a thriller that she described as “just-scary-enough, but not wake-you-up-at-3am-scary” in an interview in TimeOut Chicago Kids.

A theater major at W&L, she earned a master’s degree from Northwestern in playwriting. One of her plays, “Reign of Tara,” was presented in a reading as part of the Flournoy Playwright Festival at Washington and Lee in November 2003. “Reign of Tara” also was a semifinalist in the Chesterfield Film Company’s Writer’s Film Project and a finalist in the McLaren Memorial Playwriting Competition.

Emily’s day job is assistant producer for the popular National Public Radio program, “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” In fact, her research for that quiz show comes in handy, having led her to some of the bizarre-but-true technology she cites in the novel — things like The Energetically Autonomous Tactical Robot (EATR) or the One Way Invisible Self-Healing Shoot-Through Shields, among others. You can learn about these and other such weird devices on Emily’s website.

Asked to provide her previous occupations on her Simon & Schuster “Author Revealed” page, Emily writes: “I’ve scooped ice cream, written plays, been a costume character, wrangled chinchillas, worked as a production assistant and answered questions from cranky people about public television.”