Sunday, June 24, 2018

Second novel release date!

Baggage, my second novel, will be published in April 2019.

It's a very exciting time in a writer's life to send a book out into the world.  As a parent, I know how important yet how difficult it is to launch a child, then stand back and let the world descend.  It's similar as a writer, letting my book out, a boat on the current, pulling away from shore.

I'm looking forward to seeing the new cover, writing an updated author biography, having new photos taken, bracing for a book launch.  But I understand afresh what Fitzgerald meant when he wrote how Gatsby must have suddenly seen "how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass."  Reality can be a hard place.

In my years of disillusionment, I used to write down and re-read quotes from that book. Years later, I see all around me that we all have baggage we must deal with, realities we must face and still carry on. And as someone once told me, it's what you do next that counts.

My library hosted Tom Ryan (Nova Scotia author) last May.  A student asked him, "What's your favourite book?" and he answered, "The one I'm working on.  I always have to look ahead."  He's younger than I am, but I'm taking his advice.

I'll let you know what's up with the next book when it's less "scarcely created."

Monday, June 18, 2018

Fishtailing history

You may know me by my first novel, Fishtailing, which won the Governor General's award in 2010.  It's a novel in verse for young adult readers, from the points of view of four students in a high school on the West Coast.

Trisha is searching for her identity in a mixed-race family; Kyle is torn between a life of music performance and the certainty of a mechanic's trade; Miguel and Natalie suffer from trauma -- Miguel has survived a civil war that has killed his parents and left him with fragements of family; Natalie is a survivor of neglect and sexual abuse who seeks to inflict her suffering on all those around her.  On the fringes are Ms Nishi, a well-meaning counsellor, and Mrs. Farr, a remote English teacher who assigns several of the poems that reveal the chaos of the young people's inner lives.  They fishtail out of control when a party brings the crises to a breaking point.

The book has won some significant awards, including the GG literary award for Children's Text (2010),
the Moonbeam Award for innovative writing, the shortlist for the Forest of Reading White Pine Award (2011) and the White Raven award (2012).  It's a quick but intense read, and I've had some strong feedback from readers about how strongly they felt about the characters and the story.

Here are a few links to reviews and stories about the book:

The Winnipeg Review
Kirkus Reviews
Canadian Review of Materials (CM)

Fishtailing Book trailer (created by Coteau)

New writing life begins!

I'm excited to announce my new life, beginning in just two weeks.  I am leaving the satisfying and demanding career of teaching and librarianship for the pleasures of full time writing on Gabriola Island.

My second novel, Baggage (working title!) is being published next year by Coteau, the wonderful publishers and promoters who put my first novel, Fishtailing, into the path of awards committees, reviewers and kids across the country.

We are done with the editing process (though as a writer, you are never truly "done") and are now into the long process of creating a real, hands-on book, with a cover, a blurb, a marketing plan and all those other things that go into what ends up on bookstore shelves.

Release date is April, 2019.  Keep watching for progress reports.