Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Left: Walking the dyke at Crescent Beach.
Photo: Lois Peterson

It's taken me a week to get my internal clock back in order since coming home from the UK. On my first night home I made it to 7 p.m. before I crashed, then was wide awake and ready to go at 1 a.m.

Have not had an interrupted night since then, but I did 'sleep through' until 5 this a.m. which is a slight improvement.

My friend Carole, the wisest woman I've ever known, used to consider sleepless nights as 'gifts of time'. She'd give herself ten minutes or so, then if she could not go back to sleep, she'd get up and find something to do that she might not normally think she'd have time for.

When I wake up at an ungoldy hour, the first thing I think of doing is giving Carole a call, or at least turning on the computer so I can drop her a note to ask what she might be doing if she was me. But it's too late now. She died about four years ago, and it's not only in the darkest hours that I miss her.

But she left me with enough to think about to last me a lifetime.

Sleep well, Carole.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

What next?

When I started writing for children at the beginning of this year, my goal was to sell my first book by June 2008. As I'm eight months ahead of schedule, I figure I had better update my goal and make it two books by June 2008.

But what to do next? I'm well into Kissing the Piggy Boy, which could be consdered a sequel (I prefer to think of it as a companion book) to Tansy. But although I have not mentioned it to my editor at Orca (oooo, that sounds sooo good!), I can imagine that they would need to see how Tansy does before committing to Piggy Boy - if indeed the book is good enough for Orca.
Elsie and the Silver Rain was my attempt at kids' fiction. Set during the Depression, it tells the story of Elsie, whose father has abandoned the family and whose mother has now 'run away' to join a dance marathon, in an effort to relieve the family's poverty. Can Elsie - and her sidekick Scoop - bring Mother home without incurring the wrath of Elsie's grandmother, who following the lead of social activist Reverend Hampton, holds strong views about the marathons?

I'm fond of Elsie. So fond of her I keep the photo culled from a book called Children of the Depression on my computer desktop at home and at work. And the book is 85% done - at about 32,000 words.

So while I'm England for the next couple of weeks, helping my mother catch up on the garden pruning and listen to my father's rants about Tony Blair (gone, but not forgotten in my family), I will spend the evenings helping Elsie prepare for the outside world.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Speechless - for once

Just heard this morning that Orca Book Publishers will publish my first children's novel - currently entited Tansy Here and Now - in Fall 2008/Spring 2009.

There's an English term 'gobsmacked' that seems to work here. I'm thrilled and excited and full of anticipation.

I've long admired Orca, both the books they publish and the people who work there. The first 'encounter' I ever had with a 'real live' editor was years ago at a Surrey Writer's Conference - before it went 'International' - when I met then-Orca-editor Ann Featherstone (she now works elsewhere) who not only gave a dynmaite workshop but also gave me great feedback on a YA novel I was pitching at the time.

That book is still in the drawer, but I'm so thrilled that Orca will be the midwife for my first venture into the world of publishing books for children - a place I hope to inhabit for many years to come.
And of course, who does not love Orcas!