How long does it take you to write a book?
That depends on what you mean.  To research and write the first rough draft takes from 6 months to a year.  I put that away and do something else–like write or edit another book.  Then I edit and re-edit the first manuscript and maybe even write and edit other manuscripts until I think the draft of the first manuscript is ready to go to a publisher.  All that could take several years.

What are your favourite children’s books?
That’s a hard question.  Here is a list of some of the writers I really like and my kids really liked.

A.A. Milne.  You all know his books of Winnie-the-Pooh.  Or maybe the movie.  I also like the poems like “Disobedience”, “King John’s Christmas” and “Sneezles.”

Robert Munsch.  I like just about every book he wrote.  Here is a link to his website.

Dennis Lee.  His poetry is great for all ages.  I heard recently his books are being re-issued soon.

Deborah Ellis. A marvelous gift to children’s writing and to Canada in general, Ellis has written many books for children and young adults in which she explores themes of social justice–for example the Breadwinner series about treatment of women and girls in Taliban occupied Afghanistan. I recently read “Moon at Nine”, based on a real life story, about friendship and love between two teenaged girls in Iran, a place where, if found out, the outcome for gays is execution. It is well written and a nail biter.

Jean Little.  She has written loads of good books for different ages.  My favourite is perhaps “Mama’s going to buy you a Mockingbird.”  She has also written two autobiographies. Check out her website here.

John Marsden.  This Australian has written many books including the fantastic series for young adults that starts with “Tomorrow, when the war began.”  Definitely check him out here.

Kit Pearson.  Another great Canadian author.  I like especially “The Sky is Falling” and “A Handful of Time.”

Jill Maclean.  She has two books set in Newfoundland that I really like: “The Nine Lives of Travis Keating” and “The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy.”  Her website is here.

Michelle Magorian.  She is an actor as well as a writer and some of her books are about acting.  My favourite, however, which is not about acting, is “Good-night Mister Tom.”  Check out her website here.

Iain Lawrence.  His “Lord of the Nutcracker Men” is a work of junior fiction (equally for adults) based on events in WWI.  It is an anti-war or pro-peace book operating on many levels that makes you think and see and understand.

Susin Nielsen-Fernlund. I read recently her book “Word Nerd” about friendship and conformity, single parent families and scrabble. A definite fun read. See her website here.

Margret Buffie. Her book “Winter Shadows” is the best time travel book I’ve read in a long while.Characters are richly drawn, with the complexity and bigotry of 1856 Manitoba culture clear.

Mary C Sheppard. Just read her book “One for Sorrow.”  In the early 70s in an isolated Newfoundland outport village, Isabelle is miserable. She desperately wants to leave home. Unfortunately she is illiterate and sees herself as dumb, dumb dumb. This is a delightful coming of age novel with a lovely feeling for the time and place.

Carol Matas has written many books for children and young adults. I have read many, the most recent beingVisions”, in which Jade has prophetic dreams that predict murders. But will she understand them out in time?

Janet McNaughton has read many great YA novels. I just finished “Dragon Seer’s Gift”. It’s about friendship, the Vikings, dragons, bullying, Pterosaurs, the sixth mass extinction, science projects and more. How does she do it? Read. Janet McNaughton’s writing is wonderful.

What age level do you prefer to write for?
Whatever age the book comes to me as….I have some younger, but mostly that means for tweens.

Where do you get your ideas?
Anywhere and everywhere–from my own and work life, the life of my family, from snippets of conversations, from news items.   It’s all fair game.  And then the imagining begins.

What do you do for fun?
I like hiking and tenting, playing the harp, singing and doing yoga.  Reading of course.  And writing–even that is fun.

camping pic

This is me in New Zealand doing two of my favourite loves–tenting and reading.

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