My new book is out! The teenage characters in Siege dodge ghosts and smugglers during a War of 1812 re-enactment summer camp at Old Fort Erie, Ontario. For several months in the real War of 1812 (which actually ended in 1815), Fort Erie was occupied by US soldiers. One of the biggest and deadliest battles of the war occurred there in August 2014. (Siege is a short easy-to-read novel in the Orca Currents series for ages 10-14). (Review)
Posts Tagged ‘kidlit’
I’ve been “tagged” by author friend Laura Langston to join in a game of blog hop. The rules of the game: answer four questions about your writing and writing process, and tag three more people. Laura writes picture books, young adult novels and adult novels. To see her post on the blog hop, click here.
Here I go with the questions:
1) What am I working on?
I’ve just finished the final edits for a new novel called Siege (for ages 10-14), which will be out this fall with Orca Books. It’s about a teenage boy who reluctantly attends a War of 1812 re-enactment summer camp and discovers some modern-day criminal activity around the Niagara River and Old Fort Erie. As part of my research for the story, I watched the re-enactment of the Battle of Queenston Heights on its 200-year anniversary and also visited Old Fort Erie. I have a picture book story about the War of 1812 in the works as well.
I’m also working on two short non-fiction stories about dogs which will appear in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Did What?, scheduled for release in August.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My newest book, Siege, mixes history in with the present day, which is a bit unusual. I don’t think I’ve come across any other stories about people re-enacting historical events. It was fun to write, partly because the main character doesn’t want to be where he is, and I enjoyed writing about his reactions to things like his musket misfiring, the old fort’s ghost stories, and trying to navigate the Niagara River in an old-fashioned row boat.
I’ve also written more straight-forward contemporary fiction and historical fiction. Flood Warning, for example, is a chapter book (for ages 6-8) that takes place during the Fraser River flood of 1948. There aren’t a lot of chapter books that tell historical stories (especially BC and Canadian history), which makes my story (and the others I’d like to write) somewhat unique.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I write for kids because it’s something I’ve wanted to do ever since I was a kid (about the time my dad made the hopscotch in our backyard, which appears at the top of this post). I fell in love with books such as The Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis and the Emily of New Moon series by Lucy Maud Montgomery when I was in grade six and have continued to love books for children (both reading them and writing them). I also sometimes write poetry and nonfiction for adults, but writing for kids is my main compulsion.
As for what I write about: I like to explore the world around me and notice things that maybe nobody else is paying attention to. I’m always fascinated by history, nature, and unique bits and pieces that I stumble across. When something surprises or intrigues me, I immediately start imagining it as part of a story (I always keep a notebook handy). I write about things that interest me and hope someone else will be interested, too.
4) How does my writing process work?
Usually when I’m working on a new story, I do quite a bit of research first (which I always enjoy, especially when it involves visiting interesting new places or trying out some new activity). Sometimes I find it difficult to actually sit down and begin the writing, though, and I might procrastinate by doing more research, or even by doing some different types of writing (like nonfiction articles or blog posts). But, once I dig into a story, it starts to flow, and I get caught up in the world of the story.
I do most of my writing from my home office. If I need a break, or get stuck on some aspect of the story, I go for a walk, and usually the problem or the next scene works itself out in my mind as I walk. Rather than doing several drafts of a story, I edit as I go, which means sometimes I can rework the same chapter or scene for days before moving on, and by the time I get to the end of the first draft of the story, it’s fairly polished. But, of course, there’s always more editing to be done.
For the next stop on the blog hop, I’ve tagged Cindy Henrichs and Daniela Elza (I tried to tag a third person, but everyone else got away), and they’ll be blogging on June 16.
Cynthia Heinrichs is the author of two books: Mermaids, a picture book about the diving women of South Korea, and Under the Mound, a novel for young adults set in 12th-century Scotland. Cynthia is also a regular contributor to British Columbia Magazine. She lives in Vancouver, BC, where she writes and tutors college students in academic writing. To learn more about Cynthia, please visit her website here (and check out her blog on June 16).
Daniela Elza had been published nationally and internationally in over 80 publications. Her poetry books are milk tooth bane bone (Leaf Press, 2013), the weight of dew (Mother Tongue Publishing, 2012) and the book of It (2011). Daniela earned her doctorate in Philosophy of Education from Simon Fraser University and was the 2014 Writer-In-Residence at the University of the Fraser Valley. Check out her website here (her blog hop post will be up June 16).
Note: If the next blog hop posts aren’t up by June 16, please check again in a few days.
Thanks for playing!
Launch activities for my new chapter book, Mystery of the Missing Luck, are finally winding down after a busy month of guest blogging, book giveaways (winners listed at the end of this post), and live book events. It’s been a lot of fun, and a little exhausting!
The photo at left is me at a group book launch last Wednesday, which took place at one of my favourite book stores, Vancouver Kidsbooks (scroll down for a link to a blog post about the event). The photo below is the wonderful group of authors who participated in “The Best Mess” Children’s Book Week event at the Burnaby Library, Metrotown (story link below).
Since I spend a lot of time on my own, writing, it’s been great to get out and connect with other authors and hear about their books and projects –and also great to connect with readers!
If anyone’s interested, here are the links to the guest posts I did on my virtual book tour:
– Talking about how the Japanese Maneki Neko (lucky beckoning cat) got into my story, Mystery of the Missing Luck, on author kc dyer’s blog.
– More about the book’s inspiration and what started my interest in writing about different cultures on the Orca Book Publisher’s blog.
– Confession of my life-long love affair with bakeries on author Tanya Lloyd Kyi’s blog.
– My interview on the Children’s Writers and Illustrators of BC (CWILL BC) blog (part of a series of interviews with BC authors)
– Post about the Children’s Book Week event at the Burnaby Library, “Authors agree, the best stories often spring from messy beginnings”
– Post about last Wednesday’s group launch of new books by Orca authors, “The More Books, the Merrier!”
– Join me and others in sharing stories, folklore, and images about Maneki Neko, the Lucky Cat (ongoing)
The winner of the Missing Luck/Lucky Cat prize pack is Aymee Leake (who entered via the Lucky Cat -Maneki Neko Facebook page). Copies of the book go to Lesley McKnight (kc dyer’s blog), Kathy Hawkins Thomas (Orca’s blog), and Jacqui (Tanya Lloyd Kyi’s blog). Congratulations, and thank you to everyone who joined in my book party festivities!
And now, this blog will return to its regular programming (ie. irregular postings of haiku, photos, etc), and I hope to get back to work on my current novel-in-progress…