Posts Tagged ‘writing process’

Blog Hop stop

June 2, 2014

hopscotchI’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.

Re-enactor staff at Fort Erie answered my many questions while I poked around the fort

Re-enactor staff at Fort Erie answered my many questions while I poked around the fort

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.

FloodWarning_coverI’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.


sunset from my office window

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!


Sharing the journey from story idea to finished book

October 22, 2007

Manga Touch was successfully “launched” Saturday at Nikkei Heritage Centre in Burnaby. I read from the book and gave a Power Point presentation about how I came to write it: from my first introduction to Japanese manga and Speed Raceranime (the 1970s TV series, Speed Racer, which my brother and I used to run home to watch after school) to some of the things I experienced on my research holiday in Japan (from historic sites and ancient traditions still practiced to modern bullet trains, Tokyo fashion and manga shops).

manga exhibit

Here I am in the shojo manga exhibit (my launch was planned to coincide with the exhibit at Nikkei Centre’s museum), standing next to artwork by Osamu Tezuka, a great pioneer of Japanese manga and animation.


Here I am showing the final image in my Power Point talk, a manga portrait of me by Vancouver artist Nina Matsumoto. Click here for background info on “Manga Me.” 

For more photos of my talk, you can click over to my guest post at Orca Publishers’ blog. You can also check out some stories that I touched on in my launch talk in the following posts about my trip to Japan:

Three-legged crow post

Quest for the Lucky cat post

And if you were one of those kids who used to run home after school to watch Speed Racer, here’s some Speed Racer trivia for you: The series, called Mach Go Go Go in Japan (playing on the Japanese word for “five” and the English word for “go” — as in “go Speed, go!”), started as a manga book series in the 1960s. Speed’s look was inspired by Elvis Presley’s race car-driving style in the movie, Viva las Vegas. Speed’s car, the Mach Five, owe’s a debt to James Bond’s gadget filled Austen Martin in the movie, Goldfinger. A live action Speed Racer movie is due out in 2008!

Another bit of trivia: I called the main character in my novel, Dana, after Dana Sterling, the spunky female Veritech Hover Tank pilot in the 1980s anime series, Robotech (Masters Dana from Robotechsaga). I did this as sort of a joke going back to my university days when I was part of a group of students hired to research children’s cartoons, toys and their influence on children’s play. Robotech (which was created out of three Japanese anime series) was our favourite cartoon (we watched more of this one than was necessary for the research), and at least one of the guys in our group had a crush on Dana.