The first piece of news is the publication of “Getting Writing” in the April edition of Bonita Springs Bay Watch News. I not only waxed eloquent about the joys of writing but slipped in some provocative words about Shire Summer as well.
“Finding a beloved setting is critical in writing a good novel. It must sit there comfortably and believably. The reader has to be able not only to see it, but smell it and feel it and hear it. I think I have done this rather well in my novel, Shire Summer, set on the Scottish coast where I grew up. I put in the pipe bands and the gulls for noise, the slippery seaweed and the gritty sand, the pong of a fishy harbor. And for good measure I added adventure and a hint of magic. You can do this for the young at heart; nothing bloody, nothing sordid, nothing overtly sexual. Maybe not your kind of thing at all but there it is! We write what we write.”
Back in Toronto I wrote a second article, along similar lines, for West Rouge Life magazine.
Shire Summer is not set in West Rouge. Sorry about that, but on the Scottish coast where I grew up. There are similarities, however; a large proximate body of water, sudden summer storms and shipwrecks; things that any good story can use to advantage.
An excerpt from the novel was also part of that article.
“Annie hung onto the tiller for dear life. It was the only solid thing she had. The rain poured down in buckets; the deck grew slick; her feet slipped from under her and her hands let go.
Not soon enough. The groaning winch had stretched the lines to the limit which, unlike Annie, held firm. The sails did not. Then came a great ripping sound and the mainsail flung itself out over the sea in yards of useless canvass.
Abruptly the boat righted itself and Annie staggered to her feet. She had to steer somehow but on her life she could not see how. The mountainous waves were pushing the boat further into shore; the rocks ahead were high, huge and bristling with sharp edges.
Surfing the wave crests, they skimmed below the huge looming stone blocks with their gaping slits; places where guns once fired on enemy ships! The sound of the storm and the flashes of lightning now cracked like artillery fire!
There was a groaning, more cracks and an ear-splitting crash as the mast tore out of the deck. The next wave hissed over the pole of gleaming wood. With no hope of control the wind whipped them toward the rocks and into the narrow opening before them. They rolled and crested into the passage where towering boulders tossed the waves upward and where caves, like great black mouths, sucked the sea inside.”
Most recently I have been busy getting my book into local book shops. Ella Minnow Children’s Bookstore in The Beach sold out on the first order and has since placed a second. These photographs were taken in the shop when I dropped in to sign my first copies.
Another joy was presenting my book at CANSCAIP this month. In Sharon Jennings’ introduction she recalled our first meeting at Ryerson where I took her course Writing for the Children’s Market. I was astonished that she remembered pieces of Shire Summer that were written for the first time under her guidance. That must be a good thing, right?
And I am looking forward to being a part of “Author for Indies” later this month, where I shall be rubbing shoulders with such well known children’s authors as Barbara Reid and Lena Coakley. Then at end of May a bang-up Book Launch!! Stand by for pictures from these events.