Issue #19 • April 2019

Dear Readers,

It's hard to believe that a year ago today I welcomed my son into the world!

He was born three and a half weeks early. What a great April Fool's for me and my husband! He really lives up to his birthday, too. He's a ham who loves jokes and laughing and being the centre of attention. He can say "mum" and "dada" and is two seconds away from taking his first step. He loves avocados and pasta and going swimming and diving headfirst down slides. But most of all, he likes to find the ONE thing in a room that he is not allowed to touch and then try and play with it. His favourite toys are belts and wallets. Haha! So far, he's inspired one picture book, but I am sure he and his escapades will give me only more ideas as he grows older.

Can you tell I'm a super proud mama?!

I have also another wonderful thing happening this week: my official launch for my book, Wings of Olympus. If you live in or near Vancouver I'd sure love to see you! It's on Thursday April 25, at 7 pm, at Vancouver Kidsbooks.
The event invite is here.

I have the pleasure of jointly launching with a dear friend and fellow writer, Tanya Lloyd Kyi, who has worked on so many wonderful books.

I wanted to pick her brain a bit about her writing process and this book in particular! (Plus I truly think the more authors and editors and agents and publishers and librarians and teachers and book designers etc etc etc you can talk to and learn the processes of the better your own work becomes):

How did you get your start writing?

We made our own books in fifth grade, with covers and everything, and I was so proud of mine! That was my first taste of publishing. I got my more official start in 2001, when a publisher asked me to write a non-fiction book called Canadian Girls Who Rocked the World. I hadn’t written for kids before, but I immediately loved it. And then I just kept writing!

You work on a variety of genres of books--from middle grade to YA. Any particular reason? Does any type of book flow easier?

Non-fiction and fiction are like Thai food and pizza. I love both -- I absolutely can’t pick a favourite. But they don’t always go together as well as one might think. It’s usually best to have pizza and pad thai on separate nights. In the same way, I have to keep my fiction and my non-fiction separate, so my brain doesn’t explode. I usually work on a fiction project for a few months, and I love the creativity of exploring characters and plot twists. But just as I think I’m going to write fiction forever, I get curious about something. (Why do we get sweaty when we’re stressed? Who discovered DNA?) Then I’m off on a non-fiction project. In general, I feel pretty lucky that I get my Thai food and my pizza, too.

What inspired Mya's Strategy to Save the World?

Real life! My daughter is now 14, but when she was 11, she ran an intense, 18-month-long campaign for her own cell phone. I already wanted to write a book about a young activist. Somewhere in my brain, that young activist's voice met the cell-phone issue, and Mya was born.

What was a particular challenge writing this book? What was something you really enjoyed?

Mya was constantly surprising me with her know-it-all thoughts on everything from nose-picking to child labor. As the writer, I know I’m supposed to be the one in charge. But with this book, it felt as if Mya took control of everything. Now I’m just hoping readers will love her as much as I do.

You have an amazing family--two lovely kids. How do you balance work and family life? (This is something I need advice on :)

It gets a lot easier! When my kids were small, I’d tuck them into bed and flop onto the couch. Then I’d tell myself, “You can stay here and be a mom for the rest of your life, or you can get up and be a mom and a writer.”
Nowadays, I wave my kids off to school in the morning and enjoy the quiet house to myself!

What's one tip you would give to another writer?

Find a wonderful writing group. It’s like having the best group of editors combined with the most enthusiastic group of cheerleaders. I feel so fortunate to be a part of our writing group, Kallie. It’s full of wise and wonderful women!

Awww! I love our writing group too!
What are you currently working on? What can I look forward to reading?

A few months after Mya arrives in the world, I have a non-fiction book coming out called Under Pressure: The Science of Stress. I’m excited about that one, too. And I’ve also been working on a science book about stereotypes. But soon, it might be time for pizza again. Or was that Thai food? One or the other...

Thanks for the chat, Kallie! I can’t wait for our book launch together!
I can't wait either!

On a side note, Tanya brought me the most delicious home cooked meals days after Ori was born. I will never forget that.

I hope to potentially see you at the book launch! More next month!