Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

kkacer's blog

A good writing day!

Yesterday was a good writing day! What did that mean? Well, for me it meant first that I had uninterrupted time in which to write – few telephone calls, and even fewer emails that can occupy the bulk of a day before you even know it. But it also meant that yesterday, I produced words – beautiful, coherent, lucid words, and lots of them!

My friend and writer, Eric Walters, says that he writes no less than 5000 words each and every day, no matter what. That’s not me. If I can produce a good 1000-1500 words in a day, I’m thrilled.

Yesterday was one of those days. Here’s to many more of them!

Book Review - "One Peace"

I attended a CANSCAIP meeting last night (I’ll talk about CANSCAIP in a future blog). Writer and illustrator, Janet Wilson was the guest speaker. I have to say, right off the top, that I am a huge fan of Janet’s. I was privileged to have her do the cover illustrations for my Our Canadian Girl series of books (Penguin Canada). I even bought one of the original cover paintings which hangs on my dining room wall and is admired by everyone. Last night at CANSCAIP, Janet was speaking about her new book, "One Peace: True Stories of Young Activists" (Orca Book Publishers, 2008). I bought a book after the meeting and I haven’t stopped looking through it.

It’s all in the Details

Did you read about the nine year old boy, Alex Greven, from Castle Rock, Colorado who recently secured a major book deal with Harper Collins in New York after completing a classroom writing assignment? His third grade teacher had encouraged the class to take some time to observe people and their behaviours, and then write about these observations. Alex spent a week watching his classmates interact at recess. He produced a 46 page book entitled, “How to Talk to Girls.” Initially sold at the school book fair for $3.00, the book will now be available in 17 countries. Alex joins that select group of authors who had their first books published when they were mere youngsters. The list includes, among others, Canadians Ken Oppel and Gordon Korman.

Back from L.A.

I’m just back from speaking at the book fair in Los Angeles. I’ll talk about that in a moment. But I seem destined to have travel adventures. Not the kind where you explore exotic countries and discover new and breathtaking sights, but the kind where just getting to your destination is a challenge.

I was due to leave Toronto for L.A. on Thursday Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m. I arrived the requisite two hours early at the airport, checked in on line, and discovered that my flight had been cancelled “due to mechanical problems!” Unbeknownst to me, I had been placed on a fight leaving early the next morning with a stop and connecting flight through Chicago.

California here I come!

I’m off to California today. I’ve been invited to speak at a book fair in Los Angeles. I am one of those writers who enjoys speaking and has had the opportunity to travel quite a bit with my books. I’ve done book tours in Germany, the UK, parts of the United States and, of course, across Canada. I may actually have the chance to go to Australia in the spring! I look forward to all of these speaking opportunities.

What I don’t look forward to is the time that this always takes away from my writing. These invitations to speak are lovely when they arrive. I eagerly book myself into schools, libraries, book fairs, conferences – you name it. It all looks great when it’s a year away. It becomes overwhelming and incredibly time consuming when I’m in the middle of it.

Writing Styles

I teach a class at the University of Toronto, School of Continuing Studies called Writing for Children: Introduction (www.learn.utoronto.ca). I’ve been doing it for the past five years and it’s something I love. It forces me to think about the process of writing and to articulate it. The class is part didactic; I give a one hour lecture on some aspect of writing (i.e. character, setting, plot), and part workshop; the students bring in samples of their work and we as a group critique the writing.

Canada Book Week - Nova Scotia

I recently spent a week in Nova Scotia as part of TD Canadian Children’s Book Week (www.bookweek.ca). Every November, close to 35,000 children, teens and adults participate in activities held in every province and territory across the country. Hundreds of schools, public libraries, bookstores and community centres host events as part of this major literary festival. This program sends approximately 25 children’s writers and story tellers across the country, speaking in schools and libraries where students might not otherwise have the opportunity to meet authors.

First Day!

Greetings! It’s a pleasure to be part of Open Book Toronto, and to be your WIR for the month of December. I’m looking forward to sharing thoughts and opinions on books and the writing process. One of the first things you need to know is that I collect quotes and sayings. Some of you will find this endearing; others will think it’s awfully “cheesy.” I find something in truisms that makes me pause and think about what I’m doing and why. In other words, they work for me.

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