Sunday, October 25, 2009


Life is good. My confidence has been renewed.

I knew--and I told the people closest to me that this would happen--somewhere, someday, someone would take a chance with this story.

The writing life is a series of ups and downs, and right now mine is on a high. Ivy lives! It's all happening very quickly. Within three days of his request for the complete manuscript, the editorial director telephoned to say he'd like to do my book. In the spring of 2010!

And as soon as the contract discussion was out of the way, he needed material about my book for the publisher's spring catalogue, which was almost ready to go to the printer. Could I come up with a 150-word blurb for the back cover, a 50-word biography and some ideas about what I envisioned for the cover of the book? The following morning would be perfect. Of course, I could do it!

I loved writing this novel like no other. In the early days it seemed to write itself. Ivy Chalmers, my main character, has lived in my head since 2007 when I first began to scribble my way towards a new story. I just let Ivy (and Charlie) go where they wanted, until I finally had to rein them in. When I began to see the direction the story was taking, I ditched some scenes, rearranged and rewrote others, tightened the story and tried to reinforce the theme. Then it was time to test the waters.

The story is set in Toronto and rural Ontario, and it takes place during the Great Depression. Ivy lives with her mother, Frannie, who dreams of becoming a famous actress. The two read fairy tales and engage in games of "make believe" to get them through the hard times. When Ivy is 12, Frannie decides to take off for New York City to make a name for herself on the stage. She sends Ivy to live with her grandmother, someone she has never even met. In spite of the grandmother's conviction the Frannie has abandoned her, Ivy is confident that her mother will return. Frannie's games of "let's pretend" have not prepared Ivy for life with her no-nonsense grandmother.

The book is called Growing Up Ivy. I hope you will watch for it. It is to be available in the spring of 2010.


Ashley Howland said...

Congratulations, I know how it feels when it all suddenly works. I am currently living a story at the moment and with every word going down it becomes a whole new adventure.

Peggy Dymond Leavey said...

I know what you mean, Ashley, when you say you're "living a story." That's exactly how it is for me too, being in the story and discovering the adventure. Wonderful to meet you.

Willow said...

Congratulations! Really great news! I'm just starting to wonder what the sequel to my Tirissa novel will be about.