Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Cover for "Growing Up Ivy"

The cover illustration for Growing Up Ivy has arrived. The book, due to be released in June, 2010 is my latest novel for readers 10 years and over. I love the illustration Dundurn has chosen for its cover.

As soon as I received it, I shared it with all the usual suspects: my family and the members of my writers' group.
Here are some of their opinions.

Pat called it wonderful, said there was a mysterious turbulence about it. Linda thought it was excellent, dramatic and striking, and said it spoke to her of loneliness. Myself, I found it elegant in its simplicity. Carolyn called it intriguing, mentioning again the sense of mystery and loss. Its simplicity set up a whole set of questions for her: Where is/who is/what happened to the bike rider? "I want to read the story for the answers," she said.

And that's the whole idea. I hope you will look for Growing Up Ivy late next spring.

Happy New Year to all. And happy writing!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 14, 2009

Visiting Schools & Libraries

"Dear Mrs. Peggy Dymond Leavey,
My name is . . . I go to . . . Middle School. I read Trouble at Turtle Narrows at school. It is the best book I have ever read. Joel Osler is so cool. He has the same life as me. You are my favourite author. Would you please come to my school?
Your biggest fan."

We all love to get fan mail like this, and I make it a point to answer each one I receive. Because I hate to disappoint a child, I explain that, although I'd love to come to his school, his teacher would need to invite me.

I always welcome the opportunity to talk to the kids who are reading my books. I have a general presentation on file, but I re-work it to meet the occasion or the expectations of the teacher.

Most writers depend on giving talks and readings to supplement their incomes, and therefore, we set fees to cover our time and transportation expenses. I try to make it as inexpensive as possible for the schools and have actually lowered my fees in the past year.

Fortunately, there is money available to help with the cost of having an author visit your school. Through the Ontario Writers-in-the-Schools program, the Writers' Union of Canada provides funds to subsidize the cost of an author visit, providing the author is a union member.

Public libraries can also apply for funds from the Writers' Union through the Canada Council for the Arts. These readings must be open to the public, and the author must be a member of the Writers' Union of Canada.

Teachers can find out more about my presentations (talks & readings, or writing workshops) and my fees by visiting my website, or by contacting the Authors' Booking Service: abs@authorsbooking.com.

I'd love to visit your school!
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 6, 2009

What Works For Me

I create my first drafts in longhand. They are, afterall, extensions of the "free writing" method I use for generating ideas. When I reach the end of the story, I transcribe it, chapter by chapter, onto the computer.

I don't hurry this step. I am revising as I go. This is the stage I'm at now with my new novel. I hope to finish this step by the end of the year, but there's something to be said for moving slowly. I like to hold each chapter in my head overnight, to listen to the voices of the characters. It's surprising how little inconsistencies will reveal themselves, or new plot twists spring, unexpected, to mind.

Eventually, I will make a hard copy of this second draft and make further revisions to it in pencil, which is erasable. This may sound cumbersome to you. But although the word processor is wonderful for giving a writer the ability to move whole paragraphs around or delete them altogether, I still like the heft of manuscript pages.

When my hard copy becomes so cluttered with edits that I can hardly find my way through it, I'll transcribe this third draft onto the computer and, from that point, all the editing will be done there.

It works for me.