Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bringing Laura to Life

What a relief to discover, as I begin the writing of Laura Secord, Heroine of the War of 1812, that Laura is starting to come to life for me. I need that to happen in order to make her real for my readers. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to breathe life into her old bones.

As I write I imagine her as a child, growing up in war-torn Massachusetts during the American War of Independence. She waits at the front window for her father, a member of the state militia. I see her as a teen beginning the long journey to Upper Canada with her family, helping with the younger ones, comforting her stepmother who is expecting another baby.

Now she is a slim, vivacious, 21-year-old, working in her father's tavern in Queenston when she meets and falls in love with James Secord. Today I saw her at  her wedding and imagined a lavish affair. Later she will go with James to begin married life in the little town of St. David's.

Behold, Laura lives!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cover Art for Laura Secord

This is the illustration that will appear on the cover of my latest project, a biography titled Laura Secord, Heroine of the War of 1812 (Dundurn Press, June 2012). The artist was Henry Sandham (1842–1910), a Canadian painter, photographer, and illustrator who was celebrated for his paintings and water colours of Canadian subjects.

I'm pleased that the publisher chose this piece of art from Library and Archives Canada for the cover. It's full of action and illustrates a pivotal scene in the book.

It also portrays a youthful Laura. She was only thirty-seven when she made her heroic walk in June, 1813. There appear to be no pictures of her in her younger years, and the best known pictures of Laura Secord show her as an old lady, near the end of her life, which I think is unfortunate.  I intend to bring her back to life as the vibrant, courageous, and ever resourceful young Laura.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

One Last Look

Last week I saw the manuscript of my book, Mary Pickford, Canada's Silent Siren, America's Sweetheart for the last time. I had one final look at the edited proofs, reading for typos and checking the placement of the illustrations and their captions. I'm very happy with it! Matt Baker, the copy-editor, made my writing look very good.

And that's it! It will now be scrutinized for a week by an in-house proof-reader at Dundurn Press, and then it's off to the printer. 

I  first accepted this project on September 21, 2010 -- and all going well -- one year and 48,000 words later it will be on the shelf at your local bookstore.

I hope you'll look for it and let me know what you think.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Next Project: The Life of Laura Secord

Now that I've signed the contract with the publisher for my next book, I can share the news. I am writing another biography in Dundurn Press's Quest Biography series. This one, to be released in June 2012, will be about Laura Secord, the only female heroine ever mentioned in the narratives of the War of 1812.

And no, she didn't start the candy company that goes by her name.

Stay tuned!