A Contract with Red Deer Press!

I’ve accepted an offer from Red Deer Press to publish A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk. If all goes according to plan, it should be between covers in the Fall of 2010, which is really quick!  As it turned out, I had a second offer, as well as serious consideration from two other publishers, but I know Red Deer’s Children’s Editor, Peter Carver, will help me make this book the best it can possibly be.  Their terms seem very fair, and I met with Jacob Deng last Friday to confirm his approval of the book going forward.  Although it is a work of fiction, it is certainly inspired by Jacob’s story, and I hope the book will help support his foundation, Wadeng Wings of Hope, through which he is raising money to support education in Southern Sudan.  Stop by www.Wadeng.org if you’re looking for a unique Christmas gift!

I first got the idea for the novel 2.5 years ago when the Acadia Alumni Bulletin contacted me to interview Jacob and write an article for the Bulletin. I listened to Jacob that March day, in awe, for 2 hours, and I just knew it was a story to be told for young readers. In Jacob’s words, his interest in having his story told is to empower young readers living in difficult situations to believe in their own ability to dig themselves out of just about any horrible circumstance. Exactly!

I’m excited to begin the editing process; I’m confident I’ll learn lots from Peter over the winter!

I’ve also signed three contracts over the past month for three English as a Second Language chapter books with a Korean language school, JLS Academy, which has a British Columbia office. It’s a completely different type of writing in that I submit the manuscript, sign the contract, do some on-line editing and get paid! A very different scenario than trade publishing. I’ve also just had a manuscript accepted for StorySomething – a web-based venture offering personalized picture books for busy parents to read to their children on-line.  Interesting…Guess I’d better get back to writing!

Philip Pullman on the value of stories

I don’t usually read fantasy, but a couple of years ago, I read Philip Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy (which I borrowed from my son and daughter, who were 11 and 13ish at the time). I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the books, but then he is a master writer.  I came upon this wise excerpt from his Carnegie Medal acceptance speech (2004) recently:

“All stories teach, whether the storyteller intends them to or not. They teach the world we create. They teach the morality we live by. They teach it much more effectively than moral precepts and instructions. We don’t need lists of rights and wrongs, tables of do’s and don’ts.  We need books, time and silence. ‘Thou shalt not’ is soon forgotten, but ‘Once upon a time’ lasts forever.”

Such profound words deserve to be remembered and considered over and over again.