I had a chance to listen in on a writerly conversation between Linden MacIntyre, Sheree Fitch, Alexander MacLeod and Sheldon Currie the other night. The occasion was a fundraiser for the Atlantic Book Awards, and Jacob and I (and Shannon) were there because HARE has been shortlisted for the Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children’s Literature (along with The City Speaks in Drums, by Shauntay Grant and Glory Wind by Valerie Sherrard). The ABA and Atlantic Book Week (May 12-19) are largely organized by volunteers, and I really appreciate the hard work they do to promote Atlantic Canadian books and writers. I’m looking forward to participating in some readings during the week, as well as spreading some increased awareness of Jacob’s work with Wadeng Wings of Hope.
The cool thing about being able to eavesdrop on the aforementioned conversation was hearing these seasoned writers discuss some of the very same things I struggle with on a daily basis in my word-wrestling life. In particular, it was interesting to hear their tales of where their stories have come from. Sheree said a couple of things that truly amazed me: a) she can’t type and writes longhand! and b) one of her novels took her 8 years to complete, and another took 5 years! I spent about 3 years on HARE, and I’m not sure if I could summon that kind of patience and perseverance!
Speaking of patience, I’ve gotta get back to my W.I.P. Kathy Stinson told me recently that she knows a manuscript is finished when she can’t stand to be in the room with it for another minute. I haven’t quite gotten to that point, but I’m getting close – as I prepare to read through it for about the 500th time! Salud! (Dominican for Cheers!)
I found out a few weeks ago that A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk has been nominated for a Snow Willow Award, as sponsored by SYRCA (Saskatchewan Young Readers Choice Awards). This means it’s part of a list of ten books that middle school readers can read, then vote for, over the next year or so (provided they’ve read at least three of the books on the list). I’ve decided to try and read the other nine nominated books to size up the competition, so to speak:) I love the idea of readers’ choice awards, and I’m pretty happy with the nomination! I have an aunt and uncle who live in Saskatchewan; maybe some of their grandchildren will participate!
I’m not sure how many provinces have such a program. Nova Scotia has the Hackmatack Awards, but I believe they involve books for readers 12 and under. I know Ontario has a similar program, but I don’t know much about it. I think SYRCA is completely run by volunteers, which is quite a feat as they apparently had 11,000 voters involved in the Willow Awards last year. It sounds like they’re really going to work to promote the nominated books as they’ve asked for links to any book trailers or websites authors may have, as well as suggesting authors might like to create a podcast readers could watch. Last year, I learned how to make a book trailer and a writing PowerPoint; guess this year it’ll be a podcast. Sounds like fun, but I’m not sure if I have the necessary technology on hand. I might have to put out a plea for technical assistance. Normally, son Liam would provide that assistance, but since he’s in the UK, I’ll have to look elsewhere. Of course, there’s always Google…