If you love Canadian kid lit, you will have heard of my friend, author Catherine Austen. Well, guess what? I met up with her today. Not in person, alas (we are in the middle of a pandemic, and even if we weren't, Catherine lives outside of Ottawa), but via Ziom -- and we had fun! Catherine is the author of many books, including two of my favourites, Walking Backward and All Good Children, both published by Orca Books. Last semester, before the pandemic struck, I read the beginning of Walking Backward to my Writing for Children class at Marianopolis College and they loved it -- it's about a boy coping with his mom's death, and his dad's kookiness. Catherine's next book is a picture book, coming out in spring 2021. Like me, you will not be able to resist the title: The Squirrel Stole My Sister (Fitzhenry and Whiteside).
This morning, Catherine interviewed me for her upcoming podcast that you will be able to find at CabinTales.ca. For the podcast, Catherine will be sharing spooky stories, along with tips from other Canadian kids' authors. She had a lot of interesting questions for me, including "Do you have a setting you're afraid of?" and "Would you rather me a zombie, a vampire or a ghost?" Her question about a scary setting prompted me to tell Catherine that I have a bit of claustrophobia -- and that I have trouble in elevators, especially when they stop unexpectedly between floors. As for a being a zombie, vampire or ghost, I didn't have a strong opinion -- though I said that if I were a ghost, I'd like to be one who could intervene -- kind of like a Jewish-mother-ghost (I am a Jewish mother, so it would fit). When I said that, Catherine pointed out that the Jewish-mother-ghost story could make a good book. See, that's a fun part about hanging out with fellow authors (even on Zoom!) -- you get to kick around ideas!
The first episode of Cabintales.ca should be out by the end of the week. I hope you're looking forward to it. I know I am. Oh, I asked Catherine why she decided to write a picture book about squirrels, and she told me that she had a "squirrel friend" when she was a child. Ah ha! That ties into my philosophy that we carry stories with us in the form of memories. USE THEM!!
Hope, dear blog reader, that today's entry finds you well and feeling hopeful. This pandemic has changed our lives in expected and unexpected ways. But if you are interested in writing, perhaps you will have found more time to pursue that dream. Check out Catherine's podcast to hear some great stories and get some practical writing tips!