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That's me and YA author Gillian Chan in today's pic. For now, we are upside down... but I am too excited to tell you about Gillian to worry about us being upside down. Besides, we look good that way!

Gillian lives in Dundas, Ont., but she was in town last week and I got to hang out with her -- and discuss life and books. I've been reading her historical YA novel, A Call to Battle, part of Scholastic's I Am Canada series, and finding it super good. Gillian is really into history, so it's not surprising that the book is full of interesting historical material, but what I like even more is how good Gillian is at capturing what goes on in her young narrator's mind. It is 1812 and Sandy MacKay is eager to fight for his country -- even if his dad thinks that is not a good idea.

I made sure to ask Gillian a few questions about her writing process so I could share them with you, dear blog reader. Heere's some of what I learned. Gillian generally writes in the mornings. She uses her afternoons to do research and for "goofing off" (Gillian's exact words). It turns out that Gillian is a great believer in goofing off. Here's why. She explained, "I get many of my ideas when I'm goofing off."

I asked Gillian if she had a little kernel of writing advice that I could pass on, and she kindly obliged. "Like bread dough," she said, "once a piece of writing is done, it needs to be set aside, to let it rise. In the mean time, you shouldn't touch it or think about it. When I come back to it, I see it with fresh eyes."

Hope you can use that advice. Here's to goofing off, fresh eyes -- fresh writing and fresh bread! Looking forward to our next visit together, Gillian!