There's so much to tell, it's hard to know where to begin.
I got my notes on Junkyard Dog -- the second of my two upcoming books with Orca Book Publishers. The editor on this project is Melanie Jeffs. Melanie's notes did something that a wonderful editor's notes can do: she got me excited all over again about my manuscript. Sure, there are plenty of things I need to work on, but Melanie also had lots of good things to say about my story, including that it's (now here comes a quote) "a great twist on the universal boy and his dog story." (Yesss, Melanie!!)
The revision is due at the end of March, which means when I'm not in school, or busy correcting, or out for a run, or baking cookies, I'll be revising away. In fact, that's how I plan to spend the rest of the afternoon.
Other news... I learned when we got home from holiday that I've been awarded a Canada Council Grant to Professional Writers -- Creative Writing Program. This means I'm going to be able to take some time away from teaching to focus exclusively on my writing. But as I told my students this morning, I can't stay away too long -- they're how I get my inspiration for the teenagers I write about!!
Other news: I just did a short phone interview with a Montreal-based Jungian psychoanalyst named Guy Corneau. Corneau is the author of many books, including the very well-known Absent Fathers, Lost Sons. I needed to interview him for a magazine story I am writing about how it's not just moms who suffer when their kids move out -- it's also dads. I really enjoyed my talk with Corneau. He says that though it's important for men to express their feelings, our culture teaches them to look outward rather than inward. He also said that though a "nest" may be empty, it is up to parents (both mums and dads) to fill it with "the things they are passionate about." I thought that was very beautiful and also very encouraging. You may remember that my daughter flew from our nest in August, and though there are moments when I miss her so much it hurts, I have also filled my nest with what I'm passionate about -- like writing and teaching....
I also promised I'd blog about The Hunger Games, a YA book I read over the March break and which I gobbled right up! It's set in the future in a place called Panem. Panem has 12 districts. Every year, each district has to send two tributes (children aged between 12 and 18) to represent the districts in the Hunger Games. The children must fight to the death -- and their struggle is televised for the entire nation of Panem to see. The story is like Survivor meets Brave New World. And it's not just this exciting plot that makes the novel succeed; it's also the characters. The protagonist is a girl named Katniss -- she's feisty and fiery and smart, but I wouldn't call her sweet. Which, in my view, only adds to her charm. Read this book! (And thanks, for the recommendation, to my other very dear Orca editor Sarah Harvey.)
So I've caught you up on this writer's news. Time to work on my re-write!!