... and all Monique wanted to do was WRITE -- but there were presents to wrap and a dinner to cook... and friends wanting to come by to visit. I did want to tell you a little about Hadley Dyer, formerly the children's editor at James Lorimer & Co. Hadley is now the very successful author of a YA book called Johnny Kellock Died Today (Harper Collins) and has left the editing world to writefull-time. Well, Hadley and her dog Luke, a spaniel-mix, spent the night here on Saturday -- and we had a lovely visit. You'll be relieved to know that unlike Ruby, the cat-next-door, Luke doesn't have a problem with having his feet wiped. Now, a good invention would be a dog who wipes his own feet!! (Or maybe they could add that to the lessons at obedience school.) 

I asked Hadley whether she could offer some advice to aspiring writers who might be reading this blog. Here's what she had to say: "Don't be in a hurry to get published. It doesn't matter whether you start at 12 or 42 -- it takes many years to learn the craft, probably at least ten." I also asked Hadley to tell me a little about her writing process. Before she starts, she generally knows her story's key events. "I struggle a lot to connect the dots between these key events. It happened in my first book, too," she said. Hadley has recently finished two manuscripts. One's another YA novel set in Nova Scotia (that's where she's from and where she was headed this Christmas) in the 1980s. The other is a non-fiction project about public spaces and why they are important in kids' lives.

So, that's it for today's blog entry. It's nearly noon and though I went for my run at 8:30, I'm still in my jogging clothes. Time to take a shower and then spend a little time on my story. Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a happy healthy New Year. To my regular readers like Kim and Sophie and Tamar, I send holiday hugs.