Frightened by My Own Imagination

Writing a novel is a lot more personal than writing non-fiction. Non-fiction is external – I find and repackage information. Fiction, in contrast, comes from the inside, and sometimes what’s inside is a bit… surprising. When I first started working on my YA fantasy, I got a lot of feedback (some from professional agents and editors) to the effect that it wasn’t edgy enough. My villain, after all, is after world domination, and if he’s too cuddly, readers won’t believe he’s ruthless enough to pull it off. So I rolled up my mental sleeves and reached for my dark side. My nice side did...

Work-to-Rule Is Costing Me Money, But I Stand With Nova Scotia Teachers

Back in September, I got some pretty fantastic news. More schools had booked me as a guest speaker than any other author in Nova Scotia’s Writers in the Schools Program. Including the inimitable Don Aker, a fact so shocking I still haven’t gotten over it. I had a joyful visit at Mount Edward Elementary in October, and was gleefully booking the rest of my season when the Nova Scotia Teacher’s Union announced that, due to ongoing contract disputes with the government, teachers would now be “working to rule.” Since the letter of their contracts do not include things like...

Brick and Mortar Magic: Titles Are More Than Just Labels

After I got my PhD, I went to work at a bookstore. This was partly because my brain was fried and I wanted to relax with the pretty books. It was also because, as I writer, I wanted to understand how the retail end of the book business actually functioned – and how real humans behave when choosing new books. It was revelatory – and now I share those revelations with you. Titles Are More Than Just Labels “Excuse me, Miss?  Can you help me figure out which order these books go in?” I wish I knew what publishers...