I often get asked, why write children’s books instead of adult fiction?
It’s an easy answer – I grew up over the last (ahem) 30+ years, and found out it’s great to be independent, make my own decisions, chart my own path and all that. Yes, but it’s also more serious and demanding and – well, less fun. Sure, adults have fun and most teens seem to be in a big hurry to grow up. But now I’m going in the other direction – down. Back to my childhood I guess.
Why? Another easy answer – I want to laugh more, real belly-laughter, tears in your eyes, gasping for breath laughs. I want that lightness in my chest that feels like I could run forever or fly into the wild blue yonder or turn somersaults in the fresh green grass or pretty much do whatever I want to do! I want to tell stories that make someone spew milk out their nose or giggle themselves silly.
And kids know how to do this best! So my current WIP is a humorous Picture Book. And selfishly, I think it’s more for me than anyone else. Well – yes, I want readers too. So more here in this blog when I have news to share.
First, an apology for letting nearly two years go by without posting. Life took a terrible toll on me two years ago as my husband of nearly 40 years died in an airplane crash. Less than two weeks prior to that, my mother had passed away – gently, while holding my sister’s hand. She was nearly 102 years old, so she had lived an amazing, long life. I miss her still, but believe she’s now at eternal rest and, hopefully, reunited with my dad.
Losing a dear loved one far too soon is indescribably difficult, so I won’t say anything more here, other than to recognize I needed the past two plus years to regroup, to grieve, and to contemplate the purpose and meaning of life. One lesson I’ve learned is that equilibrium/peace of mind is a temporary state of being, and that we must embrace all the deviations and obstacles that delay our achieving it. As others before me have said, with the bitter comes the sweet, with the night comes the dawn, with the dark comes the light.
With the support and love of family and friends, I’ve been able to re-engage with writing. I’m starting to query publishers for my next YA novel, which (ironically) deals with grief. I hope my next blog post will be an announcement that I’ve found the right home for “AFTER MATT”. As a teaser, here’s my pitch from #PitMad that attracted a publisher’s attention recently:
“Teenage girl grieving her brother’s shooting death must choose between caregiving her PTSD mother or joining the sport she believes will save them all, biathlon. FALL FOR ANYTHING x WINTER OLYMPICS”.
I’ve presented The Art of Rebellion at three book clubs so far, and it’s been a tremendous experience. Always thinking of myself as hating public speaking, it turns out I love to talk about books – er, my book in particular. A new facet of my self-image has emerged.
This fall, I present at three more book clubs and can’t wait to do so. The responses and questions I get are always so interesting and make me think about how once a book goes out into the world, it’s the reader’s book, not mine.
So thank you, all you book clubbers! You are awesome and really lift me up!!
When a friend emailed me to say my book had hit Number 6 on the Bestselling Fiction list of our local newspaper, the Calgary Herald, I was a bit stunned. I ran out to buy a copy of the paper, and had to open it to the Books section before I believed her. Sure enough, there was my name in the newspaper in proximity to literary heavyweights like J.K. Rowling and Kristin Hannah (The Nightingale is on my bedside table).
After I got over the initial excitement of being on the list, I realized why it meant so much to me. The reason I write is mostly to express my creativity – telling stories by playing around with words, plot and characters. It’s fun. Or I probably wouldn’t do it. But when I take time to really dig deeper into why I pursued publication, I realized it wasn’t for fame (too fleeting and superficial) or for money (impossible to make money at this gig!). It was so that my stories would reach a greater audience than just family and friends.
Discovering my book on the bestselling list means I’ve reached a broader audience. That’s where the lasting satisfaction lies – knowing there are readers out there willing to be taken on Gabbi’s adventures – for better and for worse. Mostly for worse, because that’s what makes stories, after all.
So thank you to all those people who purchased The Art of Rebellion, and are reading it. Welcome to my world. (Ed.note – The Art of Rebellion has appeared on the Calgary Herald bestseller list four times in 2016, most recently at #5.).