blog tour

california poppy

Yay for blog tours. I love how they connect us together in a virtual stroll around today’s writing scene. My friend Julie Paul, whose new collection The Pull of the Moon comes out this fall, asked me to join her. Thank you for taking time out of this lovely spring day to read my entry.

What am I working on?
This is a strangely difficult question to answer, because I tend to work on more than one thing at a time, and because sometimes working on a story means watching Youtube videos for hours or going on a field trip or talking to people, so to call it “work” seems, hmmm, wrong. For example, yesterday I spent a couple of hours watching videos of belly dancers. So much fun. And yet, it’s actually work, because I am writing a book about a girl who wants more than anything to be a professional belly dancer, but when an opportunity is offered to her, it’s not quite what she expects. I’m also working on a story about a boy struggling to decide whether or not to stay with his neglectful and sometimes even abusive father. That story sent me to learn how to surf. Notice I choose stories that get to me to learn fun things. All part of the plan.

How does my work differ from other work in its genre?
Every writer brings their own past and present to their writing, and I am no exception. I traveled a lot as a kid, and my stories reflect that. So far I’ve published three kid’s books, two of which are set on the West Coast of Canada, and one which is set in West Africa. I love writing about places, and I think setting might just be the strongest aspect of my stories.

Why do I write what I do?
I write stories because I want to learn about something, and I’m passionate about that thing enough to want to share it. I also write because I love to read, and I write for kids, because I know how much reading as a kid changed my world and helped me make it through the tough moments. I want to give that to other kids.

How does my writing process work?
If you saw me writing, you might wonder why I called it writing. I spend a lot of time in the garden, or washing dishes, or going for bike rides. It’s all part of the process, though, because all of those things I just mentioned use my body and leave my mind free to roam. I compare writing to building a homunculus. First, I start with the skeleton: the plot, the setting, those kinds of things. Then I add the flesh: round out characters, deepen the conflict, add to scenes. Then I add the sparkle. That’s where I go into a scene and try to make it shine by adding details. Lastly, I add the creature that gives it life. Here’s where I go in one more time and make sure that in every scene we know how the characters are feeling and responding to each other, where they are and what they’re doing, where the story is heading. At least that’s what I hope I’m doing.

I hope you have enjoyed my entry on this tour. Next up is poet and novelist, Jodi Lundgren.

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