Join me to celebrate the publication of Finding Cooper!
At long last, my newest novel has arrived on the scene! I’m so excited to share this story with the world; it’s near and dear to my heart, with lots of little things taken from real life (mine and other peoples’.) At the heart of the book is a real-life mystery, a case the FBI never did solve, a boy, his dog, and his grandfather (the boy’s grandfather, not the dog’s grandfather). It has some jokes, comic books, The X-Files, a visit to McDonald’s, and, possibly, $200 000…
I almost started this post with “Ooh la la!” but then I stopped myself from being stereotypical in my post about being translated into French. Although, I suppose I still wrote it, so I failed at that. Still, I am over the moon that my first two books have been translated and are available in Quebec and French Canada through Editions Scholastic. They are also available in France, through Actes Sud Junior.
I’ve been thoroughly enjoying seeing the little differences in the two translations, and the covers for the France editions are pretty adorable too.
The little Arthur Bean that could! A Year in the Life of a Total and Complete Genius is available in Brazil! Now I need to learn Portuguese in order to do my next book tour. Not only do I get to see my book in a language I don’t understand, but I love love love seeing all the promotional stuff coming out of Brazil to sell Arthur Bean. Know people with kids in Brazil? Here’s the link to the wonderful Geracao Jovem.
Plus, check out the cover, and the swag! Mouse pads, lollipops, three different bookmarks, buttons… amazing! I wear the button on my coat every day, hoping someone asks me what it’s for, and why the guy’s head is upside down. No one has… yet…
A Year in the Life of a Total and Complete Genius is also available in Great Britain. The amazing Andersen Press has published the first two books in the Total Genius trilogy. The covers are opposite colours than the Canadian versions, and Arthur Bean has a face on these versions!
Getting A Year in the Life of a Total and Complete Genius published with Scholastic Canada was my best and greatest dream come true. My name! On a book! In bookstores! And not just in bookstores, but in the Scholastic book fair?! And in the book orders?! Scholastic order days were the best school days of all time, and now my book was going to be part of that! And then there wasn’t just one Arthur Bean book, but two! And now there are three! Truly, I couldn’t be happier.
But then, Arthur Bean started to travel! The first two books have been picked up in the United States with the delightful and growing publisher Sourcebooks. I love seeing the different covers from the different publishers. Also, interestingly, the
title of the first book has changed slightly. See if you can spot the difference!
In July 2017, I had the opportunity to go to Korea for work! I work for a great creative writing program for kids in Vancouver, called the Creative Writing for Children Society. I am one of their writer mentors, teaching an after-school creative writing program for kids. It’s a wonderful program; kids who love to write come and hang out for a few hours a week. We read good books, write stories, hone writing skills and do fun crafts and games to be inspired for writing that week. One of the perks of working with the CWC is that they have strong ties to Korea, and run a creative writing camp for Korean students, and invited me to join their team of three mentors. Not only that, but this year was extra special, because I was a judge for a children’s creative writing contest hosted by the Canadian Embassy in Seoul.
What an incredible place to visit! Our time at the embassy in Seoul was inspiring, getting the chance to speak with a group of talented young writers. From there, we were whisked away to the countryside, where we taught for a week in what felt a little like the Korean summer version of The Shining hotel (in a good way?). The kids were great, and I loved the opportunity to work with two different groups all week. It wasn’t even that hot, which was the thing that worried me the most going in mid-July! On my breaks, I made sure to explore the river walks and mountain views surrounding us. I didn’t get much writing done, but it was great fun to look around, and be inspired as a teacher to create new programs and classes to bring back to my classes in Vancouver.
The trip finished with three days in Seoul, where the other mentors and I explored all things Korean, including a palace, a theatre, so much shopping, the meerkat cafe, a spa, and my favourite part, the food!
One of my favourite things to do is create dilemmas for my characters, and I’ve found that writing a book is a lot like working out a Choose Your Own Adventure Story. In this workshop, students will learn how to put characters into conundrums and dilemmas, and how to get those characters out of them. Using an interactive “pick and play” style, students will develop their story to be the most exciting version of itself. Discussion and time for questions will follow. This presentation can be tailored to be a hands-on workshop for smaller groups. (90 min)
This is my standard school presentation. I talk about how I loved to write, but often came up against a serious case of writer’s block in school, and how I tried to solve the problem. I touch on how I use inspiration from my own life and the lives of others around me to craft my novels and find humour in tricky situations. Writing in a different format, using emails, texts and class assignments, is one of the unique aspects of my novels, and this presentation will cover how this style of writing can help develop unique character voices. At the end of the presentation, depending on the size of the audience, I’ll lead the students in a short activity that shows how one or two words can spark the beginning of a whole idea. Discussion and time for questions will follow. This presentation can be tailored for small or large groups. (60-75 minutes)
The Arthur Bean series is told through class assignments, emails, texts, newspaper articles, and more. I’ve found that telling a story in a different format can make the story come alive. So let’s get into characters’ heads. What texts does a girl send to her secret crush? What kind of journal entries would an aspiring evil wizard write? How can email connect two characters on opposite sides of the world? We’re going to let the readers fill in the story!
In this workshop, I’ll describe how I used alternative narratives to find my characters’ voices, as well as discuss the pros and cons of setting limitations in how you tell a story. Following a presentation, students will create their own characters using emojis, and develop them from there. This workshop is hands-on, and works better with small groups or in classrooms. (60-90 minutes)