Tag Archives: BC books

Getting a Kick out of Reading


It’s so much fun reading from my latest Magda book at the Mayne Island LIbrary. I ended up saying a lot more to my audience than I’d planned to about why I write and what inspires me. Without their questions I might not have opened up as much. For me it’s all about the joy of being able to tell a story, invent characters, and bring themes I care about out into the open. The adults and children present, with their smiles, laughter and general warmth, gave me the feeling of security a shy person like me needed to speak from my heart.

Another bonus on this occasion, (Festival Active Pass on Mayne Island, )was having my husband, son, a granddaughter and a grandson in the library audience. So much of the time as I write my books I think about how these and other very special people will enjoy it. I guess I’ll always write for an audience I keep in my mind. Guess that’s why I get such a kick out of reading to them!reading at the library Apr 2015

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Mounties on Mayne


Mounties on Mayne.

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Mystery Book to Tantalize You


The owner of our local bookstore is after me to finish writing my book! She said that people have been asking her if it’s out yet. I told her it’s nearly finished. She said, “Then why are you reading from it at the Active Pass Festival? Are you just tantalizing us?”

Festival Active Pass will a big event on Mayne Island and the other islands bordering on Active Pass. This April the 17th, 18th and 19th many of the local clubs and enterprises of one kind and another will be welcoming visitors to three days of activities. On Sunday, April 19th, the library has lined up local writers to read mostly from their books for young people. I’m so excited to be reading from Magda’s Mysterious Stranger, the fourth Magda book set on Mayne Island. It is a work in progress that is almost ready to go! Continue reading

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Bearing the Unbearable Truth


The novel I’m working on, Magda’s Mysterious Stranger, addresses this horrendous issue of child soldiers. My heart aches for these kids.
Magda and her friends, Brent, Jo, Shauna, and Rowan, encounter a man that has a lot of anger and behaves suspiciously. Their suspicions and their actions create a major problem for the man but also for the residents of Mayne  Island.
Life has more horrors than they knew about, though. They are confronted by the nearly unbearable reality of child  soldiers!
Art is often a strategy people use to cope with incomprehensible situations. These five friends use their music to do something constructive to help deal with what they’ve learned.

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Christine Lowther on Mayne Island


Christine LowtherA determined group of Mayne Islanders turned out on this rainy night to meet Christine Lowther and hear her read from her book, Born Out of This. She focused on her childhood love of our island, comparing it to Narnia, then gave us a brief trip through years as a foster child, the world of punk, her activism, and her return to Mayne Island. She now lives at Clayoquot Sound in a float-house.

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My Defining Moment


Two Kids Riding Bikes

My defining moment happened on a summer day on Mayne Island nine years ago. If the neighbor’s grandchildren hadn’t been out riding their bikes I might never have written my first book. As I watched from my front porch, it was like a switch had been turned on and I was back on my bike, pant legs rolled up, pedaling down the road. I was strong, free, and independent, just enjoying life as a kid, like those two. I was eleven again, riding my bike, thinking my thoughts, feeling the same feelings. I had to write my book. That day, my own childhood, the children I had known, the books I’d enjoyed and the world of my imagination came together and spilled out onto the pages. I could not stop writing.

I had grown up in a Saskatchewan village — nestled among wheat fields and grain elevators. Like any village, ours was rife with gossip and legends. My imagination was haunted by the secrets and hidden mysteries I overheard while listening silently and invisibly to grown-up conversations. When I wasn’t skating or riding my bike, you could find me curled up reading. By the age of eleven I was writing the kinds of stories I enjoyed, and though I completed very few of them, I started many. I continued writing secretly while raising my family and working, but, always shy, I kept this part of my identity hidden.

But in 2005 I retired and had uninterrupted time. The first week of my retirement I saw those two kids and I started writing my first novel. My heroine, Magda, enjoys the same freedom I had. On her island where deer roam, fences are few, and farms and meadows lie on fertile land between hills and ridges, she rides her bike along quiet country roads lined with salal bushes, blackberries and wild roses, with her friends. They swim in the ocean and build rafts and shelters from driftwood. But all is not as idyllic as it seems on the surface. Magda, whose father and brother drowned in a sudden storm, learns that friendly people who have potluck dinners and bake blackberry pies for their neighbours, have dark secrets, both gruesome and terrifying. Magda’s adventures and her unbridled curiosity challenge the adults in her life.

I owe my three books and one “on the way” to the two kids riding bikes down a dusty road one sunny day nine years ago. Without that sudden coming together of everything I wanted to express, in one jolt, Magda and her friends would not exist

From my entry in CBC’s Writers Write: “Defining Moments”
http://definingmoments.cbc.ca/mediadetail/18448437-Two%20Kids%20Riding%20Bikes?offset=2?offset=2

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To blog or to write


I’ve ignored this blog for several months. I’ve been hard at work on my fourth Magda book. I’m on my eleventh revision now. I think it’s finally starting to come together.
Unless you’ve written a book I don’t think you know what hard work it is. And I won’t tell you how hard it is because I would never want to say anything that would discourage you from starting to write one. Let’s just say that you must really need to do this, really be obsessed with the need to do it! It will use you up, and make you find resources you didn’t know you had. And if you are that motivated, then writing books will give you great satisfaction.
So, you might not hear from me again for a while. Send encouraging thoughts my way, please. I still have a long way to go.

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Beta Reader


I write primarily for kids between 9 and 12,  and my books are mysteries and adventure stories.  I never read or write Sci Fi.  But I’m reading a friend’s first novel to look for things that don’t work.

Why am I doing this?  I’m helping out a friend and fellow-writer, someone who has done the same for me, in fact.  I’m doing it out of friendship and gratitude.

What are my qualifications?   I write.  I can spot grammar and spelling mistakes.  I can tell when the flow in the novel is bumpy.  I can sense when a character does or says something that is “out of character.”  And I know when there is too much telling and not enough showing, which brings me to my next question.

How am I unqualified?  I don’t know how much explaining of technology is acceptable in a Sci Fi novel.  I don’t know how much explanation of the fictional society’s peculiarities is enough.  I don’t know if I can skip over the technical details that I can’t understand.

Please give me feedback if you’re a Sci Fi writer or reader, or if you’ve ever been a Beta Reader for someone’s Sci Fi book, on any other genre of novel, with which you’re unfamiliar.

I look forward to your comments.

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From Draft to Draft


Today I finished the 4th draft of my fourth Magda book. Feels wonderful. I’ve added 4,00 words since the 3rd draft. The plot pieces have moved around and the logic is falling into place.

Is it still a mystery? I don’t know. Is it a love story? Not really, though love is there throughout the story. Is it a book for kids 9 to 12? Maybe. It’s about kids, but perhaps the subject makes the book too painful for kids to want to read.

It’s the book I wanted to write, is all I know.

When I write the next draft, number 5, I’ll concentrate on imagery, mood, suspense, the language that makes up the story’s tone.  This is the part that I love the most.

After the next draft, I hope to be ready to show it to a good editor.  I know that I’ll be doing more rewriting after that.  And so it goes.

Any suggestions?

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What Subjects are Taboo?


July 2nd, 2013 at 7:16 pm

Everyrosehasathornwrites, “It seems to be how tastefully it’s written that counts.”

My response is, I agree. I’m dealing with the taboo subject of child soldiers in my fourth book. I want to let my young readers know about this horrible situation without freaking them out so much they’ll stop reading. I’m treading very carefully.

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