The Family Way

Just a quick blog post to bring everyone up to speed about my next book.. Yes, there’s soon to be a next!

The title of the new book is The Family Way and is due to be published in April 2021.

The ARCs have been sent off to the printer awhile ago. We still have to finalize the cover for the actual book but there’s still plenty of time for that. If you remember, ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) are sent out early to reviewers and book sellers in advance of the actually book. To, hopefully, get people excited about the book before it actually comes out.

The Family Way is what we call a stand-alone middle-grade novel, but is also the prequel to my other two Cammie novels, Flying with a Broken Wing and Cammie Takes Flight. What that means is that you don’t have to have read the other two novels in order for this one to make sense. Thus the term—stand alone. The book is set at the infamous Ideal Maternity Home in East Chester in 1939, the year Cammie was born. If you’ve heard anything about The Butterbox Babies, this is where that true life story actually happened.

Here’s the back cover copy and will give you a bit of an idea what the book is about.:

Set in 1930 and based on true events, this middle-grade novel explores family secrets, set at the Ideal Maternity Home.

Tulia May lives in rural Nova Scotia with her mother, who works in the laundry of the nearby Ideal Maternity Home. It’s a place where unwed mothers can discreetly give birth, a place where adoptions by rich Americans can be quickly arranged. Tulia doesn’t think about the workings of the home much; mostly she hates being roped in to helping scrub the endless diapers. Her friend Finny Paul has suspicions that the home is holding sinister secrets—the worst being that unadoptable babies are being buried in butterboxes—but Tulia thinks he’s being ridiculous. When Tulia’s sister Becky ends up in the home, Tulia truly starts to consider Finny’s concerns. And when she and Finny discover what’s really going on there, she knows she has to act quickly to keep Becky’s baby safe.

Based on the true story of the Ideal Maternity Home, and its tragic Butterbox Babies, The Family Way is a thoughtful and engaging exploration of family and of Nova Scotia’s history. A stand-alone middle-grade novel, it also serves as a prequel to the critically acclaimed Cammie novels, Flying With a Broken Wing and Cammie Takes Flight.

When I have a finalized cover, I will share it here on my blog.  In the meantime, edits for yet another middle-grade book A Sure Cure for Witchcraft  will be getting underway in the next month or so. I actually started that book many years ago and have worked on it  off and on since then, trying to get it to a place where I’m satisfied with the end result.  I’m so happy that it is now going to be published in fall 2021. The story is set in Germany in the mid-1700’s and at the time when Foreign Protestants were immigrating to this country. It was actually where my ancestors on both sides of my mother’s family came from, so this book is especially important to me.

So that’s sort of it for now. I hope you’re finding some positive things in your life these days. It has been difficult for so many of us with the pandemic on, but despite the pandemic, life still goes on. That means we have to learn to adapt, to search for the joy in our lives, no matter how difficult that joy may be to find.

Have a wonderful November.

 

Interview with Melanie Mosher

It is my pleasure to welcome Melanie Mosher to my blog to talk about her middle grade novel, Beginner’s Guide to Goodbye.  Not only is the book available in print and ebook, but it is now available in audio. Pretty exciting! Melanie grew up in Amherst, Nova Scotia, and won an essay contest in grade two, sparking her imagination and beginning a lifelong love of stories. Fire Pie Trout received honorable mention in the Atlantic Writing Competition and later became her first published picture book. Melanie now lives in Gaetz Brook and continues to make up stories to share with her granddaughter, Emma.

Can you tell us a bit about your writing journey and when you first
knew that you were a writer?

I’ve been fascinated with the idea of writing for as long as I can remember. In grade two I won an essay writing contest and that gave me the encouragement to continue. I grew up in a house filled with books, so making up stories of my own seemed like the obvious thing to do. I remember imagining someone holding one of my books and reading it before they went to sleep.

Tell us about your book. What is A Beginner’s Guide to Goodbye about?

This is a story of loss. Ten-year-old Laney has lost her younger sister in a tragic accident and the reader witnesses her grieving. Laney feels guilty about her part in her sister’s death and cannot talk about it. The reader also sees the rest of her family struggle, each in their own way. There are other characters who have experienced different types of loss.

Laney’s family spends the summer at their cottage on the Northumberland Strait, and here they begin to heal. The story is also one of friendship, hope, and resilience. It’s not all sad. There are bonfires with marshmallows and ghost stories, walks on the beach to find shells and sea glass, hide ‘n’ seek games to play, and plenty of kool-aid and watermelon.

 Why was it important that you write this book?

In 1976, my younger sister was killed in an accident and my family was devastated. My parents, so engulfed in their own grief, were unsure of how to help my siblings and I cope. We fumbled through and life went on.

Today, things have improved. There are grief counsellors in schools and an awareness that people may need help in navigating their emotions.

I wrote this story to offer comfort to a young reader who has suffered a loss or to encourage empathy for those who are near. And to show that talking is always better than not talking.

You mentioned in the acknowledgements that your book went through many drafts and started out as a short story in 1998. What kept you going back to the story and were there times when you felt like giving
up?

I put the story aside many times, but it always lured me back. This happens with my writing. I can write a draft and put it away thinking it’s not good enough. Over time, the idea comes back to me and I pull the story out and reread it. If the idea still appeals to me, I proceed with the next draft.

The original version of A Beginner’s Guide to Goodbye, entitled The Diving Stand, was about 1200 words. It explored Laney’s fear of jumping off the platform into the deep water, a tangible fear with a possible physical solution—jumping. As time passed, I realized Laney had another fear, one that was less tangible and harder to deal with, the loss of her sister and discussing her guilt with her mother.

Do you have any words of encouragement for other writers out there
who have yet to see publication?

Tenacity!

Like any skill, writing is a craft that improves over time. Send your work out, but don’t be discouraged by rejection. Every writer gets rejected and it stings. Be willing to brush yourself off and try again. Either by reworking the same story, or creating a new one, or both. Believe it is possible!

Are you working on anything at the moment? If so, can you share it with us?

I usually have more than one thing on the go at a time. When one project isn’t working or needs to rest, I change to the next one. As long as I’m writing in some capacity, I feel like I’m moving forward.

I’m working on an early chapter book about a young boy who loves school but finds himself suspended after a bad decision that was made for a good reason. I’ve never written a male protagonist before, but this character arrived in my brain and had a story to tell.

I also have another picture book in the works, three freelance articles for magazines, and an adult non-fiction book that explores my journey with depression.

As you can see, they vary greatly. For me, it seems to help my creativity if I shift between genres and projects.

Thank you, Melanie for sharing a bit about your writing world with us. Congratulations of the publication of another book! I wish you all the best.

 

What’s it about: Every summer, Laney’s family visits their cottage on Tidnish Beach. Summertime on Nova Scotia’s north shore is slow and sweet: there are long days in the water until fingers turn pruney, bottomless glasses of cherry Kool-Aid, and bonfires with the other families summering along the shore. But this year the baking heat and bright red sand provide cold comfort. This year Laney’s little sister, Jenny, is gone.

Ten-year-old Laney grapples with the loss. She carries immense, secret guilt that she can only work out by writing letters to her sister. Laney’s mother won’t even say Jenny’s name, so writing quickly becomes Laney’s coping mechanism, to the detriment of her social skills. She avoids the other kids until she makes a new friend—one who doesn’t look at her with pity.

It’s a tough lesson for a preteen, but Laney must learn to acknowledge her grief in order to overcome it. When a situation arises and Laney needs to help her new friend, she finally understands that even though she will miss Jenny forever, she can find happiness again. A tender meditation on life and loss through the lens of a childhood summer, A Beginner’s Guide to Goodbye will fill readers with warmth and spark important conversations.

 

Melanie’s book is available in print, as an ebook and in audio.

You can find out more about Melanie through the Nimbus Publishing website HERE

Melanie’s book is available through Nimbus Publishing.

                                                          Amazon

                                                          Chapters/Indigo

And don’t forget your local book seller!

Recap – 2018

I don’t usually do a recap of the previous year in my writing life, but this year was an exception. So many great things happened; most of it had to do with the Silver Birch Nomination for my middle grade novel Cammie Takes Flight.

I really can’t begin to express what this nomination meant to me AND to Cammie. Knowing that so many kids would be reading your book is a dream come true for any author.

When word of the nomination came in October of the previous year I knew I was in for an interesting year. I’d heard stories about the Festival of Trees held in Toronto each year at Harbourfront Centre, and while I never dreamed I’d ever be so fortunate to get such a nomination, I knew one way or another I’d be going to that festival.

I was SO grateful to my publisher, Nimbus, for making the arrangements for me to go.

As many of you already know I’m not the travelling kind. This was going to be my first time flying, add to that, the fact that I come from a tiny place of about 200 full-time people. Well…I’m sure you get the picture.

But I had plenty of help getting me there. Truth be told, I couldn’t have done it without them. As soon as the nomination was announced I had offers of help from other authors who had previously gone through the experience. (It’s always helpful to have some idea of what to expect ahead of time.) Then there was Hubby, who swore he’d never fly, but he got on that plane with me and off we went.

We stayed much of our time with one of my oldest friends and her husband, and she was certainly a God send. Were it not for her we might be roaming the streets of TO (See how I’ve picked up the lingo?) to this day. I was about as pampered as any one author could be! She picked us up at the airport, took us out sight-seeing, drove us into Toronto for the reception and festival, then out to Oshawa for another event. Can’t imagine having done all that without her, plus it was really great catching up on old times. I’m so glad that I was able to share the experience with her. Thanks again, Darlene!
So, a few other things happened this year as well.

First this… (I already mentioned it in an earlier post.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then this….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m most excited about the second contract as it’s for my first adult novel and is due to be published in spring 2020! The second book, for children, is due in the fall of 2020. It should be a busy year. I’ll be sure to keep you up to date with the progress of these as it comes along–such as covers, blurbs, etc.

As for the rest of 2018, I’ll be trying to squeeze in some writing time before Christmas. It’s not always an easy thing to do. I’ve a few stories I’m working on and I’m hopeful that I’ll make good progress this winter. And who knows, 2018 isn’t over yet. Perhaps there will be more news before it’s over.

I can always hope…..

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