Friday, October 22, 2010

Author Visit to Clarington Library

First a two hour drive on a clear sunny day with no traffic at all. A good omen. Then at noon an interview with a journalism student, Nancy Ellis. Her story on me counts for 25% of her final grade, a replacement for a midterm. No pressure. She has to tape the interview.

I do this a lot with younger kids usually. No one's ever gotten lower than a B, no worries Nancy.

Hurray for Laura Martin, the hospitable librarian who hooks me up with a large cup of butter pecan coffee and a private room for the interview. Sample question: best advice someone's ever given me on writing. Best is such a hard judgemental word. Recently we had Vicki Grant speak at CANSCAIP and she said something about her best ideas being very close to her worst ideas.
That resonated with me. What about the best advice I can give a young writer. Explore your likes and dislikes and find yourself. Then connect what you find to your work. That goes for all young people not just writers.

Nancy can't stay for the talk which is in the adjoining city hall chambers. Gorgeous like a techno courtroom. The two techies provided to me swore off on my Mac--although helped get me some sound to my trailer.

Three classes of Grade 8s from Vincent Massey sat on two levels facing me. They are terrific. I would guess there are some good writers in the crowd judging from their thoughtful participation. Plus I have some superb actors perform my scene from Last Chance for Paris. Appropriate aws for cute puppy shots.

We all had a good time. I enjoyed a visit with Laura who previous hailed from a Manhatten Library. Then she gave me a souvenir library bag and pen.

Now what would make this all perfect would be to hear that Vincent Massey will now read my books and that Nancy goes on to earn an A+ and quotes me to future writers.

Teachers grabbed some writing tip sheets and the kids hiked back with them to school.

I drove off into the rushhour traffic.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Filming the trailer for the Beauty Series

Why film a trailer for a series of books that has already been out for awhile? Does a book have any value once it's off the boxstore bookshelf?

Certainly in the past, kids' books had a shelf life of over ten years. Of course most bookstores don't have enough shelves. But now everyone can order online. Why did I want a trailer?
Because it's fun for me to put some creative energy into a project this way and I like working with my kids.
Here's my son filming random shots of dogs who resemble Beauty 1, the black Lab, Beauty 2, the Chocolate Lab (he will actually be played by Buster, Beauty's real brother) and Magic, played by Grand Torino. When I asked his owner for permission to film him, she told me she had read Bringing Up Beauty in grade 6 and in grade 7 had started fostering guide dogs with her family as a result. When I wrote that Buster was Beauty's real brother, you probably thought "hey Beauty is a fictional dog." However, his foster owner is also a fan of the Beauty series and she's raised several dogs for Canine Vision Canada. The last dog was born into a B litter, meaning the pups all get names starting with B. For the first time she was able to have her own Beauty she told me.

And Beauty sent me a Christmas card. Does a book have any value once it's off the boxstore bookshelves? Of course it does.