Hurray for grade 8 students (at Jack Chambers Public School) Nishit, Justin And Sumar. They created this dramatic book trailer and they honoured copyright! Thank you to Mrs. Gulliver too for inspiring (or maybe just assigning) her students to look at a book more closely and “talk” about it with other media. For their efforts they have earned an author visit from me for their fellow class mates. I look forward to
We’d rather be writing still I think most readers would be surprised how often an author must stop to research things even for fiction. It ruins the right brain flow if we’re not absolutely sure about say, how a school might evacuate during a bomb threat. In the baby steps of my new mystery novel for middle aged readers, my brain froze at exactly this dilemma. I visited the Halton Police website and saw a phone number.
No I didn’t want to call and talk to anyone. Reluctantly I dialled Sergeant Glen of the bomb squad. I hate having to talk out an infant plot with someone I don’t know. So much rides on their cooperation and I can’t even promise if or when the story will be published, never mind a thank you in the acknowledgement or a free copy of the novel.
But this was a great phone call. Things I didn’t know: how often kids prank call these threats during exam time. Really? Isn’t it easier just to study and take the test? How much time is involved in investigating a suspicious package: six hours minimally. And it’s not all Die Hard Hollywood with a timer ticking. Digital bombs don’t tick or have a visual timing device. Sometimes they’re detonated by movement, light or a cell phone call.
Sergeant Glen immediately invited me to come down and see their equipment. Honestly, there was no need for me to do this, at least not for the plot of my book as it stood. Still. It would be cool.
I saw the squad’s blank white trailer (people get nervous if the bomb squad shows up in a labelled vehicle), looked at their safety suits and of course, took a photo of their detonating robot. See below.
Sometimes research makes a plot twist. I knew when I saw their detonating robot, it would need to crawl across my page. And yet they don’t even have a name for this $350,000 technological miracle.
We competed against Toronto’s best and brightest young readers and we didn’t lose. Oh sure, you think authors should score high on a quiz about books. What about a quiz on cartoons, cats, finance, flowers, prisons and prisoners, body parts, and beasts in books?
My fellow authors on the Write Stuff team, Bill Swan (Fourteen and Sentenced to Death: The Story of Steven Truscott), Wesley King (The Vindico) and Michael Betcherman (Breakaway) felt the same as I, as much as we love reading and writing, we’re fairly self absorbed and have no great retention for titles, characters and details in other peoples’ books.
We thought we would be scalded.
But we came in third(ish) in a regional heat–we were tie with another team. We should have boned up on our Harry Potter trivia. I did not know the name of Harry’s Aunt, she was in the flower category, hint, hint. I’l confess too I had difficulty understanding the KLQ creator and host, Wayne Mills, from New Zealand. What is the name of the Amazonian super hero? The word Amazonian in Aussie speak had many of us baffled. Answer: Wonder Woman.
To what do we owe our supreme not-failure: brilliant teamwork and good qualified guessing.
I know you probably want to know the winner. Here’s where self absorption and bad memory come into play. Let me just say that all the kids were winners because they love books so much.
Friday, February 1, 2013, CANSCAIP authors and illustrators celebrated their new creations with their favourite people, librarians. Who likes books better? As usual I cruised the aisles as did fellow volunteers Lena Coakley (author of Witchlanders) and Allison Bourda, Mabels’ Fabels bookseller extraordinaire, delivering handouts and the word about this Gong Show for writers and illustrators. They have four minutes to deliver the essence of a creation that took them years to write and perhaps illustrate.
How do we lure our librarian friends? “Free books! Anyone interested in FREE BOOKS!”
How do the authors deliver this essence? Werner Zimmerman talked about inspirational cows. Erin Thomas enlisted me to co act out her Haze script. (Let’s just say I’m going to stick to writing) Gail Sidonie Sobat sang to highlight points in her Not With a Bang, Mireille Messier created elephant heads out of mandarin oranges to talk about our first French language launch for Fatima et les voleurs de clémentines. Most of us talked about where our ideas came from and read snippets.
Then we raffled off FREE BOOKS and a cow and pig display from Werner Zimmerman’s new and old Farmer Joe Scholastic reading series. Energy, enthusiasm, fun! Thank you CANSCAIP launchers and OLA, especially Liz Kerr!