Seeking Shelter – Challenging Ideas About Homelessness

 

It’s been a long slow process since I first pitched my idea for a kids’ non fiction book on homelessness to the publisher who published my eight children’s fiction books.

In January 2019 if I recall.

IMG_4209Between my editor and I, we have finally decided on the title and subtitle Seeking Shelter – Challenging Ideas About Homelessness (though it might still change!). Today I finished what I hope will be the final text revisions – and made it to the desired wordcount. I have had a glimpse of the illustrator’s sketches and colour palette (I love them!). And next week I will finalize the photo package from which the designer will select as they lay out the book.

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The publication of the book is still a year away – October 2021 – when it will join others in Orca Book Publishers’ THINK series of mid grade non fiction books on social issues.

Meanwhile, homelessness continues to be a serious issues in many communities. More programs and services are being developed all the time. People and organizations continue to come up with innovative ways to address the issue and help those affected by homelessness. And every day there’s something new  in the news – locally, provincially, nationally or globally –
about it.

It’s hard to keep up, and even harder to include everything I would have liked to include in the book.

So this Facebook page is where I will post anything and everything that I think is relevant to the book or the issue in the next year. If you’re interested, I hope you will Follow it. And if you’re around in the fall of 2021, I hope you will  be around to help celebrate this book – a labour of love and deep commitment.

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All photos: L Peterson

25% of author royalties will be donated to the Nanaimo Unitarian Shelter,
– offering overnight respite from the streets for more than ten year –
where I was privileged to work for more than 2-1/2 years.

 

 


Author Q & A: Laura Stegman


Laura Segal Stegman‘s non-fiction work includes collaboration on the travel book Only in New York. Her  feature stories have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Magazine, Westways Magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, Hollywood Bowl Magazine and Los Angeles Daily News. Summer of L.U.C.K., her debut for middle grade readers, is her first novel.

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Which book do you most clearly remember from when you were a child?
 The Diamond in the Window by Jane Langton fits that bill. In fact, the magical elements woven into its heroine’s journey to self-acceptance inspired me to write my debut novel, Summer of L.U.C.K. (see below)

Did you ever write a fan letter to an author? If so, who to, and did they write back?
 Yes! When I was a kid, I wrote to author Sydney Taylor, who wrote the All of A Kind Family series, another of my childhood favourites. I was so thrilled when she replied that I still have her letter.

How did you learn to write? What is one writing book or website you’d recommend to anyone else wanting to learn?
I’m actually not sure how I learned to write – maybe by widely reading ever since I was a kid. And by doing, probably. What helped me the most was input from editors and other writers. Agent Janet Reid’s blog has tons of great advice about querying and writing along with the occasional flash fiction contest/writing exercise.

What is your favourite hobby or activity that has nothing to do with writing or reading?
I’m a big fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers, so following the progress of their season and Major League Baseball has always been a big part of my life. With limited baseball during the pandemic, I’ve significantly upped my reading and writing time.

Who is your favourite author now?
That changes over time! Right now, I’m making my way through the Inspector Gamache mysteries. When I finish one, I can’t wait to start the next. So I’ll say Louise Penny, the series’ author. For kidlit, it’s J.K. Rowling, hands down. I also love her adult fiction under the Robert Galbraith pen name.

LS2Do you have a new book coming out soon?
I do, and it’s a dream come true. Summer
of L.U.C.K.
, my middle grade debut, is being published September 15, 2020, by INtense Publications. It’s a contemporary fantasy about three kids finding their way to self-acceptance with the help of a ghost who haunts a magical carnival.

What are you writing these days?
I’m writing Summer of L.U.C.K.‘s sequel, called Ready or Not, which follows one of the first book’s three main characters. Justin, still grieving the loss of his father, struggles with a bully during his second summer at Camp Inch. He’s convinced he’ll find solutions with the help of the magical carnival, like last year. Turns out real life is much more complicated.

Do you write regularly, or just when you feel like it?
Since Ready or Not is due in the fall, I am writing for a few hours just about every day, often more. My writing pace was much slower when I wrote Summer of L.U.C.K., which took many years, including rejection after rejection and what could be the world’s record number of revisions.

How do you like editing and revising?
Sometimes editing and revising seem easier than creating a story, especially when I’m stuck in a scene or a chapter. But I love writing too. There’s nothing like the feeling when words and ideas start flowing, as if some magic angel is whispering them in my ear.

Can you share one strange, weird or wonderful thing about yourself?
Strange: Other than baseball, I rarely watch television or movies.

Weird: I’m super organized. Almost to a fault.
Wonderful: I care about others.

What’s the one question (and the answer) that you wish I had asked.
You said that Summer of L.U.C.K., your debut novel, received “rejection after rejection.” What kept you so dedicated to it?
With every rejection, I worked harder on making improvements. I kept going. I kept believing. Summer of L.U.C.K. is the book of my heart. Its publication means the world to me.

More about Laura and her books:
Her website: https://www.laurastegman.com/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LauraSegalStegmanAuthor
Buy Summer of L.U.C.K: https://www.childrensbookworld.com/laura-segal-stegman-conversation-kitty-felde


This is the last in this series of author interviews for now.
Thanks to all the authors who participated.


Author Q & A: Jane Whittingham


Jane
Whittingham is a picture book author, children’s librarian, book blogger and mom who lives with her family in British Columbia.
 
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What is the book you most clearly remember from when you were a child?
I’m going to cheat a little, because I simply can’t choose one standout book from a childhood surrounded by books. I grew up on a steady diet of classic modern British children’s literature thanks to my English-born parents, and The Wind in the Willows, Beatrix Potter’s stories and the tales of Paddington Bear and Winnie the Pooh still hold such dear places in my heart.
 

Did you ever write a fan letter to an author? If so, who to, and did they write back?
No. But I did get a chance to meet one of my favourite childhood authors, the great Kit Pearson. There’s a saying that you shouldn’t meet your idols, lest reality not live up to expectation, but Ms. Pearson was as kind and gracious as could be, and I was thrilled to get my childhood copy of The Sky is Falling signed. 
 

How did you learn to write? What is one writing book or website you’d recommend to anyone else wanting to learn?
If you want to write, read! I’m a self-taught writer, and I hone my craft by reading lots and lots and LOTS of picture books! Reading extensively in my chosen genre lets me work out which writing styles, elements, themes and formats appeal to me and which don’t, and helps me learn more about myself as an author, and as a reader. The more you read, the better a writer you can become. It’s also a great excuse to read lots of fun books!

What is your favourite hobby or activity that has nothing to do with writing or reading?
Watching movies! My partner and I have weekly movie nights, and we’re currently working our way through the silent movie era, which means a lot of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton films. We make stovetop popcorn, dim the lights, and settle in for an evening of escape through film.

Who is your favourite author now?
I’m going to be indecisive again because I can’t pick just one favourite author, but there’s a bit of a running joke among my story time audiences that I must be friends with English author/illustrator Jane Cabrera because of how often I include her books in my programs (I’m not, I just really like her books!).  Mo Willems, Mac Barnett, Atinuke, Mem Fox, Anna Dewdney, Eric Litwin, and John Klassen are some other favourites.  I could write an entire list of kidlit authors I love! 

Do you have a new book coming out soon?
I have two picture books coming out in 2022 (the publishing machine moves slowly), so stay tuned for more details! 

What are you writing these days?
Picture books, picture books, always picture books. I literally have about a dozen different manuscripts in various stages of development tucked away on my laptop.

Do you write regularly, or just when you feel like it?
I write whenever I can find the time. I have both a day job and a small child, so finding the time and energy to write can be a bit of a challenge, but I try to be kind to myself and not get too discouraged when I haven’t written for a while. Slow and steady wins the race, at least when it comes to my writing career!

 

How do you like editing and revising?
I hate it! I treat editing like a necessary evil. I’m such a nit-picky writer, I can chip away at a story for eons, and I find it really difficult to know when a manuscript is truly finished. Even worse, I tend to edit as I write, which is a terrible habit for an author – as everyone will tell you, it’s much more efficient to get a story down on paper first, and then start tinkering away with it. If you stop to edit after every sentence, you’ll likely burn yourself out before you’ve even finished a single draft! Thankfully I’ve had the opportunity to work with some really great editors who have helped me grow as a writer and as a confident editor, and my distaste for editing has lessened over time.

Can you share one strange, weird or wonderful thing about you?
I can touch my nose with my tongue!

What’s the one questions (and the answer) that you wish I had asked?
Jane, how do you deal with rejection?
Ice cream. Sweet, delicious, comforting ice cream. And a good sense of humour.

Thanks, Jane.

 

Find out more about Jane and her books:

Website: www.raincitylibrarian.ca
Twitter: @janewhittinghamauthor
Publisher: https://pajamapress.ca/author/whittingham_jane/


Next up: (and the last interview in this series)
Laura Stegman