Sharing ‘Kit and the Calico Cat’ in schools

I have had the great pleasure and honour of making two visits to a local school this month to talk about writing and illustrating a book, thanks to WiSP. The New Brunswick Writers in Schools Program provides opportunities for published authors and illustrators to visit schools all over New Brunswick.

Thanks to this great program, I was able to spend two mornings talking with students in grades 1, 4, 6 and 7 at Meduxnekeag Consolidated School about what was involved in bringing this project to fruition. Classroom activities based on my book included listening for clues, group storytelling, illustration, ‘stream of consciousness’, and writing what might happen next.

I’m excited to have more WiSP visits planned for December and the New Year. Visit WiSP’s web page if you’d like to know more about having an author or illustrator visit your school!

CBC interview

What a week! While Frederictonians sated their literary appetite at the provincial capital’s inaugural literary festival, Word Feast, Haylee and I were featured on CBC radio.

The themes explored in my children’s novel, ‘Kit and the Calico Cat’, and its 12 year old illustrator, captured the attention of CBC Shift’s producer Colleen Kitts-Goguen and host Vanessa Vander Valk. We were interviewed by phone on Thursday lunchtime (September 21), and by suppertime our dulcet tones were being beamed through the airwaves across New Brunswick.

Oh the miracles of modern technology!

You can find the interview on CBC Shift’s web page, or you can listen to it here:


It’s about the Journey

Having my first book published really has been all about the journey. This unique project has also been about collaboration. The following is an excerpt from a Keeping it in Perspective column I wrote back in May:

“I am a big fan of working collaboratively. Done well, I’ve seen that teamwork can produce great results.

Over many years of working in design and publishing offices, I’ve been involved in a lot of creative projects that required collaboration. I really enjoy being part of a team where we draw on each others’ strengths, pull together to solve problems and progress through the stages involved in producing a finished product that’s the best it can be.

So, when I started writing my first children’s chapter book, I felt it was important for there to be a strong collaborative element to the project.

I’d been carrying around the seed of an idea for years. It was at WordsFall, a Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick event which that particular year was themed around writing for children, that the spark of motivation kick-started the process of actually writing it down.

While I’d taught the age group I was writing for – eight to ten years old – I had not written for them before, so it seemed like a good idea to get some feedback from my target audience. And so it came about that three young readers, sworn to secrecy along with their families, read an early draft and shared their thoughts. Their responses were encouraging and helpful.

Taking on a longer writing project in a genre that was new to me proved to be quite the learning experience, and my story went through a number of changes before finally emerging in its present form. I really appreciated input from friends and colleagues along the way.

I’m delighted to say that I found a publisher who likes my children’s adventure story enough to want to publish it. As we started moving towards publication this summer, we talked about illustrations. Since the main character enjoys art, we decided it would be a really neat touch to have drawings with the text created by her. One of my test readers agreed to bring the illustrations to life, and we’re working on them right now.

Meanwhile, I decided it was time for me to dust off my illustration skills and work on some cover art for the book, with expert assistance from an experienced local art teacher.”

The results can be seen in the finished product, “Kit and the Calico Cat”, and also in the Book Cover Design show, currently at Connell House in Woodstock.