A Good Home, Authors, Books

When an Author Has a New Book

In Canada, autumn is when a lot of new books are released.

But completing a book, and publishing it, can take an author years. It’s a huge achievement.

Blog Photo - Lee Gowan Book cover

Blog Photo - Yvonne Blackwood book cover

So you can imagine that when a writer releases a new book, messages of support and encouragement matter – a lot.

“Congrats! How may I find out more about it?”

“Wow! I’m happy for you!”

“Where can I buy it?”

“What can I do to help you spread the word?”

“I’ll recommend it to my local library.”

Blog Photo - Laurie's book covers

It’s the way to an author’s heart.

Writing is a lonely act. And when it’s done, you hope the book is great, but you secretly fear others will think it’s awful.  So when others deem my book worthy of buying?  Wow.  I’m honoured.

Book Cover - An Honest House

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By the way:  If you’ve bought and read someone’s book (and especially if you liked it), a short review on Amazon — or a blog, or social media — helps. 

Blog Photo - Robbie Cheadle new book

Blog Photo - Bette Stevens Book Cover

Explain why you like the book and why you are recommending it to others.  And if there’s something you didn’t like, say so as well. That’s really all you have to do!

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There are some responses that will disappoint an author with a brand-new book:

1: “You know, I’ve always wanted to write a book on that same topic. Maybe I still should.”

2: Start talking about the book you’ve already written that’s so similar, then ask: “Can you help me get my book published?” 

3: “I wrote a book just like that and I didn’t sell many copies. But I wish you luck.”

It’s not that you shouldn’t say any of the above. (Most authors are happy to help others.) But not as a first response. Take the time to acknowledge their achievement first.

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Please join me in congratulating three more authors who have written new books in recent months:

Jill Weatherholt, author of Second Chance Romance, has published “A Father for Bella”. Jill describes her books as “stories of love, faith and happy endings”.

Blog Photo - Jill Weatherholt Second Chance Romance - CoverBlog Photo - Jill Weatherholt A-Father-For-Bella - Cover

Annika Perry has published The Storyteller Speaks, a compelling mix of short stories, poetry and flash fiction. Annika says the one common thread that binds them all is“the belief that there is no such thing as an ordinary life; they’re all extraordinary.

Blog Photo - Annika Perry The Storyteller Speaks - Cover

And, coming soon from Toronto author Nadia Hohn, is Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter.  Written for young readers, this illustrated book follows the much-praised Malaika stories.

Blog Photo - Nadia Hohn Harriet Tubman book cover

Congrats, authors! I’m happy for you!

Cynthia.

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A Good Home, Book Reviews, Books, Maya and the Book of Everything, New Books

Un-Put-Downable: Maya

You know when you’re reading a book – even a mostly interesting book — but you reach a paragraph or page that’s over-written, over-described, over-dense, confusing or just plain boring?

Yes?

Me too.

So I can’t praise highly enough the novel that I finished reading last week. “Maya and the Book of Everything” kept me glued to its pages right to the end.

Blog Photo - Maya and the book of everything

This shouldn’t be. There are many different characters, the book skips from one time and place to another and takes fantastical twists. And yet, the storytelling is seamless, the characters compelling, the dialogue convincing, the quest believably and skilfully portrayed. It was a pure pleasure to read this book.

What makes me even more pleased? This book about a teenaged girl who takes on a seemingly impossible mission is from a small press, and authored by Laurie Graves, a blogger you may know.

With this book, Laurie demonstrates formidable gifts and skill as a novelist.

“How did you make the characters so believable?” I asked Laurie.

“I originally envisioned Maya as more timid, but when I thought of all she’d have to face, I knew she couldn’t have a timid character. Maya wouldn’t have survived her adventures. So then I reimagined her as a fiery young woman, a girl of action—unlike me!—and I immediately knew this was the right way to think about Maya.

“Somehow the characters just came, and it wasn’t all that hard to keep track of them. For me each character has a vivid voice and a distinctive way of speaking.”  

 

Blog Photo - Laurie Graves MCU

Where did the idea for the book originate? I asked.

Laurie got the idea for the book while editing a small literary magazine that she and her husband published.

“I used the Chicago Manual Style, not always an easy book to use. One day, I was tackling a knotty grammatical problem, and I said to myself, ‘I wish I had a book of everything.’  Then came the question: What if there were a book of everything? Where would it come from? What would it do? What kind of danger would it be in? Obviously, many people would covet a true book of everything. From this question came Maya and the rest of the story.”

Blog Photo - Laurie reading VasselboroMaya170604

Laurie is Franco-American. Her ancestors came to Maine from Canada. It was important to her that Maya and several other characters share that background.

“It is the place from which Maya springs, and her heritage, along with place, is one of the things that ground her.”

There is a  real place in both Maya’s and Laurie’s stories.

“The street shot (below) is of East Vassalboro, a classic New England village where my mother lived for many, many years and one I came to cherish. It is also where Maya’s grandparents live, and East Vassalboro and its library are essential to the story.”

Blog Photo - Laurie Vasselboro main street

There are subtle but impactful messages woven through this book. Good leadership is one.

“The big messages are that facts do matter and that a place will suffer under a bad leader. The corollary is that good leaders are essential. On a more personal level, I wanted young girls to read about a plucky heroine who turned her face to the wind and faced difficult challenges.”

It’s a great read.

Look out for Book 2: Library Lost, coming next fall.