Making friends in Toronto

Had the chance to travel to Toronto for the OLA superconference a couple of weeks ago.   While it’s always fun to meet readers and sign a few books, the highlight of this trip was my train ride home.  I was seated beside a lovely seventeen year old lady named Adrienne, who entertained me with her wonderful opinions on life for most of the trip.   Being with someone the age of most of my novel’s protagonists reminded me of the reasons I started writing in the first place.   Teenagers are truly the most fascinating people on the planet!

It’s done! Now the panic….

Time Out: A Teacher’s year of reading, fighting and four letter words is finally completely finished and has been sent off to the printer.   This is the point where panic sets in.   Did we catch all of the typos?  Does everything make sense?  Did I take enough time on that final edit?  Will the readers like my students as much as I did?  Will everyone like the cover that we picked?  Did I say everything I  wanted say….now that it’s too late to change or add anything?   Other than all of that, I am extremely excited it’s done and eagerly anticipating seeing the final product!

Time Out

I had the chance to travel to Toronto for my first sales meeting at Ampersand this past week.   I’m used to speaking to groups but there was still something mildly intimidating about sitting in a room filled with sales reps, all of whom had very specific questions for me about the new book – which by the way is now entitled Timeout: A Teacher’s Year of Reading, Fighting and Four Letter Words.    I managed to make them laugh which broke the tension.  It was a new and interesting experience…one more step along the road to learning about this strange business I’m a part of.  Also had a nice lunch with the ladies from my publishing house, Second Story Press.

Attention People with Body Parts review

I recently had the opportunity to review a wonderful book called “Attention People With Body Parts”, collection of letters written by people to various body parts, compiled by Lexie Bean.   The book is a great read in that the writing is terrific and a lot of fun…but it also provides a lot of thought provoking viewpoints about the ways in which we see our bodies.  The book is part of a movement to help people with the development of a healthier, more self aware approach to dealing with their bodies….and all of their parts.

New book!!!

Just got my official signed contract from Second Story Press for my new book!  So excited!  This one is different…”narrative non fiction”…as in it really all happened but with some creativity in the telling.   Current title is Time Out….it’s the story of my first year as a “behaviour” teacher, an incredible journey into the lives of some very amazing young boys who changed my whole life view.   I can’t believe it’s book #4 already!  Yay!

New Manuscript!

Just sent another manuscript off to the publisher.  My first non YA attempt…and nonfiction to boot.     Now I have to wait for months until everyone reads it and there is some kind of consensus.   I am really not that patient by nature…this publishing business is definitely forcing me to work on that particular personal quality!

Reviews, reviews, reviews….

So, the reviews are starting to come in for The Color of Silence and most of them are very kind…check out the review page for some examples!  I am still wrestling with my tendency to take reviews far too seriously…relying on other people’s opinions rather than my own.  So, I decided to take action…in the “if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em” line of thinking.  I am now a reviewer myself, for both CM magazine and Quill and Quire.  I am going to do my best to provide helpful, positive reviews….and if there are aspects of the novel that I don’t agree with or like, I’ll find a constructive way to state my opinion.   It’s just like teaching…you can’t help a student improve if all you do is criticize!  So, here’s my first attempt http://www.umanitoba.ca/cm/vol19/no32/lost.html

Blog Hopping courtesy of Linda Hutsell-Manning!

Fellow Second Story Press author, Linda Hutsell-Manning,  invited me to participate in the “My Next Big Thing” blog hop in which I am asked to answer the ten questions below.

by Liane Shaw

 

 

1. What is the title of your book or project?

The Color of Silence

2. Where did the idea come from for the book or project?

When I was in university, I volunteered at a local institution for children with severe physical and mental challenges.  I met a young girl there with severe CP, leaving her with no means of communication.  She was a lovely young girl who seemed to have so much locked away behind her big blue eyes.  I spent a lot of time with her and never forgot her.  She died very young.  20 years later, my daughter started working at our local hospital with a young girl who couldn’t communicate.  She had the same feelings that I had so long ago, believing that a whole world was locked away inside.  This little girl also died very young.  I wanted to write a story that would give us a look at the inside world of these fragile and lovely young women that would also explore some issues surrounding death and dying.  Joanie is a composite of the two young girls.  The second character, Alex, comes from a real life event that happened to a friend of my daughter…a party gone wrong with a tragic outcome.  She seemed to be a good contrast for Joanie and the idea of two girls silent for different reasons seemed interesting to me.

3. What genre does it come under, if any?

Young Adult

4. If applicable, who would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

I honestly couldn’t imagine a movie treatment of a book that represents the silent worlds of two different girls….

5. What is the one sentence synopsis of your book or project?

The silent lives of two young girls intersect in ways neither of them could have imagined.

6. Will your book or story be self-published or represented by an agency?

My novel The Color of Silence has been published by Second Story Press, Toronto, ON.  www.secondstorypress.ca

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Yikes, that’s quite a question.  I’ve written so many different versions of it that I can’t even answer…I started Joanie’s story ten years ago and only found a way to bring it out in the open two years ago.

8. What other book or stories would you compare this story to within the genre?

Honestly, I don’t know.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book or story?

I suppose I already answered that in my rather lengthy answer to question 2…the two young ladies who make up the character of Joanie and the young lady who inspired Alex are all real people.   Alex’s issues with trauma and selective mutism were also inspired by several students with whom I have worked over the years.

10. What else about the book or story might peak the reader’s interest?

I think that Alex is a young girl with whom teen readers can identify.  She’s a music lover who dreams of being a singer one day.  She has best friend who she loves one day and wants to strangle the next.  When disaster strikes, she doesn’t know how to deal with it.

Joanie is someone very dear to me and I hope that readers find her internal life interesting.  I also hope the novel challenges readers to reflect on the value of individual lives as well as the ways in which each of us deals with losing someone we care for.

Thanks to Linda Hutsell-Manning for suggesting this to me.  You can read her blog post at  http://www.lindahutsellmanning.ca/Blog2013