Tag Archives: Laura Best

Inspiration at the children’s book fair

As I launch into the writing of this post I am still basking in the glow of a morning of meeting authors and buying books. This post will include more photos than I usually add so they will be sized down for your convenience. My apologies for the poor lighting. Please be sure to click on the links I’ve provided. Even if you aren’t local to these people and organizations there could be ideas you would like to emulate where you are located.

As to the above … yes, you heard read me right. I came home with more books, and these ones don’t have to be returned. Yay! In fact, I bought twelve books and a bookmark! Oh me. I DO need a new bookcase. (Ohh, HONeeeyyy!)  😉

It all began with an email from author Laura Best to let me know about a children’s book fair being held Saturday AM, April 23. Happily, I was able to get there before 9:00 when there weren’t many people crowding around yet.

children's book fair

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I arrived I talked with two ladies in the lobby who were enthused about their lovely art display they had set up there. They rent out works of art to children for only $2 a month. Beautiful work. You can see what they’re all about HERE. It’s a fabulous idea, plus they have an art program  – workshops once a month with local artists who work with the children.

At one table I met a lady representing the Valley Community Learning Association. She was happy to tell me a lot about it and suggested that if I were interested I could become involved in the family literacy program, helping people learn to read, including refugees who have recently come here and are learning English. They need the help. I think I would need more patience – like my mother had. It’s something to consider, though. You can check it out here.

I was delighted to be able to spend some time talking with many of the authors, and they all are such nice people – talented, inspiring, friendly, real, honest, and lovers of what they do. I came away invigorated and excited to write again. 

Laura B & Jan CLeft: Laura Best, author of Bitter, Sweet (see interview and review) and Flying With a Broken Wing (review and interview)

Right: Jan Coates, author of A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk (see interview  and review); Rainbows in the Dark (see review); and other books I purchased today that I will show you below.

 

 

Here are photos I should have shared with you long ago of Laura at her reading of Flying With a Broken Wing.      See, Laura? They are good pictures of you. 🙂Laura

IMG_0559

I got a chance to meet the lovely Starr Dobson whose first picture book I reviewed. Of course, I had to buy her second one, and she asked if I wanted a picture taken with her!  Okay.  🙂  Thank you, Starr.

Starr DobsonStarr Dobson & me

I don’t know why I didn’t take pictures of every author I talked with, or at least whose book(s) I purchased. Not thinking, I guess.

Meghan Marentette & Carolyn Mallory

Here are two ladies with whom I had an enjoyable chat, and one invited me to a local writing group I didn’t know  existed! They meet once a week. Thanks, Carolyn, I am seriously considering it.

Left: Meghan Marentette

Right: Carolyn Mallory

 

 

Now, look at all the books I purchased today:

  • The Power of Harmony – by Jan Coates
  • Rocket Man – by Jan Coates
  • The King of Keji – by Jan Coates
  • Sky Pig – by Jan Coates
  • Gertrude at the Beach – by Starr Dobson
  • Fire Pie Trout – by Melanie Mosher
  • A Gift of Music: Emile Benoit & his Fiddle – by Alice Walsh
  • Fiddles and Spoons: Journey of an Acadian Mouse – by Lila Hope-Simpson
  • Forensic Science: in Pursuit of Justice – by L. E. Carmichael
  • How Smudge Came – by Nan Gregory
  • Painted Skies – by Carolyn Mallory
  • The Stowaways – by Meghan Marentette

The Power of HarmonyRocket ManThe King of Keji

 

 

 

Sky Pig

 

 

 

Gertrude at the BeachFire Pie Trout

 

 

 

A Gift of MusicFiddles and Spoons

The Fiddles & Spoons cover is different from on the copy I bought today, but it’s the one on Amazon and other places so I used it.

Forensic Science - in pursuit of justiceHow Smudge CameI’d previously met Ron Lightburn, the illustrator of How Smudge Came, when his own book was released. (review)

Painted SkiesThe Stowaways

 

 

 

 

 

I was pleased to meet Lindsey Carmichael who is the Atlantic Representative for CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators & Performers). She is a sweet lady, and the many books she has written are quite amazing. She said she tried fiction but finds it harder to write than non-fiction. As you see above, I bought one of her books about a topic that fascinates me.

A fun bonus is I got to add to my bookmark and postcard collections.

bookmark from book fairpostcards from book fair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This fair opened my awareness to more about writing – that being a writer is very OKAY, that I should try writing non-fiction because I haven’t done that yet and it might work for me, that there is a writers’ group close enough for me to visit – especially tempting since I’ve now met someone who participates in it, and there are such fabulous books out there!  oh, I already knew that, but I found so many new ones! And I now own a few more. 🙂  Gotta love that.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our trip to the Children’s Book Fair. I certainly did.  🙂  Thanks for coming along.

What inspires your creativity and helps nudge you forward?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

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We have a winner of Flying with a Broken Wing by Laura Best!

It’s always fun to give away a book, especially when I have had the privilege of interviewing the author. This time I am delighted to be mailing a copy of

Flying with a Broken Wing – by Laura Best

to one of the people who left a comment after the interview.

If you missed the chance to enter the draw, you can still read my review of Flying with a Broken Wing here and my interview with Laura Best here.

drum roll please ….

snare-drum-th

Using the Random Name Picker tool …

The Winner Is ….

a very fortunate person …

who will be receiving the book given by Nimbus Publishing as soon as the Post Office can deliver it … after I can get it into the mail, probably on Friday, April 25.

and that person … is ….

Barb!

Congratulations, Barb! Please send me your mailing address so I can get this copy of Flying with a Broken Wing on its way to you! 

Thank you so much to everyone who has been visiting, leaving comments, and who entered the draw. I hope you make it a habit to visit again. And thanks again, Laura Best!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Interview with Laura Best, and book giveaway!

Laura BestIt is my pleasure to welcome author Laura Best to my interview chair for a second time as she was the first author I interviewed here.  Laura, who has lived in a small Nova Scotia community all her life, is the author of the award nominated “Bitter, Sweet“, and more recently “Flying with a Broken Wing” – my review of which you can read here.  Laura has been published in literary magazines across Canada, and in 2003 her short story “Alexander the Great” was nominated for the Journey Prize. Now on with the interview!

I am very pleased you agreed to this interview, Laura, especially since it provides a great excuse to give away a copy of your new book … and to pick your brain a little … and to give someone a copy of your new book, which I already said.  🙂 
 
Near the end of our interview back in January 2011, which was after your first novel – “Bitter, Sweet” –  you said, “I’m working on another novel at the moment. I don’t often discuss my work with others. All I will say is that it is young adult and set in a fictitious community in Nova Scotia.” 

Flying with a Broken Wing Now we can discuss that project since it has come out into the spotlight as the young adult novel “Flying with a Broken Wing”

First, to address the obvious, you seem to enjoy writing fiction based in Nova Scotia. Why Nova Scotia?

Often, we tend to think that books happen in other, more exotic places, and not in our own back yard. When I was growing up, I never read a story set in Nova Scotia. I wouldn’t have even thought that was a possibility. I might even have thought it would be boring. I’m happy to know that is changing and there are many wonderful books out there that are set right here in Nova Scotia. For those of us living here, I think it gives us a sense of pride to have our home province as a setting for a book. And while Nova Scotia might not be exotic to me it might be for people living in other places. I love this province! It’s what I know best, that and rural life. Most everything I write also has a rural flavour to it. It’s a large part of my identity.

I love this province, too, Laura, and it makes me glad to find books that are set here. Your writing is doing Nova Scotia justice, for sure.

I’m always impressed and fascinated with the ideas that come together to create well-rounded characters, their life stories, communities, even worlds. Where did the idea come from for “Flying with a Broken Wing”, and how long did it take you to fit this novel together?

The book started out with the idea that I wanted to write a story with a visually impaired protagonist. My writing usually begins with the idea of a character first. While I begin with a broad idea of what will happen most times the character leads me through the story. Situations crop up as I write. In the beginning, I didn’t know for instance, that my main character’s caregiver would be a bootlegger or she’d make friends with a boy whose father was a “drunk and a bully.” These things emerged along the way as Cammie told her story.

I’d say it took about a year to write the book if I were to add it all up. A few months into the writing of this book, I stopped because I wasn’t sure that I was happy with the way it was going. After taking a break for a few months I went back to it, decided I liked what I’d written, and continued on until I finally was able to write, “the end.”

You’ve given a good example of what a little time away from a manuscript can do for an author to finish the story. I’m very glad you continued it. Did you have to do any research to make this story believable?

There was very little research required for the book, just a few small facts to check out to make the story more authentic since it’s set in 1949.When writing a story with a historic setting it’s important to know what was going on in the world at that time. In one place, Cammie makes mention of a movie star whose legs were insured for a million dollars. I love these little details and find them quite interesting. For instance, the Standard magazines, that were mentioned several times, are magazines I actually have from when the queen and king toured Canada right before the Second World War. I’ve always loved looking though those magazines and knew it would fit into a story one day.

While Tanner is a fictitious community, the story could have been set in any number of rural communities in Nova Scotia. There’s this common bond in rural communities, things that are passed down from one generation to the next. It’s a part of the fabric, an inner knowing, if you will, of the people and the lifestyle. Cammie’s whole way of speaking, the sayings she used, are all things I grew up hearing, and still hear today. No research required in that department. 🙂

You are a fine example of ‘write what you know’. 🙂 “Flying with a Broken Wing” is an intriguing title, and very suitable. How did you come up with it, and was that always the title you had in mind?

The title came from a line that appears several times in the book and also makes up the very last lines in the book. “‘They say birds can’t fly with broken wings, Evelyn Merry,’ I whisper. ‘But that doesn’t mean that we can’t. I promise you we will.’”

More importantly, the title suggests that we can fly in the face of adversity, just as the main character, Cammie, does. We all face hardships in life. We’re either born into it or we encounter it along the way. We can allow these things to define us, and accept our limitations for what they are, or we can do what some might say is the impossible regardless of our life’s circumstances. I think it’s an important message.

The title originally began as “Fly with a Broken Wing” and slowly progressed to “Flying with a Broken Wing.” 

Flying with a Broken Wing” works so much better! Who or what inspired you to make your main character visually impaired? 

Writing a visually impaired protagonist was challenging because I knew I’d be entering a world that’s totally foreign to me. Not only did I have to let the reader know what Cammie could see (or couldn’t see) her other senses had to come into play as well. I had to make sure the reader understood Cammie’s visual impairment and I had to do it in a believable way. My mother is visually impaired and has been since birth. I decided that Cammie would experience the world the same way my mother does. When Cammie takes her glasses off to read up close, or her ability to read Aunt Millie’s moods by listening to the sound in her voice and her body language, these are things I borrowed from my mother. Several times through the writing of this book I’d call and ask her to explain what her range of vision was with and without her glasses on.

You did an excellent job of portraying that; your mother must be proud of the results of your work. In this book you have several very interesting and spunky characters. Do you have a favourite, and why?

I do love Cammie, but her aunt Millie might just be my favourite. Many people have expressed their strong dislike for Millie, and she’s certainly a hard nut, there’s no denying that. She’s self-centered, tough, and a known liar. But she’s more than that. She’s a product of her environment, someone who does love but doesn’t know how to love very well. Her toughness is a matter of self-preservation. She’s a bootlegger. She has to be tough. Perhaps Millie’s my favourite because I don’t judge my characters. I simply observe their actions. I don’t become upset by what they do or don’t do. And then, of course, I know a bit more about Millie than everyone else. She comes off as cruel, not only because she’s physically abusive, but because of the lies she’s told Cammie over the years. But we can take heart in knowing that Millie didn’t simply invent these lies to be cruel. There are reasons for the things she’s told Cammie. We just don’t know what they are. I think that’s the way it is with the people in our lives. How many times do we pass judgment on others without stopping to consider what personal challenges they might have faced in the past or are facing at this very moment? Everyone has a story. We don’t always know what it is, but we’re often quick to pass judgment.

Excellent points! I’m learning we must know our characters well in order to portray them effectively to others. Which of your characters gave you the most trouble, and in what way?

That’s a tough question. I’m not sure I’d say any of the characters gave me trouble. But if I had to choose one I might say Cammie because her visual impairment was challenging to write. Still, I didn’t want this to be just a story about a visually impaired girl. More importantly, I wanted it to be about a girl with hopes and dreams, a girl who isn’t about to sit back and let life happen to her, a girl who decides to change her life, someone who isn’t defined by the things that make her different, a girl who just happens to be visually impaired. I’ve come to have such respect for the blind and visually impaired. I’ve heard so many stories from my mother about some of the people she went to school with and some of the remarkable things they went on to accomplish. If my readers gain anything from this book, I hope it’s a better understanding about people who are living with physical challenges and the things they are capable of achieving. 

I believe readers of “Flying with a Broken Wing” will hear Cammie’s heart and root for her as I did. This is a book that should be encouraging to girls in whatever their situation. Which of your characters is the most like you in attitude and/or approach to life?

I’m probably most like Evelyn Merry. I’m the person who offers support to others, who cheers for the underdog, and holds other people’s secrets close to my heart.  

There are names which can be considered unisex, my name being one of those, and you created a male character with a female name that is very unusual for a man, at least not one I had ever heard a man called. Why did you choose to do that? And why that name?

I like unusual names. They tend to be the ones we remember, and I wanted Evelyn to be a memorable character, not simply Cammie’s sidekick. I’m really bad at choosing names for my characters but, thankfully, I have a book to look through. When I came across the name Evelyn, the book said that at one time it was a popular name in England for a man. I wasn’t sure in the beginning just how I felt about the name, but as time went on it really grew on me. I can’t imagine it being anything else. I love his name. 

It was really odd to me at first, but the more I got to know Evelyn the more I liked his name. Do you have another novel in the works since this one really leaves the reader hoping for a sequel?

 I’m working on several different stories at the moment. I didn’t plan for it to happen that way but it did. And while I am planning on a sequel to “Flying with a Broken Wing” my heart is pointing me in a totally different direction these days. I’m the type of writer who is led by the characters and the story. When a story demands that I work on it, and I try to ignore those demands, I’ll encounter all sorts of problems until I give in. While my logical mind might tell me to write one thing, I need to listen to the quiet whispers inside me. If I don’t pay attention I end up losing the joy in writing because I’m looking off into the future at the end result instead of enjoying the process along the way. So, for now, I’m working on a story that makes me truly happy and the sequel, I’m in the midst of writing, has been put on the back burner for a little while longer.  

I am so glad there will be a sequel! I think because you follow your heart is why your writing is so good. Is there anything you would like to add to this interview that I may have left out? 

I can’t think of anything I’d like to add only that it’s been fun, and some of your questions were quite challenging. I think that’s a good thing. Thank you so much, Lynn, for interviewing me about my latest book.

Thank you, Laura, for agreeing to share your writing wisdom and experience with us again. I am learning from you. Now let’s give away a copy of your new book!

Readers, if you would like to have a chance to win a SIGNED copy of “Flying with a Broken Wing” by Laura Best, please leave a comment about anything you found especially interesting in the above interview. On April 22 at 6:00 PM EST one name will be selected using the “random name picker” tool. At Laura’s book launch, Nimbus Publishing gave me an extra copy just for this event! So … remember to check your inbox in case you are the winner because I will be contacting you for a mailing address. 🙂

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

Book Review: Flying with a Broken Wing – by Laura Best

Book: Flying with a Broken Wing
Author: Laura Best
Publisher: Nimbus Publishing
Date: September 6, 2013
Genre: young adult
Pages: 216
Price: $12.95; also available on Kindle
My Rating: a story of hope with characters the reader will cheer on
 

This is Laura Best‘s second novel. As Laura told us in this interview, Flying with a Broken Wing is a young adult novel set in a fictitious community in Nova Scotia.

Nearly twelve-year-old Cammie is the main character in Flying with a Broken Wing, and we get to see most of the adventure from her perspective. She is a young girl with a big dream – the dream of somehow starting a better life for herself.

All Cammie knows about her past is that her father was lost in the Second World War, her mother left her with an aunt who is the local bootlegger, and now her life feels full of shame and disappointment. Her aunt is harsh and not the most popular person around – among people who don’t buy moonshine, that is. Add to that the fact that Cammie’s eyes don’t work well. Being visually impaired has been a terrible burden, especially when everyone treats her differently because of it, and her aunt doesn’t even want to let her go to school. To Cammie that is very unfair, especially when she wants to go! When Cammie learns about a school for the blind in Halifax, that becomes her new goal and her hope for the better life she wants.

Cammie gains a friend along the way, one her aunt does NOT approve of because of her own personal reasons, which suits Cammie all the better. That’s when the excitement really begins … and the hilarity, and the trouble – big trouble. What kind of trouble? you may ask. Well, I’m sorry but you have to read about that yourself. Let me just say, it was a daring and dangerous plan, and the author certainly held my interest! Now I’m hoping for a sequel.

This is a delightful young adult novel for anyone to read. Laura Best created very believable characters in a post-war community setting. She is expert at writing real people who talk and act as one might expect, including some who aren’t always nice. If you have never had the privilege of reading any of the author’s work, read this one.

You can find Flying with a Broken Wing listed on my BUY THE BOOK! page.

Please return here for an interesting interview with Laura Best – to be posted April 17’14 – after which you will have the opportunity to try to win a copy of “Flying with a Broken Wing” donated by Nimbus Publishing located here in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 
 
 

5 authors give writing advice to hopefuls

As you know, I sometimes take the opportunity to interview an author. You can find those interviews by scrolling through my Book Reviews & Author Interviews page. One of the questions I asked specifically is if he or she had any advice for hopefuls? They all generously complied with some great tips from their own experience.

This seems a good time to refresh your memory and give you a little encouragement. I have excerpted from our interviews and included the name of the book being promoted at the time. Here is what those authors had to say:

1. Laura Best – author of Bitter, Sweet

“The best advice I can give to hopefuls is to write as much and as often as you can. Pay close attention to any comments that editors send your way. Forget the notion that your work can not stand to be improved upon. Everything can be improved. You’ll start to know when you’re getting closer to publication. Those comments will be laced with a sweet touch of sugar as your writing gets stronger. Lastly, don’t give up. If you believe in your talent keep working at it, perfect it to the place where someone will want to publish it.”

Check out Laura’s blog here. Reread our interview here.

2. Billy Coffey – author of Snow Day

“The best advice I can give? I’m a firm believer in the power of perseverance, so my advice is to always try once more. If you write a story you decide is awful, try once more. If you get a rejection, try once more. In the end, it doesn’t matter who gives up on you. All that matters is that you don’t.”

Check out Billy’s blog here. Reread our interview here.

3. Penny Zeller – author of Kaydie (of the Montana Skies series)

“When I meet a reader or fan face to face, I love to chat with her about what she envisions herself doing for God’s Kingdom and how can I pray and encourage her in that pursuit. If she is pursuing her dream as a writer, I tell her that one of the most important things to remember in being a writer is that if God has called you to do it, He will guide you every step of the way.

I would advise her to give her writing to the Lord and to not give up! I speak from experience when I say that when He closes one door, He opens another (much better) one.”

Check out Penny’s website here. Reread our interview here.

4. Jan L. Coates – author of A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk

“My best advice would be to read everything you can in the genre in which you’re interested in writing – I’m constantly amazed by how much I can learn from studying how great authors put words and stories together. And, of course, write – every day, if you can. Also, read your work out loud – it’s surprising how easy it is to pick up weaknesses that way. If it doesn’t sound right, it probably isn’t.”

Check out Jan’s website here. Reread our interview here.

5. Delia Ephron – author of The Lion Is In

“The important thing for all aspiring writers is believe in yourself, be driven and never give up.”

Check out Delia’s website here. Reread our interview here.

When you enjoy again the above-mentioned interviews, you will glean many more tips and advice you can apply to your own writing. What I have included here is only what was in direct answer to my question.

Have you found any of these authors’ advice to be useful to you? What other things do you do to keep on track?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Announcing the winner of Bitter, Sweet!

We have confirmation of our winner of a copy of Bitter, Sweet by Laura Best!  Yaaaay!!

Thank you to all who visited my blog and left comments at https://lynnadavidson.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/interview-with-laura-best-book-giveaway/

Shortly after 9:00 PM February 14 my husband pulled a name out of the basket holding the names of thirty-two entrants.  I am pleased to say — CONGRATULATIONS TO CHRISTI CRAIG! Your book will be in the mail this week.  🙂

In replying to my email informing her of her win, Christi said, “Thanks so much (to you and your husband), I’m thrilled! … I’m looking forward to reading Laura’s book.”

So, again, thanks everyone.  This was fun and a great learning experience for me.  I plan to do more reviews and interviews, and book giveaways when I can.   Please stay tuned.  🙂

Thanks for reading and participating, and .. Creative Musings!  🙂

We have a winner!

Tonight is the night we all have been waiting for .. those of us who want to know who won a copy of Bitter, Sweet by Laura Best, that is.  You have been entered into the contest if you left a comment on this post: https://lynnadavidson.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/interview-with-laura-best-book-giveaway/

Tonight at 9:00, that’s 8:00 EST, my dear husband drew a name out of the basket and I have sent the winner an email requesting her mailing address.   When she has replied then I will post her name so that everyone knows who won.  If she does not reply by Thursday (Feb. 17) I will send another email.  If I have not heard from the winner by February 21 then I will have my husband draw out another name.
So, check your emails, everyone!  Is it you?

Thanks for participating, and … Creative Musings!  🙂