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The Dundurn Blog

I’ve always wanted to write a book. As a historian, it seemed like a natural extension of the work I had already completed, and the next step towards advancing my career. But, after finishing my dissertation, my enthusiasm for writing a book on the topic I had just spent the previous four years researching and writing about had faded. I no longer wanted to write about how black bears in Ontario were hunted, or how the regulatory process that governed these activities had changed over the years.

When you write for kids, you can revisit all the exciting (or terrifying) things you did as a child.

I learned to sail as a 10-year-old, and have been lucky enough to sail now and then ever since. I love sailing, and that’s why I set much of the action of my newest book, Blackwells and the Briny Deep (book five in the award-winning Weird Stories Gone Wrong series), on a sailboat.

But there are plenty of good reasons to set a children’s horror story at sea…. 

Many Canadians are increasingly nervous about venturing south of the border these days. Some on principle, others fearing that US border thugs may ask if they have ever smoked pot. Besides, Canada has such a vast array of amazing and unusual world-famous attractions, why would we? We have famous train excursions, as well as some of the most recognized fossil sites and Indigenous heritage features. UNESCO has designated an increasing number of heritage sites and biosphere reserves across the country.

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