Recent Releases

Category: Recent Releases

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.

When I write, it is often to process and rationalize some troubling factor of the world to myself. So it was with Body Swap. Years ago I read about a tragic accident in the local newspaper. An 86 year-old driver had backed up over a 15 year-old in our mall parking lot during Christmas break and killed her. She claimed her car had accelerator issues which the garage had failed to resolve. The judge must have agreed, as she was back driving the next month.

Since the Boer War, cyclists had been used on the battlefield as light cavalry responsible for reconnaissance, scouting, screening, and communications. The thinking was that the “act of dismounting deprived a cavalry unit of the services of the men detailed to care for the horses. As one man could only manage four horses or so, the transition from saddle to boot cost a cavalry unit some 25 percent of its rifle strength.

The Irish immigrants who made homes for themselves in mid Canada during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are the subject of my latest book. They achieved extraordinary success. Feats of physical endurance were commonplace. Their pioneering achievements were phenomenal, but, because so much attention has been given in recent times to the suffering the Irish experienced during the Great Irish Famine of 1847, their story has not been told properly.

 

It’s that time of year again: back to school.

And what if inclusivity and anti-bullying were the new fashionable accessories for fall?

The popular fashion brand Hollister recently announced a cool collaboration with recording artists Khalid and Noah Cyrus to promote these topics in connection with a fun advertising campaign, because anti-bullying and inclusivity are now back in style.

It’s hip and it’s on point.

And that’s what Clementine Liu, the main character of my new novel, Bonjour Girl, believes too.

Do you believe in ghosts? Yes, I’m talking to you. Well, do you? Do you believe in ghosts?

I’ve always been fascinated by things that go bump in the night. I remember as a child devouring the old Usborne volume on ‘Ghosts’ and being ecstatic when I stumbled upon copies of Fate magazine. My imagination was filled with stories of the restless dead that left my heart fluttering with panic. I didn’t want to imagine what would happen if I actually encountered a spirit that refused to rest in its grave despite being bound with wards and blessing. It was terrifyingly thrilling.

We’d just bought a cabin on a small island off the west coast of Vancouver, British Columbia, and it had a dock.

The contract concerning the dock had this line: “Section 6.1c, Moorage Law Covenants: You must provide without compensation temporary accommodation to any vessel that is disabled or that seeks shelter in weather conditions that would render it unseaworthy.”

As a youngster I was thrilled by the adventures of Jim Hawkins in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, but never gave too much attention to the real nature and history of pirates, even as I went on with my education and eventually became a museum director. The sea, however, has always been a fascination for me, and I answered that interest by being commissioned in the Naval Reserve and doing a fair amount of sailing as a crew member on “tall ships” on the Great Lakes, the Caribbean, and even across the Pacific to Hawaii.

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