Update on what Jill has been up to

October 29, 2017

And Further…

Writing this novel felt like going back to beginner’s mind – as though I’d never written a novel before. Because it was historical, hence dependent on research? Because it was for adults?

Challenge. The word became more and more loaded. However, I finished the writing in the fall of 2016, and had on my hands a sprawling manuscript that needed, I knew, a great deal of editing.

I had applied for an Arts Nova Scotia grant through their Grants to Individuals Program for a six-month period during which I planned to go from a messy first draft to a more manageable second draft – and was both honoured and delighted to receive the grant. It was a huge source of both pragmatic help and encouragement (I’ve needed regular doses of encouragement throughout the novel – a good time to say thank you to my many friends who have been kind enough to ask how it was going, and to listen to the answers!)

I started these revisions in mid-November of 2016, and by mid-May of 2017 had a respectable second draft, considerably shorter than the original. I love cutting! Scenes were shifted. Scenes were omitted. Scenes were added. All in the service of that all-important question: What is this novel really about?

Since May I’ve cut another 13,000 words, changed the ending a number of times (obviously the ending has to, in some way, to answer that daunting question).

Dare I say that I hope to finish the revisions before Christmas? Or is that tempting fate?

Stay tuned!


January 26, 2016

In January of 2014, I decided I needed a new challenge.

I’d written five novels for young people and thoroughly enjoyed doing so.  But I was beginning to feel I was in a rut. Four of the books were set in Newfoundland. Four of them had bullying as a major theme. Was I a one-trick pony? (Writers often ask themselves the sort of questions you don’t really want to be answered. Or is it only me?)

So…I embarked on a medieval novel for young adults set in England.  I read and read. Fortunately, the library of Dalhousie University has a huge medieval collection.  I went to Wales and England to do research in September of 2014 (luckily my son did the driving on the left-hand side of the road, better for the safety of all concerned).  I read and read and read  some more, and started buying books, many of which were out of print. In January of 2015, I took the plunge, opened a file on the computer, and started writing.  By May, I was beginning to realize the book was for adults. Another of those nasty questions reared its head: Who do you think you are, trying to write for adults?

I’m now at 83,000 words, the end is hovering somewhere in the distance, and my hope is to finish the writing by the end of  2016.

This is a long way of saying there will be no more books by Jill MacLean for the next year or more – a very different pace from the last few years. But I’m having fun, I’m a fount of useless information, and the characters are very much alive. Oh, yes, and it’s definitely a challenge. 


The Nine Lives of Travis Keating by Jill MacLean The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy by Jill MacLeanHidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden Cover2

These are Middle-Grade novels

Click on the book images for purchase information

Nix_C_PRINT_Nov13.inddHome Truths by Jill MacLean

These are Young Adult novels

In 2016 Home Truths was selected for the Nova Scotia school curriculum.

Click on the book images for purchase information

Brevity of Red by Jill MacLean Jean Pierre RomaJean Pierre Roma by Jill MacLean

Brevity of Red is a book of poetry

Jean-PierreRoma is a historical monograph, English (blue cover) and French (green cover)

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The Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden
Jill MacLean's latest book The Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden , published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside and is available in bookstores and on-line!

This book is the completion of the Newfoundland trilogy which started with The Nine Lives of Travis Keating, followed by The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy.

Pick up your copy today!
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Nix Minus One

Jill MacLean's book Nix Minus One , published by Pajama Press and now available in bookstores!

Nix Minus One is geared for readers in Grade 7-8 and up.
Published February 15, 2013


Jill MacLean's books on Goodreads

Home Truths
Home Truths

reviews: 34

ratings: 143 (avg rating 4.20)

The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy
The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy

reviews: 14

ratings: 69 (avg rating 4.19)

The Nine Lives of Travis Keating
The Nine Lives of Travis Keating

reviews: 26

ratings: 91 (avg rating 4.16)

Nix Minus One
Nix Minus One

reviews: 6

ratings: 13 (avg rating 4.15)

Brevity of Red, The
Brevity of Red, The

ratings: 1 (avg rating 3.00)