Archive for April 2013

My Week in Calgary – Part 1



Pajama Press, my publishers for Nix Minus One, flew me to Calgary last week. And what a week! So much went on, that there’ll be at least two instalments to this blog.

The major event was the Calgary Children’s Literature Round Table on the evening of the 22nd.

Supported by United Library Services, the event was billed as “Two Celebrated Canadian Authors.” I spoke first, followed by Ken Oppel – now he is a celebrated author.

I’d reread Silverwing before I left Halifax, and read Sunwing on the flight to Calgary – and enjoyed both so much. Imaginative, original, and exciting. So it was a real pleasure to meet Ken, listen to his talk, and exchange ideas on how we write.

Illustrating my talk with excerpts from Nix, I spoke about the power of experience and of imagination to shape our narratives.

Keep reading – we writers need you!










On the road again….



I had a wonderful morning in Bedford South School the week before last. The grade four students had each written a short book about an animal of their choice, all the way from a squid to a red-eyed tree frog.

The teacher – what a woman! – had arranged a group book launch, with parents and other classes invited. And I was invited, too. Such fun to see everyone’s wonderful writing and drawings, a very creative class. Thank you, grade fours!


Another good review for Nix Minus One, this one in the Calgary Herald.

You can find it on Nix’s home page on my website.


I’m in Calgary this week, so the timing of the review is great.

Monday, I’m at the Children’s Literary Roundtable, with Kenneth Oppel – very exciting.

On Tuesday we spend the day at bookstores in Calgary and Pixie Hollow, an hour or so south of Calgary.

On Wednesday and Thursday, library readings, with grades four, five, and six.

Home on Friday.

A busy week!

It’s supposed to snow while I’m there. So here – as an antidote – are the crocuses in my garden






Yesterday we launched Nix Minus One at the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia – I say “we,” because a great crowd of friends and family was there cheering him on.
My thanks to all of you for coming, on a typical NS spring day that started with snow flurries, moved to rain, then to heavy clouds, then back to rain.

I loved reading from Nix! After all, I lived with his voice for the better part of two years….
Having said that, I really like the photo with the painting of nudes in the background – I long ago decided that publishing a book, let alone reading from it to an audience, is a bit
like undressing in public.

All the food was homemade. Somehow this seemed to fit Nix.
Woozles Children’s Bookstore was there, and yes, we sold books.

And my grandson brought flowers. What more can I say?

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Winston’s Review



This week, I received a wonderful review of Nix Minus One written by a young man, a review that’s also posted on Goodreads and on my website. But I wanted to bring attention to it because it moved me deeply.

It astonishes me that I’ve written something that touches the male psyche. I don’t start out with an “agenda” when I write a book. I write from character. But Nix, and the potential alchemy of a novel, somehow affected this particular man at this particular time – strongly enough that he took the time to write about it.

Thank you, Winston.

You’ve inspired me to post some spring photos of my perennial garden – photos from last year because the weather’s staying cold in the Maritimes and my crocuses are shivering in the wind.

Winston’s Review     review on












Work In Progress


A busy week copy-editing The Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden, to be published in the fall by Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

This is the final book of the three that started with The Nine Lives of Travis Keating back in 2008.

If you’ve read the second book, The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy, you may remember Sigrid as one of the Shrikes, the three girls who bullied Prinny. At the end of the book, Prinny is terrorized by Tate and Mel, and escapes in a dory in the fog. Later, she figures out Sigrid was the one who sent for help.

I always wondered what would happen to Sigrid when Tate and Mel found out she made the phone call that got them into big trouble…


NL Aug08 232

 NL Aug08 270








Like the other two books, Hidden Agenda is set on Newfoundland’s northern peninsula.

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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)