What has Jill been up to?

 

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

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. 

Stay tuned…..Jill

2015 Ontario Library Association’s Silver Birch Nomination

 

Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden Cover2
 
 
Good news! The Hidden Agenda of Sigrid Sugden is one of ten books nominated for the 2015 Ontario Library Association’s Silver Birch Award for fiction.  This book was published by Fitzhenry & Whiteside.

Both The Nine Lives of Travis Keating and The Present Tense of Prinny Murphy were nominated for the same award.

And best wishes to fellow Nova Scotian writer Philip Roy for his nomination for Me and Mr. Bell.

 

 

White Ravens Selection 2014 – Nix Minus One

Blog October 8 2014:

A big gap since my last blog. I took some downtime – what a concept! Read, relaxed, walked the beach, gardened, spent time with friends and family – and then was seized with the idea that I should write an historical novel set in medieval England.

Why, you ask? Not sure I know the answer. It’s a period that’s always interested me. Visiting Chartres Cathedral (near Paris) four years ago, for instance, was a real high point. And over the years I’ve seen several medieval illuminated manuscripts – so beautiful, with such rich colours. Done by hand. By candlelight. With brushes and quill pens. Think about it as you text your next message.

So now I’m reading, taking notes, listening for the voices of my characters – and hoping you’ll wish me luck! A lot of it. If writing Nix Minus One in free verse was a challenge, could this next project be seen as certifiable madness?

 

On a different note, Nix Minus One, so I just found out, has been selected for the 2014 White Ravens List. Never heard of it? Neither had I.

It’s a list of books selected annually by the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany. Books from around the globe “that deserve worldwide attention because of their universal themes and/or their exceptional and innovative artistic and literary style and design.”

According to my wonderful editor, Ann Featherstone, it’s a very prestigious list. Good for Nix!

And I’m permitted to use this logo

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Atlantic Book Awards – Ann Connor Brimer Award for Nix Minus One!

 
 
At the 2014 Atlantic Book Awards, held in Charlottetown on May 21st, Nix Minus One received the Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children’s Literature. Yes, I was very happy!

Atlantic-Book-Awards-logoThis is a wonderful affirmation of a book that was both challenging and rewarding to write.

My thanks to the Brimer family for their longtime support of this award, and to all the many organizers of the event.

The reception prior to the ceremony, at The Merchant Man, was filled with familiar faces (and very good food!), and it was enlivening to be in the company of so many fine writers – including, of course, Jan Coates (The Power of Harmony) and Meghan Marentette (The Stowaways), also nominated for the Brimer for their strong, heart-warming books.

Oh, and I wanted to bring all balloons home with me!
 
 
For a complete list of all the winners, click here.
 

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Jackie Halsey (Bluenose Adventure), Jan Coates and Jill at the reception

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Jill after receiving the award – plus balloons!

Festival of Trees

fest_of_treesI had a whirlwind week in Ontario for the White Pine nomination for Nix Minus One – such an honour to be nominated. And warm congratulations to Lisa Harrington for her win with “Live to Tell”.

There were three Nova Scotians among the ten writers nominated – Lisa, Don Aker (Running on Empty), and myself.

Writing is alive and well in the Maritimes!

On May 13th I took an early train (a very early train) from Union Station – which, like a lot of Toronto, is under construction. A delightful ride through the Ontario countryside – green fields, trees in leaf, and trilliums in bloom. I was met in Belleville by Jane Foster, who drove me to Centre Hastings School in Madoc. I always enjoy meeting the students for whom I write, and it was fun to have lunch with the reading group. Thanks to Jane for organizing this.

May 14th was the Festival of Trees at Harbourfront (also under construction) – complete with crowds of screaming students. You feel like a rock star, you get to meet kids who’ve read your book, and then you can relax at the reception when it’s all done. Lovely to see familiar faces, among them my publisher, Gail Winskill.

May 15th I went by subway to North York Central Branch of the Toronto Public Library, where I did a presentation of Nix on one of the six floors of the library – I wanted to pick up the whole building and all its books and take it home with me. Thank you, Nasim, Deb and Leigh.  And I was very happy to see a friend there who dated from our high school years.

Lunch, then off to Hillcrest Branch on Leslie Street, which reminded me of my home library in Bedford. Another presentation of Nix, with more attentive readers (thank you, Mary), then back by subway and bus to Dufferin Street, cab to Billy Bishop Airport (fog, all flights delayed), then plane to Ottawa and cab to the hotel.

May 16th was theFestival of Trees in Ottawa at the Nepean Centre, again so many enthusiastic fans and so well organized, such a delight. My only complaint? I wanted time to play some of the games arranged for the kids!

Warm thanks to Meredith Tutching and all the many helpers and volunteers who make the amazing Ontario Festivals happen year after year.
And – to all of us – keep reading!

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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.

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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

Goodreads

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)