Jill’s Travels

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

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!

Icelandic Adventure – Part 3



I had an extra day at the end of the tour because of the timing of the Icelandair flight back to Halifax, so I booked a trip to Landmannalauger, in the southern interior.


To get there, we drove through the Icelandic desert – one photo shows the road – then hiked up to a geothermal area, and back through a lava field.

Quite a day, all 12 hours of it!


Icelandic Adventure – Part 2


The Icelandic horses are everywhere but in the interior “deserts”. Beautiful animals, the very same breed brought from Norway in the ninth century.

The Icelanders are very careful to protect their horses from diseases from outside the country – no “foreign” horses are allowed to enter, and if you bring in riding gear, you have to have it disinfected.

On my last day, I rode one of the horses for an hour and a half. They have five gaits: walk, tölt, trot, pace, and gallop. I didn’t do the last two, as they’re very fast and I didn’t want to invite disaster!

Five  horse pictures for you, below.

P1050375P1040057 P1040058P1050379


Icelandic Adventure

Geysir Called Strokkur

Geysir Called Strokkur


I came home from three and a half weeks in Iceland just over a week ago.

What a trip! What a country!

I’ve never been anywhere where the violence that shaped the landscape is so overt.

It’s a landscape of volcanoes (active and otherwise, at least two overdue for an eruption), of glaciers and snow, of highland deserts, of waterfalls, of geothermal areas where black mudpots boil and boiling water bursts out of the ground…utterly amazing.

Also Icelandic horses, many many sheep, gorgeous wildflowers, and birds everywhere.

lava from a 1973 eruption on the Westmann Islands

Lava from a 1973 eruption on the Westmann Islands

The people are friendly, and most speak English.

I learned how to say “Góðin taggin” (good day) and “Takk fyrir” (thank you) and “Bless” (goodbye).

I even learned how to pronounce “Eyafjallajökull” the volcano that erupted in 2010 and disrupted international air traffic because of the huge clouds of ash.

Oh yes, and I took over 1100 photos.

First tour was the south coast.

House Buried In The Ash

House Buried In The Ash

A few photos, with captions.

The glacier at the foot of the volcano Eyafjallajokull

The glacier at the foot of the volcano Eyafjallajokull

 The glacier at the foot of the volcano Eyafjallajokull



Horses Running From Ash When Eyafjallajokull Erupted In 2010

Horses Running From Ash When Eyafjallajokull Erupted In 2010


Fording a river

Fording a river

Check out Jill's Blog!
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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School Visits with Jill
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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)