Deborah Jackson

Thursday, February 28, 2008

School Visits

I just visited Berrigan and Jockvale Elementary School in Barrhaven. It was wonderful to see the students so interested in books and reading. So much for the Internet and video games. There's still nothing like a good story, in any form, right? If you still have any questions, just email me, or add a comment to my blog.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Visual Bookshelf

People often ask me, "what kind of books do you like to read?" I've composed a visual list of books I've read recently, to give you an idea. Currently I've been reading mostly children's or young adult books, but I'm inclined to read the occasional adult book as well. A bit of an ecclectic list, but it still reveals a little about my taste. I have reviewed a few of these books on facebook, if you want some more details.

I' ve set this one aside because it's an Ottawa author--Peter Clement. You may want to look up his books. They're medical thrillers.

This is a Canadian SF author who is quite talented. Below is the review I wrote of her book:
People don't usually realize how difficult world-building in science fiction and fantasy is. The Okal Rel Saga is a perfect example of the complexity of the craft. Every detail is slotted and fitted like the cogs of an old timepiece, setting in motion a world with entirely unique qualities through a combination of genetics, culture, politics and space travel, but with a few uncomfortable similarities to our own. Although primarily science fiction involving intriguing concepts such as "reality skimming," it has certain aspects of fantasy--sword-fighting, for example--that make for an interesting blend. And because of its complex structure, it is not a novel to race through at blockbuster speed, but one to be sipped and savoured like a fine cappuccino.

The story begins with young Horth Nersal, the product of a union meant to unite two rival clans and put an end to war. Horth has a speech impediment, but makes up for this with a remarkable skill in battle, particularly in sword fights, which are the primary method in this society of settling differences. Lynda Williams skillfully portrays this character--his fears, his shame regarding his difficulty expressing his thoughts, yet the depth of intelligence and the strength of heart that exists within him. We follow his growth and increasing maturity, and often the lack of words is made up for with significant ones. In the end Horth will have to make a decision that may fundamentally change this world and break his own heart.

Space battles, sword fights, but ultimately a human story--a story that will resonate for years to come.

I'm currently reading this one. A bit didactic, but I love learning about pirates.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Up and running

Well, I'm back at it again. I'll be doing some school presentations this month and some signings in March, maybe a tour in the spring. Further details later on.

I also wanted to let you know that I am reaching a conclusion to this years-long quest of writing an unconventional "ghost story". By George, I think I've got it. Then I will resume revising Time Meddlers Undercover, and I have some NEW ideas I want to sort through--maybe an unconventional pirate story. We'll see.

The website may undergo another update. Since I seem to getting very positive feedback on my school presentations, I may add a page that will supply more information about it. In the meantime, just to let you know, the presentation is not the typical reading, Q & A that an author generally does in schools. Instead I have a power point slide show explaining several aspects of the curriculum that I had to research, plus an interactive workshop on the process of writing. I also bring along some hands-on paraphernalia for the children to examine. Birch bark canoes etc., although not life-size, in case you're wondering.

Finally, I wanted to add that I have reached the pinnacle of my career. Not a bestseller. Not oodles of money. Not critical acclaim. What does a writer write for anyway? To be read. A children's writer? To hear of the delight of a child in your book. I have learned recently that I have reached that goal. Not only has Time Meddlers been read to the delight of several children, but it has been devoured by a "reluctant reader" no less. Sigh.