It’s been exciting opening packages lately! I received my author copies of The Power of Wind, published by Nelson Cengage Learning in far-away Australia. Writing this information book took me on another fun research expedition and personal journey, learning all about wind. I included wind-powered transportation, such as a wind-powered car that travelled right across Australia in 2013. The section about recreation looks at hang-gliders, windsurfers, and innovative, three-wheeled kite buggies. There’s more about wind energy, types of wind, how to measure wind — and, of course, a section on tornadoes and hurricanes.
It’s fun thinking visually while writing descriptive, factual books like this. I enjoyed searching the Web for photo references for the designer and production team. They did a great job in finding a wide variety of images that show the splendour and this everyday weather phenomenon. A hot-air balloon, a boy flying a kite, and the dispersal of dandelion spores are among the classic images that help draw readers into this interesting area of weather science.
The story “Experiencing Hurricane Juan,” which makes up the book’s final pages, is based on a harrowing personal experience when I lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I reframed this story from the point of view of a child. It was pretty neat to be able to weave my memories of that time into this short, fictionalized account. It felt like a risk when I submitted it, but the publisher was in favour. I admit it’s a bit of a thrill to have one’s own experiences transformed in this way. It was frightening and unforgettable to have 150-kilometre winds bombarding my coastal home.
There’s no doubt: extreme weather events leave a life-long impression. I’m sure that’s why I keep feeling compelled to write about this particular event.
Note: this title is sold directly to schools for use in literacy or language programs; it’s not available in bookstores. Find out more at Nelson Cengage Learning.
Signing off until next time, on this grey, rainy spring day.Read More »
Huge apologies! I last wrote about having so much neat stuff on the go, and, well — hush-hush — and all that. Then I did a long disappearing act and didn’t blog for months. Sorry. Really.
I landed a one-year, full-time contract at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in October. It’s very exciting and I’m working with great people. Everyone there is incredibly smart and cool and there are chalkboards EVERYWHERE! I really do mean everywhere. In fact, only the washrooms don’t have chalkboards.
So, yeah, the rumours are true; I have a bunch of books coming out. (It feels so great to say that!) Exploring Caves was published in December with Nelson Cengage Learning in Australia. It’s part of a literacy series and meant for students in grade 5. This is a book I wrote last winter, so it’s really fun to see it now. I was delighted to pass on copies to my nephews and hope they like it. Also with Cengage, and available to schools soon, is The Power of Wind, which I wrote last spring. My third title with the same publishing house — written six months ago — is called Exploding Volcanoes. And these last two should be coming out imminently. I’m told these titles are being advertised in their catalogue so it’s OK to blab about them. (See Hush-Hush blog.) The neat thing about these literacy program books — from my view — is that my contracts are royalty-based. That means the more books schools buy, the better it is for me. Most contracts for educational books are flat-fee arrangements, so this seems extra sweet. I will cross my fingers that schools check them out. As always, it is heartwarming to imagine kids curled up in their favourite reading chair, learning about these neat topics. And, even more important, becoming better readers!
It was a lot of fun writing these books. I learned a whole lot and I tried my hand at a short fictional piece in The Power of Wind. It’s from the point of view of a boy whose family experiences Hurricane Juan. This hurricane hit Halifax in 2003 when I lived there and so I experienced it first-hand. In fact, lots of details in the fictionalized account were real things that happened, including the water dripping through the windows in my house. Scary stuff.Read More »