And welcome visitors!
Nestled here in IMHO is my online launch for my two children's books, Arctic Adventures: Tales from the Lives of Inuit Artists and Orphan Ahwak.
Actually, Arctic Adventures has been properly launched in real life by its lovely and extremely talented illustrator, Jirina Marton (nominee this year for a Governor General's Award for her work on Marja's Skis). Orphan Ahwak has had only me to rely on, so I brought her for a two-day visit to my son's grade 3 English class. With this imaginative group, Ahwak and I played a game of "What Happens Next" with bits of her story. Tons of fun was had all 'round.
But I'd also like to share these books more widely among friends, family and colleagues--those close to home and those spread all over the map. I know it's not the same as if we were gathered in a cosy old library somewhere, or perhaps in a bright stylish bookshop. I can't serve you tasty snacks or free drinks. But here I can offer links. And my speech has the advantage of being a write. This is more skim-able if I begin to drone. I can even give you readings, which you may attend at your whim instead of mine.
So please browse around, post a comment, enjoy your visit. With this launch, you're welcome back anytime. Thanks for being here. Also please visit the launch for my young readers' novel Tuk and the Whale if you haven't yet been.
Oh, ehm, what can I say? Modesty overwhelms. I blush. I'm very grateful to be here with my first two books. I hope you will read them and love them as much as I do. I hope one day my children will read them. (As the daughter of two authors, I happen to know that this is actually a great deal to ask.) My sincere thanks go to both publishers, Groundwood Books and Orca Book Publishers, for doing such great work with two very different kinds of projects. It was my happy privilege to learn heaps from these skilled people.
My first ideas for Arctic Adventures came to me while I was writing draft texts for a dictionary of Canadian artists. I had been given a tall stack of photocopied source materials on a range of visual artists. I was supposed to put together short biographies, to a general format. I plowed through self-imposed twelve-hour shifts, trying to get 30-odd bios out in as many days. It was piece work and a more experienced writer would have probably got them done in half the time it took me. But in the midst of all this sweaty fluster I happened upon materials about the Inuit artists Oonark and Pudlo. Out of this pile of articles, reviews, exhibition catalogues and CV's these two shone out. Their lives were fascinating. The way they talked about their experiences and works was a delight to read. They were direct and entirely unpretentious. I wanted to know more about these admirable people and their work. Later, it seemed like a natural and obvious connection: these true stories ought to be written up for children to enjoy.
With Orphan Ahwak, I knew that I wanted to write a story about a girl--an historical adventure story. But as I did more and more research I began to worry. Although there were exceptions, for the most part it seemed like in the old days, men did while women endured. I don't mean to say that women didn't lead challenging and varied lives. But their traditional roles did not immediately lend themselves to adventure in the most dramatic sense. Also, I was more comfortable tackling a subject such as hunting, compared to say, childbirth.
So I concluded (one pretty day while paddling around a lake in a borrowed canoe) that my girl-hero would have to be orphaned. And not just a little bit, because then maybe an uncle or a friend of the family might take her in. She had to be orphaned suddenly, from her entire band. And then maybe she could have a boy's adventures, too.
I'd like to invite you to check out my readings from both of these books, courtesy of Kim (thank you Kim, for your usual brilliance) and YouTube. Thanks also to my children, for upping the cute factor here.
Also, please check out the interview I did as November's featured author at www.orcabook.com.
Thank you very much for coming to my launch, and for celebrating here with me...
Arctic Adventures: Tales from the Lives of Inuit Artists
Buy Arctic Adventures at:
Buy Orphan Ahwak at:
Orca Book Publishers
Orca Book Publishers (US)
By Rascal on Sunday, 11th November 2007, 1:41pm