The Chocolate Lily Awards takes place at Vancouver Kidsbooks the first week of June. 'Honey Cake' has been nominated, and that's a great honour for me. The event will be a chance to get together with lots of writers that I know - good friends from CWILL BC - and also writers that I don't know. And the venue is terrific, because I love bookstores, and Kidsbooks is one of the best in Vancouver. (If you need advice on bringing a book and a child together, that's the store for you.)
Of course, I know what you're thinking. You can't coast along on the nominations of one book. Joan, get writing, already! And that's what I think too. But there's been a lot of upheavel on the home front. We just sold the house and have to find a newer, slightly more humble, abode. Looking at houses, remembering where you looked, then packing, cleaning, sorting out and moving boxes, is all very stressful work. However, I am slowly getting some writing work done.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, don't forget that even thinking out a scene, or scribbling a paragraph or a few lines of dialogue, counts as working on a/the book.
By the way - I mentioned Vancouver Kidsbooks, but don't forget to patronize not only your local libraries but also your small, local bookstores. You'll find that the sales people have read, or at least know about, most of the books in their store. You can ask them for, and then get, advice on gifts, for example. "What should I buy my aunt who loves to garden on her balcony, but has a short attention span?" "What have you got for a ten year old boy who loves anything to do with vampires or dolphins?"
If you happen to be in Kerrisdale, Vancouver, try Hager Books. The clerks remember their customers and will actually tell you about a book you might like, based on what you've bought from them in the past. They are very well read.
By the way, believe it or not I'm actually reading 'The Secret Garden' for the first time. I didn't read it before because I'd seen three movie versions - maybe even more. It's a classic, so you should read it, but be warned. There are lovely images, and the writer captures the feeling of the Yorkshire countryside quite perfectly, but ... it was written at a time of racial insensitivity. In fact there are also class stereotypes to watch out for. Even in the 1950s, when I was a child, no one thought twice about these attitudes. This sort of thing always made me cringe. But I think I was unusual. I'm only a third of the way through the book, and I'm going to assume, at this point, that the racial attitudes are actually from the point of view of the characters and not the writer. Read it and see what you think.