On this most auspicious occasion, the launch of
hands over hostess gift of home baked gingersnaps to Wendy
Yum, perfect for the party table, thanks.
|Cover artist: Kaytalin Platt|
So, Nancy, what prompted you to start this story about Laurel’s Miracle?
Going from a million miles an hour to zero in a minute is a very humbling experience. I took the time to start studying and researching some things I just hadn’t gotten around to. One of the things was the earth energy lines which cross southern England. I have always been fascinated by Glastonbury/Avalon and the Arthur legends. I read anything I could get my hands on to stave off the boredom and became engrossed in it.
I spent quite a bit of time going to physical therapy at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary and was quite moved by a fellow patient whom I never really met, I don’t even know her name. She was quite young and fighting cancer. The germ of the idea for Laurel comes from there. I just wove the story in my own way and gave her the miracle I hope really came true.
That is lovely, so touching, Nancy, but I'm sorry about your poor leg.
Yes, well I broke my pelvis and did nerve and ligament damage to my spine.
Trotting horse, immobile farm equpment and me, I lose. :~) Upside is it gave me the time to write.
Oh, that was a bad accident. I admire your spirit 'to get on with it.' Having a passion for writing must have helped. Can you tell us a little about Laurel’s background?
Laurel is a thirteen year old southern Alberta girl who lives on the family ranch near Pincher Creek, Alberta. She’s a bit of a loner and likes the company of her horse more than most people. She does have two friends who live on the next ranch, Chance and Carlene. They spend a lot of time together helping out on the ranch and just riding on the prairie. Her mom is a special woman who is open to the magic of the natural world around her. Laurel’s dad, however, doesn’t hold with such nonsense, although he’s not sure why he feels so strongly about it.
That last sentence has just added another dimension to the story for me. Did you let the dad discover what was holding him to his reaction?I don’t include him in the story other than the fact
Why did you choose the YA genre to tell her story?
Honestly, it wasn’t a conscious decision, Laurel just presented herself to me and off we went on the wild ride of telling her story. Her name was inspired by a horse I owned for 19 years, her name was actually
|photo: Michelle Kannenberg|
Did you write the story from beginning to end?
Laurel’s Miracle is the only thing I have ever written out of sequence. I actually wrote the ending in one eight hour stint (thought I was going to die I was so sore) but it had me by the throat and I had to finish it. So I had to map out a plan, I knew where I wanted her to go and in what order I just had to figure out how to get her there and still keep the story interesting and fresh.
In the process I read Hamish Miller and Paul Broadhurst’s The Sun and The Serpent and it helped me show Laurel the way to her Miracle. I also made a wonderful friend in Hamish Miller, although I only ever corresponded with him by email. He was an exceptional man.
That is pretty special. Had it not been for your research, this novel, the young patient, your leg injury, that instant of inattention you wouldn’t have had experienced this wonderful friendship.
The patient wasn’t that young, she had small children at home which made it worse. She was a very brave woman from what I observed.
Being a MuseItUp editor as well as an author, do you find it difficult to turn off your internal editor during the first draft?
I can’t seem to turn it off <laughs> I edit my stupid email for heaven’s sake.
Well, that must really hurt. Hahaha.
What do you like about writing?
|Photo: Frances Watt|
What don't you like about writing?
When my editor tells me I have too many uses of ‘that’ and I have to go weed them out before she comes after me with a whip. Honestly, I love the creative process. I don’t know how NOT to write.
My editor has a thing about 'that' too, and 'had' ;~)
Is there anything about the writing process you found surprising?
If you are just a conduit, then you are truly blessed as a writer.
Thanks, that’s so sweet of you to say that.
Apart from the impact of the brave patient on you and the foal’s name, are any story lines based on things that have happened to you or you have heard about?
I would have to say, no, not directly. However, everything we see or hear or experience is grist for the writer’s mill. So in that respect, I do pull emotions and thoughts and sometimes ideas from my own experiences.
Well, the dog in Christmas Storm which releases in March of 2012 is based on a foster dog I cared for. Lily was quite the character, the peacock incident is a gift from her of sorts. I still miss her, but she is very happy with her new family out on
What advice would you have for other authors?
Believe in yourself and your work. There are so many naysayers out there, “You’re not a writer because you not published”, “Oh, you write
, that’s not really writing” and the list goes on. Never be afraid to take constructive criticism and implement it. Talk to people, go to writers' conferences and talk to editors and publishers, learn all the aspects of your craft.