Fan Mail

Sometimes a book comes along and you simply need to reach out to the author and tell them what their story meant to you. I did that today.Gracefully Grayson

I’ve been doing a lot of research on transgender issues for a writing project I’m working on. I’ve read dozens of books – memoirs, novels, picture books, non-fiction. All of them have helped me better understand the transgender experience.

And then I read a review of Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky. I was surprised to find a novel for young people on this subject that I hadn’t yet stumbled across. It wasn’t in my library (they need to get a copy!) so I had to request an interlink loan. (The book was shipped to my library from another city.)

I gobbled up the story in one sitting. As I told the author in an email, the best word to describe this story is ‘tender’. And brave, just like the protagonist, who, baby step after baby step blossoms into the person she was meant to be.

In a way, this is the book I was hoping to write, but I couldn’t find my way, so I changed directions. I’m so glad Polonsky pulled it off, and so beautifully.

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Lost Boy

news-flash-2I’ve signed a book contract for book #11! The  working title is Lost Boy and I believe it is due out in 2018. Thank you Orca Book Publishers!

Lost Boy is a follow-up to my earlier book, Sister Wife, which dealt with a young girl living in a polygamist community. She was forced to marry a much older man who already had multiple wives.Sisterwife wp

Lost Boy tells the story of a boy who also grew up in that community and was forced to leave after it was revealed that he was having a secret and forbidden relationship with a girl  (the main character in Sister Wife.)  Boys like him are pressured to leave these communitites to reduce competition with the elder men for wives. They are dubbed the ‘Lost Boys’. Raised to distrust the outside world, when they finally run away or get pushed out they must learn to live in an unfamiliar society. They have little education and few skills. They believe they are beyond spiritual redemption.lost-boy

Unfortunately, communities like my fictional one are still flourishing throughout North America. Here in BC stories of the polygamists in Bountiful are in the news today. In writing this book I set out to explore what life would be like for one ‘lost boy’.

The book reviews that really matter

write-a-reviewWhen your hot-off-the-press book is released into the world there’s a trembly period of time when you obsess over how its audience is going to receive it. There’s a lot to be learned by reading the professional reviews but when someone from your targeted audience writes and tells you that your book touched them in some way… well, that’s all that really matters. After receiving the following review I knew that the time spent writing and editing this book was worth it. It was also a reminder to go back to my old practise of reviewing the books I love.

Oh Shelley Shelley Shelley!

I barely know what to say besides thank you for writing Dancing in the Rain. Wow.  I have JUST finished your book. I laughed, I shrieked, and I most definitely bawled my eyes out. You wrote such a beautiful, emotional, truthful, heart wrenchingly wonderful follow up (to Dancing Naked.) I could not have ask for anything more.
 
I will be honest, there were parts that were incredibly emotional for me to read. So much of my own life’s experiences could connect with this story. I found myself looking back over my own life and my adoption and how that got me to where I am. And who I am. So many of the questions Brenna had for Kia, I too once had about my own “other” life. I could honestly talk about this for hours. I am just so happy and thankful for this book. I think it has really hit a spot for me and I know I will hold it dear forever.
 

I just wanted to share my thoughts and feelings about your wonderful book with you. Thank you, Shelley.  (shared with permission)

And thank you, Christy Brain!

Book Gestation

dancing in the rain launchAn elephant carries her unborn baby for 2 years.

A donkey can carry their unborn young for 14 months.

Humans grow babies in nine months.

My latest story took 5 years from first tentative words on paper to actual book, so to  have it in my hands now… well, it is beyond satisfying. (And there are no late night feeds or dirty diapers to deal with either.)

I wasn’t writing for those full 5 years. In fact, I signed a contract for its publication 2 years ago, but it had to wait in line behind other books that came before it, and then it went through the editing and publishing process. There were many moments of numbing uncertainty, confidence failure and near bailing, but I believed in my characters, they are real people to me, and the relief that their story has been told is sweet beyond belief.

Huge gratitude to all those readers who wrote to me after reading Dancing Naked, asking to know what became of Kia, Brenna and Justin. We may never meet, but you planted the seed, and it grew into an entirely new story. Thank you, and please continue to give your favourite authors feedback. You have no idea how much it helps.