This year I was thrilled to have been selected by The Canadian Children’s Book Centre to tour outside my province from May 5-12 for BOOK WEEK! So, I packed my bags and headed west to the gorgeous province of Alberta!
It was a high-energy, hectic week, but one I would not trade for anything. During the five days, I presented to 9 schools and 2 libraries for a total of 15 presentations and 1 writing workshop.
This whirlwind of school and library visits brought me face to face with approximately two thousand eager readers from small rural communities to large charter schools.
I would have been ecstatic to travel to any of our wonderful provinces or territories, but I was particularly thrilled to have been assigned to Alberta as THE INN BETWEEN was nominated there for a Rocky Mountain Book Award! I was even able to have dinner with some of the lovely committee members!
TD Book Week was such an incredible experience and I have many to thank for making it possible. I would like to thank the TD Bank for their generous sponsorship, The Canadian Children’s Book Centre for their tireless support and promotion of Canadian authors and their books, The Canada Council for the Arts for their support via reading programs, my tour planner, Richard Chase, for all his effort in ensuring my trip ran smoothly…
…and of course, all the librarians, teachers, booksellers…
…and students who welcomed me so warmly into their buildings and communities!
I have never had the opportunity to visit the wonderful province of Alberta and was greatly impressed by the gorgeous vistas and the friendly people.
Now, nothing for me is complete without a good creepy story, so here goes:
When I wrote THE INN BETWEEN I had no idea that a) it would be nominated for a RMBA, b) that I’d be selected to tour for Book Week, c) that I’d be touring in Alberta, and finally, that my tour organizer would book me on the Red Arrow departing from the Deerfield Inn and Casino.
My novel is set in the Mojave Desert and there is a scene early on in a roadside diner. As I was researching items for this diner’s menu, I googled and came up with a random restaurant called the Mohave Grill. That was way back in 2013, and not only did I have no idea where this restaurant was, but I’d completely forgotten all about that bit of research. When I got to the casino, it was dinner time. I perused the lobby for a good place to grab a bite—and guess what? Right there was a restaurant called the Mohave Grill.
At first I thought, “wow—just like the Mojave Desert.” Then I saw the menu and completely freaked out. They served “chuckwagon chicken”—an item I put on the menu in the diner in my book! This was it! This was the exact restaurant I’d googled all those years ago! Can you believe it???? What an impossible series of coincidences that brought me here!!!
I take with me so many memories—the coulees, the prairie dogs,
the surprisingly smooth rides on the Beechcraft,
the community soup (everyone brings something and it all goes into the soup!)
…though none of these surpass the enthusiastic faces of all the children I encountered.
I made many new friends and hope I inspired those I met as much as they inspired me! I promise I will return to Alberta soon!