Writing Life

First in-person book signing event: a great success!

Yesterday morning I was a ball of nerves getting ready for my first in-person book signing event. But when I got to read to these young explorers, the nervousness dissipated and we quickly connected about the story. They loved guessing which animal would be next, finding the animals that had already been introduced, watching what… Read more »

Bloopers and Behind the Scenes

It’s been a whirlwind since the book release! My favorite part has been getting photos from readers with my book from all over Canada and the US – especially from kids. I love hearing about their favorite animals in the book, too: so far the owl is quite popular, followed closely by the dog! (note… Read more »

Interview with Open Book

It was such a joy to be interviewed on Open Book about This is the Boat that Ben Built. Here’s a snippet from the introduction: “Today we’re speaking with Jen about This is the Boat That Ben Built as part of our Kids Club interview series. She tells us about where her love for cumulative stories comes… Read more »

Great news, and more time to write on the horizon!

I’m pleased to share that I am a recipient of a 2021 City of Ottawa Creation and Production Fund for Professional Artists grant! I’ll be using it to draft a middle grade novel in the Fall. In the meantime I’m working my way through this stack of books, reading and brainstorming. Thanks, City of Ottawa!… Read more »

Waiting, waiting…

It seems to go like this, in publishing: everything needs to happen quickly, and then… you wait. I’ve been told this is completely normal, but it still feels so strange to have all this excitement that can’t go anywhere. So, it was great this week to have made two exciting, big steps somewhere. Firstly, I’m… Read more »

free… writing?

Day one: Getting back into the habit of daily writing after 8 months of teaching. This is what happened when I timed myself doing 20 minutes of freewriting today, in the spirit of Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. At first there was a great disconnect between my head and my hand – one I did… Read more »

Process: MY story. THE story.

It is an unmatched thing of beauty to have people in my life who are writers. I can talk honestly with them about my characters and they aren’t concerned for my mental wellbeing. I can share with them in the ups and downs of productivity, fears, passion. There is, however, one thing I have found… Read more »

I am not my character.

In Tristan Poehlmann’s February 25th blog post, he said: . . . If we aren’t honest with ourselves and with our audience, our characters don’t matter. They become stand-ins for our own beliefs, fantasies, and realities. They don’t exist on their own terms. They don’t feel their emotions or achieve their goals–they feel our emotions… Read more »

Hope and Cinderella

Yesterday I read an interpretation of the Cinderella story that intrigued me. It went like this: Cinderella is in denial. She is treated poorly by everyone in her family, wears dresses the birds made for her out of scraps, and has to work day and night. Yet she sings, “No matter how your heart is… Read more »