Today I decided to focus on two authors (6 and 7 because I’m going to run out of days before Christmas) who I don’t know very well, but would like to get to know better. Truthfully there are a lot of Canadian children’s/YA authors out there who I don’t know well but would like to know better. I’m not going to write down names because I will forget some of them and feel like a schmuck. But, partly because I live on the west coast, and partly because I’m still relatively new at this YA author game (it’ll be eight years in 2016), there are many people I know mostly through Facebook.
I knew of Teresa Toten because, well, she’s Teresa Toten! YA author extraordinaire! When I was asked to read a manuscript she’d written for a possible blurb, I said okay. (I should point out that this request came via her agent to my agent, I still don’t think Teresa and I had ever met, or if so only in passing). That manuscript was for “The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B.” Of course I blurbed it, because it was freaking awesome. It went on to win the 2013 Governor General’s Literary Award – all because of my blurb, of course. Or at least, that’s what I seem to recall telling Teresa in an e-mail. And perhaps that’s where our faux-competitive friendship really began. We like to spell each others’ names wrong on purpose (actually I think THARISA really couldn’t figure out how to spell my name for a while, and who could blame her). And we did both publish books close together with long titles (“The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen” was mine), so people sometimes got us mixed-up. We enjoy taking the piss out of each other on Facebook. But the thing is, I have now met Teresa a few times, and been on a jury with her, and I adore her. She is a generous, gregarious, gorgeous (three G’s!) and hugely talented woman.
She even said I could stay at her house next time I’m in Toronto. Which is the real reason I’m including her here – Teresa, I’m coming for six months in June, I hope that’s okay. I prefer my coffee strong and my wine plentiful!
Now, Joanne Levy I met on the Red Maple Awards stage in 2014. We were seated next to each other. And I wish I could remember what the hell we said to each other, but she had me laughing up on stage. You know how sometimes you just know you like someone? I felt that way about Joanne. As far as I can tell she is still reasonably new at the YA game – she’s the author of the very successful “Small Medium at Large.”
Since then I’ve only seen her in person one other time, and that is when she hoofed it to Chapters-Indigo in Brampton to see Susan Juby and me read. She was rocking her fanny pack (she has another word for it that is much sexier but I’ve forgotten what it was).But we’re Facebook friends, so I’ve learned a bit more about her through that route, including the fact that she is as obsessed with her cats as I am. Which is another sign of a stellar human being. 🙂 I look forward to seeing what Joanne writes next!