Archive | June, 2012

Q&A with Joanne Levy

26 Jun

Happy book birthday to you, happy book birthday to you, happy book birthday dear Joanne, happy book birthday to youuuuuuuu!

How cute of a name is Small Medium at Large? So frigging CUTE. And today it’s officially out in the wild, so run to your nearest bookstore and grab a copy (I’m lacing my sneakers as I type).

Here’s a bit about the book:

After she’s hit by lightning at a wedding, twelve-year-old Lilah Bloom develops a new talent: she can hear dead people. Among them, there’s her over-opinionated Bubby Dora; a prissy fashion designer; and an approval-seeking clown who livens up a séance. With Bubby Dora leading the way, these and other sweetly imperfect ghosts haunt Lilah through seventh grade, and help her face her one big fear: talking to—and possibly going to the seventh-grade dance with—her crush, Andrew Finkel.

Joanne was nice enough to stop by and answer a few question.
Lavender Lines: First off, thanks so much for stopping by the blog, Joanne! And don’t worry, my questions aren’t very heavy hitting. 🙂
Joanne: Thanks so much, Colleen! I’m happy to be here—As you know, I’m Canadian, so I LOVE hanging out with my fellow Canucks!

LL: What was the inspiration for Small Medium at Large?
J: I actually woke up with the title in my head one morning. I know, not that exciting of a story. But I recognized that it was a pretty cool title, and about a year later (I was working on other projects when I came up with it) I figured it was time to write the book.

LL: Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what kind?
J: I don’t. I can have a bit of background noise—like my husband watching hockey in another room (as long as it’s not the playoffs, because then he yells a lot and it gets a bit distracting)—but I can’t have music on when I write. That said, I’ve been known to make playlists for books and use music to get in the mood for writing specific scenes.

LL: Tea or coffee?
J: Depends on the time of day. First thing, I NEED my coffee, but after that one big mug, I’m a jasmine tea drinker for the rest of the day.

LL: Yoga pants or jammie bottoms?
J: Jammies!

LL: If you could get every kid in the world to read one book, what would that book be (besides yours, of course!)?
J: Ha! That’s a hard one, because there are so many great books out there and every kid is different in what they will enjoy. But, that said, I’ve been thinking about my favourite books a lot lately and which ones I want my niece to read most, and keep coming back to ANNE OF GREEN GABLES (and someday I WILL get to PEI and when I do, let’s have lunch). I re-read it recently because of an essay I was writing, and was reminded how much I love it. It is a lovely, well-rounded book with amazing characters that has obviously stood the test of time and continues to delight new generations of kids. AND it stands up when read as an adult, too—there were several times when I laughed out loud and wanted to hug Anne. And the Matthew part, well, you can imagine what happened to me when I got to that. Yep, I do love that book so.

Thanks for taking the time to chat, Joanne!

If you’re looking for Joanne online you can find her at her website or Twitter.


Fierce Ink Press

8 Jun

Anyone who follows me on Twitter or Facebook has probably heard me talk about my super sekrit project. It first came about in November and I’ve been working on it since January. And the thing is, I haven’t been working on it alone. My friend and business partner Kimberly Walsh is in cahoots with me. She just doesn’t have as big of a mouth as I do. 🙂

We were going to wait a bit longer to announce this super sekrit project, but we’re a finalist for the Start-Up PEI Challenge, with the winner being announced tonight.

So, what is this super sekrit project?

Fierce Ink Press! Kimberly and I are starting our very own publishing label. We will be publishing young adult books by Atlantic Canadian authors (PEI, NS, NB, NFLD). Fierce Ink is a co-op, so all of our authors will actually be a part of the company. You can kinda think of us as a melding of traditional publishing and self publishing. Kinda. But of course, being who we are, we’re blazing our own trail and approaching things differently.

Our first title will launch Septemebr 23. I can’t let you in on the deets just yet, but it’s just, well, I LURVE it. I’m so excited for you guys to get your grubbies on it. (Maybe even before the release?) We’re also publishing some non-fiction pieces about all things teen.

So, yeah, to say I am excited and nerved up and giggly and just plan HAPPY would be putting it mildly.

The Heart is Not a Size – Beth Kephart

5 Jun

Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
Released: March 22th, 2010
Genre: YA contemp
Review copy from publisher

Georgia knows what it means to keep secrets. She knows how to ignore things. She knows that some things are better left unsaid. . . . Or are they?

When Georgia and her best friend, Riley, travel along with nine other suburban Pennsylvania kids to Anapra, a squatters’ village in the heat-flattened border city of Juarez, Mexico, secrets seem to percolate and threaten both a friendship and a life. Certainties unravel. Reality changes. And Georgia is left to figure out who she is outside the world she’s always known.

From HarperCollins Canada website.

It’s weird. The first time I picked up The Heart is Not a Size, I only got a few pages in before I set it down. People had gushed about it, but I wasn’t feeling it. But it was for review and I always try to read review books (in a timely manner, when I can). So after letting it sit on my shelves for over a year, I decided to give it another try. And read it in one night. I dunno, I must have been in a mood the first time I tried.

I’m not a very visual person. When I read a book, I don’t often picture it in my head. Strange, but true. But sometimes when I read a book, I can imagine it as a movie, almost scene by scene. And that’s what this book was like for me. I could picture it as the type of coming of age movie that I would watch over and over again.

This is a story about friendship and how we sometimes struggle to do the right thing for a friend and it ends up blowing up in our faces. I loved that the book centered on Georgia and Riley’s friendship. That it wasn’t all about the boys and the romance. Sure, there may have been hints of romance, but it wasn’t a completely integral part of the story. It wasn’t the point of the book.

I think female readers in particular will be able to identify with The Heart is Not a Size. I am a fair distance from the age of Georgia and Riley but their friendship and story had me thinking of some of the friendships I had when I was a teen and how important they are to who I am now.

So I’m definitely glad I gave it another go. And I’m happy that the lovely peeps at HarperCollins Canada sent along a review copy.


1 Jun

I LOVE Hélène Boudreau’s Real Mermaids series. Love, love, LOOOOOOOOVE! So I’m over-the-moon-so-giddy-I-can’t-breath happy to be hosting her today as part of The Summer Essentials blog tour! Hélène is from my neck of the woods (I’m on a different Island, but still a Maritimer) so I was beyond curious to find out about Hélène’s childhood.  AND, I have one copy of Hélène’s Real Mermaids Don’t Hold Their Breath along with Stacey Graham’s The Girls’ Ghost Hunting Guide (Both amazing summer reads).

Summer Island Breeze: Find out what it was like for Hélène to grow up on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean! Salty sea smells every day? I’ll take it!

Okay, so not exactly in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean but I grew up on a very small island off the coast of Canada and it may as well have been the middle of nowhere because looking back, it sure felt like a different world.

First, you have to take a causeway, then a drawbridge, then another bridge before finally arriving to my little slice of island paradise called Petit de Grat. Petit de Grat is not a tropical utopia but it was a pretty unique place to grow up in that:

1. My friends and I used to have sleepovers on my dad’s fishing boat while it was moored in the middle of our harbour.
2. The island only had a few hundred inhabitants but was full of kind-hearted, colourful characters.
3. Wild cows roamed the east end of our island and were known to chase us through forest paths.

So how did my childhood affect my process of writing the Real Mermaids series?

1. My dad took us for boat rides to a town on the mainland called St. Peters. We sailed up a canal from the ocean to a fresh water lake. That canal inspired the setting of my fictional town of Port Toulouse. I often wondered if the purple jellyfish in the ocean knew about the white jellyfish in the lake. It amazed me that two totally different underwater worlds could be separated by just a mile-long canal. That was the inspiration for the mer-world in these books.
2. I wanted my fictional town of Port Toulouse to be small and quaint, with a strong sense of community and full of fun characters like where I grew up.
3. It was a bit harder to work in the wild cows so mermaids seemed like a good alternative. 😉

You can find Hélène on Twitter, Facebook and on her Website.

Thanks so much for stopping by Hélène! And now on to the giveaway!


Like I said, I have a copy of Hélène’s Real Mermaids Don’t Hold Their Breath and Stacey Graham’s The Girls’ Ghost Hunting Guide to one lucky American or Canadian reader. All you have to do is comment below and tell me of a favorite childhood summer activity or a ghosty experience you’ve had. I’ll choose the winner on June 6th.