On Tuesday I had the IMMENSE pleasure of attending the White Pine Awards at the Festival of Trees at the Harbourfront Centre, Toronto. The Oathbreaker’s Shadow was nominated as one of the ten Canadian YA books on the list. I’d flown over especially for the event, as I’d heard it was one of the most fun book festivals in Canada (if not anywhere!). And I was not disappointed. I loved every second of my day, and it was amazing to meet so many passionate and devoted readers.
The White Pine is the oldest age category of books, and I was up against a superstar list of Canadian YA titles. I’d read only two of the books on the list, apart from mine (Teresa Toten’s marvellous and heart-warming story about OCD teens, The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B, and the kick-ass, action-packed RUSH by Eve Silver) but I quickly got to downloading the others onto my Kindle. This was a great year for showcasing new talent on the Canadian YA scene, as a few of the authors were like me: debut authors, on the list for their first books!
The awards are voted upon by the students, who have to have read a minimum of 5/10 books to be eligible. That requires a lot of devotion – especially from high schoolers, who have so much on their plate already. So I am endlessly thankful to any student who was dedicated enough to read and vote. You ROCK.
It was also amazing to have some students from my old high school come and visit me! Hello Immaculata students! And accompanying them was their librarian Mme Charron, who also taught me Phys-ed when I was a student there. It was so nice to have some hometown support.
And that brings me to the very best bit of the day: getting to meet so many readers. I don’t think there has ever been a gathering of so many people who had read The Oathbreaker’s Shadow in one place! And although I didn’t win, I had the absolute best time. For the ceremony itself, I walked in with two students from Sir John A McDonald High, one who introduced me and another who held my sign. RUSH was the overall winner, and I was so pleased for my wonderful friend Eve Silver. If you haven’t read her books yet, GET ON THAT RIGHT NOW.
I then did a WORLDBUILDING 101 panel with Eve, Jan Andrews (THE SILENT SUMMER OF KYLE MCGINLEY) and Heather Smith (BAYGIRL). The feedback I had was that it went really well, especially as we got to showcase so many different styles of world-building, from the truly fantastical (me) to the emotional and the real.
My last event was a signing. I always get nervous at signings (especially ones that are scheduled to last a whole hour) because come on… it can be embarrassing to sit there while no one comes to visit! But to my surprise, there were a few students there when I arrived, waiting to be first! I signed solidly for almost an hour, which is pretty amazing. I was stunned, but it was the same for all the authors: we just happened to be in the midst of the most engaged audience, who had all read our books. It was pretty fantastic.
Thanks so much to the OLA for nominating me, and to the students for voting! I had a blast.