Thursday, September 8, 2016

Back-to-School with YA Author Suzy Vadori

Do you smell that? Mmm hmm, fresh school supplies . . . It’s back-to-school time! In honour of this auspicious time of year, I thought I’d welcome the Aurora Award-nominated YA author Suzi Vadori with her debut novel The Fountain to give us a little back-to-school book break.

Q: Suzy, what is your favourite memory about back-to-school?
A: We moved around a lot when I was a kid – Nova Scotia, Ontario, Boston, Alberta… and that was all before I was out of elementary school. So, first days really were first days and I never knew what to expect. I always loved that first day at a new school. Usually, kids were nice. Sometimes, they made fun of my accent. That was one thing I’d try to shed quickly, to fit in to wherever I was now. On the first day of school, I loved the possibilities, and trying to figure out how the social system worked. I was always trying to figure out who would still be nice to me on the second day - to find that one friend who maybe didn't already have a best friend. I made many such friends, some that I’m still close with to this day.
I think that’s why I enjoy writing about kids going to new schools. It’s a topic I have lots of experience with.
Now that I’m a mom – back to school is fraught with shopping, new schedules and trying to arrange car-pooling for my three kids. They’ve gone to the same school with the same friends since kindergarten. But I always make sure I ask them about new kids in their class, and I know I’d have been happy to meet any one of them!

Q: What inspired you to write The Fountain?
A: I’ve always loved reading boarding school novels. My favourite part is when kids get out of bed and sneak around without parents or teachers to curb their activities.
The idea for The Fountain stemmed from the idea that getting everything you’ve always asked for isn’t always as great as it sounds. That you need to be sure you’re asking for the right things…
Paired with a great set of teens in a boarding school setting, The Fountain’s world was born.

Q: Kids and adults enjoy YA, why do you think YA has such universal appeal?
A: Everybody can relate to the things teens experience growing up. School, friendships and figuring out who you want to be when you grow up are milestones in our lives, and they are themes that don’t go away just because you add a few decades to your list of experience. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. ;-)  

Q: Can you tell us more about the series?
A: Certainly! The Fountain is Book 1 of The Fountain Series. Book 2 (The West Woods) is well underway, and will be coming out in the spring of 2017. The Fountain is available in paperback and eBook. Here’s a link to give it a try!

Suzy Vadori is an Operations Executive by day, Writer by night. The Fountain is her debut novel for Young Adults. Suzy is an involved member of the Calgary Writers’ community, serving as When Words Collide (a Calgary Festival for Readers and Writers) Program Manager for Middle Grade and Young Adult since 2013. Suzy lives in Calgary, Alberta with her husband and three kids.

Monday, August 22, 2016

When Words Collide 2016: Happy Readers, Happy Writers

Celebrating with my editor Adrienne Kerr.
When Words Collide, Calgary
I’m still glowing from the the sixth annual When Words Collide! It’s a festival/conference for readers, writers, editors, agents and publishers, of all genres, fiction or non-fiction . . . basically if you’re involved with the written word, come play here for three days of awesome!

This is my fifth year participating, my fourth year on the board of directors, and a staple of my summer writing geek-on. What I love about this conference is not only the calibre of panelists and special guests, but the sense of community and seriously relaxed, happy vibe. This is a place to find your writer or reader tribe, learn, share and be inspired!

I met my incredibly talented editor, Adrienne Kerr, at WWC a few years ago. She listened (and heard) what I wanted to do with Kiss Me in the Rain and helped get me there. It released August 2! I’m still giddy. Just in case you are wondering how to kick your manuscript up a notch...or ten, I can’t say enough amazing things about this editor! And she likes scotch like me!

YA Author Suzi Vadori
When Words Collide, Calgary
For me, conferences are more fun when you have a roommate to share it with. A few years ago when I went to the Surrey International Writers’ conference, the fabulous Victoria Smith took me under her wing. What a difference that made! If you are considering going to a conference, maybe see if a friend wants to come, too. My long-time WWC “roomie” is Suzy Vadori. She writes YA and was nominated for an Aurora Award straight out the gate for her debut novel The Fountain! And she loves the tradition of the late-night fort building as much as I do. This was the third year of the fort-building shenanigans . . . shout out to all who played at 2am!

The panels, workshops and presentations, gosh, where do I start?? All of it was awesome, all of it! Maybe pictures are the best way to show? I had such a great time at #wwcyyc16. Thank you to all the old friends, and new. Happy Reading, Happy Writing, and see you all next year!


With fellow Eco-writer Nina Munteanu!
When Words Collide, Calgary
Author S. G. Wong and I giggling way too much!
When Words Collide, Calgary

All smiles in the fort!
When Words Collide, Calgary

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Memorable Border Crossings: "Welcome Home"

I love traveling as much as I love writing. This is my second post in my Memorable Border Crossings and it feeds in a personal way to my new release, Kiss Me in the Rain, the first of the Tanner Family Series. The series tackles environmental, social and economical issues, but the backbone of the series is the familial dynamic of adult siblings and their divorced parents. I know not everyone has positive border crossings, but this memory shares a happy moment during a rather awkward family time.

Coming Back into the U.S.A: Semester in Scotland
When I was 18 years old I received a brochure from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire’s International Office declaring I could study abroad. I was eighteen and it was a full two weeks before I even stepped foot in any of my freshman lecture halls or classrooms. Back then, still a couple years before I would meet my now, and very much a planner, husband, I didn’t do organized.  But this, something I would have to apply a whole year in advance for, called me like a very loud, very specific bull horn. Sarah, Study Abroad!

I applied for a program in Scotland, got accepted, and waited not-so-patiently to zip off to the land of castles, kilts, scotch, really cool accents and rugby. During that year my parents also happened to start the very long, rather painful process of divorcing.
Did I mention rugby? Turns out contact sports are really good at letting go of bottled up tension. Which I found out during my AMAZING semester in that incredibly welcoming, happy, beautiful country. I was having an epic experience, in between emails and phone calls from the dividing home front.

When my semester was over and my nineteen year old self flew back home, I walked out of the tunnel from the plane and headed down the windowed corridor to customs. On the other side of those floor-to-ceiling windows was my mom and my sister . . . and a few paces away my dad and his girlfriend. I know both my parents were just really excited I was home, but, well. . . awkward!

What does this have to do with border guards? As I walked down that corridor and I saw my two rides waiting to pick me up and dreading the first of what would be many perceived “who do you chose” scenarios, I walked into U.S. Customs. I have never wanted to wait so long in a line in my life. Or hang out with people with badges and guns. But all too soon it was my turn.

The border guard had no idea the family drama I would be stepping into in just a few moments, but he looked at me, handed me back my passport, and said, “Welcome home.”
I stared at him a moment, and realized he meant it.

“Thanks.” I said, feeling fortified by the kind, no-strings-attached words of a stranger. I borrowed some of his strength, hoped the jet lag didn’t make me ask my family the obvious, and went to see who I was catching a ride with. And have always remembered that small kindness that meant more to me than that border guard would ever know.

That having been said, I have heard those two magic words, Welcome Home,  almost every time since. Still, it's pretty cool. Thanks Mr. Nice Border Guard Guy.

Happy Trails . . .

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Book Release Day: Kiss Me in the Rain

Book Release Day
It's a happy day, and not just because I paddled around Bala Park Island today. After what turned out to be an extraordinary journey, my book Kiss Me in the Rain released today!
Hang on, I'm still letting that sink in.
I learned so much and worked with incredibly talented people. Shout out of thanks and awesome to my editor Adrienne Kerr, as well as to the Alberta Romance Writers' Association and my amazing cover designer Tufted Sky Cover Designs.
It's a happy day, indeed!

In the dense spruce forests of Northern Alberta, an environmentalist and an archeologist are about to uncover the wrongs of the past and the pleasures of the here and now.

Savannah McIntyre is estranged from her family, haunted by the destruction that her father's development business has visited upon the landscape that she loves. So when a family wedding calls her home, the hope of reconnecting with her dad surfaces, putting her directly in the path of Gabe Tanner, an archeologist on her father's payroll.
Gabe is estranged from his own father, and in him Savannah senses a man of immense compassion with a deep connection to the land. Navigating their mutual attraction on a remote and dangerous archaeological survey proves difficult, given their differences in ideology, but Savannah and Gabe are about to find out that love can thrive in any landscape.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Friday, July 8, 2016

And so it starts...Summer, Calgary Stampede and Book Release count-down

Summer is fun. I tend to go mach ten to soak up every drop of summer fun that I possibly can. Still, I try to be organized, plan ahead, you know, facilitate the order so as to not get pulled under by the happy chaos. I'll let you know if that works out one of these days. :) I'm in the thick of pre-book launch madness (and it is glorious madness!!), but we took a pause break this morning to go to the Calgary Stampede Parade. Here is a wee pause break for you to check out some of the pics!

Couldn't help but feel those same emotions of gratitude and awe when this group walked past...the compassion and support and community strength during the Fort McMurray wildfires of 2016 will stay with us all a very long time.

Seriously, this dude is riding a bull. Full disclosure, I didn't check if it was a bull or steer.

The Calgary Stampede Show Riders = more horses for me to gawk at!

I took the pic of the banner as these kids were from a high school in Wisconsin, but man, they rocked it!
Sorry I didn't snap a mid-action pic!