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Posts Tagged ‘halifax’

Amy’s Marathon of Books is in Halifax with Namesake

Posted on January 17th, 2014 by pajamapress

Namesake_C_Dec13v2.indd“…Where reading non-fiction books can at times be dry and daunting, fiction opens up the same topics in a new way, providing characters a reader can personally connect with interspersed with historical facts.

Sue MacLeod’s Namesake is a spectacular example of this. I loved the way she took some liberties with Lady Jane’s story, while still staying true to the historical aspects. MacLeod also manages to make Jane and Lady Jane’s characters equally fleshed out and relatable.

…I would recommend this book more for early teen readers, but it’s a must read for lovers of historical fiction.”

Click here to read the full review.


Spectacular launch for The Stowaways in Halifax

Posted on November 21st, 2013 by pajamapress

On Sunday November 17th it was standing room only as 100 reading fans descended on the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia in Halifax to celebrate with Meghan Marentette as she and fellow author Jill MacLean launched their new books.

The Stowaways, Meghan’s debut novel about a family of adventurous mice, has been causing excitement since its release in October. It has been featured in Canadian Family Magazine, on Global Television, and in the Fall 2013 Books for Everybody catalogue. Meghan Marentette has been welcomed enthusiastically by fans at the Pajama Press Fall Book Launch and Art Show, at a special Meet-and-Greet at the flagship Indigo store in downtown Toronto, and—of course—at her Halifax book launch. Click on the thumbnails below to see pictures of that exciting event.

Meghan Marentette interview on Global TV

Posted on November 14th, 2013 by pajamapress

Meghan  Marentette‘s mouse adventure novel The Stowaways has been scampering into hearts across the country. Today the well-travelled mice made an appearance with their author on Global TV Halifax. You can watch the interview below, complete with some shots of Dean Griffiths’ wonderful illustrations.

Namesake Digital Tour

Posted on September 13th, 2013 by pajamapress

What if you shared a name with a girl who lived—and died—five centuries ago? What if you suddenly met her face to face?

Namesake_LRWelcome to Namesake, a novel in which Halifax high school student Jane Grey sets out to write a paper on her sixteenth-century namesake, the nine-day queen, and gets a whole lot more than she bargained for. Reviewers have called it “Suspenseful, emotional and powerful” (Kirkus Reviews), and “a triumph” (CM Magazine 4-star review). Quill & Quire awarded it a starred review. Now, bloggers in Canada and the United States will have their say as author Sue MacLeod goes on digital tour.

Eager for excerpts, giveaways, author guest posts, and more? Then be sure to visit the blogs below:

Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers on September 17th
Bookish Notions review on September 17th
Bookish Notions guest post on September 18th
Books in the Spotlight on September 23rd
The Book Labyrinth on September 26th

But wait—there’s more!

If you’re in the Toronto area on Sunday September 22nd, come down to The Word on the Street to see Sue MacLeod in person. She’ll be presenting at the ‘This is Not the Shakespeare Stage’ at 5:15pm in a panel with fellow YA author Richard Scarsbrook, and she will be available afterward to sign copies of her book. The Word on the Street is a free community event with tons of activities, presentations, and marketplaces for all ages. It takes place in the Queen’s Park Circle—where we hope to see you on the 22nd!

Can’t wait ‘til the 17th? You can find Namesake in bookstores across Canada and the United States. You can also learn more in lots of locations online, including:

The Book Trailer (Canadian version)
The Book Trailer (US version)

Sue MacLeod’s website

The Pajama Press website (includes links to all reviews, the discussion guide, and the trailer)

CanLit for LittleCanadians

Ramblings of a Daydreamer


School Libraries in Canada interview with Sue MacLeod

Happy reading!

Namesake is “Suspenseful, emotional and powerful.” —Kirkus Reviews

Posted on July 17th, 2013 by pajamapress

“A modern-day Canadian girl named Jane Grey travels back in time to meet the Lady Jane Grey, imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1553.

Bookish Jane is doing research for a paper about her namesake Lady Jane Grey, the 15-year-old who was queen of England for nine days and later executed by Queen Mary. Finding an old prayer book, she reads a prayer out loud and is transported to the Tower of London, where only Lady Jane, who calls her “Namesake,” can see her. Using the prayer book to time travel at will, she becomes friends with Lady Jane and tries to think of a way to save the brilliant and innocent teenager. Meanwhile in the present, Jane tries to escape her alcoholic mother’s increasingly aggressive and bizarre behavior. When the two stories collide just before Lady Jane’s scheduled execution, Jane struggles to save herself and her friend. MacLeod writes the modern sections in a heightened style that almost feels more like poetry than prose. She writes Lady Jane’s dialogue in Tudor English, modifying it only slightly for modern readers. Her vivid descriptions of the filthy turmoil of 1553 London, when even the nobility often had lice, should open some eyes. Most importantly, she strives to get the history right.

Suspenseful, emotional and powerful.”
Kirkus Reviews

Namesake earns four stars from CM Magazine

Posted on June 21st, 2013 by pajamapress

“…In every way, this novel is a triumph. MacLeod deftly weaves the modern Jane’s contemporary story with the true-life tale of Lady Jane Grey. Both storylines are fully developed and vividly rendered, with the time-travel element simply and elegantly incorporated into the fabric of Jane’s present-day life. In so doing, the author expertly brings the history to life for her readers while concurrently crafting a poignant tale of a modern teen’s efforts to navigate the hardships of both high school and a troubled home life…Highly Recommended.
Lisa Doucet

Click here to read the full review

School Libraries in Canada interviews Sue MacLeod

Posted on June 6th, 2013 by pajamapress

In their current issue, School Libraries in Canada is exploring bringing the past into the future. How fitting, then, to interview Sue MacLeod, author of the time slip novel Namesake in which a library book does just that.

MacLeod explains how she came to write Namesake:

“It was actually Lady Jane Grey herself who compelled me. I read a book about her when I was ten or so, and she stayed with me. It occurred to me a long time ago – twenty years or more – that I wanted to write about her in a way that would link her story with that of a contemporary girl. So, a young adult time-slip novel emerged as a natural way to approach that.”

Click here to read the full interview.

Namesake Book Launch

Posted on May 26th, 2013 by pajamapress

On Thursday, May 23 a group of book lovers gathered at Another Story Bookshop to celebrate Namesake by Sue MacLeod. There was a lot of positive energy, plenty of insightful questions, and even some bakery-fresh cookies. Thank you to everyone who came out to the launch!

CanLit for LittleCanadians reviews Namesake

Posted on May 14th, 2013 by pajamapress

“While Namesake may be initially seen as a standard time-slip novel, with a contemporary character going back in time to learn something which she could apply to her own life, the book goes beyond this…

I am especially pleased by the direction the author takes Jane’s time slip, allowing for the two young women, just sixteen, to share their lives and their stories, and Jane anticipating bringing Lady Jane back with her…

The history is true, the twists unique and the touches of humour and romance are heart-warming. And Namesake still delivers an open ending that takes the reader to a more hopeful situation than Lady Jane’s true horrific ending”
Helen K

Click here to read the full post.

Interview with Sue MacLeod

Posted on April 26th, 2013 by pajamapress

S.MacLeodSue MacLeod is a poet and editor living in Toronto, Ontario. Her debut novel, Namesake, is a time slip title for teens about the friendship between Jane Grey, a high school student in Halifax, and Lady Jane Grey, the short-lived Tudor queen who spent her last days in the Tower of London.

Sue joined us to talk about poetry, prose, and the magic of characters.

 You are already established as a poet, and in fact were the inaugural poet laureate in Halifax. Did you always want to write a novel as well? Where did that urge come from?

I’m not sure about the word “established,” although I did write poetry first. For me, it hinges on the subject. A subject will compel me and will seem to call for one form or another—poem, short story, or novel.

Did you find the switch to prose challenging? Exciting? Surprising in any way?

Yes, all of the above. The amazing thing is the characters—they do become real, just as I’d heard other fiction writers say. It sounds like magic, and is. But I think it’s also a writer’s reward for Sitting There … and Sitting There.

But then you have cause for worry. What if you abandon your characters for weeks or months? (As I, for one, have often needed to.) They fade, and you have to resuscitate them. You can only hope they’ll come back to life.

Why Namesake? Why Lady Jane Grey?

As a child I read a historical novel about Lady Jane Grey, and it stayed with me. Years later I decided to write about her—not just as a victim, but also as someone courageous, strong and full of life. And I wanted to write about a contemporary girl who was those things too.

What interested me most was creating the two stories—contemporary Jane’s and Lady Jane Grey’s—and intertwining them. I had to build links between the two girls, links of emotion and sensibility that would connect them despite the “culture gap” of being from different times.

I’d read about Jane when I was ten or so, but by the time I started writing, it was a teen story in my mind. She was a teen—executed not long after her 16th birthday.

I also knew, looking back, that I’d had a romantic vision of Jane Grey in my own teens, partly because I was drawn to victimhood—I identified with it somehow. That draw isn’t unique to me, I’m sure, and may be common among girls, for a whole mix of cultural and personal reasons. I wanted to write through that, to come out on the other side.

What did you enjoy the most about doing research for Namesake?

I loved learning more about how people talked—colourfully, dramatically, often in full sentences that were long and complex.

But best of all was a week I spent in London one July, visiting the British Library almost every day. I sat in quiet rooms at smooth, dark tables, reading biographies and Lady Jane Grey’s letters and other writings, and holding 16th-Century books in my hands.

Finest of all, still at the British Library, was seeing Lady Jane Grey’s prayer book. It was in a glass display case (I’m not sure anyone gets to touch it). But seeing it in person is still much different than online—its compactness, its beauty.

Namesake’s modern-day sections take place in Halifax. Can you talk about your connection to that city?

I moved to the Halifax area with my parents when I was 14, and lived in Halifax for many years.

Lots of the places in Namesake are ones I know well. I used to work at the library on Spring Garden Road; I walked our dog across the Commons, and up Needham Hill. We lived in a Hydrostone house when my daughter was a baby.

What is writing like for you? Do you love the process—or the result?

I love them both, but find the process hard. I’ve heard that there are people for whom the words flow easily. I am not one of them.

On a good day a problem gets solved, a scene takes on a nice shape, or a character says something that moves things to a new dimension. These are wonderful moments. Or I just feel—more generally—the satisfaction of knowing that I’m doing my best to tell the particular story that only I can tell.

On a bad day, I figure anyone could write a novel if they were willing to work this insanely hard. (I suspect this may be true.)

I find the first draft the worst stage, because there’s so much chaos to deal with. It’s hard to sit there writing drivel and believe something will come of it. But first drafts do have their lovely moments too, with characters forming in broad strokes and plot lines starting to be traceable.

Do you have other novels in mind you’d like to get down on paper?

Yes, about five more. Right now I’m in the early stages of my next one—a teen love story set in present-day Toronto. There are political overtones. There are clashes of values within a family.