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Posts Tagged ‘namesake’

Canadian Family Magazine features Namesake, a “Great Summer Read”

Posted on May 30th, 2013 by pajamapress

“Past and present collide when a 15-year-old Halifax girl named Jane Grey slips back in time and comes face-to-face with her namesake, who ruled Tudor England for nine days before being imprisoned in the Tower of London. The girls’ bond grows with each of modern Jane’s trips back through time, as she desperately tries to prevent her new friend from meeting a tragic end.—DC

“This book captivated my interest with the connection between the past and the future.”—Alissah, 16, Calgary

Canadian Family Magazine‘s summer issue is on newsstands across the country now! Visit their website at www.canadianfamily.ca.

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.

Sue MacLeod on Open Book Toronto

Posted on May 9th, 2013 by pajamapress

Don’t miss Open Book Toronto’s newest installment of “Five Things Literary.” Today, in honour of last week’s release of her debut novel Namesake, Sue MacLeod shares her favourite literary hotspots in the Eglinton West neighbourhood.

Check it out!

 

Namesake Book Trailer

Posted on April 30th, 2013 by pajamapress

On May 1 Pajama Press is pleased to present Namesake by debut author Sue MacLeod. This time slip novel brings together the very different lives of two girls who share a name: Jane Grey. When Jane from Halifax finds an ancient-looking prayer book, she ends up face to face with the subject of her own history project: Tudor England’s short-lived Lady Jane Grey.

Click the link below to watch the trailer!

Namesake Book Trailer

Having trouble? You can also view the trailer on YouTube.

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.

Debut novel Namesake earns starred Quill & Quire review

Posted on April 20th, 2013 by pajamapress

“In her debut novel, Sue MacLeod successfully accomplishes a feat many more experienced writers struggle with: weaving an historical narrative smoothly into a contemporary storyline. The Toronto author uses the tried-and-true device of time travel to bring together two very different girls who share the same name: Jane Grey.

Modern Jane is a 15-year-old Halifax girl trying to navigate the first few months of high school and a host of typical teen problems, which pale in comparison when she comes face-to-face with a girl whose life is about to come to an abrupt end.

A mysterious prayer book mixed in with a pile borrowed from the library for a school history project throws Jane through a wormhole into the world of her namesake, the doomed 16-year-old who ruled England for nine days in 1553 before her cousin Mary had her imprisoned in the Tower of London and eventually beheaded for treason.

As Jane learns about Lady Jane, both through writing her history project and her friendship with the tragic figure, the reader becomes informed as well, but the knowledge is imparted in a subtle, natural manner. Likewise, MacLeod drops tidbits of Halifax history into conversations and Jane’s descriptions of her hometown. Many books for young readers attempt similar tactics, but rarely are they executed this well.

With surprising clarity, MacLeod also captures the heightened sensitivity of teen interactions. The shifting allegiances and subsequent jealousies that define female friendships and the fickle, temporary nature of teen romance are presented realistically, without the taint of adult judgment.

The real accomplishment, however, is MacLeod’s treatment of Jane’s unpredictable relationship with her (mostly) functional alcoholic mother, Analise. Will it be a good day (“Single Mother as Hero”) or bad (“A Day When Hell Broke Loose”)? Analise is needy, yet takes little interest in her daughter’s life unless it suits her. And she is mean, with a vindictive streak that plays a major role in the book’s climax. Yet she can be loving, and despite Jane’s anger and resentment, ultimately the girl just wants her mother to get help.

It sounds like a lot of ground to cover in one slim volume, and it is, but with sensitivity and some well-placed humour, MacLeod pulls it off.”
Dory Cerny, Q&Q’s Books for Young People editor.