Saturday, December 4, 2010

Q&Q Writer Series : Featuring Helene Boudreau

I had the pleasure of interviewing my good friend and fellow writer Helene Boudreau recently. She has a number of fiction and non-fiction books in her repertoire which include her first one ACADIAN STAR and KEEP OUT! Her most recent one; REAL MERMAIDS DON'T WEAR TOERINGS has just been released by Sourcebooks and has garnered great reviews, which are all up on her blog.

A delightful picture book, I DARE YOU NOT TO YAWN, is also slated for publication in 2013 by Candlewick. Cannot wait to read it! 

I met Helene in Kidcrit, a writer's group I joined in 2006. At the time we were both unpublished, but here we are now, a scant five years later, with many successes under our belts. Among the many things I admire about Helene, the most endearing is her desire to help others to the best of her ability. This could be invaluable advice in writing a synopsis, advice on how to get an agent or just a "hang in there" email when someone in the group has received bad news!

Here is a more personal glimpse of this warm and wonderful writer...
1) In one word, how would you describe your  personality?

2) What is your  deepest desire?
A  healthy, fulfilling life surrounded by those I  love.

 3) Your  greatest fear?
Every  mom probably has the same answer to this one.

 4) Your  favourite colour?

 5) A song you  can't help singing along with, every time you hear it?
Chumbawumba: Tubthumping  (I get knocked down...) 
6) A movie that  made you cry?
 La vita รจ bella/ Life is  Beautifu

 7) A book you  have read more than five times? Or a book that influenced you the  most?
 I  rarely read books more than once but I love, love, love anything by  Katherine Paterson, Kate DiCamillo or Tim Wynne-Jones.  

 8) From your  own oeuvre: your favorite child?
Whatever  I'm working on at the moment. Right now? Jade from REAL MERMAIDS DON'T WEAR  TOE RINGS 
9) One thing  you hate about being a writer?
The  First Draft 15 
10) One thing  no one knows about you (and now will)?
 I  eat sardines over the kitchen sink, straight out of the can. Don't  you?

Thank you, Helene and wish you continued success in your career!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows...Brilliant!

All right, so I guess you all know that I am a huge Harry Potter fan, the same as a billion others. Couldn't wait to see the Deathly Hallows but balked at having to face the chaos on opening weekend.

I finally did see it on Monday (and for all of you out there who do not like crowds, go on a Monday!) and I have to say I was blown away by it. Beautifully done even though it was a bit choppy, but given the length of the book, it was to be expected. The actors have all grown and are a pleasure to watch. The special effects are breathtaking!

Once again, I say, hats off to Steve Kloves for a fabulous screen play, to David Yates, for artful direction but above all, to J. K. Rowling for her sheer, imaginative brilliance!

Anyone want to see it again with me?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Q & Q Writer Series : Featuring Arthur Slade

This next guest on my writer series needs no introduction at all. I had the pleasure of meeting Art Slade, a fabulous writer with an endearing personality, at the TD Awards earlier this month, and congratulating him on winning the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award for The Hunchback Assignments, "a rollicking steampunk adventure" which I just finished reading for the second time.

The next one in the series, The Dark Deeps was released in September and though I haven't read it's next on my list.

A self-proclaimed techno-whiz, Art has a wonderful website filled with delicious tidbits about his books, bio , podcasts and tips for writers. So visit him...and enjoy...

Without further is Art at his quirkiest!

1) In one word, how would you describe your personality?

2) What is your deepest desire?
To conquer the world.

3) Your greatest fear?

4) Your favourite colour?

5) A song you can't help singing along with, every time you hear it?
Bohemian Rhapsody.

6) A movie that made you cry?
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. The acting. The storyline. The waste of all that money and talent.

7) A book you have read more than five times? Or a book that influenced you the most?
The Lord of the Rings. Have read it about fourteen times.

8) From your own oeuvre: your favorite child?

9) One thing you hate about being a writer?
commas, commas, commas--where do they go. Semi-colons come in a close second.

10) Something no one knows about you (and now will)?
I sometimes listen to ABBA.

Art, thank you so much for participating. You are inspiration to all of us, especially me! Wishing you continued success in your career.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Quirky and Quintessential Writer Series : Featuring Claudia Osmond

In today's blog, I present to you Claudia Osmond; bubbly, always smiling and full of life! She is the co-founder of the Toronto Kidlit Group along with my favourite "Inky Girl," Debbie Ohi (her interview is coming up shortly). Claudia is currently involved in a humanitarian initiative called the Saffron Banyan to end poverty in the city of Trichy in South India. All and any help would be much appreciated!
Claudia is also the author of Smudge's Mark, a fantastic fantasy novel for children.

Without a second's delay, here is a glimpse of that vivacious  and caring personality;

In one word, who are you?

What is your deepest desire?
To have a hand in ending modern-day slavery

Your greatest fear?
Something happening to my kids

Your favorite color?
Candy apple red

A song you can’t help singing along with every time you hear it?
Steal My Sunshine by Len

A movie that made you cry?
Miss Potter made me cry several times. Especially when she found out her books were selling!

A book you have read more than five times? Or a book that influenced you the most?
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

From your own oeuvre: your favorite child?
Smudge’s Mark

One thing you hate about being a writer.
My inner critic: Regularly second-guessing my ability to write.

One thing no one knows about you (and now will)?
Sheesh. Okay. When I was fourteen I wrote fan-mail to Michael Jackson. I secretly wanted to marry him.

 Thank you, Claudia! It was pleasure interviewing you :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Quirky and Quintessential Writer Series :Featuring Valerie Sherrard

I had the pleasure of interviewing a really special writer recently...Valerie Sherrard. She has a number of exciting mysteries in her repertiore with the Shelby Belgarden series. Her first picturebook There's a COW Under My Bed is a delight to read! Her latest book Tumbleweed Skies was a nominee for the Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children's Literature 2010.

In addition to being an author, Valerie and Marsha also run the Authors Booking Service. This service assists educators and librarians with finding young adult and children's book creators who are qualified and willing to present at schools and libraries

Here is a fleeting glimpse of this wonderful person;
1) In one word, how would you describe your personality?

2) What is your deepest desire?
To grow old gracefully and happily with my husband, Brent, who is also an author.

3) Your greatest fear?
I'm terrified of heights. I couldn't call myself brave in the dark either.

4) Your favourite colour?
Deep purple.

5) A song you can't help singing along with, every time you hear it?
Dragonfly, by Roman Dane.

6) A movie that made you cry?
Dead Poet Society

7) A book you have read more than five times? Or a book that influenced you the most?
The (adult)book I've read the most number of times is Seventeen by Booth Tarkington, although I wouldn't say it influenced me. On the other hand, I've read The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver only once (so far - I do plan to read it again) but it had a huge impact on the way I look at the voice of a story. Kingsolver did the most amazing job in having a range of such rich and distinctive characters narrate this particular book.

8) From your own oeuvre: your favorite child?
The Glory Wind

9) One thing you hate about being a writer?
The bouts of self-doubt andsecond-guessing. Almost every project has found me, about 2/3rds of the way through, quite certain that the book I'm working on is boring and pointless, and that no one in their right mind would ever want to read it.

Thank you so much, Valerie!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Darby's visiting Toronto to talk about FACING FIRE by KC Dyer (Hey...that rhymed!)

Hi Darby, 

Welcome to Moonlight Musings and TO. Tell us...what's new with you? (Yikes...I'm quite rhymey today ;))


And here's Darby's reply...

Hi Everyone!

My name is Darby Christopher...and I'm a big fan of the Tara trilogy. I love the idea of mythology in stories -- and reading about different cultures is fascinating to me.

Since the adventures in my very first book, A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW, I learned a whole lot about different cultures, and the choices that people make when they come to Canada. Now, unlike Mahtab, my experience with immigration hasn't come from living in other countries of the world. It turns out I have a talent ... for travelling through time.

Today, I’m here to celebrate the launch of my new book. It’s called FACING FIRE.

FACING FIRE picks up the story of what happened to me after the magical summer that you may have read about in A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW. And if you're interested in a whole new way at looking at how people came to live in Canada, you might consider taking a look.

You can learn more by peeking at my new book. Find out more about it – and the author – at

Or better still, would you like to win a copy as a prize? If you leave comment on this post, Mahtab will put your name into a draw to win a free copy of the new book – FACING FIRE. And if you actually link to this post somewhere else [like in another blog, or facebook post or even a tweet] we’ll put your name in for the draw for BOTH of my books. Go for it!

By the way, if you’re into looking for prizes, [especially if you like making videos], check out my blog HERE
at Darby Speaks. I have an AMAZING contest going with some totally fantastic prizes. And if you like twitter, you can follow all the latest on the contest and the blog tour and launches @DarbyWalking.

See you there.

Thanks for having me, Mahtab!


My pleasure Darby and have fun!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Quirky and Quintessential Writer Series: Featuring Marsha Skrypuch

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Marsha Skrypuch for my series. Marsha is not only a gifted writer with over a dozen books in publication, but she is also passionate about writing events that are uncomfortable, events which people would rather sweep under the carpet than discuss. She has written about the Armenian Genocide as well as about Holodomor (Stalin-induced famine in Ukraine.)

In May 2008, President Victor Yuschchenko of Ukraine bestowed upon Marsha the Order of Princess Olha for her championing of the Holodomor. For a complete profile of Marsha, please see the article in CM Magazine by David Jenkinson.

Marsha has helped many a new writer (including yours truly) and completely embodies the quote oft heard: "A candle loses none of its light by lighting another."

And that is Marsha, in a sentence.

1) In one word, how would you describe your personality?

2) What is your deepest desire?
To be fair

3) Your greatest fear?
To be misunderstood

4) Your favourite colour?

5) A song you can't help singing along with, every time you hear it?
Jeff Buckley's rendition of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah

6) A movie that made you cry?
Frank Capra's: It's A Wonderful Life

7) A book you have read more than five times? Or a book that influenced you the most?
The Magus by John Fowles

8) From your own oeuvre: your favorite child?
Anya from Prisoners in the Promised Land

9) One thing you hate about being a writer?
Having very little free time

10) One thing no one knows about you (and now will)?
I'm an introvert

Thank you, Marsha!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Quirky & Quintessential Writer Series: Featuring Cynthia Leitich Smith

Hello Booklovers, Bookworms and those who can't live without the written word,
I'm sure you all have your favourite authors whom you You want to know everything about him/her, who they are, where they grew up and how they got the idea for the book you just could not put down!
The infinite www has made it possible to get a lot of "writerly" information about authors. But what about the stuff totally unrelated to books? The quirky stuff that makes them the quintessential writer?
I've wondered the same thing about a lot of writers I've greatly admired and so, was born the idea of asking them questions mostly unrelated to the world of writing. Fun stuff that makes them come alive for me!
And so I've started this series with none other than Cynthia Leitich Smith of the ETERNAL and TANTALIZE fame. She loves to help new writers and maintains a fantastic website and blog.

Without further's the quick and quirky on a wonderful writer:

1) In one word, who are you?

2) What is your deepest desire?
An old-fashioned, claw-footed bathtub.

3) Your greatest fear
Fire Ants

4) Your favourite colour?

5) A song you can't help singing along with, every time you hear it?

"Rhinestone Cowboy."

6) A movie that made you cry?

"The Spiderwick Chronicles."

7) A book you have read more than five times? Or a book which influenced you the most?

The Witch from Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Spear (Houghton Mifflin, 1958)

8)From your own oeuvre; your favorite child?

Blessed (Candlewick 2011)

9) One thing you hate about being a writer?

Saying "no" to so many people and opportunities to protect my writing time, and the fact that folks so often do not understand.

10) One thing no one knows about you (and now will)?

My toe aches when it's about to rain.

So there you have it, folks. Head over to Cynthia's website for some more information about her and on writing!

And watch this space as more authors agree to share quick and quirky deets...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Deadly Conch: Final Chapter of the Tara Trilogy

So here I am after having been AWOL since March. And what have I been doing, you might ask. I've written and re-written the final instalment in the Tara Trilogy. It's called The Deadly Conch and the pub date is Jan 17, 2011.

It's been a relief to finally wrap this up and yet gut wrenching that I will not be in Tara's head any more, will not be dreaming up more antics for the evil Zarku or mischief for Suraj.

But there it is. Time to move on to...The Tiffin...but that's a story for another post.
Hope you're enjoying the summer!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mad, Memorable Mash-up!

What a memorable end to March with this Mad, Memorable Mash-up!
Richard Poplak, Rui Umezawa and I read excerpts from our respective pieces with each of us interjecting with relevant responses.
Teresa Toten our wonderful editor was interviewed by Joe Kertes. DJ Andrew Roti provided some great music and the entire event was extremely well organized by publicist, Vimala Jeevanandam from Penguin as well as Chris Reed and Natalie Kertes of Small Print Toronto.
We bared our hearts and stories in a packed ballroom at the Gladstone Hotel in front of an extremely appreciative and supportive crowd.
Thank you all, for being there. Here's raising a glass to friendships and Fitting In!
Head over to my Facebook page for some more picture and who's who.

Monday, March 1, 2010

OLA 2010

Had a great time at OLA last Friday. Had a chance to present at the Forest of Reading Showcase and relive those wonderful months till countdown to the Forest of Reading Award Ceremony in May 2009.

Also met my inspiring and wonderful tweeps Helene Boudreau, Deborah Kerbel, Marina Cohen, KC Dyer, Marisa Zamit, Marsha Skrypuch.

Chatted with one of my favourite illustrators ever; Jeremy Tankard, author of Grumpy Bird among others. Also ran into Monique Polak, well-known author and journalist from Montreal as well as Rene Schmidt at the Orca Booth. Met Kari-Lynn Winters who asked me to masquerade as a fish.

And to round of the evening, had dinner with a bunch of the smart, inspiring and fun-loving authors ever which also included Nelsa Roberto, Cheryl Prowse, Natalie Hyde. We also measured head sizes of all :)

Raising a toast to good memories and much success!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Great Review for The Silver Anklet in Resource Links

Just got a great review in Resource Links (Dec 2009, Vol 15, Issue 2) from Myra Junyk!

Here are a few snippets;

"This beautifully written and lyrical book brings various figures in Indian mythology to life in a compelling story about family, love, courage and determination. Tara is a wonderful heroine exemplifying the strength of the human spirit to overcome adversity.

Mahtab Narsimhan has once again invited readers into a world where evil spirits wander the dense forest and young children must face life and death decisions in order to survive. Doing the "right thing" can sometimes be the most difficult choice.

What strange and wonderful experiences can readers anticipate in the third and final installment of the Tara Trilogy."

Triple Book Launch: Jan 16, 2010

What a way to start the New Year!
Deborah Kerbel, Marina Cohen and I launched our books at the Chapters, Yorkdale Mall on Jan 16, 2010. The weather was gorgeous and mild, the turnout was fantastic but the best part was seeing gigantic cakes featuring our book covers; Girl on the Other Side, Ghost Ride and The Silver Anklet.
I'll post a couple of pictures here but for more coverage, please visit me on Facebook.
Thank you to all my family, friends and fans who turned up to celebrate these birthdays with us!