First review for first nonfiction

What If Soldiers Fought with Pillows?, my first nonfiction book, will be released March 15, 2020, and the first review is in! “Fifteen quirky, thoughtful what-if statements trace the history of lesser-known social activists and organizations,” Kirkus Reviews writes, calls the book “hopeful and inspiring.”

A pretty good start, I say!

What If Soldiers Fought with Pillows? is currently available in French from Bayard Canada.

CCBC Book Awards Announced!

CCBC awards image of clutchThe Canadian Children’s Book Centre announced the nominees for its annual awards and Clutch made the list!

Clutch is nominated for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction, along with Heather Smith’s The Agony of Bun O’Keefe, Kevin Sands’ The Assassin’s Curse, Julie Lawson’s A Blinding Light and Uma Krishnaswami’s Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh.

Winners of the English-language awards will be announced on October 29, 2018.

For more information and a list of nominees from other categories, visit The Children’s Book Centre.


Spring wrap-up

I’m not sure where spring went now that we’ve reached summer, but I do know I have been remiss in updating the crazy life of a first-time author and all the wonderful news from the past season. I say crazy, but overwhelming may be the better word because I have so much to be thankful for:

– Clutch has just been named a 2018 Skipping Stones Honor Book, in the Multicultural and International Books category.

– Clutch is a 2019 Myrca Award Sundogs nominee. 

– Clutch appears on the Canadian School Libraries Journal 2018 recommended list of summer reading for tweens and teens.

– Last but not least, I will be heading to the 10th annual Telling Tales Festival in Rockton, Ontario, on September 16, 2018, with so many superstars it’s actually quite intimidating!

Huge thanks to everyone for the support, including Red Deer Press. It’s tremendous!

Three Questions

jr-statuepostThis week, the wonderful author and illustrator Debbie Ohi posted an article featuring, well, me. In “Three Questions,” I offer advice for young readers, talk about Jackie Robinson and describe a bookcase in my office. Yes, a bookcase.

Please have a read of “Three Questions,” and check out the rest of Debbie’s site for  interviews with Canadian authors, such as Kevin Sylvester, Kevin Sands and Karen Krossing.



Silver Birch Nomination!

FITZ_Clutch_Cover.FNLYesterday was a huge day.

The Ontario Library Association (OLA) announced its Forest of Reading nominations, and Clutch was one of ten nominees for the Silver Birch!!!

If you don’t know about the Forest of Reading program, here are a few things to get your started:

  • A celebration of Canadian authors, books and publishers.
  • Canada’s largest recreational reading program.
  • More than 250,000 students participate, reading books from their age category and selecting their favourite.
  • 10,000 students will be on hard at the Festival of Trees in May to find out the winners, meet the authors and participate in workshops.

This is an amazing honour, and I can’t thank the OLA enough for selecting Clutch as a 2018 Silver Birch nominee.

To see the video announcement by Wesley King, click here.

A Kirkus starred review!

It’s one thing to get feedback about a novel from friends and family, but it’s quite another to read what professional reviewers have to say. And let me tell you, it’s been amazing!

The first review came in Quill & Quire, in which Paul Gessell wrote: “Joey is a fully developed, complex character one can’t help but love…The fast-paced plot is never dull and never predictable…One can only hope Camlot writes a sequel – Joey surely has many great adventures ahead.” Gessell had one major issue, with the Jackie Robinson references, but he liked the novel enough to ask for another!

My second review come on Sunday: A starred review from Kirkus! I had to sit down I was shaking so much. I was in shock. I still am. The reviewer wrote that “Readers will be completely enthralled with Joey’s world and root for him all the way.” And Clutch was called “Powerful, moving, and wonderful.” The review was glowing from beginning to end!

I can’t explain how it feels to have reviewers and readers enjoy Clutch. When something I’ve worked on for so long, something so personal, is embraced by others, it really is overwhelming.

I wish my dad and my uncle, both of whom inspired Clutch, were still here to see this.



Debbie Ridpath Ohi

debbieI recently had the opportunity to hang out with Debbie Ridpath Ohi for an article I was writing about the picture-book author for June issue of Quill & Quire magazine. If you don’t know her work, please do check it out. She’s illustrated a great deal of books for various authors, including Michael Ian Black and Judy Blume! She’s also written and illustrated a couple of her own books, and she’s in the middle of working on a middle-grade novel. I bet it will be as fun and amazing as she is.

Check out my profile of Debbie at Quill & Quire.

Photo: Chelsee Ivan for Quill & Quire. 

Open Book article online

Hey all,

As we count down to the release of Clutch, some fun things are happening. My first interview was just published on Open Book, a fantastic site with the enviable goal of promoting Ontario’s literary scene. You can find the interview here.

I have to say, as a journalist it was quite weird being on the other side of the interview. Usually, it’s me asking the questions, not answering them. But it was a lot of fun and I really hope I sound coherent. Big thanks to Open Book and Winston Stilwell at Red Deer Press for making this happen!

Clutch will be available in June, so keep an eye out for it when you visit your favourite bookstore.

“Not really about sports”: My first mention!

I was so excited to learn that Clutch was written up in the Spring Preview issue of Quill & Quire magazine (February 2017). Q&Q spring preview coverI found out quite by accident.

I was emailing with my editor at Q&Q, for which I write book reviews, and I quietly mentioned that I had a novel coming out. My editor told me she already knew, and then sent along the page number and section heading — “Not really about sports” — where she included it!

Here it is, the online version (I should mention at the time of this publication, Clutch was still called The Boys of Summer):

Q&Q spring

If you’d like to check out the other Books for Young People that made Quill & Quire’s spring preview issue, you can visit the magazine’s website. Woo-hoo! Thank you so much, Q&Q!