This 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.
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.
I 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.
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.
I was so excited to learn that Clutch was written up in the Spring Preview issue of Quill & Quire magazine (February 2017). I 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):
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!
Clutch will be available this spring at bookstores across Canada and the United States!
I’m super-excited and will use this space to keep you up to date on news and events, give you the background on how Clutch came to be and generally share whatever’s on my mind (I’ll try to stick to book talk but I guarantee nothing. Right now my mind is thinking about pizza).
Moving past thoughts of food, I’ll just share that the photo above was taken at the Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto. Yes, French writing in Toronto. I thought the message “tout est possible,” which means “anything is possible,” was fitting. I dreamed of writing this novel for so many years and I made it happen. Jackie Robinson dreamed of making it to the Big Leagues and he made it happen. Joey Grosser, the main character in Clutch, dreams of moving to the west side of Parc Avenue in Montreal…anything is possible.