You’ve found me at home, but I’m probably at my desk writing right now, so please feel free to take a look around and explore my books, blog and writing journey.
Here’s a photo of one of my favourite writing spots. Plants, sunshine – and always a tea mug nearby!
Thanks for dropping in.
My LATEST NEWS is below.
*TWO NEW NOVELS RELEASED IN APRIL*
April was a very big month for me!
Two – yes, two! – new books made their appearance.
First to arrive was WINGMAN, a Hi-Lo Orca Soundings YA novel for reluctant readers from Orca Books. (Think hockey, parental pressure, teamwork.)
And then came BLISS ADAIR AND THE FIRST RULE OF KNITTING, a coming-of-age YA novel from Red Deer Press. (Yarn, math, secrets, and maybe a budding romance, too).
Check my BOOKS page for more.
WINGMAN was launched along with three other Orca Hi-Lo’s. Watch the video, here:
SAY HELLO TO HI-LO! ORCA BOOKS APRIL LAUNCH
“A YARN ABOUT YARN – AND MORE”
Thanks to writerly colleague L.E. Carmichael for the opportunity to contribute to her blog
“Life, The Universe and Everything”.
I had so much fun writing this behind-the-scenes glimpse of the yarniac life that inspired Bliss Adair and the First Rule of Knitting, including the evil monkey named “My Precious” and the time that Katie saved Christmas…
“A yarn about yarn – and more“
*COMING APRIL 2023 FROM RED DEER PRESS*
Knitting, math, relationships, secrets – and a girl who tries to figure it all out.
Available for pre-order now at:
Your favourite indie bookshop
(Mine is Magic Pebble Books Elora)
*AUDIOBOOK OF SKATING OVER THIN ICE*
The audiobook of SKATING OVER THIN ICE is out in the world! I know this, because I downloaded it on the HOOPLA app from my local library. Stay tuned for more details about how to access or buy.
I confess, it was a strange experience to hear, in someone else’s voice, my story of Imogen St. Pierre, a young Montreal musical prodigy navigating a career that may be changing direction. If you read it as part of the Forest of Reading Red Maple Fiction Award program back in 2019, you might find it fun to revisit Imogen, and Pére and Papa, and Nathan and Fredrik, too.
Music, hockey, family, friendship – and more.
*NEW BOOK NEWS*
Coming in April 2023, now available for pre-order:
Orca Soundings/Orca Book Publishers
Description, details and pre-order info HERE
(And I can’t even express how much I LOVE this cover!)
On Sunday night, Max’s best friend, Trace, scored on his own net and put their hockey team’s hopes of qualifying for a prestigious annual tournament in jeopardy. But Max thinks there’s more going on with his friend than what happened on the ice. Can Max get to the bottom of Trace’s sudden silence and find a way to help him in time for the big game?
THE LEGEND launched online on November 23, 2021, along with three other YA releases from Red Deer Press.
Watch the launch here: Red Deer 4 Novel Launch
(I appear at about the 18-minute mark!)
A Soft Place to Fall by Tanya Christenson
The Legend by Jean Mills
When You Least Expect It by Lorna Schultz Nicholson
Second Chances by Harriet Zaidman
Questions? Feel free to contact me through my contact page, here.
*BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE LEGEND*
When “Research” Means Mining Your Own Experience
Author LE Carmichael let me contribute to her Cantastic Authorpalooza blog with my story of how I wrote THE LEGEND – by using my own experience on the media bench. Warning: Photos of Jean looking nerdy!
Read the story, here: When “Research” means mining your own experience
*TALKING ALL THINGS LARKIN ON THE SHORE ON
THE CANADIAN LAUNCH POD PODCAST*
What fun! Chatting about Larkin on the Shore with Stephen Hurley on the VoiceEd Radio podcast CANADIAN LAUNCH POD. This podcast features authors who have released books in these pandemic times – like me! Check out the website for lots of conversations with Canadian children’s book authors. I was honoured to be included.
Here’s a link to our conversation that included the magic of tides, the importance of kindness, why I like to make my readers work, the significance of trust in Larkin’s story, why the parents aren’t around, and much more: My conversation with Stephen Hurley about Larkin on the Shore.
*LARKIN ON THE SHORE RECEIVES A 2020 WHIPPOORWILL AWARD*
What wonderful news! Poor Larkin, after disappearing under the pandemic waves, has swum to the surface and been recognized with a 2020 Whippoorwill Award honouring “young adult literature that sings the authentic stories of rural people and places”. This award, curated by educators across the United States, honours distinguished, rural, young adult novels published in English during the preceding year.
The setting of LARKIN ON THE SHORE is drawn from my Nova Scotia home on the Northumberland Strait, where I live for part of the year. It’s a special place, and I couldn’t be happier to see this book, which depends so much on the rural East Coast setting, to receive this attention from educators.
(Did you know that LARKIN ON THE SHORE is also included by the Nova Scotia Book Bureau as a selection for the province’s Grade 11 English curriculum?)
A glimpse of my little corner of Nova Scotia. Prince Edward Island lies just on the other side of that expanse of water, the Northumberland Strait. And there’s my little blue house, just off to the right…
*I READ CANADIAN DAY *
February 19, 2021, was the second annual I Read Canadian Day, a chance to celebrate Canadian literature – especially reading aimed at kids.
It was the brainchild of Eric Walters, one of the busiest kidlit authors in Canada, and was quickly picked up by organizations including CANSCAIP, The Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Ontario Library Association, Canadian School Libraries, and Communication Jeunesse. Here’s the call to action on the I Read Canadian website:
We challenge the nation to “Read Canadian” for 15 minutes and to share their experience at their library, in their school, with their families and friends, or on social media. Young people are encouraged to read, or have read to them, a Canadian book of their choice.
I can assure you that Canadian kidlit authors are all on board for this event. One initiative is to have celebrities dig into our books and share their photos on social media, like this one from #IReadCanadianDay 2020 featuring my book Skating Over Thin Ice in the hands of Hockey Night In Canada broadcaster Chris Cuthbert.
This year, the Canadian kidlit writing community posted their photos, events, invitations and more. Readers did their part by reading, sharing, following, promoting and just overall celebrating the many great Canadian books, authors and illustrators we have in this country.
Social media was busy using the tag @IReadCanadian and the hashtags #IReadCanadian and #NowMoreThanEver
February 17 – I was there (see my photo, above, of CBC Radio classical music host Tom Allen reading about musical prodigy Imogen St. Pierre and hockey boy Nathan McCormick in Skating Over Thin Ice). So was this penguin. Were you?
*NEWS ABOUT MY ONLINE DEBUT*
When the COVID-19 shutdown hit us last March, many of my Canadian kidlit writing colleagues said good-bye to connecting with readers in person and jumped online to keep up those readings, book launches, school visits, videos – they were everywhere!
Not me. This is mostly because no one asked me (truth). It’s also partly because the online scene was quickly full of excellent content from authors much more qualified, well-known and capable than I am.
Then Toronto Public Library came calling, and, yes, I, too, went online. And it’s the best kind of presentation – a bit of reading from my books SKATING OVER THIN ICE and LARKIN ON THE SHORE, and tying that into some writing tips on the subject of “first chapters”: how to get your story started by setting the tone, establishing your narrator’s voice, and hooking the reader into the story right from the start.
So, I went online – finally. (Yes, it only took me six months…) Thanks for the invitation, Toronto Public Library!
Click here to watch: First Chapters with Jean Mills
*NEWS IN THE TIME OF COVID-19*
A message for young readers (also not-so-young readers), parents, teachers, librarians: if you’re looking for ways to stay connected, focused, busy and have some fun during holiday closures and beyond, consider CONNECTING WITH AN AUTHOR.
Do you have comments or questions about a book you read? Find that author online or on social media – younger readers should ask parents for help with this one – and send a message to them or their publisher. We would love to hear from you. I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU! Check out my Contact page for ways to reach me. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter and Instagram @jeanmillswriter.
Most important – stay safe, stay busy, and keep reading and writing!
Also, meet Hedwig, my owl. She’s watching over me as I work on my next YA novel…