Blue Lobster

Drawing - Ian

Dear Ian,

Thanks so much for your letter filled with questions. Here are my answers. My favorite sea creature is actually a leatherback turtle, although I quite like your blue lobster. My favorite book is probably the first one I ever wrote, which is Martin Bridge: Ready for Takeoff!, although I’m also really enjoying writing the story that I am working on now. Martin plays soccer from time to time – but his favorite thing to do is build rockets.

Happy reading,

Jessica

Heat Lamp

Drawing - Caroline

Dear Caroline,

You’ve asked many questions, but my favorite is your question about whether the conflicts in the Martin Bridge series comes from conflicts in my daily life. Why, yes, it most certainly does. However, the people and the places and the events that I write about are completely made up. That’s why it is so much fun to be a fiction writer.

I like your picture of Gus, the tortoise who lives at the Natural History Museum in Halifax. Gus certainly likes his heat lamp. My family has a tortoise, too. We keep her outside in the summer where she can get toasty in the sun. Right now, though, she is grumpy because we have had so much rain this month.

Happy reading,

Jessica

Jazz hands

Drawing - Claire

Dear Claire,

Is that you you’ve drawn? What a nice self-portrait. You write that you like dancing, and I think you’ve drawn wonderful jazz hands.

You wondered what my favorite book was when I was young. I had many favorites, but one of them was Who Has Seen the Wind by W.O. Mitchell. I think it was required reading, but I grew up on the Canadian prairies, so I was thrilled that this story took place on a prairie, too. It felt like the book was written just for me! Great books do that.

Happy reading,

Jessica

Things that inspire

Drawing - Alison

 

Dear Alison,

You’ve asked many questions, so I’m going to choose one and tell you about the kind of things that inspire me to write. The Junior Badgers are based on my Girl Guide experiences. I once met an artist who made sculpture entirely out of scotch tape; a character named Clark is based on him. Martin Bridge loves art class at school; I completed a degree at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.  I once had neighbours whose parrot escaped from their home in the dead of winter; I based Polly on that parrot. I worked with a dancer at Halifax Dance who had a props shed, just like Stuart’s mom. The planet Astro was named in honour of our dog (who is no longer with us). I often use real place names like Carter’s Beach, Marshy Hope or Tupper Grove Park. And then there are my son’s experiences to turn to, like the science fairs he’s participated in, his fascination with making slime recipes, his love of flashlights, and the Halloween costumes I made for him when he was little.

Happy reading,

Jessica

Mirror, mirror

Drawing - Lauren

Dear Lauren,

I am intrigued by the title of your manuscript, The Magic Mirror Days of Lauren and Caroline.  You might want to change the names of your two characters so that your readers don’t confuse your characters with you and your best friend, Caroline. Writers do that a lot. When they base their characters on people they know, they change the names of their characters so that they have more creative freedom to get the characters to do and say whatever the writer wants. It’s way more fun that way!

Happy reading,

Jessica

Rocket

Drawing - Neil

Hi Neil,

You’ve really captured the drama of the moment when a rocket blasts off into the blue sky. Very nice. You’ve also given me a number of excellent writing suggestions. I especially liked the one about Martin being lonely and excluded. Those are terribly sad feelings and there are certainly moments when we have all felt that way. Sometimes, writing about those feelings or reading about others who feel the same way can help.

Happy reading,

Jessica