Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Scribbling Women Blog Tour and a Huge Giveaway

The author Marthe Jocelyn, photo credit Tom Slaughter

Welcome to Day Two of the Scribbling Women Blog Tour. Scribbling Women: True Tales From Astonishing Lives is a series of stories about little known female authors who documented their lives and the trials, tribulations and triumphs along the way. There are several stories here that I found captivating. Some of these interesting women travelled the world, some escaped slavery, others were mainly homebodies. All were intriguing and help us gain insight into a period in history when women were less likely to be written about or acknowledged. Many of their stories are authentic and colourful, told through letters, this compilation will be historical in its own right as this dying artform continues to give way to technology.

Marthe Jocelyn is an award-winning author and illustrator of over 20 books. She was born in Toronto and now lives in Stratford, Ontario. Her novel Mable Riley won the first ever TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. Her non fiction book A Home For Foundlings won wide critical acclaim. In 2009 she won the Vicki Metcalf award for body of work. In this new non fiction collection of women's stories, aimed at age 14 and up, there are many different women, many different personalities. Mary Hayden Russell, for instance, followed her husband and took her son on board a whaling ship in 1823 where they lived for more than a year. She noted their pursuit of whales and the challenges of life at sea. Harriet Ann Jacobs was a slave, remarkable because she was literate and she left her story for history. She wrote a book Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl in the time when slavery and literacy were so feared by most that laws were passed making it illegal to teach a slave to read or write. She assumed a pen name and recounted a brave life. Most of these mini biographical slices of life are compelling but most interesting to me was the snippet regarding Nellie Bly, perhaps the first ever female investigative journalist, who took on some incredible stories in her day, going under cover in a women's insane asylum to reveal the deplorable conditions.

Scribbling Women is part of Tundra Books blog tour and a giant giveaway also being hosted by author and publisher. This giveaway consists of 28 books. That's right. One lucky winner will be sent 28 books, the full range of author Marthe Jocelyn's writings. This contains toddler books right on upto young adult novels and all are sure to please. What a great collection! Take a peek here:

Scribbling Women: True Tales From Astonishing Lives, by Marthe Jocelyn, Tundra Books, Hardcover, 208 pages, age 14 and up, Canadian $21.99 and US $19.95. 

Thriftymommastips review is $$$$ out of $$$$$ for the variety of stories within this book. I received a copy of the book in order to complete this review. This is no way impacts my opinion.

An Interview with the author: Thriftymomma was lucky enough to be able to interview the author for this blog tour. Here are the answers to my questions. A Big thank you to Marthe Jocelyn for taking the time to speak with my readers..

Q 1. How did you come to writing and illustrating as a career?

Marthe: I was a late bloomer as far as writing is concerned. I had a small toy design company in New York City, and also made children’s clothing. When I had my own kids, I began to make books just for them. I took a couple of writing classes and read a thousand books and slowly learned how to do it. Although I call myself a writer, I don’t quite think of myself as an illustrator just yet.

Q 2. For Scribbling Women you have such a variety of women in the book...how did you choose?

Marthe: Choosing the women to fit into the book was the biggest challenge and took me about a year of reading and mulling and writing and more reading... I still have a file full in case I get the chance to write More Scribbling Women.

Once someone had landed on my long list, I began to research and write about her as if I was using her. If the work faltered, it was usually a sign that she might not make the final cut – perhaps there wasn’t enough information about her that would appeal to children, maybe her writing had not been translated into English, or possibly I couldn’t sustain my own interest, let alone that of a young reader. So the ones who were left at the end, the eleven finalists, were the ones, as I say in my introduction, whose stories made me catch my breath.

Q 3. What motivates you to get out of bed every morning?

Marthe: Some mornings I don’t get out of bed. I slip down to the kitchen to make a cup of tea and then climb right back into bed to work. However, when I do get up? If it’s light and sunny, I want to go for a walk. If it’s snowing, I might go sledding. If it’s pouring rain, I think about making a living... which means work.

Q 4. What advice do you have for aspiring writers or illustrators?

My advice for aspiring writers is to read, read, read. Write for a few minutes a day, stop before you’ve run out of steam, and read some more. For illustrators, I’m not so clear, but I think the same advice applies. Look at pictures, draw something, and do it again the next day.

(I love these answers. Especially the some days I don't get out of bed one. Ha! That's what I am doing wrong! I need more time in bed to become a successful author like Marthe!)

To WIN: Enter to win a full collection of 28 Marthe Jocelyn books by leaving a comment on this post.That's right just leave me a comment here at thriftymommasbrainfood. Tell me why you want to win or what you learned from this post or any old thing pertaining to books.
Rules: Entrants can enter across all of the blogs taking part in this Scribbling Women blog tour. You can enter a total of 30 times if you enter on each blog taking part in the tour. The contest starts Monday, March 28th, 2011 and closes Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 11: 49 p.m. EST. One winner will be selected from all the entries


Jennifer said...

It's always interesting to hear what advice writers have to give.
For myself, I get so caught up in the reading that I doubt I can ever compare, and then write even less.

Laura said...

I love how the author says some mornings she slips back into bed. I would love to be able to do that. Great interview.
laura.leahj@gmail dot com

Skees said...

Loved the post and love the concept of these books. I think they give our preteen and teen girls a strong female role model rather than what they tend to see on TV.

Jodi Webb said...


Sometimes I slip back in bed too(especially on cold snowy mornings)but usually with a piece of fruit and the morning paper.

Paula Schuck said...

Laura: Thanks. I know this morning I would like to hop back into bed. I always ask authors that question and in all the authors I have ever interviewed this is the first time someone said: 'Some days I don't get out of bed.' ROFL. A very original response.

Teresa said...

Reading Scribbling Women has been a fantastic discovery of strong women. You can't help but smile at some of the things they say. They sound exactly like things that would come out of my mouth!

Chrisbookarama said...

Staying in bed sounds very appealing.

Heather said...

Write, write, write,and not even with the thought that someone is going to read it, just write for the sheer love of it. Thanks for your review and to Marthe for her responses.

marthejocelyn said...

Now that I've been publicly outed as a lazy person, I must say that there is a real benefit to writing a few hundred words before you've had a conversation with a human being...
Thanks, Paula, for provoking a good exchange of comments!

Martha said...

tea, fruit, morning paper, bed...it's inspiring to think that these are the props and stage settings of creative and constructive literary endeavors. i hope, on a very cold gray day, that there is a heating pad involved as well!

Christinabean said...

ummm....can I stay in bed all day, read and call myself a writer? Just kidding! Sounds like you have a great job Marthe! I follow enough writer's blogs to know that you work like a dog when the inspiration is there. Thanks for such a great interview!