Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The PM Series Interviews: Gordon Gibb

We asked the same five questions of the authors of the Prime Minister of Canada series.

5R: There are those who persist in saying Canadian history is boring. Having undertaken to write part of that history, how would you respond to that assertion?

GG: If history can be summarized as boring – regardless of the nature, and ownership of the history we are talking about – then it is to suggest that history has to be sensational, to be meaningful. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have faced different issues in Canada than our neighbors in the US, and we have not endured the assassination of a Canadian Prime Minister as America has endured with the loss of John F. Kennedy, his brother Bobby and others, such as Martin Luther King.  To that end, Canadians are known as a peace-loving people.

That said, anyone who might suggest our nation’s history is boring need only remember the October Crisis of 1970, the rise of the FLQ, the kidnapping of James Cross and the murder of Pierre Laporte, an act of cowardice that prompted Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to mobilize the National Guard.

On Lester Pearson’s watch, the adoption of the new Canadian flag was met with fierce opposition and protest that, in many respects, divided the country for a time. And who could forget, in 1967 and at the height of Canada’s hosting of the World’s Fair (Expo 67), in comes French President Charles de Gaulle from France, who ignores Ottawa and fans the flames of separation in Quebec with his infamous “Vive Montreal, Vive le Quebec…” (long live Montreal, long live Quebec) followed by “Vive le Quebec Libre” (long live free Quebec). Separatists were cheered, but federalists and Anglophones were appalled – as was the Canadian government. Prime Minister Lester Pearson, in the waning months of his time in office went on the defensive to suggest that de Gaulle’s comments were not only misguided, but inaccurate in that Quebec, like all of Canada, is and always has been free. In more recent times the flames of separatist fire have waned somewhat, but not without some nervousness during various referendums that have threatened to split the Dominion of Canada. How would the US fare were, say, New York State or the District of Columbia to threaten disenfranchisement from the United States of America? Such an issue, as unthinkable as it is, would succeed in consuming and distracting an entire nation. For Canadians, that threat has been, at times, a reality of our history.
All history is unique, as ours’ is to us. And we can remain proud, respectful and mindful of our unique history. Perhaps a bit shy of sensational, but certainly not boring…

5R: Five Rivers’ senior editor, Robert Runté makes the statement: ‘Publishers have sometimes tried to protect school children and sensitive adults from any hint of controversy or scandal, and to pretend that our story is an unblemished example of rationality and progress.’ Do you feel that’s an accurate summation, and why?

GG: Depending upon the views of the publisher, or the particular audience involved, it is not beyond the realm of possibility to have the positive, feel-good aspects of history expanded and the sorrier, scandalous and embarrassing events minimized. Be that as it may, a true historical snapshot should include all aspects of history without sensationalism, embellishment or contraction. True, an audience too young to understand the bigger picture or without the depth to grasp salient points pro or con, could be spared the starkest description. Beyond that, history has no value unless it is told in its purest form, including the good with the bad. As a nation, we can’t fully appreciate our strengths without knowing our struggles. As individuals, we all have our dark corners and Prime Ministers are no different. For Lester Pearson, there were aspects of his personality and his leadership that were lacking, or less-then-stellar. But he made up for those shortfalls through the unique strengths and skill sets he brought to the PMO. Without knowing his struggles, we could never appreciate his strengths and his overall accomplishments.
Without knowing the darker aspects of our history, we can’t appreciate the whole. A feel-good treatment of history is shallow; we can’t appreciate, or savour our victories without knowing the struggles along the way….

5R: What does it mean for you, as a writer, to undertake writing about the prime ministers you’ve chosen?

GG: For me, Lester Pearson was the first Prime Minister about whom I was aware as a youngster. While I was too young to appreciate the controversy, the thrust and parry that went into the flag debate, I distinctly remember the Maple Leaf flag arriving with great flourish into my Grade 5 classroom in 1965. I also remember, as a ten-year-old and an attendee at Expo ’67, Prime Minister Pearson’s profile in association with the event.

Later in life, settling in Peterborough, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Lester Pearson had spent part of his youth in this city. Thus, when the opportunity arose to write about a Prime Minister and Pearson was available, I naturally chose him as a subject.

5R: Were there surprises for you during your research?

There were many surprises about Pearson. First, for someone who was a bit, shall we say, ‘nerdy’ with his preference for bow ties, his high voice and his lisp – and indeed, he was a lifelong academic – I was surprised to learn just how athletic he was. He inherited a love for sports from his father and paternal grandfather – a love that he used to his advantage as a young man in the ability to offset any notion that all Pearson was about, was academia. Thus, sports served as good balance, and he did it all – baseball, hockey, lacrosse, rugby and football. He would remain a lifelong sports fan and one of the first things he did when he arrived in Ottawa was to have a television installed in his office so he could follow the scores.
Pearson was also a man with great pride in his work and his country, but was devoid of ego in any other sense. He also hated politics. Serving his government was an honor, but what he disliked was the thrust and parry of politicking. He disliked it, and had no patience for it. On more than one occasion he thought of getting out, but carried on by virtue of the Oxford credo of public government service as a gentleman’s highest calling. And so, while he loathed campaigning, he campaigned hard – often twice in one year, when elections were close together. The Liberals leaned on him heavily.

It is interesting to note that Pearson gained his most satisfaction from the work, and his most satisfying pursuits were those as a high official in External Affairs (rising to the highest position in External), together with his work as a diplomat and ambassador on the international stage. He carried no ambition to be either opposition leader, party leader or for that matter, Prime Minister. Rather, he was asked by others to serve – considered his potions carefully and in the end moved forward, albeit uncomfortably.

It is also interesting to note that his Liberal government achieved a sizeable portfolio of important legislation, including the introduction of the Canada Pension Plan, universal Medicare, the student loan program, the official adoption of ‘O Canada’ as our national anthem, the creation and introduction of the new Canadian flag (his proudest achievement), and shepherding Expo ’67 into reality.

And yet he did all that, with two successive minority governments.

Lester Pearson was a statement in contrasts. He was known and respected the world over as an international leader, yet he didn’t see himself as one. Pearson was an everyman, devoid of flash. His performance on television, a medium he disliked and didn’t understand, paled to that of skilled performers such as John Diefenbaker. He and his wife Maryon were also very frugal, preferring a rented farmhouse on Augusta Street to the tonier accommodations of Rockcliffe in Ottawa, where his colleagues lived. He only moved out of necessity when he became Opposition leader and later, Prime Minister. The houses came with the job, but his heart remained with more frugal surroundings.

Pearson was a man who flew thousands of miles per year and yet didn’t fly well. He performed his best work behind the scenes and thus, was not nearly as well-known at home as he was on the world stage. He was the proverbial guy next door – down to earth, humble, honest and truthful to a fault and expected others to be straight with him. Pearson was likeable and well-liked – not for his stature, or his accomplishments, but rather for whom he was: a truly nice fellow, who was selfless, knew the value of hard work and worked harder than men half his age.

5R: Your most memorable anecdote from the PMs?

GG: Pearson was not above taking advantage of a situation, so long as it made sense and didn’t inconvenience anyone else. To that end, as a young enlisted man sailing to Salonica, the stiff cots in the sleeping quarters were hardly comfortable. In scouting around for an alternative, he noted the ship’s barber’s chair, padded and quite comfortable, that stood empty in the dark at night. Pearson made arrangements with the ship’s barber to allow him to recline in the barber’s chair overnight, when it wasn’t being used.
Another favourite anecdote is demonstrative of Pearson’s focus on the task at hand, rather than his own image. Beyond his preference for bow ties and, of course, carrying himself appropriately and respectful of the office, he held himself with little importance. Perhaps this is why, when he stood to face a raucous gathering of Legion members in Winnipeg in an attempt to sell the idea of a new Canadian flag to replace the Red Ensign, he faced his audience and the nation with an inspired speech, and the biggest cowlick emerging from the back of his head one has ever seen. Perhaps he was oblivious to it. Or perhaps he just didn’t care. Perhaps other men would have ensured, once the fedora had been dispatched, that running the hand across, and down the crown of one’s head would ensure there was sufficient hair cream in place to hold everything together. As it was, the other men at the dais and seated in the audience had nary a hair out of place. And yet the Prime Minister of Canada was unable, or unaware of a cowlick that really needed to be tamed.

A similar incident occurred in Oslo when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. Dressed in a tie, topcoat and tails, the first Canadian to be awarded the prestigious honour stood facing the world with a shock of just beginning to hang perilously across his right temple.

In no way, however, did this take anything away from his achievements, or the high regard in which he was held. If anything, the hair fails made him all that more endearing...

Friday, 17 April 2015

Nowick Gray discusses literature and cultural clash at WarpWorld

Nowick Gray, author of the quintessentially Northern mystery, Hunter's Daughter, discusses literature and cultural clash at WarpWorld. Full article below:

Most stories, fiction or non-fiction, contain some kind of conflict–cultural or otherwise–but what about the actual medium itself? Author Nowick Gray considers the culture clash between corporate media and literature and what that means to society.

Book With KeyHunter's Daughter by Nowick GrayIn my recently published novel of the Arctic, Hunter’s Daughter (Five Rivers, 2015) the very basis of the plot, themes and character development is the clash of cultures. The era depicted (1964) is one of Inuit transition from traditional life on the land into settlements; and the story’s tension is driven by pressure from the bureaucracy of the South to conclude justice on its terms. While the clash of cultures is at the forefront in such a story, I want to delve further here into a more radical perspective of cultural confrontation between literature and mainstream society.
As editor of the online Alternative Culture Magazine, I once argued that literature, in a way, by definition is “alternative.” That is, it is designed to get the reader to think and/or feel deeply, to access unconscious associations and versions of reality, different species of truth. If not in direct contradiction to the stories peddled to us as fact by the mainstream news, at least creative narratives offer alternative perspectives.
In an age where, by virtue of the so-called alternative news channels on the Internet, we come to know, for a fact, that major news outlets are owned by a half-dozen corporate entities, and that for decades now these newspapers, magazines, networks and movie studios have been infiltrated and imposed upon to offer versions of important stories that are vetted or created by the CIA (in the US, at least) to conform to the operative script for so-called national security. Such collusion is also well documented in the case of the BBC. Even such supposedly liberal papers as The New York Times or the Guardian have to satisfy their megacorporate advertisers. (I haven’t done my homework on Canadian media control and influence but it surely plays in the same league, if not in the same ballpark.) The point here is that there are two cultures warring for control of our minds: mass media programming, and the one-on-one experience of the writer and reader.
In the shallow world of popular commercial media (call it fiction), the plots are linear, horizontal, ephemeral, chaotic. Contrast the world of the literate novel or creative nonfiction, where the effect is more of depth psychology, of archetypes and synchronicities, of resonance and innuendo. Where there is nothing claimed outright in bald, bold terms (like advertising or the latest headlines of violence), there is no point in counter-claim and disputation; the work stands alone, interpenetrating the felt (and thus uncontested) experience of the reader. Evidence accumulates through the texted encounter; and unlike at a court proceeding, the verdict here need not be unanimous, nor handed down by any judge, nor by a committee of one’s peers, nor even conclusive to a single simple outcome. The experience gestates as a whole, generating further truths percolating through the reader’s consciousness over time. The associations are not tied to chains of corroboration; they link as our brains discover. Meanings surface not as polls of policy debate, but as the weight of a breath, the knowing of action at the next opportunity.
This largely hidden clash of cultures surfaces when the worldly empire of ideas feels so threatened by the revolution of experienced truth, that it feels it must burn books, or censor them, imprison its writers and threaten their publishers. Otherwise, in a freer society where at least we can choose our sources of information and entertainment, it is our own choice and responsibility, which culture to be a part of. Will we parrot the news and opinions piped into the ears of millions wholesale by CBC or CBS, eat and regurgitate like fast food, empty calories—or browse selectively, read thoughtfully, question the authority and agenda of the writer and producer, and digest in harmony with our own internal ecosystem of moral enzymes; trusting our own sensors of taste, reserving our own judgment of quality?
The foregoing polemic notwithstanding, it’s a tricky business to confront the dominant culture head on, even at the height of one’s creative powers. Satire, of course, is an effective weapon/tool (witness Jonathan Swift, Joseph Heller, Tom Wolfe, Don DeLillo, Margaret Atwood, Dave Eggers, to name a few). Or, one can back away from the fray in a more ironic, purportedly self-effacing fashion: I’m thinking of the latest novel by British writer Tom McCarthy, Satin Island:
It’s not my intention, here, to write about the Koob-Sassen Project: to give an exegesis, overview, or whatever, of it. There are legal reasons for this:…stipulations protecting commercial, governmental and the level that comes one above that confidentiality; interdictions on virtually all types of disclosure. And anyhow, even if there weren’t, would you actually want to hear about it? It is, it strikes me, in the general scale of things, a pretty boring subject. Don’t get me wrong: the Project was important. It will have had direct effects on you; in fact, there’s probably not a single area of your daily life that it hasn’t, in some way or other, touched on, penetrated, changed; although you probably don’t know this. Not that it was secret. Things like that don’t need to be. They creep under the radar by being boring. And complex….Perhaps all projects nowadays are like that—equally boring, equally inscrutable….would this, in any way, illuminate the Whole? I doubt it. (2.1)
Yet here is the genius of art—that by skirting an issue which invariably is boring or disempowering when tackled head on, and couching it just so—in the sensibility of a real or fictional narrator, a human guide with a heart we can feel close to our own—it becomes appreciated, integrated, understood. In the reading experience we make that transition from the culture described, to the culture of the describer, the witness. And the larger truth we thus perceive sets us free.
author Nowick GrayNowick Gray has published a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction, most recently the mystery novel Hunter’s Daughter(Five Rivers, 2015). Much of Nowick’s writing draws from his two decades homesteading in the interior mountains of British Columbia. Other adventures include teaching for three years in Quebec Inuit villages, and indulging a lasting passion for West African drumming. Nowick currently works as a freelance copy editor and makes his home in Victoria, BC, with winter travels in warmer locations. Connect with Nowick via his website,, or via Twitter or Facebook.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The PM Series Interviews: Dorothy Pedersen

We asked the same five questions of the authors of the Prime Minister of Canada series.

Here's what Dorothy Pedersen had to say.

5R: There are those who persist in saying Canadian history is boring. Having undertaken to write part of that history, how would you respond to that assertion?

DP: Canadian history, as it was delivered in the school system, WAS boring. We never learned about life as it was then, the stories behind the stories, or what made our leaders tick. Travelling through the evolution of significant events brings those events to life and makes them much more understandable and memorable. Recognizing the different thought processes of the time, and what influenced those thoughts from early childhood, adds colour to a drab picture. And then, when we can feel the hardships and pleasures of our early people, it gives us a sense of unity with our history. Boring? Not at all.

5R: Five Rivers’ senior editor, Robert Runté makes the statement: ‘Publishers have sometimes tried to protect school children and sensitive adults from any hint of controversy or scandal, and to pretend that our story is an unblemished example of rationality and progress.’ Do you feel that’s an accurate summation, and why?

DP: I agree with Runté. However, I believe that publishers have done this with in collaboration with the government. How incredibly boring – and untrue – is the story of a nation without controversy or scandal. We've had our share of unscrupulous and disgusting leaders. To paint them as honourable is downright dishonest. Our “unblemished image” is pure propaganda, and needs to be seen as such. Canada has plenty to be ashamed of and part of being patriotic is acknowledging our mistakes, our scoundrels, and our shame, and being able to reconcile those with decisions that are made today and the people we chose to make them.

Some of the best progress Canada has made has been in the face of controversy. Look at how the national identity, and our international identity, was affected by the controversies that took place during WWI. During boardroom battles with the leaders of other nations, those leaders were forced to show respect to Canadian soldiers – respect that they were, until those battles took place – willing to forego. And who fought those battles on behalf of Canadian soldiers? Well, that's what history is all about, isn't it? You've got to learn your history to know the answers. How exciting is THAT?

5R: What does it mean for you, as a writer, to undertake writing about the prime ministers you’ve chosen?

DP: It started out as an undertaking in curiosity. It has become an honour to write about them. But the more I research and write, the greater the honour, the more humble I become, and the more important it seems to let readers know about little known facts, to give them as complete a picture as I can create, and to help them derive the understanding that I've developed as a result of the research. It is frustrating when there is little information on PM's. There seems to be such an incredible void in these instances that the challenge to convey pertinent information is overwhelming at times. Overall, I've been developing a deep appreciation for our history, one that I never had before. I want, very much, to convey my enthusiasm to the reader, in hopes that it will be infectious.

5R: Were there surprises for you during your research?

DP: Oh yes! The underhanded dealings, the people who were willing to exploit the nation for personal gain, the character flaws in men of power. They're all in there, contrary to what we learned in school. We missed so much.

5R: Your most memorable anecdote from the PMs?

DP: I suspect that the answer to this question is yet to come. (Pedersen has not yet finished writing all the books assigned to her.)

5R: Of course, anything else you should wish to add is welcome.

DP: As I learn more, I want to learn more still. But alas, so little time, and sometimes, so little information other than the same small details repeated over and over. Know this: Our former PM's still have a great deal to share with us, and their stories are better than 80% of the content that appears on television today, and unlike computer games, their stories are real. These historical stories are filled with emotion, drama, and intrigue. They're well worth reading about.

Dorothy Pedersen is writing about:

Arthur Meighen
Robert Borden
John Abbott
Mackenzie Bowell
John Turner
Brian Mulroney
Louis St. Laurent

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Michell Plested interviews Nowick Gray on Get Published

Michell Plested, author of the popular YA series, Mik Murdoch, also authors and maintains an informative podcast, Get Published. 

Recently Michell interviewed Nowick Gray about his newly released murder-mystery which is set in Ungava.

The podcast can be found here.

And the first reader reviews are beginning to come in. This 4-star review on Goodreads.

Hunter's Daughter is available in print and eBook from online booksellers worldwide, and directly from Five Rivers.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Senior Editor, Robert Runté, talks about the Prime Ministers of Canada Series

Contrary to popular belief, Canadian history is not boring. 
The Death of General Wolfe
by Benjamin West
It is true that we have not had as many civil wars, assassinations and riots as some other nations—most of our riots have been over hockey rather than politics or religion—but that does not make our history boring. There is plenty of history in just surviving in our climate, in exploring the continent, and in building a nation; there is no need for a lot of flashy violence to make the story more interesting. On the contrary, Canadians may take some pride—in spite of some glaring exceptions—in settling disputes by compromise and ballot rather than bullets, and in embracing diversity. Indeed, Canadians, in the person of Prime Minister Pearson, practically invented international peacekeeping. But if one insists on focusing on just the battles, there are enough stories of Canadian heroism under fire overseas to satisfy the most jaded. 

It is also true that some Canadian history textbooks have been boring. Publishers have sometimes tried to 'protect' school children and sensitive adults from any hint of controversy or scandal, and to pretend that our story is an unblemished example of rationality and progress. This is, of course, nonsense: Canadian politicians, bureaucrats, business and church leaders have often been as short-sighted and self-serving as those of other nations; though being politer, we have occasionally apologized for our atrocities a generation or two after the fact. Other textbooks have tried to ease the 'burden' of reading from students by reducing the text to a bare minimum of dates and unconnected facts; but keeping chapters thin, and insisting on more pictures than text, inevitably means leaving out all the interesting bits. One cannot accuse students of being unable or unwilling to read history if all one ever hands them is bland abridgments. That's the publishers' fault, not history's: of course Canadian history is going to appear boring if you don't actually tell any of it. 

Canadian history is filled with amazing anecdotes of heroic, hardy, clever, creative, driven, controversial, and adventurous Canadians, but we have this bad habit of leaving them out of our history classes. Every middle school student in China knows who Norman Bethun was, but not one Canadian in fifty could tell you. And I have yet to meet a single Canadian who has heard of Moishe 'Two-gun' Cohen before I tell them the incredible story of the prairie gambler and real estate broker who became a celebrated revolutionary General.
Moishe 'Two-gun' Cohen

Of course, one can dismiss these examples as the odd-ball exceptions to the rule. Mainstream Canadian history, surely, is the story of staid and plodding Prime Ministers chairing dry committee meetings, one generation to the next. Given the famous Chinese curse of "May you live in interesting times," there is much to commend this vision of Canadian leadership, because hammering out a compromise out a committee meeting is a lot better than settling issues with tanks. But as it happens, Canadian PMs tended to be a lot less staid than most history teachers would have us believe.

Take, for example, the Prime Minister who ran the country for over 20 years based on the advice of his dead mother, via regular séances; and who stole a suitcase full of bricks from Buckingham Palace and smuggled them home to Ontario to incorporate into his own country estate. Or the great Sir John A. MacDonald, who drank only vodka when campaigning for Confederation in hopes that the audience would assume it was only water; and who drunkenly set fire to his London, England hotel room when consulting on the final details of the British North America Act. Or the liberal Prime Minister who, when asked, "How far would you go?" in suppressing the FLQ, answered, "Well, just watch me." Or when told he had been called an "asshole" by Richard Nixon, replied, "I've been called worse things by better people."

I always think of Nixon when I think of Canadian history, because I taught my first Canadian history class the month President Nixon was facing impeachment. "American politics is so much more interesting!" some of my students complained, watching the nightly coverage of an American president forced to resign. But as it happened, I was teaching about Prime Minister Mackenzie King, and dug out the Byng Affair, in which King's government was caught up in a series of equivalent scandals, but which ended—thanks to King's shrewd misdirections—with the expulsion of a very confused Governor General, and King being returned to power with an even larger majority. "But that's brilliant!" my students exclaimed, "Twisted, but brilliant!" Exactly my point: King may have lacked charisma, may have appeared to be a grey and colourless bureaucrat, but the reality is he was one of the most astute (and most eccentric) government leaders anywhere, ever.
Mackenzie King on the Canadian $50.00
Like our history, the lives of Canadian Prime Ministers are not always recognized as being made up of remarkable stories. Just as our national inferiority complex often leads us to assume that the only interesting events happen elsewhere, we wrongly believe the only intriguing leaders are someone else's. Five Rivers Publishing is bringing out biographies of all 22 Canadian Prime Ministers because we know their stories are all worth telling

Five Rivers Publishing's approach to history, however, is a little different than some others.

We promise accessible and engaging text that draws young readers in, without resorting to over-dramatized comic book illustrations. There are no cute cartoon characters cluttering up the margins with redundant commentary, in the apparent belief that students will not read without being cajoled to the next page; or that students cannot comprehend text without repeated chapter summaries. I constantly hear from students how much they resent the condescension of adults who insist on trying to make every lesson 'fun', when in fact these 'fun' add-ons simply get in the way. Similarly, students often complain that their school textbooks lack substance. We believe that writing can be accessible without being watered down, and that engaging students does not mean having to reduce everything to the level of a phone app.

We promise these biographies have the substance students actually crave; indeed, they are equally intended for the casual adult reader looking for a useful overview. They are intended to provide complete portraits of each prime minister and their times, without resorting to hyperbole, rabid nationalism or projection of motives and judgments artificially imposed through hindsight. Nor do these biographies gloss over their subjects' character flaws and mistakes. There is no bowdlerization here: each prime minister is presented, fuddle-duddle warts and all.

To know our Prime Ministers is to take some pride in the eclectic collection of individuals and stories that make up our history. Whatever our politics, whatever one may think of individual PMs and their decisions, one recognizes that they are a mirror to their times, a reflection of who we were and where we come from. Those who do not know our history are doomed to believe it boring; those who do know, gain the bragging rights that come from having great and colourful ancestors.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Sequel to Type releases April 1, 2015

The sequel to Alicia Hendley's suspenseful YA near-future novel Type, entitled Type2, releases April 1, 2015 in both print and eBook formats.

ISBN 9781927400852 $19.99
eISBN 9781927400869 $4.99
The dynamic cover is by Five Rivers' Art Director, Jeff Minkevics. We thought fans would be interested to read about the process behind the cover design, and so tapped the depths of Jeff's prodigiously creative mind.

JM: The challenge behind the cover for Type2 was the same sort of challenge that presents itself whenever doing artwork for a sequel -- coming up with something fresh and visually interesting that works on its own, but that also has a similar look, feel, and overall concept as the first. For the original Type cover the idea was to use three out of four Myers-Briggs pair initials in the title, then alter a fourth one to make the 'Y', since the four Myers-Briggs pairs don't use that particular letter. The 4-letter combinations that made up personality types were meant to look authoritarian and repetitive, with the word 'Type' jumping out at you in red from where the four necessary letters happened to line up.

With Type2 I wanted a similar authoritarian feel, but didn't want the letters to operate the same way with the background. What I came up with was the idea of metallic letters mounted on a granite or marble surface, each group of four spelling out a Myers-Briggs personality type, as before. However, rather than simply alter the letters to spell out Type, I felt the title would benefit from associations with rebellion, and disrupting the status quo. I wanted it to look like the letters had been forcibly removed from the wall, with the letters for the word 'Type' scratched into the wall where they had once been.

Halfway into creating the 'scratches' I quickly realized that the letters in the title would likely have similar weight and coloring to the letters that remained untouched, or even less weight, which would be a problem. After figuring there needed to be more differentiation between title and background, and since the overall colour scheme was relatively close, I re-introduced red over top of the title letters in a manner that could hint at both spray-paint and blood, and since both are consistent with the theme of rebellion it seemed perfect. Now the title jumps off the page at you, and although this is a completely different visual environment than was used in the first Type novel, it has many things in common with it stylistically, and thematically.

About Type2

Type2 takes up where Type left off. With more and more people who refuse to follow Typology's rules being Ended, thirteen year old Sophie and other members of the Group know time is running out to make society aware of just how evil The Association of Psychologists truly is. The Group seeks help from the Tens, a band of men who have been secretly fighting against The Association's twisted use of Myers-Briggs personality typing since they were boys.

Together they attempt to slowly spread the truth about Typology to the public, in the hopes of building up a large enough resistance to overthrow The Association. Suddenly, plans change and the Group must act quickly, or risk losing all they've fought for. Ultimately, everything depends on knowing who can be trusted and who cannot. With so much at stake, Sophie rapidly learns all is not as it seems.

About Alicia Hendley

Alicia Hendley is the mother of four, as well as a writer. Her first novel, A Subtle Thing, was published by Five Rivers Publishing in 2010. Her poem Mediation was published in Room magazine (Issue 34.3). She was long-listed for the Vanderbilt-Exile Short Fiction Award in both 2010 and 2011. Her creative non-fiction piece Passed Over was published in the April issue of Hippocampus Magazine. Her screenplay Snake Oil was short-listed for the Gotham Screen International Film Festival’s screenplay contest.

Alicia blogs regularly for a regional autism website ( She has a PhD in clinical psychology.

Type2 is now available for pre-order, and will be available in online bookstores worldwide in both print and eBook, as well as select bookstores.


Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Michell Plested signs contract for third book in Mik Murdoch series

A Crisis of Conscience to release August 1, 2016

Michell Plested
Calgary, Alberta author, Michell Plested, signed a publishing agreement this month with Five Rivers Publishing for the third book in his young readers’ series Mik Murdoch. 

The first novel, Boy Superhero, was released in 2012, in which nine-year-old Mik Murdoch’s ambition to protect his prairie town of Cranberrry Flats reveals his quest to acquire super-powers, and in doing so Mik finds the most awesome power of all lies within his own inherent integrity. Boy Superhero was shortlisted for the 2013 Prix Aurora Best YA Novel Award.

In 2014 the second novel, The Power Within was embraced with enthusiasm by Plested’s growing fans, in which Mik Murdoch swallowed the magical berry from the guardian of the Cave of Wonders and with it he’s realized his dream to acquire superpowers. He’s also realized what you wish for and what you get are often two different things. While Mik has superpowers, he’s having a really hard time with control. In fact, he’s starting to wonder whether being a boy superhero is a good thing or not. What’s worse, his weird behaviour doesn’t go unnoticed by his parents, who decide to take him away to the lake for the summer, assuming he needs time to unwind, relax. It’s there, however, Mik uncovers the truth behind an ancient mystery and learns that letting others help doesn’t make him weak.

The third novel, A Crisis of Conscience, takes Mik into darker territory. It’s winter. Everyone’s slowing down, snuggling down. Everyone but the boy superhero of Cranberry Flats. When alien snow circles show up, Mik Murdoch is ready to investigate. But just as he is about to crack the case, a terrible accident throws everything into chaos. Mik must face his inner demons and embrace the superhero’s vow: with great power comes great responsibility. His future and that of many others depends on it.

Michell Plested is the host of the writing podcast Get Published, (a 2009 Parsec Finalist) and the science fiction comedy podcast GalaxyBillies, which has been called 'Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy meets Beverley Hillbillies' by his listeners.

A Crisis of Conscience will release August 1, 2016 in both print and eBook.