THE COPYCAT

Coming March 2020

The Copy Cat

Still here!

Hi guys!

I’ve been quiet on this site, as frankly I didn’t have much to report, but the spring weather (finally) has brought me out of hibernation, so thought I would share news!

  1. Turns out selling a new book during a pandemic is NOT easy. Trying not to be too bummed about it! But if you haven’t bought The Copycat yet, please think of doing so!!!! (pretty please with sugar on top?)

2. The Copycat has gotten some lovely reviews, which I am seriously grateful for!

Colline’s Blog gives The Copycat 4 stars!

Elena Reads says The Copycat is going into her reread pile!

School Library Journal had this to say about THE COPYCAT:

MACKNIGHT, Wendy McLeod. The Copycat. 432p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Mar. 2020. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062668332. 

Gr 5-8–Set in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, this lightly fantastical novel explores themes of belonging, self-awareness, and individuality with a unique premise about inherited shapeshifting abilities. The author admirably steers her 12-year-old protagonist, the indecisive but determined Ali, through the fog of coastal Saint John as well as her confusing middle school social life. After Ali’s family moves in with her grandmother, she unexpectedly gains the ability to turn into anyone or anything—a skill her father and grandmother possess, but is believed to have passed over Ali. Her newfound power forces her to confront her desire to be accepted by her peers. Add in a longstanding family feud, a secret about her uncle’s death, and the terrors of making friends at a new school, and readers are presented with a story brimming with angst, magic, and drama. Though the narrative is slow to start, once Ali embraces her abilities and takes charge, the action comes fast, with MacKnight mining Ali’s special skill for comedy and suspense. MacKnight also writes from a deep understanding of the push and pull  between wanting to stand out and wanting to fit in. As Ali struggles to figure out the right things to do, readers will grow to admire her, even as they relate to her growing pains. Voracious readers will also appreciate that, in her lonely moments, Ali takes solace in kid-lit mainstays like Stuart Little and The Golden Compass. VERDICT A fun and fast-paced romp with a relatable protagonist and a touch of the supernatural.–Abigail Garnett, Brooklyn Public Library

Books on Beechwood had this to say about The Copycat:

Set in the author’s home province of New Brunswick, The Copycat by Wendy McLeod MacKnight finds Ali Sloane starting classes at a new school in yet another new town. Having long since learned that being a bit of a copycat is a good way to fit into a new school, actually being able to physically change your appearance to copy someone else’s is not exactly what Ali had in mind. Though she thinks this strange Sloane family inheritance is going to take new friendships completely off the table, not only do her new classmates surprise her, but they help her accept this new aspect of her life and come to the realization that there’s no better person to be than herself.

I have a new friend!

First came Brownie:

And then suddenly Rusty showed up this week. I’m not going to lie: I love a groundhog. Am even following Chunk the Groundhog over on Instagram. So Rusty is a welcome addition!

I’m connecting with readers!

I’ve done several virtual class visits, but have also done some one-on-one sessions with kids and their parents who are homeschooling because of the virus!

If you’d like a (free!) Skype or FaceTime visit, send me an email at wendy@wendymcleodmacknight.com.

Well that’s my news! The world is slowly opening up, and I hope that you and yours are safe and healthy. In the end, that’s all that matters!!!

Talk soon!

Thinking of You All…

Wow, what a difference a few weeks makes.

Around here, April has come in like a lion, which seems apropos, given our collective angst over the state of the world right now.

We are well here, and hope you are the same, but if you are anything like me, I suspect you are having difficulty concentrating, and may be more than a little nervous.

At times, like this, I turn to things that give me comfort: reading, watching TV or movies, baking, going for long walks (if the weather cooperates!). I am also painting every wall and cleaning like I expect a health inspector to show up at any moment!

Let’s just say I’m NOT losing weight during this isolation period…

Unlike many of you, I don’t have kids at home that I am also trying to entertain/school.

There are lots of good resources out there, but since I’m a writer, thought I’d share a couple of links where you can find authors reading their works out loud:

Huffington Post article. For some reason, they described me as a detective fiction writer. Perhaps that’s a sign?

CBC also shared a list of authors’ reading online.

Also, if you visit my instagram page, @wendymcleodmacknight, look under the IGTV symbol – I’m reading from all three of my books!

My friend Jarret Lerner is sharing all kinds of activity pages on his website. Click here to access them!

Finally, we all need to reach out to one another during these stressful times! Feel free to drop me a line at wendy@wendymcleodmacknight.com – I’m always here (where would I go?) and happy to chat!

And thanks for supporting The Copycat! It’s a strange time to be launching a new book, and your support cheers me immeasurably!

STAY SAFE!

Virtual Copycat Book Club/Online Reading

Since I can’t go to schools or libraries to do visits, I wanted to create a forum for talking about the book.

To that end, I’m creating a members-only Facebook group for kids, parents and teachers. If you’re interested in receiving an invite, email me at wendy@wendymcleodmacknight.com and I’ll send you an invite!

I’m also reading from my books on my Instagram IGTV channel!

check it out! https://www.instagram.com/wendymcleodmacknight/channel/

Most of all – stay safe! We will all get through this together!

Book Tour Postponed

Hi guys!

Unfortunately, because of the Corona virus, I’ve been forced to cancel my school visits to Saint John and the Kennebecasis Valley and my Saint John launch!

I’ll get there as soon as it is safe again!

In the meantime, I’m going to be working on content for the website that can be shared with readers and probably putting up a few videos, so stay tuned.

Most importantly, stay safe. These are challenging times. Be kind to yourself and others and we will all get through this.

Thought I would share some pictures from recent school visits and the book signing at Westminster Books!

Thanks for all your support! And remember: you can still have The Copycat sent to you! Or purchase it on kindle or as an audiobook!

Talk soon!

Upcoming Book Signings!

Holy Cow! The Copycat comes out in less than two weeks!

I’m already lining up school visits and book signings, and I wanted to give you plenty of notice of where I’ll be in March!

Also: if you’d like a free Skype visit with your class or are in New Brunswick and would like an author visit, drop me a note – I love talking to kids about writing, reading, what it’s like to be an author, how to get published, the whole she-bang!

The Copycat will be available to purchase on March 10th, but if you want to be sure you get your copy on that day, pre-order now!

Pre-orders are fantastic for authors – they build buzz and tell the publisher and booksellers that this is a book to watch for!

Books Signings:

MARCH 14:

I’ll be signing at Westminster Books in Fredericton from 11 to 1 on March 14th! Come by and say hello! They’ll be copies of my other books as well!

MARCH 21:

I’ll be doing a reading/book signing at the Saint John Free Public Library at 2 pm. Come by and say hey!

And stay tuned, as there will be more giveaways in March, along with more news!

I can’t wait for you all to meet Ali and discover the mystery of The Copycat!

BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Guys! We’re a month away from the publication of The Copycat, and I want to do an exclusive give-away just for my blog followers!

How about an Advanced Reader’s Copy of the book? And a copy of The Frame-Up? Oh heck, let’s toss in a copy of It’s a Mystery, Pig Face, too!

To be entered in the draw, all you need to do is be a blog follower and leave

a comment below! I’ll draw a name on Friday, February 7th!

UPDATE: for some reason, my blog letter didn’t go out last week, therefore, am continuing the contest until MONDAY, FEBRUARY 10th!

Good luck!

Happy New Year and Book Giveaway!

We are already ten days into 2020 and I don’t know about you, but what with the terrible fires in Australia, and other dreadful news, I wondered about going back to 2019!

Best to keep calm and carry on!

In happier news, we are now exactly two months out from the release of The Copycat!

I’ll be all over the place in March and April promoting the book, but I thought a cheerful way to kick off 2020 would be to give away an Advance Reader’s Copy!

Want a chance to win a copy?

Leave me a note below, or on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook by Friday January 17th and you could win a copy! Open to Canada and the US!

This is also the perfect time to pre-order your copy at your local indie bookstore or online. Click here for options!

Pre-orders help build momentum and buzz, and make we authors feel awesome!

December!!!

Can you believe it is December????

The tree is up, and incredibly, it is fatter in person than it is in this photograph! They say the camera adds ten pounds, but in this case, it seems to have subtracted them!

November flew by, filled with tons of events, the husband’s birthday, and writing!

It is also only three months until The Copycat comes out, so I am starting to think about books launches, school visits, the whole she-bang. More on that in the new year!

You can also expect a Copycat ARC giveaway in January, so stay tuned!

Other things I’m thinking about this month:

How the holiday season is so fraught for some people, especially those missing family members or friends. I know I especially miss my parents and my sister these days, so big hugs if you are going through the same thing.

How lights cheer me up. When you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or some other festival, seeing the lights covering people’s houses and windows makes me feel better during these shortest days of the year. It may be pitch black by five o’clock, but those lights are keeping me going!

How this has been a banner year for kid lit. I’ve read fantastic books this year, including:

These are guaranteed good reads!

Mostly though, I want to thank you for sticking with me this year! I am excited to share my adventure in 2020 with you and hope you have a wonderful and peaceful 2020!

November!

“October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces.” 
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix

Already November, which for my oldest child, means Christmas music!

Personally, I kind of like November, in spite of the blustery days and bare trees. Snow is a constant threat in New Brunswick in November, but today the weather is balmy and windy, so who knows what the month will bring?

I’ve been exceptionally busy this past month: revising a WIP, a couple of tours at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, a few meetings with book clubs who are studying The Frame-Up. I am also starting two more projects, because it is always nice to do NaNoWriMo, even if I will be mostly writing by the seat of my pants!

I have more book club events in the coming weeks. If your book club is reading The Frame-Up, I’m happy to Skype in!

I’ve also been mentoring a class in Rochester, New York!

So far, we have met twice online and I have sent them two boxes of books. It is so much fun answering their questions and talking about books and writing!

Other things I’ve been up to:

I devoured Book two of the Book of Dust Trilogy by Philip Pullman. It is fantastic, but I think it has moved to YA, not MG anymore, though of course there will be some #mglit readers who will be fine with the (very) adult content.

As always, it was fantastic, and clocking in at 600+ pages, a long read. Now I am desperately waiting for the conclusion!

Oh and the best news of all is that the French-language rights to The Frame-Up have sold! Can’t wait until French-speaking kids are able to read in the book in their mother tongue! Hooray!

That’s my news! I hope you have all been well!

Things I’m thankful about!

This Monday is Thanksgiving here in Canada, always a great time of year to reflect on the good things in our lives!

This year, I’m thankful that The CopyCat is complete and will be published by Greenwillow Books before the end of Winter. I can’t wait for you to read it!

I’ve also been reading like there’s no tomorrow this fall, and have to recommend the following books for YOUR to-be-read piles:

Seriously, these are all AMAZING books!

Other things I’m thankful for:

I’m mentoring a class in Rochester, New York and they are WONDERFUL! We have another online meeting soon, and I am already scheming how to visit them in person in the spring!

Fall. I hate to see summer end, but then I remember how magical fall is, and I am okay…

Most of all, I am thankful for my friends, my family, and YOU.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

September

Seriously. How did this happen?

I am finally on the home stretch re: my work-in-progress.

Every time I write a new book it’s like I’m learning to write all over again.

While it could be me, it could also be that every book wants to be written in its own way.

I have this dream of being a plotter, but the (sad?) truth is that I KNOW I am mostly a pantser who starts with an interesting idea and then rewrites it completely four times.

Fine. I can live with that.

I’m about to pass it into my agent (I hope!), then have another project to write and another project to research. I like having multiple things on the go.

I’m hoping to complete my initial research by November 1, because there is nothing I love more than participating in NaNoWriMo.

I just love the camaraderie and comfort of knowing that thousands of people are also drafting a novel at the same time I am.

I get asked all the time how I get my ideas.

I’d like to say they come easy, but that isn’t true. Sometimes I worry an idea for months, like a dog worrying a bone, until there is enough there for me to put some meat on the bone. (What is it with all the bone analogies here?)

I’ve also got some classes and schools I’m mentoring this fall, and if someone is looking for me to visit their classroom via Skype, drop me a line! I love to do Skype visits and they are always no charge! I also do Skype visits with book clubs!

I’m also teaching a writing class at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery on the afternoon of October 16th, so if you’re interested, Contact the front desk at emailbag@beaverbrookartgallery.org or by calling (506) 458-2028.

And soon enough, I will be hosting an Advanced Reader Copy giveaway here on this site! Stay tuned!

Have a wonderful rest of September!

THE COPYCAT COVER REVEAL!

I’m so excited to share the cover of my next book, THE COPYCAT, which is being published by Greenwillow Books on March 10, 2020!

The illustrator is Erwin Madrid and I love it!

Those of you in the Saint John area may recognize the house on the cover!

I was thrilled to do the formal reveal on Mr. Schu’s blog Watch.Connect.Read.

For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Schu, he is the Ambassador of School Libraries for Scholastic and a lecturer at Rutgers.

Most importantly, he is a wonderful champion for children’s literature!

You can read my interview with him here.

I’ll be sharing how to pre-order the book next week, but now, without further ado, scroll down and get your first peek at The Copycat! I can’t wait for you to meet Ali and her family and friends!

A brief description from my publisher:

A funny, unpredictable, and heartfelt new novel from Wendy McLeod MacKnight, the author of The Frame-Up. Ali has always acted like a copycat to make friends, but when she unexpectedly inherits the ability to change her appearance at will, fitting in seems impossible! Luckily, with the help of her family, new friends, and a touch of magic, Ali might just survive middle school after all. A great pick for fans of Dan Gemeinhart, Erin Entrada Kelly, and Diana Wynne Jones.

Ali and her parents have moved at least once a year for as long as Ali can remember. She’s attended six different schools, lived in dozens of apartments, and never really felt at home anywhere. But Ali’s parents say living in Saint John, New Brunswick, will be different. They’ve moved in with Ali’s great-grandmother—a spunky 99-year-old with a quirky old house that has room for all of them. Ali wants to believe this will be their last move, but everything seems too perfect to be true.

To Ali’s surprise, things are different this time, but not in the way she hoped. She’s finally inherited the Sloane family powers—the ability to change her appearance into any living thing. Ali is a Copycat. Literally. And being the new kid at school is hard enough without worrying about losing control of your powers and turning into your teacher. Luckily, Ali’s new friends are eager to help her use her newfound power. But as Ali soon learns, being a Copycat is no substitute for being yourself.

Wendy McLeod MacKnight’s The Copycat is an imaginative and surprising middle-school story about friendship, family, and self-confidence that is perfect for fans of John David Anderson’s Posted and Katherine Applegate’s Wishtree.

What do you think????????

Have a great week!

The Dog Days of Summer!

Can you believe August is almost here?

Can you believe I haven’t written a post in three weeks?

In my defence, I had tons of company for the first two weeks, a college reunion, and a flying trip out of town.

There is nothing like a mini-vacation to clear the cobwebs from your mind…

The red roof in the distance belongs to the Algonquin Hotel and I promise that if you ever visit St. Andrews, New Brunswick, the Algonquin will not disappoint.
Who doesn’t like a Llama? This one shows up at 12:30 each day at Kingsbrae Gardens.

But now I am back and buckling down to finish my revisions for book four!

Which means: The Copycat is pretty much in the can! It won’t be long until I can do a cover reveal and there are advance reader’s copies! Stay tuned!

With August beckoning, I am reminded that many teachers are heading back to school soon (!)

So I’m running a twitter giveaway just for teachers, throwing in a one of my favourite reads this summer, All of Me by Chris Baron!

Yes, those are Brady Bunch Funko Pops in back. Found them for $5 each and bought them all. Do not judge.

If you’re a teacher or want to share the giveaway with a teacher friend, click here. Good luck!

Have a fantastic week!

JUNE!

I love June!

The days are getting longer, the nights are warmer, things are beginning to bloom, the pool has reached 82 degrees (which is the only temperature I swim at!)…

And even better, The Frame-Up is out in paperback!

While I adore hardcovers, I am a true fan of paperbacks, since they are so much more affordable!

SO LET’S DO A GIVEAWAY, SHALL WE?

To celebrate the paperback version, I’m having an exclusive giveaway for subscribers to this website!

Leave me a note below and you’ll be entered for a chance to win 2 paperback copies of the book! I’ll draw a name on June 20th!

One for you and one to give away!

GOOD LUCK!

CONGRATS AMY – YOU WON!

Book Review:

I don’t typically review books on this blog, but I absolutely have to recommend OUR CASTLE BY THE SEA by Lucy Strange.

For those of you who are fans of Kim Brubaker Bradley’s THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE and THE WAR I FINALLY WON, this book will be a special treat!

Last week I found Lucy’s first book, THE SECRET OF NIGHTINGALE WOOD, and loved it so much that I needed to read more of her work right away!

Her new book is equally good.

Set in England at the start of World War II, the book tells the story of Pet (short for Petra), who lives in a lighthouse (which she calls the castle) near a small village on the coast with her sister Mags (Magda), their lighthouse keeper father, and their German-born mother, Mutti.

With England at war, the world as Pet knows it is no more, as everyone in her sphere is gripped with the fear of an imminent invasion by the Nazis.

When their mother is taken to an internment camp German after acts of sabotage in the local village, the bond between the sisters becomes frayed. Secrets threaten to tear the once close-knit family apart. Can Pet, who is both enthralled by the sea and yet terrified of it, solve the mystery of who has being committing the sabotage and save her mother? Can she find a way to connect to her sister once more and discover who the mysterious man at the top of the cliff is? Can she find a way to cope with the losses that war brings?

Filled with beautiful language, evocative images, and unforgettable characters, this story is compelling and thrilling and un-put-down-able! With tons of twists and turns, readers will be left guessing until the end.

Now I just have to wait for Lucy to write another book!

5 stars!

I’m back!

Holy cow! Those two weeks were jam-packed, but I arrived back in New Brunswick late last week and have been struggling to catch up ever since!

Being part of TD Canadian Children’s Book Week was a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Over the course of six days I visited 6 schools and 4 libraries and drove more backroads in Saskatchewan than you can shake a stick at!

I met amazing children, teachers, and librarians and had a wonderful time! THANK YOU SASKATCHEWAN!

I even made it into the Estevan newspaper!

After Saskatchewan, I did a quick trip up to Jasper, Alberta and stopped in to Jasper Elementary School!

The view from the library window – nice, huh???

Now that I’m back, I’m finishing revisions for my next book, waiting to see the copy edits for THE COPYCAT, and looking forward to warmer weather (it’s been terribly cold here!).

I’m also beginning to play with an idea for the book after THAT! I’ve also got a couple of Beaverbrook Art Gallery tours lined up! And next week, I think it’s time for a paperback giveaway of The Frame-Up!

Hope you are all well!!!!

Book Tour, Media, May!

We have so much to catch up on!

First:

How beautiful is that poster by the amazing artist and author Elly MacKay? Want a print to celebrate book week? click here!

I’ll be in southern Saskatchewan from May 5th to May 11th, visiting schools and public libraries! I lived in Regina one winter and think the prairies are absolutely amazing, so I can’t wait to visit!

In addition to lots of school visits, I’ve got four public talks/readings scheduled at public libraries (Go Libraries!), and while there will be kids there, the public is more than welcome and I will try to be super entertaining!

Monday May 6th: Redvers Public Library, 10 am

Tuesday, May 7th: Oungre Public Library, 2 pm

Thursday, May 9th: Grenfell Public Library, 9:30 am

Friday, May 10th, Regina Public Library, Connaught Branch, 1:15 pm

Hope to see you there!

I’ll also be tweeting, facebooking, instagramming, and just generally shouting about the tour from the rooftops, so follow along!

Jasper

I’ll be at Jasper Elementary School in Jasper, Alberta on Monday, May 13th!

Media!

There’s a great article about me and The Frame-Up on CBC’s website.

And they also did a radio interview with me.

And a TV spot.

The Copycat has gone to copy edits!!!!

Can an ARC be far behind?

Finally, you won’t hear from me here until the third week of May. But at that time, I think we’ll run a big giveaway for some paperback copies of The Frame-Up, which come out June 4th! Right now I’m thinking of a teacher giveaway and a civilian giveaway (for the rest of us!). More details to come!

Have a happy couple of weeks and thanks for all the support!

I may have spoken too soon…

It seems that Spring does not want to arrive here in New Brunswick.

My normally cheerful self is feeling, well, slightly less cheerful.

Oh well. It will be better. Won’t it?

I’ve been hunkered down in my office anyway, revising my WIP. After a fabulous brainstorming session with my agent Lauren Galit, and her associate, Caitlen Rubino-Bradway, I am firing on all cylinders and really love this book!

I’ve also been reading. My latest #mglit read is THE MISCALCULATIONS OF LIGHTNING GIRL, by Stacy McAnulty, which frankly, is just a fantastic title!

This book is going to make you laugh out loud, sigh, and perhaps, shed a tear. But you will LOVE it!

I don’t know about you, but I am waiting for Game of Thrones to begin on Sunday. Wait – the better description is – I am practically vibrating as I wait for the final season to begin. So many theories, so little time…

If you’d like a little Game of Thrones-ish middle grade title, look no further than THE MAD WOLF’S DAUGHTER and its sequel HUNT FOR THE MAD WOLF’S DAUGHTER, by Diane Magras. The middle ages, characters on the run after they’re accused of treason, a noble character at the heart of the story who fights for what’s right. The story has it all and is, even better, age appropriate!

Enjoy your week!!!!

Author of Children's Literature

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