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Author Interview: Canadian YA Author Mere Joyce

Introducing Mere Joyce

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Mere Joyce is a Canadian author of books for young adults. Her writing includes contemporary tales, high-action mysteries, and her personal favorite–ghost stories. When she’s not writing, Mere can be found recommending books as a librarian, or spending time at home with her husband and two sons. She’s also been known to be a selective, yet highly enthusiastic fangirl.

Mere’s novels include Blank Canvas (Evernight Teen, 2015), Getting the Brush Off (Orca Book Publishers, 2017), Shadow (Orca Book Publishers, 2018), and Shade (Oracle of Senders book 1 – 7S Pub, 2018).

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Welcome to another addition to Canadian Author Interviews. Today, I’d like to welcome Canadian YA author, Mere Joyce.

Loie: Welcome to the blog, Mere! So lovely to have you here. Can you please share about your journey as a writer to published author? When did you start writing and why? When did you decide you were ready to try and have your book published 😊?

Mere: Thank you for having me! I can’t precisely remember when I started writing, but I can trace it back at least to my tween years. Writing has long-since been an important part of my identity (my high school yearbook actually says my future goal is to become the female Stephen King, :P), but it wasn’t until I finished schooling and began working as a librarian that it went from being a hobby to being something I was serious about. It’s always easy to say ‘I’ll get to it eventually’. But being surrounded by books each day at work made me realize I needed to make an honest effort at getting my own writing on the shelf as well. I sent out my very first query in January 2012, and spent three years working on various projects before finding a home for my first novel.

Loie: YES! Love your high school yearbook goal 🙂 I know that way of thinking too, getting to it eventually.

Can you share some of the inspiration behind Blank Canvas? It sounds so complex and amazing 😊

Mere: Blank Canvas actually came from a dream I had when I was fifteen years old! At the time, I couldn’t stop thinking about the creepy man who painted everything and kept me captive, so I wrote a story called The Painter. It was a fairly short tale, and more of a horror/thriller. But unlike some of my other earliest writings, I never gave up my conviction that someday the story would make it into book form. Nearly a decade after first writing it, it occurred to me that the story could be told in a totally different way, focusing less on the imprisonment/escape and more on the life lived afterwards. I started to explore the character of Maddie more thoroughly, making connections I’d never realized before (for instance, that she herself was a painter), and I ended up rewriting the entire thing from scratch. The story gained depth, and the character of Maddie truly came alive for the first time, which was awesome.

Loie: Wow! Some dreams are truly powerful. Love the story behind Blank Canvas! Can’t wait to read it. My copy is on its way:)

What is your favorite genre to write and why?

Mere: I love horror, and would be thrilled to write more YA horror stories. But I actually find myself often drawn to writing YA contemporary tales. I love exploring the possibilities of ordinary teens facing extraordinary dilemmas (big or small), as well as the complexities of “normal” life.

Loie: Yes! I love contemporary as well. I’m working on a Bluebeard fairytale retelling. I’ve never written horror or creepy stories, so it’s been kind of fun.

Do you have any new projects on the horizon in 2019 that you can hint at 😊 ?

Mere: I have a couple! In addition to continuing with my Oracle of Senders series with the upcoming Revenant, I also have a new YA Contemporary called Things That Fall, which will be released in August by Dancing Cat Books! Two very different stories that are both immensely near to my heart – including a varied mix of ghosts, cousins, romance, and mystery.

Loie: Eeee! I love the title, Revenant! Also, your new contemporary sounds fantastic. Ghosts 😀

With your experience, how have you found the Canadian publishing industry?

Mere: The Canadian publishing industry is really interesting…it can be a challenge, as there aren’t a ton of publishing houses/agencies, and many of the ones that do exist have very specific areas of interest. But I absolutely love the dedication of the Canadian industry to publish and promote Canadian authors and Canadian content, especially in regards to YA—I grew up not even knowing Canadian YA existed! There is a lot more visibility for our works now, and there is a sense of community among both publishers as well as authors that is fantastic.

Loie: Thank you for sharing 🙂 I always love to hear authors perspectives on the industry. I see the dedication too and its lovely. Super encouraging for up and coming authors and writers.

Who’s your favorite author and why?

Mere: I actually find this an incredibly hard question to answer, because I collect favourite stories far more often than I do authors! However, if I were to choose one, I’d have to reach back a ways and go with Frances Hodgson Burnett. She had a way of writing stories that were grounded in reality but completely magical all the same.

Loie: Oooo! She’s a fantastic author.

Favorite 2018 read?

Mere: I really liked Kiersten White’s The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, an unexpected enjoyment that’s rekindled my interest in the original tale.

Loie: I can’t wait to read that book!!! Any tips for aspiring authors 😊 ?

Mere: When you read (both in your genre and outside of it), pick out the things you absolutely love about the stories—especially the little things. Metaphors or descriptions, character interactions or settings…delving into the intricacies of stories will help you learn what kinds of things you love (and, conversely, what things immediately make you roll your eyes with annoyance or dismay). There are so many “rules” out there for writers, that it’s easy to feel like you have to write in a certain way, or avoid a type of story because it’s been done before. Always keep the magic of reading alive, and write the kinds of things you love/wish there was more of as a reader—without worrying if it follows the rules or is going to be seen as cliché!

Loie: That is great advice! I actually was planning a series for January where I’ll look at examples of characters or setting in various stories and share what I love about them so much.

It’s like studying craft more directly:) Mmmm. I love that – keep the magic of reading alive. I agree one hundred percent.

Thanks so much, Mere! Fab to get to know you more and highlight Canadian YA authors<3

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