Author Chat with Andrea Curtis (Big Water), Plus Giveaway!

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Today we're excited to chat with Andrea Curtis, author of Big Water. Read on for more about Andrea and her book, plus a giveaway!

 

Meet Andrea Curtis! 

 

Andrea Curtis is an award-winning Canadian writer for both adults and children. Her first young adult novel is Big Water, out now from Orca Books. She is also the author of two nonfiction books for younger readers, Eat This! How Fast Food Marketing Gets You to Buy Junk (and how to fight back) and What’s for Lunch? How Schoolchildren Eat Around the World, which have garnered international attention. What’s for Lunch? has also been translated into Korean and Portuguese for the Brazilian market (Red Deer Press). Andrea is also the co-author of the international bestseller, The Stop: How the Fight for Good Food Transformed a Community and Inspired a Movement, written with her husband, food activist Nick Saul (published in Canada, US and Britain). Her first book was the Edna Staebler–award-winning creative nonfiction Into the Blue. She lives in Toronto with her family.

 
 
Meet Big Water!
 
 

Seventeen year old Christina McBurney has led a sheltered life. But when her twin brother dies, Christina decides to take destiny into her own hands and run away from home. She boards the Asia, a steamship that takes passengers and freight throughout the Great Lakes.

But a violent storm suddenly arises and the overloaded and top-heavy steamship begins to sink. Christina finds herself on a lifeboat with a group of bedraggled and terrified passengers and crew—including an angry young man named Daniel. The water is cold, and help is not coming. All around them people are dying. Christina soon realizes that the usual rules no longer apply. Despite their differences, she and Daniel must work together if they are to survive.

Inspired by the true story of one of the worst shipwrecks in Great Lakes history, Big Water is part adventure, part love story, a gripping new novel about charting your own course and figuring out what you're capable of. 

 
A Chat with Andrea Curtis:
1.What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
After I finished researching, writing and promoting my first book, Into the Blue: Family Secrets and the Search for a Great Lakes Shipwreck, I swore I’d never write about shipwrecks again. I’d worked for several years on the book and felt I’d exhausted my interest. But one story from my research stayed with me. It was the tragic tale of the S.S. Asia, one of the worst disasters in the history of the Great Lakes, with more than 100 people lost and only two survivors: a teenage boy and girl.
My own children would often ask me to tell them the story of these two young people and how they managed to survive when so many others perished. I also began to tell the tale of the Asia to the adolescent participants in my weekly creative writing workshop at TYPE books in downtown Toronto. Their interest buoyed me, and finally, a few years ago, I decided to write it down.
2.Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel had a different title when I was writing it, but when I decided on Big Water, everything made sense. We call the open water on Georgian Bay “the big water,” because even though it’s a lake, it looks and feels like an ocean.
3.What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
The scene I am most proud of (and the hardest to write for a whole variety of reasons) is toward the end of the book. But as I don’t want to spoil it I won’t get into it here! The scene I enjoyed writing most, however, is about midway in when the main character, Christina, is on her own in the lifeboat. The other survivor is unconscious, and all the others are dead. A seagull passes overhead and in her delirium, she starts to think it’s observing her, maybe even wants to chat. My late paternal grandmother (a lifelong Georgian Bay cottager) always told us she hoped to return to this life as a seagull, gliding on the wind. I loved this idea and had Christina imagine something similar. As it is for me, it’s a comfort to Christina to think that she is being watched over by a beloved—even in seagull form.

4. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
The most important thing I’ve learned in my 20-year career as a writer is that writing is like everything else, the more you do it, the better you get. I think I used to believe more in talent and some mysterious writerly magic. While there is certainly inspiration and aptitude and there are (hopefully) going to be magical moments in which you feel gifted by creative epiphanies, 90% of the work is simply putting your bum in the seat. You have to do the work, spend the time, slog through the drafts. If you have an epiphany, wonderful, if you don’t, you still have words on the page.

5. What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I am in love with the cover of
Big Water! I think it was a stroke of genius for my publisher, Orca Books, to commission the brilliant Hamilton, Ontario, illustrator Jacqui Oakley
http://jacquioakley.com/ to create it. I was a fan of Jacqui’s work—she’s known for her mesmerizing lines, especially hair and waves—before they told me she had been commissioned, and now I am even more in awe of her outrageous talent.

6. What was your favorite book in 2017?
My favourite YA novel of 2017 was
The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline, a beautiful, heart- wrenching and terrifying book set in a future where the only people who still have the ability to dream are Indigenous.

7. What’s up next for you?
I’m working on an adult novel called
Found, a picture book about a haughty, self-involved budgie that flies away from home but finds he doesn’t have all the tools to live in the outside world, as well as two kids’ nonfiction books about life in cities. I also have a few ideas I’m working on for my next YA.

8. Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?

I am on the board of a community-based organization called Word-Play (www.word-play.ca) based out of TYPE (www.typebooks.ca), one of Toronto’s best-loved independent bookstores. We believe reading and writing should be fun and run several after-school programs for underserviced kids in the neighbourhood. I created and run a weekly creative writing workshop called Writing in the City, working with Grade 6 kids, many of whom come from newcomer families. We do drama games, movement exercises, art projects and lots and lots of creative writing. I’ve been doing it for seven years and am constantly amazed by the creativity of these children. It’s the best part of my week. 

 

Big Water

By: Andrea Curtis

Release Date: March 6, 2018

*GIVEAWAY DETAILS* 

 

One winner will receive a copy of Big Water (US only). 

 

*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*

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Comments 3

Kara S on Friday, 13 July 2018 18:33

The cover is attractive, and the synopsis makes me think this book will prove a satisfying page-turner!

0
The cover is attractive, and the synopsis makes me think this book will prove a satisfying page-turner!
Tiffany Engler on Sunday, 15 July 2018 10:13

I love this cover! I think this book is pretty unique and I can't wait to read it!

0
I love this cover! I think this book is pretty unique and I can't wait to read it!
Marisa Fort on Monday, 16 July 2018 23:52

Love the texture of the cover! The synopsis sounds amazing!

0
Love the texture of the cover! The synopsis sounds amazing!

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