KBKL Spotlight on Canadians: Mireille Messier

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A big Kick-butt Kidlit welcome to author, Mireille Messier!

Hi, Mireille! Introduce yourself to our Kick-butt friends!

Hi! My name is Mireille Messier. I’m a bilingual children’s author. I live in Toronto, Canada. I studied in theatre and radio broadcasting – writing for kids happened as a happy “accident de parcours”. I mostly write picture books, some in French, some in English.

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Tell us a bit about your latest/upcoming project?

I’m excited about my new picture book biography that will be coming out in the summer of 2019 with Tundra Books. It’s entitled Sergeant Billy: The True Story of the Goat Who Went to War and, yes, it’s the biography of a goat that went to the frontlines during WWI… and came back alive! Sergeant Billy is illustrated by the amazingly talented Kass Reich and I am counting the days until I can finally share this extraordinary true story with young readers.

What are you reading right now?

I always have many books on the go. Right now, I’m reading Becoming, by Michelle Obama, Doomed to Dance, the 6th books in the wonderful Ivy & Bean series by Annie Barrows and The Anne Frank Diary. I read a bit of everything – kids books, non-fiction, biographies, new stuff, old stuff… I’m a reading junkie!

Who is a Canadian author or illustrator that you’d like to see more people discover?

KASS REICH is an amazing Canadian illustrator that more people should discover. I just love-love-love her stuff. And not just because she’s the illustrator of my upcoming book. Her use of colour to set a mood is masterful. Her humour just leaps off the page. I am in awe.

What’s been the most surprising part of your publishing journey so far?

The most surprising part of my publishing journey so far is how hard it is to navigate the two solitudes of being a French author and an English author. Oddly, the two worlds do not mesh as well as I had assumed they would. If I write a book in English it will not automatically get picked up by a French publisher, and vice versa.

I have published over twenty books in French and only 3 have found a home in the English market. I’m not sure why that is, but I’m hoping that my upcoming books will be available in English and French so that I can share my stories with as many readers as possible.

When a reader picks up your books, they can always expect to find…

… a little bit of truth! All my stories are inspired by something that really happened (in history or to me personally), or to a person I really know. I just take that little spark of truth, add a lot of imagination, reshape it and make it into something new and (hopefully) exciting.

What’s the most Canadian thing you’ve put in a book?

How can I pick just one? There are SO many in over 15 years of publishing! There’s a goat from Saskatchewan, a poutine stand, an ice storm, some beavers building a dam with Laurentien colouring pencils … I even wrote an entire comic about the 2017 flood on the Toronto Islands for an anthology called Toronto Comics – Osgoode as Gold. Canada is in my blood and in my books!

What would you like to see more of in the world of Canadian children’s literature?

I am loving chapter books written in verse. Zorgamazoo, Nix Minus One, The Gospel Truth, The Crossover, Macy MacMillan and the Rainbow Goddess… I wish there were more out there – they are a brilliant way to tell a story.

If you could spend a day inside of any book, which one would you choose?

I would spend a day inside Sweep, by Jonathan Auxier. The story takes place in Victorian London with Nan, a young chimney sweep and her lovable monster. Auxier created such a magical place that I would love to spend a day (or two) jumping from roof to roof and watching the sunrise.

Lastly, we always end with: what’s your best piece of kick-butt advice?

My best piece of kick-butt advice is… READ! If you want to write, you need to read. Read anything and everything. If you like it, ask yourself why you liked it and try to emulate that when you write. And if you hated it, ask yourself why you hated it and try NOT to do that in the stuff you write.

Yes! Read all the things! Thank you so much for joining us, Mireille!

Kick-butt Kidlit friends, add Mireille’s books on Goodreads!

Connect with Mireille on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or through her website!

Click here to enter to the Spotlight on Canadians Giveaway! You could win one of 25 prize packs featuring books from all of our amazing creators!

Mireille Messier Prize Pack – a signed copy of TELLEMENT SAUVAGE!

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Other available prizes:

Jennifer Mook-Sang Prize Pack – a signed copy of CAPTAIN MONTY TAKES THE PLUNGE

Regan McDonell Prize Pack – a copy of BLACK CHUCK

Carmen Mok Prize Pack – a copy of GRANDMOTHER’S VISIT

Tom Ryan Prize Pack – the very first signed ARC of KEEP THIS TO YOURSELF

Naseem Hrab Prize Pack – a copy of IRA CRUMB FEELS THE FEELINGS

Joanne Robertson Prize Pack – a signed copy of THE WATER WALKER

Sarah Raughley Prize Pack – all three books in the EFFIGIES series

Join us on Wednesday, March 20th when we chat with Mahtab Narsimhan!

17 thoughts on “KBKL Spotlight on Canadians: Mireille Messier

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