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Julie Lawson


When I was a kid, summer was the best time. We'd pack everything into the car and head for the family cabin on the Sooke Basin. Mom, Dad, my brother, two canaries, two cocker spaniels and me. One summer there were eight puppies as well. We spent the time fishing, catching crabs, digging for clams, rowing, swimming, exploring the islands in the Basin, building tree forts, picking huckleberries, roasting marshmallows over beach fires, searching for arrowheads (I finally found one last summer, when I wasn't even looking.) There were no other kids to play with, so I often created stories in my mind and acted them out. There was no TV, so at night, or on rainy days, my whole family would sit by the fire and read.

The rest of the year I was in Victoria, going to school, acting in plays and taking piano lessons. One Christmas, my grandfather gave my family a typewriter. I typed my first stories on that Royal typewriter in red ink on yellow typewriting paper. Now I use a word processor. I write in an airy, upstairs room with big windows and gables, and when I'm sitting at my computer I can look out and see nothing but forest. It's like writing in a tree fort!

When I was a kid I had a dream that one day I'd grow up and become an author. And my dream came true. First I became a teacher, and taught for many years on Vancouver Island. Now I'm on a leave-of-absence, working as a full-time author. Being an author is hard work, but it's so rewarding I can't think of anything else I'd rather be. It's kind of like being in a play, only you get to act out all the parts. Not only that, you can decide on the setting and costumes and all the special effects. The subjects of my books range from cougars, ghosts and Chinese dragons, to fishing adventures and tongue-twisting pirates. Her interest in the history of the Canadian Pacific Railway is evident not only in White Jade Tiger, but also in her picture book, Emma and the Silk Train and her novel, A Ribbon of Shining Steel. Her Goldstone Trilogy is based on the worst disaster in CPR history - the 1910 avalanche at B.C.'s Rogers Pass. Other historical works were inspired by the Klondike Gold Rush, and were written while she was the writer-in-residence at the (Pierre) Berton House Writers Retreat in Dawson City, Yukon.

I divide myself time between writing at home and visiting schools and libraries. I have spoken to Roundtable groups, toured for Canadian Children's Book Week, conducted writing workshops, taught university courses on writing children's literature, and been a presenter at conferences for adults and children across North America.

In my spare time, I enjoy travelling the world by train or container ship, hiking, spending time with friends, and curling up with a good book. I live in Victoria, B.C. with her husband, Patrick.


Published Works

Where the River Takes Me: the Hudson's Bay Company Diary of Jenna Sinclair (Scholastic Dear Canada series, 2008)
No Safe Harbour: The Halifax Explosion Diary of Charlotte Blackburn (Scholastic Dear Canada series, 2006)
Arizona Charlie and the Klondike Kid (Orca, 2005)
Emily: Summer of Gold (Penguin Our Canadian Girl series, 2004)
The Klondike Cat (Kids Can Press, 2002)
A Ribbon of Shining Steel: The Railway Diary of Kate Cameron (Scholastic, Dear Canada series, 2002)
Emily 2: Disaster at the Bridge (Penguin, Our Canadian Girl series, 2002)
Across the James Bay Bridge (Penguin, Our Canadian Girl series, 2001)
Destination Gold! (Orca, 2000)
The Ghost of Avalanche Mountain (Stoddart, 2000) Part Three of the Goldstone Trilogy
Bear on the Train (Kids Can, 1999. Illustrated by Brian Deines)
Midnight in the Mountains (Orca, 1998. Illustrated by Sheena Lott)
In Like a Lion (Scholastic, 1998. Illustrated by Yolaine Lefebvre)
Turns on a Dime (Stoddart, 1998)
Goldstone (Stoddart, 1997)
Emma and the Silk Train (Kids Can Press, 1997. Illustrated by Paul Mombourquette)
Whatever You Do, Don't Go Near That Canoe! (Scholastic, 1996. Illustrated by Werner Zimmerman)
Too Many Suns (Stoddart, 1996. Illustrated by Martin Springett)
Cougar Cove (Orca, 1996)
Blown Away (Red Deer College Press, 1995, Illustrated by Kathryn Naylor)
Fires Burning (Stoddart, 1995; Little, Brown in the U.S. 1996 as Danger Game)
White Jade Tiger (Beach Holme, 1993)
The Dragon's Pearl (Oxford University Press, 1992; published in the U.S. by Clarion Press, 1993, Illustrated by Paul Morin)
Kate's Castle (Oxford University Press, 1992, Illustrated by Frances Tyrrell)
My Grandfather Loved the Stars (Beach Holme, 1992, Illustrated by Judy McLaren)
A Morning to Polish and Keep (Red Deer College Press, 1992, Illustrated by Sheena Lott)
The Sand Sifter (Beach Holme, 1990)

Awards

No Safe Harbour: The Halifax Explosion Diary of Charlotte Blackburn
* Hackmatack Award, Winner, 2008

The Klondike Cat
* Christie Harris Award, Shortlist

A Ribbon of Shining Steel: The Railway Diary of Kate Cameron
* C.L.A. Award, Shortlist, 2003
* Hackmatack Award, Shortlist, 2004

Midnight in the Mountains (Orca, 1998. Illustrated by Sheena Lott)
*Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award, Shortlist, 1999

Turns on a Dime (Stoddart, 1998)
*National Chapter of Canada IODE Violet Downey Book Award, Shortlist, 1999

Goldstone (Stoddart, 1997)
*CNIB Torgi Award, Shortlist, 1999
*Regional Winner and Finalist, Silver Birch Award, 1998

Emma and the Silk Train (Kids Can Press, 1997. Illustrated by Paul Mombourquette)
*International Reading Association Teachers' Choice, 1999
*Sheila A. Egoff Award, Shortlist, 1998
*Junior Library Guild Selection, 1998

Whatever You Do, Don't Go Near That Canoe! (Scholastic, 1996. Illustrated by Werner Zimmerman)
*Winner of the CNIB's Tiny Torgi Award, 1997
*International Youth Library White Ravens Notable, 1997
*Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award, Shortlist, 1997
*Runner-up for the Governor-General's Award for Illustrations, 1996

Cougar Cove (Orca, 1996)
*Regional Winner and Finalist for the Ontario Silver Birch Award, 1997

Fires Burning (Stoddart, 1995; Little, Brown in the U.S. 1996 as Danger Game )
*Shortlisted for the Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award, 1998
*Shortlisted for the ALA Best Books for Young Adults list, 1996

White Jade Tiger (Beach Holme, 1993)
*Winner of the Sheila A. Egoff Award, 1994
*Shortlisted for the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year Award
*Shortlisted for the Ontario Library Association Silver Birch Award
*CLA Fiction Notable

The Dragon's Pearl (Oxford University Press, 1992; published in the U.S. by Clarion Press, 1993, Illustrated by Paul Morin)
*Short-listed for the Ruth Schwartz Award and the CLA Book of the Year Award
*Winner of the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award for illustrations.
*U.S. 1993 NAPPA Award for Folklore (National Parenting Publications Award)

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