So who is Gillian Chan? I write books for children and teenagers.

That was easy, but what does that actually mean?

On a day to day basis, it means that I spend a lot of time reading and researching things that interest me until something grabs my attention and a story, or more usually, a character starts to form inside my head. Then I write, furiously, obsessively, resenting when normal life intrudes.

So what does interest me?

First of all, it would be people. People, no matter where or when they live are fascinating. Observing pupils in the high school at which I taught led to my first two books, Golden Girl and Glory Days, which are set in Elmwood High School.

Fantasy and Science Fiction are my two great loves when it comes to my own reading. A science fiction novel hasn’t been written yet (watch this space!) but fantasy has found its way into two of my books, The Carved Box, although it tries to pretend that it is an historical novel, and my latest novel, The Turning. This one is the weirdest yet, with hobs, demon hounds, green men, and Fey all mixed in with the human characters.

If I hadn’t become an English teacher and then a writer, my dream would have been to be an archaeologist so history is something about which I am passionate. Three of my books have historical settings. The Carved Box is about pioneer life in 1801. A Foreign Field deals with the effect of World War Two on young people, both those who fought in it and those who remained behind. Dear Canada: An Ocean Apart – The Gold Mountain Diary of Chin Mei-ling tells the story of a Chinese girl living in Canada in 1923. My latest obsession is with the Norse voyages of exploration which brought them to what is now Newfoundland in the eleventh century and this will be the basis for my next novel.

Most writers use the internet a great deal, so much of my day is spent in front of my computer, researching and writing. I have included a page of some of the links which have been useful to me. If ever I get writers’ block, word games online are my solution. You never know we might end up playing online one day!

Writers also get asked to come and talk to students or to other writers. Some questions come up again and again, so you’ll find my answers to these in the FAQ section. If you have any other questions, comments, or you would like me to come and talk to your school or group, or at your library, please contact me at gillianchan@gillianchan.ca.

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