Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Hi! Born in Sweden to Irish parents and raised in Montreal, I’ve always had a lust for new adventures. I lived in Australia, New Zealand and Norway (where my hubby is from) for several years and am currently living out my latest adventure (along with my family) in Golden, British Columbia. Along with being a mum and a special needs support worker, I’m a creative writer who has self-published two novels (YA/Contemporary fiction), a children’s book, some short stories, and opinion pieces. My passion for creative writing started as soon as I could read. I’ve always been fascinated with books that tell stories about life, society, and people. I model my writing off authors such as Bryce Courtenay, Miriam Toews, Paulo Coelho, and Audrey Niffenegger.
For me, life is a riveting research project. Possibilities for learning are everywhere, in every interaction and experience (whether good or not so good). My “life toolbox” includes living and working in several countries, degrees in Anthropology, World Religions, and Education, as well as surviving the youth protection system (of which inspired my second novel “Butterflies in the System”), becoming a teen parent, and overcoming trauma associated with sexual assault (which inspired my first novel “Sky-bound Misfit”).
I am currently working on my third novel.
For more details about me and my work, be sure to check out my website and blog!
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
“Butterflies in the System” is a story inspired by my experience as a ward in Montreal’s youth protection system. The story brings readers on a journey through a year in the life of five teens (as well as a childcare worker and social worker) as they navigate their way through group-homes, detention centres, and street life. Full of both adventure and sorrow, I wrote this book to highlight ethical violations in Montreal’s youth protection system and to help bring awareness to the importance of mental health resources for youth and the need for systemic change in the system. For details, see my blog post “The Story that Inspired Butterflies in the System”: https://www.janepowell.org/post/the-story-that-inspired-butterflies-in-the-system
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I do most of the creative part of my writing while I’m on the go, skiing, biking, or hiking – where I imagine my characters and story, then write it all down when I get home again. I highly recommend this process!!
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Bryce Courtenay, Miriam Toews, Paulo Coelho, and Audrey Niffenegger. One of my all-time favourites is The Power of One, by Bryce Courtenay.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on my third novel … it’s a secret, so stay tuned!
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Giving talks and writing workshops at high schools.
Goodreads – connecting with other authors.
And, of course, my own website and blog:
Do you have any advice for new authors?
The hardest part in writing a book is starting. I find the best way to get over this initial block is to put aside your pride and worries about being perfect, and just start writing. Even if it’s just a big messy brainstorm on a napkin, it will help to get the juices flowing. Also, first drafts are always far from perfect – you can change things later. The first draft is just about getting your juices flowing. For help in developing great characters and story-telling, be sure to check out my online writing workshops (see my blog for details: https://www.janepowell.org/blog). Happy writing 🙂
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Perfection is way overrated – it is the imperfections that make life interesting, exciting, touched with love and laughter even in the toughest of times.
What are you reading now?
Jack of Diamonds, by Bryce Courtenay
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’m working on my third novel. I intend to continue writing novels, as I have definitely found my niche in creative writing.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
SAS Survival Guide: the ultimate guide to surviving anywhere (John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman)
The Art of Happiness (The Dalai Lama)
The Neverending Story (Michael Ende)
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
Author Websites and Profiles
Jane Powell Website