HANDFUL OF TIME:
When Patricia's parents decide to separate, she is sent to spend the
summer with her cousins on an Alberta lake. Already shy and awkward,
her misery is increased by her cousins' bullying. Finally, when they
refuse to play with her, Patricia hides in the small cabin behind
the cottage. There she discovers an old pocket watch under the floorboards.
When she winds it up it takes her back thirty-five years in time,
where she observes her mother at the same age she is. But then the
watch is broken and Patricia has to face the present.
My second novel, like my first, began with my own life.
Most of my childhood summers were spent at a cottage on Lake Wabamun,
about forty miles west of Edmonton. I adored the beauty and freedom
of the lake and knew I wanted to set a novel there one day. I also
wanted to write about someone who felt as much of an outsider as I
once did. One summer, when I was sent to a cottage at Muskoka, my
friends' cousins tormented me as much as Patricia's cousins do her.
So I began a novel about a girl being bullied, but not enough was
happening. Then one evening my eyes lighted on a gold pocket watch
that had been
left to me by my grandmother. It had belonged to her fiancé,
who was killed in World War I. "Aha!" I thought. "I'll turn the novel
into a time travel!" Time travel fiction has always appealed to me
and it was a satisfying challenge figuring out to get Patricia in
and out of the past. Readers often ask me if there will be a sequel
to this novel. Perhaps there will be, if the watch gets fixed!
Covers around the world:
Library Association Book-of-the-Year-for-Children Award