Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Meet Middle Grade Author Suzanne de Montigny

Join me in welcoming Suzanne de Montigny to Carpinello's Writing Pages. Her ebook The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy debuts Friday Nov. 30.

Suzanne, why did you pick to write middle grade books?

I suppose it’s because I was an elementary music teacher for over twenty years, and loved to instill values in kids. So when I began writing five years ago, it was only natural that I create stories for intermediate-aged children.

What types of books do you like to read?

I like to read anything that takes me away. If it’s too similar to my life, I fall asleep pretty quickly. That’s why I like to read fantasy and historical fiction. It’s a whole other world.

When you are not writing, what do you like to do?

Almost all my time is taken up with my two boys, aged ten and twelve. When I’m not helping them with homework, we’re playing our fiddles. Oops. Wait a minute, that is homework for them. But not for me. Like reading a good novel, I get lost playing my music.

Tell us about The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy, and how the story came to be.

I loved writing as a child, and when I was in grade six, I wrote an eighteen-page, six chapter novella about unicorns for a class project. I was a total horse girl back in those days. I got an A+ for my story and always kept that little book in a safe place. Then, one day, I was surprised while cleaning the basement when I found the first four chapters of a rewrite in an old box full of kid stuff. I guess I must have started it in my teens and never finished. I chuckled and threw it in the recycling box outside, but my curiosity got the better of me, and I retrieved it two days later, dried it out, and read it. It completely captured my imagination, and a week later, I began rewriting it. Then two weeks later, the first draft was done. A month after that, I began The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy.

Here's a sneak peak of The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy:

A loud, hissing sound filled the air. The unicorns looked up, their eyes filled with horror.
Azaria, a unicorn colt, is intrigued when the young, clairvoyant dinosaur, Darius, foresees a terrifying change to their world. When a giant fireball smashes into the earth, the unicorns struggle to survive the hurricanes and starvation that follow. But nothing compares to the danger when the creatures-that-walk-on-two-legs settle in the valley, and their leader discovers the healing power in the unicorns’ horns. Greedy and ruthless, Ishmael will stop at nothing in his pursuit of wealth – even the complete extinction of the herd. Azaria must find a way to outsmart Ishmael before it’s too late.

Have you written other books? If so, tell us a bit about them.

I’ve written three unicorn books in all to complete The Shadow of the Unicorn trilogy. Then there’s my fiddling mystery A Town Bewitched which is about a fourteen-year-old child prodigy in classical violin struggling to fit into the small town of Hope, B.C. When a fiddler appears and bewitches the people, only the girl seems to know who has been vandalizing the town leaving tokens of dead and gutted birds. I’m just in the process of submitting this story now.

What’s next for your writing? Are you working on a new story?

I’m working furiously on a rewrite of the second of my unicorn trilogy and have a lot of other great ideas swimming around in my head for other novels too, everything from koalas to a YA historical fiction about another fiddler.

What advice do you have for other authors?

Write from the heart, and write to inspire.

Where can readers find you and your books?

The Shadow of the Unicorn is available from Muse It Up Publishing and will also be available on Kindle, Omnilit, and Coffeetime.

Anything else you want readers to know?

Yes, the most important bit of all. And that is half of all my proceeds for The Shadow of the Unicorn will go to the Third World Eye Care Society, a group of ophthalmologists who travel to underdeveloped countries delivering thousands of pairs of glasses and performing eye surgery for free. Having succumbed to a visual impairment myself recently, I realize how desperate it must be to have no options for poor vision and even blindness. They may never find a solution to my vision problem, but others can certainly be helped by this organization. It’s my way of giving back.

About Suzanne: Suzanne de Montigny enjoyed writing as a child and dreamed of one day being published, but her love of music won out – at least for the time being. Teaching classroom music in Greater Vancouver, she discovered she had a knack for storytelling when kids began pleading for her stories nearly every day at the end of class. When her children were born, she decided to take a couple of years out from teaching to raise them. That’s when she began writing, and has never looked back. She lives in Burnaby, B.C. with the three loves of her life – her husband and two boys.

Look for my review of The Shadow of the Unicorn: The Legacy on here in a couple of days. Can't wait to read it. I love unicorns!


  1. Suzanne, like so many of us, you found a love for writing when you were a child. Not only do I admire this passion but I also admire those teachers who take the time to read our writing and give us feedback. As a teacher, I try to do this with my students, hoping they will someday become adults publishing their work.

  2. Suzanne and Cheryl - what a great interview, ladies. Your book sounds wonderful Suzanne. Best of luck with it.

    And the violin? Impressive....
    Penny Estelle

  3. Thanks, Penny. And Randy, I too had a tremendous desire to inspire my students. Yesterday, I ran into a parent of a boy who had been bullied in an inner city school I once taught in, and he's now in medical school!!

  4. Loved hearing about your childhood writings, Suzanne! All the best to you and your unicorns.

  5. Thanks, Katie. Yes, I loved my horses as a child. Never got a real one, but had all sorts plastic horses and Johnny West figures.

  6. Yay! Another BC-based person! It was fun reading about how you started writing your book - how inspirational. Your book sounds really great. I have a feeling it would be right up my daughter's alley! Great getting to know you and thanks for linking this post in the Kid Lit Blog Hop Cheryl. :D

  7. So nice to meet you, Suzanne! I had big ideas when I was younger, too. I definitely need to follow your lead and pick them back up! Thanks for linking in to the Kid Lit Blog Hop, and I hope to read more by/about you!

  8. Glad to meet you too Snacksformax and also Renee. I'm working hard on my second unicorn novel and am waiting to hear from a publisher about my YA novel. You two encourage me to get writing more and more. Thanks. Renee, do you live in BC too?


    1. Hi Suzanne, Yes, I live in Vancouver and keep writing!! :D