What an inspiration! She signed her first publishing contract when she was 66 years old. Just like me! Now at age 85, Beryl Young’s seventh book will soon be out in bookstores. It’s a poetry picture book for children about whales. In June when I began talking with Heritage House about the contract for my novel Lost on the Prairie, a writing friend suggested I call Beryl Young whose book Miles to Go had been published by Heritage House in 2018. It was actually reading Beryl’s book Miles to Go that gave me the idea my novel might be a good fit for Heritage House. Miles to Go is a middle-grade novel about two girls growing up in 1948 in a small Saskatchewan town. They are good friends, but their life circumstances couldn’t be more different.
Beryl who lives in the Vancouver area could not have been kinder or more helpful as she told me about her own career as an author and offered words of wisdom regarding contracts. She filled me in on her experiences working with various publishers. I obviously wasn’t the first budding children’s author to ask her for advice. She seemed to take delight in sharing her expertise with others.
Beryl has published all kinds of different books for children.
Would Someone Please Answer the Parrot? is the catchy title of Beryl’s first picture book published by Peanut Butter Press. It is about a family pet who is at the heart of all kinds of rollicking adventures.
Beryl has written two biographies. Charlie: A Home Child’s Life in Canada chronicles the life of her father Charlie who came to Canada as an orphan in the early 1900s.The other is A Boy From Acadie and tells the life story of Romeo LeBlanc, Canada’s 25th Governor-General. In Beryl’s novel Follow the Elephant a thirteen old boy from Canada gets lost in Delhi India and in Wishing Star Summer an eleven- year old girl named Tanya visits Vancouver after her family has been impacted by the Chernobyl radiation disaster in Ukraine.
What a diverse canon of books Beryl has to her name!
I gleaned so much expertise and insight about writing and publishing during my phone conversation with Beryl and from looking at her website. Here are some key things I learned that I want to keep in mind as I work towards the launch of my own book.
- Beryl belongs to six different writers’ groups and associations. She takes her commitment to the profession seriously.
- She has become something of an expert at finding niche publishers just perfect for her books.
- She is an advocate for herself. She makes sure her opinions and ideas are heard and respected during the publishing process. She isn’t afraid to nudge her publishers when she thinks it’s time to move forward on things.
- She very actively promotes her books and speaks to all kinds of different groups about them.
- She has an attractive, up to date author website.
- She networks with other authors.
In fact, Beryl connected me to Harriet Zaidman, a writing friend of hers in Winnipeg. Harriet and I had a delightful lunch together and I had a chance to pick her brain for ideas about writing and book publication.
Before our phone conversation ended Beryl had invited me to drop in at her British Columbia home. I just may take her up on that invitation once it is possible to travel again.
Beryl Young is such an inspiration. Could I publish a half dozen more books in the next twenty years? Who knows?
Other posts about my upcoming novel Lost on the Prairie………..