Friday, September 23, 2016

Blog Tour: The Art of Rebellion by Brenda Joyce Leahy


I'm excited to announce the Blog Tour for 
The Art of Rebellion by Brenda Joyce Leahy
presented by Rebelight Publishing and
hosted by Chapter by Chapter!

tAoR Cover
            The Art of Rebellion by Brenda Joyce Leahy
            Publication Date:  June 15, 2016
            Publisher:  Rebelight Publishing
Art is Gabrielle’s passion, but her parents have other plans for her future-marriage to a man three times her age who holds nothing but disdain for art. Gabrielle is determined to escape life as the baron’s trophy wife and the confinement of traditional roles. She flees her privileged home in the French countryside for Paris and the grandmother who understands her passion. When she cannot locate her grandmother, Gabrielle is left on her own in the City of Lights. The art world of Paris, 1900, brims with excitement, opportunity, and risk. Should Gabrielle trust her new friends, or will they take advantage of her hopes and dreams?
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  1. What was your inspiration for this story?
I grew up without a grandmother and always felt the lack of her presence. Stories abounded of my grandfather, Jack Morton, an early 20th century cowboy/rancher who was larger than life – a biography, Wildhorse Jack, was written about him by a prominent historian. But I always wondered what kind of woman my grandmother was, why would she leave a life of luxury in France to marry a cowboy and live the life of a homesteader? I knew she spoke several languages and played the mandolin, was an excellent seamstress and very cultured, yet she escaped out her bedroom window and down a ladder to marry my grandfather, who had no money or position. I finally traveled to Laval, France where she grew up, trying to understand her life prior to Canada. The story quickly became fictional, but I think Gabbi’s passion and spirit reflect the person my grandmother was.

2. Do you enjoy art, or consider yourself an artist?
I am an art appreciator, definitely not an artist – at least not a visual artist. My mother was an artist, trained in Los Angeles during the Depression and taught at the Banff School of Fine Art. Through her I became aware of art, and met or saw letters and paintings from many of her artist friends. I attempted to draw and paint in my teen years but my mother was quick to tell me my talents “lay in other pursuits”! I took some art classes at university but that reinforced my mother’s advice!

3. When writing, did you see some of your traits in Gabrielle?
There’s a bit of the author in every story. I see myself in Gabbi’s longing for her grandmother and also in her determination to never give up what she loves – her art. For me, it’s my writing. It’s a long road to publication and you need to believe in yourself so as not to give up after so many rejection letters.

4. What was the most difficult thing for you about writing this story?
Cutting out scenes and characters I really loved. There are five chapters at the start, introducing Gabbi at school, her art teacher Mme Magne, and especially the details of her friendship with Bernadette that had to be cut. Some of it made it into the flashbacks but much is missing. I had a childhood friend Bernadette and modeled Gabbi’s best friend after her.

5. Do you have any favorite authors or books that led you to write a YA historical fiction?
I loved great sweeping historical sagas when I was growing up – our house was filled with books that my parents read, but there were no books that were actually called YA, as that’s a relatively new term. Some authors I recall are Leon Uris, Margaret Mitchell, Lucy Maude Montgomery, George Orwell, Harper Lee and many more. By university, I began to read Canadian authors too such as Margaret Atwood and W.O. Mitchell.
When I began to study creative writing more seriously, I encountered Canadian YA authors I really admired such as Kenneth Oppel, Tim Wynne-Jones, Susan Juby and Arthur Slade. I eventually was able to study with some of them, too. Naturally I love so many of the American and British authors writing in YA also like Sarah Dessen, John Green, Liza Ketchum and others.
My list of favourite authors and books is far too long to put in here, and invariably when I do attempt to list them, I look back in dismay because I’ve missed some important ones! Some YA historical novels I love include Megiddo’s Shadow (A.Slade), Journey to the River Sea (E.Ibbotson), Bird with the Heart of a Mountain (B. Mariconda), A Great and Terrible Beauty (L. Bray) … the list could continue!!

About the Author:
Brenda Joyce Leahy has travelled to France five times but finds there’s always more explorations awaiting her. She loves historical fiction and thinks she was born a century too late but can’t imagine her life without computers or cell phones. So, perhaps, she arrived in the world at just the right moment to tell this story.

She grew up on a farm near Taber, Alberta but now lives with her family near the Rocky Mountains in Calgary, Alberta. After over 20 years practising law, she has returned to her first love of writing fiction. She is a member of several writing organizations, including the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI): her profile there is The Art of Rebellion is also profiled on the Humber School of Writers’ website at Brenda is also a member of the Historical Novel Society:, and leads a YA/MG writers’ critique group in Calgary.

The Art of Rebellion is her first Young Adult novel, published by Rebelight Publishing, spring 2016.

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