Get To Know The Touring Creators Part 7

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It’s the week before Book Week and we’re getting to know the 28 touring authors, illustrators and storytellers better before they travel to 175 communities across Canada.

Do you have a touring creator coming to your community? Get to know them beforehand with these interviews. Be sure to read past interviews: part one, part two, part three, part four, part five and part six.

Patrick Weekes
Bernice Hune
Brooke Kerrigan


Patrick Weekes

Patrick Weekes was born in California and attended Stanford University. In 2005, he moved to Alberta, Canada, where he joined the BioWare writing team. Since then, he has written for the first three games of the Mass Effect series, as well as Dragon Age: Inquisition.

Patrick’s novels include both fantasy and science fiction for teen and adult readers. He is the author of the Rogues of the Republic fantasy heist caper series, as well as the modern-day science-fiction novel Feeder. In addition, he has written tie-in media for BioWare properties: Dragon Age: The Masked Empire, as well as an issue of the Mass Effect: Homeworlds graphic novel series.

Patrick lives in Edmonton with his wife Karin, his two sons, and too many rescued animals. When not writing or dadding, he builds impractically large Lego sets and watches goofy movies with good fight scenes.

Do you have any advice for any young, aspiring creators out there?

 Spend time listening to people. Listen to what they say, and how they say it. Listen to how they talk around something they’re not comfortable saying directly. Listen to the tone of their voice when they’re excited or nervous or irritated. Listen to the words they use when they talk about something they want, or fear, or hate. Then listen to the words in your mind while you write.


And finally, as you’re writing, allow your first draft to be silly or rough. Don’t let fear of it not being perfect paralyze you. You can’t fix something until you write it.


How did you get started in children’s books?

 I realized that I was writing a lot of stories for adults, but my children are old enough to want to read things I write now. I wanted to write something that could be fun for them, something where they could see themselves. Although my children are older now, the bits of them that made it into my stories will be that age forever.


How can teachers use your books in the classroom?

My book Feeder has a large cast of characters from different backgrounds, and I tried to give each of them different dialogue styles. Sometimes you will see two characters in a scene from one point of view, and then later you’ll see the same two characters from the other person’s point of view. Looking at the different speech and thought patterns can be useful for general talks about point of view or narrative tone, but also for looking at how people with different backgrounds might approach a situation.


What are you most excited for about Book Week? Is there anything you’re nervous about?

 I love talking with students who enjoy reading, writing, and playing games. It’s so exciting to get the chance to hear what gets them — be it a game or a novel or a movie. I also love speaking with students who are interested in writing or working in games themselves. Their questions always make me think.


As far as being nervous, my biggest fear is finding myself speaking to a room full of people who don’t like stories. Hopefully that won’t be a problem this year!


For the touring creators, Book Week involves a lot of traveling. What one book and one other item are your travel essentials?

 Because I love reading on my phone, I have ALL of my books with me on the Kindle app. I always have several books from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld downloaded. Feet of Clay is probably my favorite. My son is reading it right now, and I have it as well. Any time I feel blocked, I can pull it up and wrap the words around me like a warm blanket.


I also always travel with a map and GPS, because I have the worst sense of direction in anyone in my family. I accidentally got lost driving to school and almost ended up in the ocean once. I drove across the entirety of Montreal in the wrong direction. I drove for more than an hour into the Alberta wilderness while trying to get to my partner’s concert. I’ve lived in Edmonton for more than a decade, and I still make Siri give me directions when I drive home from downtown.


Find out more about Patrick Weekes at his official website or through the Book Week website here.


Bernice Hune

For a century, Chinese communities in North America were bachelor societies. The end of Chinese Exclusion meant that Bernice saw children bigger than herself, some as tall as their father being reuniting in Toronto’s Chinatown. Bernice loved words and pictures and so after school Chinese classes was fun for her. “Not so” said her brother who played hooky for hockey. Her parents saved for a house. At her new school, the only visible faces were her siblings. At home, Grandma told tales of emperors, dragons and village orphans. Bernice studied art history at university. She performed in theatre and co-hosted a national CBC radio program.

Bernice is a visual and performing artist who loves working with children. For 30 years, she has been creating classroom art projects (K to grade 8). As painted dragons, kites and lanterns dry on desks, Bernice tells a tale or two.

Concurrently, since 1995 Bernice has been performing in libraries, cultural centers and festival events across Canada as well as internationally. She has led workshops for teachers at various boards of education in Ontario as well as for the staff of Citizenship & Immigration Canada. Bernice has been a guest speaker for the Multicultural History Society of Ontario and the Canadian Museum of Immigration – Pier 21 in Halifax.


For the touring creators, Book Week involves a lot of traveling. What one book and one other item are your travel essentials?

I travel with silk cocoons & iron spikes for children to see & touch. I bring maps. I trace the ancient silk route across many countries; I trace the  Canadian Pacific Railway tracks that linked our nation from sea to sea.

How did you get started in storytelling?

I am a performing and visual artist. In the 1980’s, I was engaged by many Ontario schools on creative projects.  Whenever the paint was drying on kites and other flying art projects,  I would tell a fable and answer their questions about my background. Officially, I became a storyteller in 1995 when I began to perform at festivals and cultural centres.

What are you most excited for about Book Week? Is there anything you’re nervous about?

I am excited to tour B.C. While I am based in central Canada, my work is rooted in the experiences of Pacific immigrants. May is Asian heritage month in Canada.

What was your favourite story as a child? Why?

“The Magic Paint Brush” is an enchanting fable. My grandmother had the wisdom to tell me that “Tye Mae” was a girl when the protagonist has been traditionally portrayed as a boy. While my brother would rather play hockey than go to after school Chinese classes, I loved having a sumie paint brush.

What (or who) inspires the stories you create and tell?

The Cantonese voices of community elders inspire the stories that I create. During my growing up years, there was a long held community silence about the  Head Tax and Chinese Exclusion era.The characters in “Mr. Yip’s Laundry” and “Shoes for Suyin” are historical narratives linked to social justice.


Find out more about Bernice Hune through her website or through the Book Week website here.


Brooke Kerrigan


Born and raised in Toronto Canada, Brooke currently splits her time between Tiny, Ontario and a little town in the French Alps called Chamonix. Both places inspire her daily with their landscape and beauty. Brooke has loved to draw and get creative ever since she was small. Doodling, scribbling, colouring and crafting until one day she realized she wanted to go away to college to study art. From there, with a lot of practicing and a lot of hard work, she eventually found her way to illustrating picture books. What a lovely twisty road it has been!

In her books so far, Brooke has worked in watercolour, guache, pencil crayon, collage and most recently digital on an iPad pro! She’s inspired by all sorts of things, the mountains, the sea, the clouds, the flowers, and mostly her very overactive imagination. Brooke particularly loves the final moments of a painting when it all comes together, adding the last touches and extra little details……. if you look carefully at her work you might spot a little creature hidden in the background, or a poka dot flower blowing in the wind.

Brooke has illustrated over 10 picture books including design-award winning Fishermen Through & Through, and recent Blue spruce honor book The Little Boy Who Lived Down the Drain.


Do you have any advice for any young, aspiring creators out there?
My advice would be to have confidence in your ideas and donʼt be afraid to express yourself. If you love creating then you have exactly what it takes because thatʼs the MOST important part.

A passion for creating is step number one. Next, donʼt be afraid to use your imagination to the MAXIMUM, all those funny
quirky fantastic ideas in your head are bound to make someone else smile. So have fun and start creating. The more you do it the better youʼll get.

For the touring creators, Book Week involves a lot of traveling. What one book and one other item are your travel essentials?
I brought my most important book – my sketch book! In case I get inspired to doodle its right there with me!!! My second important travel essential is my favourite doodling pen. I was also really tempted to bring my hot water bottle but I didnʼt.

What are you most excited for about Book Week? Is there anything youʼre nervous about?
I am most excited to meet the kids who read my books! I donʼt get to meet them very often and it makes me incredibly happy and excited to be an illustrator. I am definitely nervous about talking to big groups, and hope I donʼt forget anything (or everything) and stand there with my mouth open…… but I think that the excitement at being there will help with that! :O)

How did you get started in childrenʼs books?
My parents made picture books as well, so I grew up watching them work on them from their studios in the house. My mom illustrating in the attic and my Dad designing in the basement. They encouraged my drawing and I always said I wanted to become an artist. So itʼs really cool that the dream became a reality!

What (or who) inspires your writing or art?
There is so much that inspires my art itʼs hard to give a short answer! Sometimes just walking outside a bird will fly by or the light will change or Iʼll see a perfect cloud and my imagination will start to spin.Of course other artists are huge sources of inspiration. Off the top of my head I absolutely love Lisbeth Zwerger – her art is stunning. If you donʼt know her google her! I also love Marie Louise Gayʼs imagination, characters and books. She inspires me a lot. And my Mom, Heather Collins she has started oil painting since retiring as an illustrator and her work is just amazing.

Find out more about Brooke Kerrigan through her official website and through the Book Week website here.

Check each day this week for more interviews!