I am pleased to welcome Jodi Carmichael to the MG Book Village today as part of her FAMILY OF SPIES Blog Tour!
Jodi is a local Winnipeg author, and I was very excited to attend the launch of her new middle grade novel, published by Yellow Dog (a new imprint of Great Plains Publications). We recently sat down to discuss FAMILY OF SPIES, and I asked if I could write a post to share a bit of what I learned from her with our site’s readers.
First, here’s a synopsis of the book:
Thirteen-year-old cousins, Ford and Ellie never expected their family holiday in Paris to include spies, secret codes, and psychic messages. From the moment Ford touches Great-Grandad’s briefcase, the first of many déjà vu episodes is triggered and Ford ceases to see himself as the dunce in a family of brilliant minds. Now Ford is a genius, too: a psychic genius. With the help of his older brother Gavin, the local librarian, and an ancient clairvoyant, they discover that Ford’s vision are actually Great-Grandad’s 1944 war time memories. Ford also discovers that life may not be as perfect as he thought for his science prodigy brother. Driven to discover why Great-Grandad’s war records remain sealed eighty years after the war ended, they conduct an online search and learn Great-Grandad was a spymaster with the Special Operations Executive (S.O.E). Unfortunately, their internet investigation alerts both MI6 and CIA, as Great-Grandad hid something important to the war effort and these agencies have waited decades to get it back! The cousins outrun two determined spies as they follow Great-Grandad’s memories and hidden messages through the streets of Paris. Finally, they uncover his heartbreaking secret and right old wrongs.
FAMILY OF SPIES is loosely based on the mystery surrounding Jodi’s grandfather, Edward Hugh Martin Crawford. He was R.C.A.F. pilot in World War II, but his military records remain sealed, and there are several questions about the actual role he really played in the war. Is it possible he was a spy? And if so, what sort of activities might he have been involved in? A great deal of research went into her book, including topics such as quantum physics, the Special Operations Executive, World War II spies, code names, Camp X, and the famous Canadian spy Sir William Stephenson.
Jodi was lucky to have local artist Jamie Gatta illustrate her book. He was given the text surrounding the illustration, and added beautiful touches that really enhanced the finished product.
Jodi also worked with Beaumont School as part of the Adopt an Author program. She visited 75 Grade 4 and 5 students throughout the process of writing the book, and the kids got to see what was involved in writing, editing, and publishing.
Recent middle grade titles that Jodi has enjoyed include: SEVEN DEAD PIRATES by Linda Bailey, REFUGEE by Alan Gratz, MY DIARY FROM THE EDGE OF THE WORLD by Jodi Lynn Anderson, FULL CICADA MOON by Marilyn Hilton, SADIA by Colleen Nelson, and FORGETTING HOW TO BREATHE by Anita Daher.
Jodi is currently working on edits for new middle grade novel called A TIME OF PERIL.
Jodi Carmichael’s dreams of becoming an author began to come true when she attended her first SCBWI conference in Los Angeles in 2007 and was nominated for the Sue Alexander Most Promising New Work Award. A champion for the underdog and kids who think differently, she wrote SPAGHETTI IS NOT A FINGER FOOD AND OTHER LIFE LESSONS (2013) which won numerous awards including a Gold Mom’s Choice and a Silver Moonbeam in 2013. In 2016 her novel about relationship abuse, FOREVER JULIA (2016) won the Manitoba Book Award; The McNally Robinson Books for Young People Awards – Older Category and received a Bronze Moonbeam Award for Young Adult Fiction – Mature Issues.
When not channeling characters from her books, she can be found strolling Manitoba beaches with her husband, two daughters, and exceedingly scruffy Border Terrier named Zoe.”