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Wolfville author launching two new titles that will take young readers on journeys through time

Wolfville children’s author Jan Coates is holding launch events for two new titles hot off the press, A Halifax Time Travelling Tune and her latest novel, Talking to the Moon. The clay jug she is holding, a family heirloom, served as a source of inspiration for the novel.
Wolfville children’s author Jan Coates is holding launch events for two new titles hot off the press, A Halifax Time Travelling Tune and her latest novel, Talking to the Moon. The clay jug she is holding, a family heirloom, served as a source of inspiration for the novel. - Submitted

WOLFVILLE, NS - A children’s author has two new offerings that will surely fuel the imaginations of young readers and transport them back in time.

Jan Coates said A Halifax Time-Travelling Tune and her latest novel, Talking to the Moon, were both released in July. Punctuated with other projects, she spent the last five years researching and writing her new novel. It’s very real to her and she hopes young readers will enjoy it.

“I’m billing it as a Lunenburg story about finding your roots,” Coates said. “It’s considered a middle-grade novel because the girl, Katie, is 11.”

The cover of Talking to the Moon, the latest novel from Wolfville children’s author Jan Coates.
The cover of Talking to the Moon, the latest novel from Wolfville children’s author Jan Coates.

Although the book is set in the present day, it has to do with the history of the Lunenburg Foreign Protestants, which dates back to the 1750’s. The main character, Katie, a foster child, discovers a series of letters which lead to her learning more about the history of the Foreign Protestants.

“She comes to Lunenburg, Katie, looking for her birth mother, who she hasn’t seen for seven years and all she has is a bookmark from a book store in Lunenburg with a message on it,” Coates said.

She considers the book a tribute to those family members and others who came before her. Coates’s ancestors were part of the wave of Foreign Protestants that settled in the Lunenburg area in the 1750’s. She has a clay jug that they brought with them from Montbéliard, France. Coates said she doesn’t know the story of the jug but it inspired her to start conducting research.

“I thought I was writing historical fiction but then Katie just sort of walked into the story one day and it became her story and her looking for, first, her birth mother and then her roots,” Coates said.

The cover of Talking to the Moon was done by the publisher, Red Deer Press, with a lot of input into the design from Coates. She said the appearance of the cover was very important to her.

She said the concept for A Halifax Time-Travelling Tune, which is published by Nimbus Publishing, sort of comes from “the ear worm idea.” This is when you get a song stuck in your head and you can’t shake it.

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The cover of A Halifax Time-Travelling Tune, one of two new books from Wolfville children’s author Jan Coates.
The cover of A Halifax Time-Travelling Tune, one of two new books from Wolfville children’s author Jan Coates.

The story begins with a child who is portrayed in the book as gender neutral. Coates said this seemed like a timely approach to take with the main character. The child is making music with his or her grandmother before bedtime.

The grandmother tells the child she wishes that he or she could have seen the Halifax that she knew as a little girl. When the main character falls asleep, a magical tune whisks the child away on a tour of 1950’s Halifax.

She said illustrator Marijke Simons did a lovely job painting images of the Halifax of the 1950’s. Coates hopes the book will be one that grandparents want to share – and perhaps sing - with their grandchildren. She said her father owned a music store and music has always been part of her life.

Launch events

A Halifax Time-Travelling Tune was launched at the Halifax Central Library on Aug. 4. Talking to the Moon will be launched with a celebration at the Lunenburg Library on Aug. 16 at 6:30 p.m.

Coates said she uses a quote from a Tom Chapin song, Family Tree, in the book: “You’re probably my cousin and the whole world is our kin.” She said the fact that we’re all connected if we look back far enough plays a huge role in the story. Coates is very excited that Chapin will be at the library for the launch and will be performing the song.

A hometown launch for both books will be held at The Box of Delights Bookshop in Wolfville on Aug. 18 at 11 a.m.

Coates said she used to find launch events for her works extremely intimidating but she has gotten used to it, as these two books are her seventh and eighth. She said friends who want to show their support often attend but also people you don’t know.

“When you spend this time writing books, you want people to read them, so it’s nice to be able to read a little bit of it to them and I hope it piques their interest,” Coates said.

Kirk.starratt@kingscountynews.ca

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