Darlene Foster's Blog

Guest Author Ann Eriksson

Posted on: July 13, 2020

Ann Eriksson, credit Carol Sowerby photographer

I am pleased to present my guest today, fellow BC author, Ann Eriksson who has just released her latest book, Bird’s-Eye View: Keeping Wild Birds in Flight. A perfect book for anyone who loves birds and a great gift for a young person.

Ann Eriksson lives on Thetis Island, BC, in a waterfront house surrounded by ocean and trees and lots of amazing and beautiful wildlife. Ann is the author of five novels and two non-fiction ecological literacy books for children. When she’s not writing, working in biology, or helping protect the environment, she’s out exploring nature, on foot, or by boat. You can read about Ann’s work at www.anneriksson.ca. Ann’s novels and children’s books are available in print and eBook formats through your favourite bookseller.

Bird’s-Eye View: Keeping Wild Birds in Flight

From the dry deserts to the icy poles, wild birds are everywhere. We see them soaring overhead, paddling across water, flitting through trees, pecking at our backyard bird feeders and singing from fence posts. Birds contribute to the health of the planet and are enjoyed by many people around the world. But wild birds are in trouble. Today almost 200 bird species are critically endangered. They are threatened by habitat loss, invasive species, climate change, pesticides, human-made structures and other animals. Why are wild birds important? Why do they need help? And what are young people all over the world doing to take wild birds under their wing?

“Anyone, young or old, who wants to learn more about the birds that live in their neighborhood or on the other side of the planet will love this book.” – Trevor Herriot, naturalist and author of Grass, Sky, Song

“ A passionate and beautifully illustrated appeal to bird lovers of all ages.” – Bridget Stutchbury, author of Silence of the Songbirds and The Bird Detective.

What was the inspiration for Birds-Eye View?
I live on Thetis Island, surrounded daily by a wonderful and lively diversity of songbirds, woodpeckers, birds of prey and marine birds. And as a biologist and director of the Thetis Island Nature Conservancy, I know how impacted these beautiful and fascinating animals have been by human activities. I had already written Dive In! Exploring Our Connection with the Ocean as part of the Orca Footprints ecological literacy series and had enjoyed the experience immensely, so I pitched a book on birds and bird conservation to my editors at Orca Book Publishers. It ended up as an Orca Wild title.

I see that you have written a diverse collection of novels. What made you decide on the type of books you write?
I started out writing novels because that is what I love to read. I love being transported into different lives and worlds, and exposed to ideas, people and places I wouldn’t normally encounter. I took a break from fiction to write children’s non-fiction on invitation from Ruth Linka, my former publisher at Brindle & Glass, now at Orca Book Publishers. Both the novels and the non-fiction have combined my passion for writing with my interest in ecology.

How long have you been seriously writing?
I started writing novels in 2000, when I was a single parent with 2 school-age children, a dog to walk, a big old house and garden to look after and a contract job in biology. I began to wake up in the morning with a story complete with characters, paragraphs and sentences running through my head. I told it to go away, I didn’t have time. But it continued to tug at me until a friend invited me to join a fledgling writing group. I wrote my first novel, Decomposing Maggie, through that group of supportive women. I can’t believe it has been 20 years!

Where do you get your ideas?
I write about topics that interest me personally, which generally fall into the categories of ecological and social issues. In my fiction, I’ve written about grief, about disabilities, mental illness, homelessness, ocean pollution, marine ecology, killer whales, classical music, trees, forest ecology and habitat loss, climate change and even a little romance.

What is your writing process?
I call my process the ‘whenever’ school of writing. When I was first writing and still with young children at home, I wrote whenever I got some free time. I never procrastinated. I would sit down and start typing (although not always the most brilliant words). Now that it’s just me and my husband, also a writer, I tend to procrastinate more. But when I do get into a project, I stay focused, set my own deadlines if I don’t have external ones, and am quite productive.

Where do you do your best writing?
I have a beautiful bright loft above the kitchen, with a small deck and a view of the ‘Cut’, an ocean pass on which our home is located. I joke that I write with one eye focussed on the computer and the other on the nature going by outdoors. When I really want to concentrate, I head out to a small 100 square foot former children’s playhouse that we call the Dylan Thomas cabin. But the location isn’t so important (sometimes it’s the dining room table) as taking the time to write for periods long enough to get ‘in the zone,’ where hours can go by that feel like minutes. A wonderful place to be.

How long does it take you to write a book?
I’ve written 8 books in 20 years, so I guess an average of 2-4 years from research to publication. But it varies greatly. I wrote the first draft of my first novel in 6 months. I have a novel that’s been in progress now for 3 or 4 years. And a couple more partially finished manuscripts crying for my attention.

What kind of research do you do for a children’s book, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
The kinds of children’s books I write, which are based on scientific information, take a lot of research. It’s important to me that the information in them is accurate and current. I read books and articles by scientists, I search the internet for interesting information, watch videos, interview experts and others, sometimes children, with knowledge and experience about the topic, and attend talks and conferences, for up to a year before I start writing. Then the process of turning it all into an engaging and interesting narrative begins. Once the text is written I have others, including scientists, read it and give me feedback. When the draft is ready and edited, my publisher then turns it into a beautiful work of art.

Tell us about what you are working on next.
I’m in the final stages of a non-fiction book for youth about the climate crisis, to be published in the fall of 2021 as part of Orca’s Issues series. After that, I’m planning another novel. Fiction is calling me.

You can connect with Ann here:

Website: www.anneriksson.ca
Facebook: Ann Eriksson Books
Twitter: @Ann_Eriksson
Instagram: annleriksson

Her Novels
Decomposing Maggie (2003, Turnstone Press) Note: Out of print
In the Hand of Anubis (2009, Brindle and Glass)
Falling From Grace (2010, Brindle and Glass)
High Clear Bell of Morning (2014, Douglas & McIntyre)
The Performance (2016, Douglas & McIntyre)

Her Children’s Non-Fiction
Dive In! Exploring Our Connection With The Ocean (2018, Orca Book Publishers)
Bird’s-Eye View (2020, Orca Book Publishers)

Please do check out these wonderful books and share this post with your readers.

Thanks, Ann for being a guest on my blog and sharing your love of the environment and its inhabitants.

45 Responses to "Guest Author Ann Eriksson"

That loft about the kitchen sounds like a perfect place to write – and what a view it must be! Best wishes with your new release, Ann!

Writing anywhere on Thetis Island would be perfect! I’ve been there and it’s wonderful.

“Whenever” as a writing process has gotten you 8 books, the latest a winsome book with a bold cover. We live in Florida, but I have always loved visiting British Columbia. I’ve never been to Thetis Island, but it must have served as inspiration for this book.

Thank you for featuring Ann this week, Darlene!

Whenever has served Ann well. I think that is my process now that I’m retired as well. Thetis Island is a magical place as are many of the gulf islands off the coast of BC.

What an eclectic writer Ann is. I always enjoy posts about how other writers work and this was no exception. I’m also a fan of wild birds and have several feeders in the garden – so Birds Eye View definitely appeals to me.

Thanks, Anne. I am always amazed at writers who can write in many different genres. Birds play a part in my next book that takes place in Malta.

Good interview, Anne and Darlene. I love the ‘whenever’ process of writing!

Thanks, Jacqui! I love that term too.

I am a bit surprised that Anne’s ‘whenever’ approach works so well. Perhaps it is the focus she describes that has brought on such success.

Sometimes a more relaxed method of doing things can result in more production. It has worked better for me the past few years. Focus certainly helps. xo

What an interesting blog, and I’m happy to see another BC author showcased. It sounds like Ann is living in paradise, and I love the fact that she’s writing both fiction and nonfiction. I don’t see as many authors doing so, but it’s something I’ve thought about over the years.

I am always impressed with writers who are successfully diverse. I´ve thought about it as well.

Hi Ann and Darlene, this is a fascinating post. I’d like to share it with a friend of mine, a young wildlife biologist in California!

Please do. I’m glad you liked the post. We really want to get the word out about this book.

I want to thank Darlene for inviting me to participate in her fabulous blog. And thanks everyone for your kind comments. Happy writing and reading everyone!

Thank you for being such an amazing guest. Your book has created a lot of interest all over the world.

The description of Bird’s Eye View got my attention. Listening (and when I’m lucky, watching) birds has been one of life’s greatest pleasures since I was a child. I’m afraid I may have been taking it for granted.

Watching birds can be so soul-soothing. We can´t take for granted they will always be here. So many are now endangered.

Before reading your post, I’d never really thought about just how much birds have enriched my life. I will no longer take for granted that they will always be here.

I come from a wildlife family, so I immediately was interested in your interview with Ann, Darlene. My dad was a wildlife biologist who was involved with the recovery efforts for the Aleutian Canada Goose (a subspecies of the Canada Goose). They were once endangered and are now plentiful. One of my brothers is the vice-president of the North American Butterfly Association. I will take the time to connect with Ann personally. Thanks for the interview and links.

You and Ann will have a lot in common. I´m sure you would agree that her book should be in all schools.

Hi, Darlene – It is a pleasure to meet another BC writer here. Thank you for sharing Ann with us. Her books sound like perfect gifts for my grandchildren!

Yes, they would be perfect gifts. So much talent in BC. It must be the gorgeous scenery that inspires.

Delightful interview, Darlene.

Hi Darlene, I enjoyed this interview with Ann and her books sound intriguing and beneficial, especially, her current book on climate crisis. Love the idea of that loft above the kitchen, too. Thank you for introducing her to us.

I´m so pleased you enjoyed meeting Ann here on my blog. Thanks.

Ann’s book sounds lovely, Darlene, what a great opportunity to be asked to write non-fiction for children. Thanks for this introduction to Ann.

Children need well written and interesting non-fiction books. I hope schools stock this book.

Hi Darlene. Thanks for this marvelous introduction to Ann. Hugs on the wing!

You’re welcome. Hugs back!!

INSPIRING. The more time I spend at home, watching nature (ie, birds/squirrels/chipmunks/wild turkeys) from my front porch, the more fascinated I am. Birds are my new love. This book looks amazing.

This book would be right up your street! I agree, we are noticing nature more these days. xo

Intrigued by where you live in BC. Thetis Island. How does one do grocery shopping, visit doctors, etc. ? A boat? A ferry? Or are you somehow connected to the mainland via a bridge? Island life sounds romantic until I need my groceries, etc. Living in nature surrounded by so much beauty has to be wonderful though. Happy writing.

Ann lives on Thetis Island which has a grocery store and she most likely has a boat. Most islanders do. My daughter lives on a smaller gulf island and has for a number of years. There is no ferry, bridge, etc. She has a boat that gets her to a larger island that has a grocery store, library, doctor, etc. for her needs. She loves her life and spends her days making pottery, growing a garden, and enjoying nature. I love visiting her on her island.

Such an enjoyable post about Ann. Your daughter has the creative side to spend her days. Sounds delightful along with growing a garden. I didn’t realize the exact location but looked it up. One of my sisters lived in Seattle but has since moved south to Lacey. Islands are nice to visit, but I fear I need my Wegmans grocery stores in Upstate New York. Would love to explore that area more too since I made music with my sister and her friends. Western swing and country. I am more a classical music lady but nonetheless enjoyed her fiddle playing and singing too. Hope you get to visit your daughter often. Thanks for the lovely comment and explanation.

Western Swing and Country music are very popular on the west coast. I love visiting my daughter but do enjoy my creature comforts too much to live there. xo

Living on Thetis Island must provide lots of inspiration for writing, whether non fiction or fiction.

I think so, a perfect place to become inspired. I’ve been there once and loved it. We stopped there when we were island hopping in our boat. We walked to Foster Point just so we could take a picture!

What a lovely interview, Darlene and Ann. I envy you your workplace/home, it sounds amazing, and is clearly inspirational. Good luck with Bird’s-eye View, what a great idea for a book.

Thanks, Cath. We all wish Ann the best of luck with her wonderful book. A tough time to launch a book right now.

Yes, though maybe this is one ideally suited to those of us who are spending more time in our own homes and gardens, and taking better notice of local wildlife.

Hi everyone: I really appreciate your comments and interest in Bird’s-Eye View. I’ve been squirreled away working on the copyediting for my non-fiction book for teens about the climate crisis. Next step…laid out pages! Now the design fun starts. Thanks and stay well.

Thanks, Ann. It sounds like you are keeping very busy. Bird´s-Eye View has had a very positive response. xo

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