Patricia McCowan

Writer, reader, walker.

Category: Upstaged


upstaged cover

“Another Op’nin’, Another Show … ” *

It’s been decades since I set foot on a stage as an actor, but the excitement and nerves that an opening night can trigger are still alive in my blood. Launching a new book may not carry the same sense of immediacy as a first entrance onstage—I can’t hear my readers waiting out there just beyond the edge of the stage, chatting and rustling programs—but it’s still exciting. And, yes, a little nerve-wracking.

Today is like opening night for my novel Upstaged. It’s publication day! After all the preparation (also known as “writing the book”) and backstage work (here’s to you, writing group, editor Robin Stevenson, and the designers, production editors and marketing people at Orca Book Publishers), my characters Ellie, Gregor, Marissa, Shantel and others are ready to sing and dance their way across the stages of your imaginations. I hope you enjoy the show. I certainly enjoyed channeling all my old emotions about what it’s like to be in a play into this story. And I don’t miss worrying about whether I’ll make it through a lightning-fast costume change in time for my next cue! Writers are lucky that way.

Upstaged is available directly from Orca; online in both print and e-book formats at and; and at wonderful independent bookstores such as Ella Minnow Books (where I’ll be for Authors for Indies on April 30).

* Title of the opening number to the Cole Porter musical, Kiss Me Kate

New Year, New Book

I’m going to go out on a limb here and declare that, for a writer, knowing you have a new book coming out soon is the best way to start the new year. Okay, I suppose the best, best way for a writer to start the new year (or day, or week, or month) is to WRITE. But having a finished book is a very close second-best. As Dorothy Parker said, or wrote, “I hate writing; I love having written.”

So what have I written? Upstaged, for Orca Book Publishers’ Limelights series. Like my first book, Honeycomb, it looks at what it takes for a young person to immerse herself in a particular performing art. Upstaged puts readers front and center in the world of a youth musical theater company. Here’s how Orca’s Spring 2016 catalogue describes the story:

 Ellie is used to getting leading roles in her small-town school’s musicals, but her place at center stage disappears when her dad becomes the host of a breakfast TV show and they have to move to the big city. When Ellie auditions for – and lands – a spot with the Youth Works Theater Company, she comes up against a tight-knit group of talented, experienced and competitive triple-threat performers.

Upstaged officially launches April 12, 2016. I can’t wait – so it’s a good thing I get to sign some pre-release copies of the book at the OLA (Ontario Library Association) Super Conference this month! I’ll be at the Orca booth with my favorite pen on Friday, January 29 at 10:00 am, signing books for librarians. I can’t think of a better way to start the new year.

© 2019 Patricia McCowan

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