Author Feature: Mere Joyce

Getting the Brush Off: Two years ago, sixteen-year-old Sydney Hart was kicked out of the prestigious Burke Academy when her mother could no longer afford the tuition. She lost a promising future in the arts, as well as her best friend, who didn’t want to be seen with an art-academy reject. But now, without Burke’s rigid structure, Sydney has found her true passion in performance painting and is busking on Halifax’s boardwalk to earn enough money to go to art camp. After the police shut her down, Sydney learns her old school is hosting a “brush-off” speed-painting contest with a cash prize. Entering would mean facing her painful past, not to mention her former friend, who’s also competing.

What planning and research did you do for you book?

Sydney is both a painter and a dancer, and I am neither of those things! I had to do a lot of research on painting techniques and dance positions.

What is your favorite part of being a writer?

I love the process of turning small ideas into complete stories. A lot of the time I get inspired by little things—the idea of a particular character trait, a certain setting, and sometimes even just a title I know deserves a great story to go with it. It’s fun brainstorming the worlds to accompany these slivers of inspiration.

Getting the Brush Off

What’s your favorite movie or TV show?

There are a lot. But one of my absolute favorites us the show The IT Crowd. Not only is this show hilarious, it’s also weirdly relevant to my life!

What’s your biggest indulgence?

Fancy books. Collector’s editions, illustrated novels, leatherbound classics…I love nice books, and am guilty of owning several versions of the books I really cherish. My pride and joy is a hand-crafted version of The NeverEnding Story, that looks like the book in the film!

 What do you admire most in a book?

Characters I connect with. I don’t care what genre I’m reading, or what the target age is. I just need to connect with the characters in the story.

You’re stranded on a desert island and are allowed 3 books—which do you choose?

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, The Once and Future King by T.H. White, and Carry On by Rainbow Rowell.

What’s your favorite genre to read? To Write?

I love ghost stories and fairytales, probably because I’ve always been drawn to both children’s literature and horror. Fairytales often combine these two, and I developed my love of ghost stories when I was a kid. I’ve written a few ghost stories myself, and I’d love to write a fairytale of my own someday, too!

 What has been your most unlikely adventure?

Learning to paint. Despite writing about an artist, I’ve never considered myself to be artistically inclined. But thanks to Netflix and the wonderfully soothing Bob Ross, I’ve actually learned how to paint. It’s incredible to see a picture come together, and never in my life did I think I’d be able to put anything worthwhile on a canvas—thanks, Bob!

What is your favorite book from your childhood?

I was a huge R.L. Stine fan as a kid, and I loved the Fear Street books most of all. My favorite was definitely Halloween Party. It’s always stuck with me. It was creepy, it had an interesting main character, and I absolutely loved it!

Getting the Brush Off is available now!

Joyce, Mere

Mere Joyce writes short stories as well as novels and holds a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Western Ontario. As both a writer and a librarian, she understands the importance of reading and the impact the right story can have on young minds. She lives in Kitchener, Ontario, with her family. For more information, visit www.merejoyce.com.

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