Meet Our Members: Dianne Young


Dianne Young is a retired educational assistant and primarily a writer of picture books. Her last book, Dear Flyary, won the Saskatchewan Book Awards SaskEnergy Children’s Literature Award in 2014. Her next book, due out Fall 2018, is a collaboration with Pickles comic strip creator, Brian Crane.

Dear Flyary, by Dianne Young





Describe your workspace.

My office is in my bedroom. It occupies most of the wall between two windows.

OfficeThis picture is rather misleading. I’m a piler, so usually the printer, the scanner, the desk and the floor around the desk are covered in stuff. I cleaned it up (as in temporarily relocated the piles) for the picture.

My other workspace is at my friend Paula’s kitchen table on most Monday mornings when we get together to write. Separately, but together.

Describe a typical workday.



Now that I’m retired, my days are anything but typical. But most mornings start with a trip to the dog park with Posey. If I’m going to get any writing done that day, it will either happen after the dog park, or after lunch. At least that’s the way it’s working out now. But I’m retired, so I can pretty much schedule my day however I like. (Doesn’t seem to make me any more productive, though.) If I’m not writing, I’m attending to the business of writing, or researching, or whatever strikes my fancy at the moment. Evenings are for activities, and late evenings are for working on the online calculus class I’m taking.

List three of your most favourite things in your workspace and why they are meaningful.

Screensaver The desktop image on my laptop. It’s my favourite picture of my husband, Bill, who died three years ago. Turning on my laptop is always a joy when the first thing I see is him. (My sons cringe when they see all the icons on my desktop. Told you I was a piler!)




My stuffed robin. It reminds me of the wonderful writing group I belong to, known as the Robins. I’ve been with this group over 25 years. They have taught me so much about writing for children, and we have grown as close as sisters. (For perspective, it’s about five inches across.)






My desk. It used to be an entertainment stand. I cut the drawers off the bottom, and removed the glass doors from the right side. I think it was a stroke of genius!

(Don’t look to close at the top. The piles have begun to return!)


Do you have any rituals in your work habits?

No. (Truth be told, I don’t even have any work habits!)

What do you listen to while you work?

Nothing. I find it too distracting.

What is your drink and/or snack of choice while you’re working?

Tea station

My Tea Station

Water. Sometimes herbal tea, but that’s more for when I’m taking a break. If I’m having tea, I’ll also have a couple of Anna’s Ginger Thins. I have a tea station set up outside my bedroom, so I don’t have to go all the way to the kitchen to get my tea fix. Not that it’s an arduous journey, but it’s a distracting one.








How do you develop your story ideas? Do you use an outline, let the muse lead you, or another technique?

If it’s fiction, I’m a pantser. If it’s non-fiction, I’m an outliner.

If you were forced to share your workspace but could share it with anyone of your choosing, who would it be?

Sam Elliot? No, then I’d never get any writing done! I guess I’d go with my friend Paula, whose workspace I already invade most Monday mornings.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve heard or received?

Don’t give up. My favourite writing quote is from Barbara Kingsolver, and it’s about rejection:

This manuscript of yours that has just come back from another editor is a precious package. Don’t consider it rejected. Consider that you’ve addressed it, “To the editor who can appreciate my work,” and it has simply come back stamped “Not at this address.” Just keep looking for the right address.

Thanks to Jennifer Chambliss Bertman for the use of her Creative Spaces interview questions.





New Feature: Meet Our Members


My name is Dianne Young and I am the new Social Media Person for CANSCAIP Sask Horizons. First off I would like to say Thank You to Sharon Plumb Hamilton, who has been the President and Social Media Person for many years. She is still President (but would really like someone to step up to replace her) and has graciously agreed to answer all my questions as I start out in this position.

CANSCAIP Sask Horizons is a community of children’s authors, illustrators and performers that live in Saskatchewan, and a chapter of the national organization CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers). Since we are a community, I think it’s time we get to know each other better.

I am hoping to feature an interview with each and every one of you, based on the Creative Spaces interviews that Jennifer Chambliss Bertman has on her blog. (She has given me permission to copy her questions.)

I’ll go first, to give you an idea how it will look. I will also email the list of questions to everyone. Ideally, I’d like to be able to post a new interview every two weeks, but that will depend on how many people submit material and when.

I’m looking forward to getting to know each of you better.


Biennial General Meeting – September 17, 2017

CANSCAIP Sask Horizons’ Biennial General Meeting will be held on September 17, 2017 at 10 am at Queen’s House Retreat & Renewal Centre in Saskatoon. It will follow directly after the closing exercises of the Prairie Horizons 2017 conference.

The meeting is open to all Members and Friends of CANSCAIP who reside in Saskatchewan, and anyone else who is interested. All members are eligible to vote.

Download the 2015 Minutes and the 2017 Agenda. The 2017 Financial Report will be available at the meeting.

2017 Prairie Horizons Sessions

Prairie Horizons 2017: Beyond Limits!

Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017

9:15-10:45a.m.  Conference Kick-off Presentation:  “A Cheat Code for Conflict”

Playwright and author Marty Chan draws from his theatre background to share a technique for crafting dramatic scenes in fiction. Whether you’re a pantser or a plotter, his cheat code for writing will help you organize a story that will keep readers turning the page until the end.


11:00a.m.-12 noon.  “2nd book” Panel Discussion:  “Lightning Strikes Twice” 

Marie Powell, Kristine Scarrow and Michael Bradford discuss the challenges of marketing one book while editing another. Marie and Michael have a second book in a series accepted, while Kristine has a second (and third!) stand-alone book coming out.  There will be an audience question period.


1:15-2:15 p.m. Presentation:  Illustrating Metis Culture in Children’s Books”

Write and illustrator Leah Marie Dorion discusses the process of illustrating and representing Metis culture in children’s books.


2:45-3:45 p.m.  Publishing Panel:  “What in the World Do They Want?”

Find out about the current challenges and trends in publishing.


4:00- 5:00 p.m. Fantasy Foundations Presentation:  “Out of This World”

Fantasy worlds fascinate our imagination. From landscapes to technologies, these worlds seem so complete we could almost catch the next shuttle there! Have you ever tried to create a fantasy world? What kind of beings live there, and how do they relate to each other and their environment? Join author Marie Powell to explore fantasy world building.


7:00 -8:00 p.m. Keynote:  “How to Succeed at Writing, One Yes at a Time”

Marty Chan recounts the highlights of the journey that led him to a successful career as a creative artist. He unveils the highs and lows of being a freelance writer as well as the strategies he developed to survive and thrive in the ever-changing marketplace of publishing.

2017 Prairie Horizons Presenters

Marty Chan

Marty Chan

Marty Chan

Marty Chan writes plays for adults and books for kids. His hit play Mom, Dad, I’m Living with a White Girl has been produced across Canada and received an Off Broadway production in New York. His thriller, The Bone House, captivated audiences in Edmonton, Toronto and Edinburgh. Marty’s novels for kids inspire and entertain reluctant readers. The Mystery of the Graffiti Ghoul won the 2007 Diamond Willow Award and was selected for the Edmonton Public Library’s inaugural Kids Read Edmonton campaign. He was a regular humour contributor to CBC Radio and the Edmonton Journal, and you can watch him on CTV 2’s Alberta Primetime news, where he appears regularly as a panelist. Marty continues to work and write in Edmonton, where he lives with his wife Michelle and their two cats. Find him at

Leah Marie Dorion

Leah Marie Dorion

Leah Marie Dorion

Leah Marie Dorion is a self-taught Métis interdisciplinary artist and writer from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, with cultural roots to the historic Métis community of Cumberland House. She is a respected children’s book writer/illustrator and several of her books have been nominated for various awards for their art and cultural content. For more information visit

Marie Powell

Marie Powell

Marie Powell

Marie Powell is the author of the young adult fantasy novels  Hawk (Five Rivers) and Hawk and Crown (coming soon), as well as 38 other published children’s books. Marie’s award-winning short stories are published in such literary magazines as subTerrain and Room. Recently she has been the fiction and nonfiction editor for SWG’s literary magazine Spring, and also editor of Windscript. Find Marie at

Kristine Scarrow

Kristine Scarrow

Kristine Scarrow

Kristine Scarrow is the author of the young adult novels Throwaway Girl (Dundurn Press, 2014), If This Is Home (Dundurn Press, 2017) and The 11th Hour (Dundurn Press, 2018).
Kristine has published articles for Fine Lifestyles, Dogs in Canada, Boomer Generation, Lake Country, Alert, Eagle Feather News, Edmonton’s Child, and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon Newsletter. Kristine was editor-in-chief to the former publications Boomer Generation and Lake Country and has also been an editor for Hear My Heart Books. Kristine is the writer-in-residence at St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon, as part of the Healing Arts Program. She is a certified instructor of Journal to the Self, and is currently in the process of becoming a certified journal facilitator from the Center for Journal Therapy in Colorado. Kristine lives in Saskatchewan and is thrilled to be fulfilling her lifelong dream of writing. You can find her at

Michael Bradford

Michael Bradford

Michael Bradford

Michael Bradford was born in 1975 in St. Albert, Alberta. He has worked as a grass cutter, waiter, pizza-delivery boy, literacy teacher, elementary-school vice-principal and published poet. Button Hill, his first novel, was nominated for the 2015 Kirkus Prize. He lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, with his wife and two teen children (his first readers and limitless source of inspiration), as well as three lazy dogs and an extremely fat cat. Find Michael at

2017 Schedule

Prairie Horizons 2017: Beyond Limits!

Prairie Horizons 2017: Beyond Limits!
September 15-17, 2017
Queen’s House Retreat & Renewal Centre

Friday, September 15th

6:00 p.m. Registration Opens

7:00 p.m. Welcome, Social time

7:30 p.m. Live Action Slush

9:00 p.m. Mix and Mingle (cash wine bar)

Saturday, September 16th

8:00 a.m. Breakfast

9:00 a.m. Opening remarks

9:15-10:45a.m. Conference Kick-off Workshop  with Marty Chan: “A Cheat Code for Conflict

10:45-11 a.m. Break

11:00a.m. -12 noon  “2nd book” Panel Discussion / Q&A  “Lightning Strikes Twice

12:00 -1:15 p.m. Lunch

1:15-2:15 p.m. Presentation – Leah Dorion

2:45-3:45 p.m. Publishing Panel:  “What in the World Do They Want?”

3:45 p.m. Nutrition Break

4:00-5:00 p.m. Fantasy Foundations Workshop with Marie Powell:  “Out of This World

5:15-5:30 p.m. Group Photo

5:30-6:30 p.m. Dinner

7:00 -8:00 p.m. Keynote – Marty Chan: “How to Succeed at Writing, One Yes at a Time

8:15-9:15 p.m. Open Mike – 3 min/participant

Sunday, September 17th

8:00 a.m. Breakfast

9:00 a.m. Conference Summary/Evaluations/Door Prizes/Book Count/Committee for 2019/Farewell

10:00 a.m. Biennial General Meeting: CANSCAIP SK Horizons

11:00 a.m. Departure

Registration Open for CANSCAIP Prairie Horizons 2017

The 2017 CANSCAIP Prairie Horizons conference takes place September 15-17 at Queen’s House in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Arrive Friday, September 15 at 7 p.m., and leave Sunday September 17 at 10 a.m.–unless you live in Saskatchewan. Then you get to stay until 11 a.m. at the Bi-annual General Meeting of CANSCAIP Sask Horizons.

 Registration Options:

  • Full Conference with Room at Queen’s House– includes all sessions, accommodations for both nights, Friday reception, Saturday breakfast, lunch, supper and snacks, Sunday breakfast. Note: supper is not available on Friday. Also, rooms at Queen’s House are first-come, first-served. If all rooms are booked, we will help you find accommodation in Saskatoon and you will be charged only the conference fee.
    • Up to Aug 31: $320
    • Sept 1-8: $345
  • Full Conference, no room – includes all sessions, Friday reception, Saturday lunch, supper and snacks
    • Up to Aug 31: $225
    • Sept 1-8: $250
  • Saturday Only – includes all Saturday sessions plus lunch, supper, and two snacks.
    • Up to Aug 31: $175
    • Sept 1-8:  $200

Important Dates:

  • Aug 31, 2015: Last day for no late registration fee.
  • September 8, 2015. Last day to register.
  • September 15, 2015: Conference begins. Live Action Slush event
  • September 16, 2015: Saturday sessions and workshops
  • September 17, 2015: Wind-up and door prizes, CANSCAIP Sask Horizons Biennial General Meeting

More Registration Opportunities

  • Friday night Live Action Slush
  • Saturday night Open Mic
    • Sign up to read or perform for 3 minutes
  • Book Table
    • Bring books or CDs to sell
    • Volunteer to help at the table
  • Be a buddy to a first-timer, or get a buddy
  • Request a ride to or from the airport or bus depot in Saskatoon, or volunteer to give a ride to someone who needs one.
  • Volunteer to sit at at the sign-in table and:
    • Check-in participants
    • Hand out conference packages
    • Direct participants to sign in to their rooms and show them the floor plan to find their way around
  • Volunteer to help with set up or clean up
  • Alert St. Mike’s about dietary requirements

To Register

  1. Online: register and pay with PayPal at
  2. Offline:
    1. Download and print the 2017 Printable Registration Form.
    2. Write a cheque to CANSCAIP Sask Horizons.
    3. Mail completed form and cheque to CANSCAIP Prairie Horizons 2017, c/o 4820 Castle Road, Regina SK, S4S 4X3

 Refund Policy

  • Full refund minus $35 up to September 8 (one week before conference)
  • After September 8, 50% of fee will be refunded
  • In emergency situations, full fee will be refunded.