A whole world opened for Jeanette Montgomery when her Grade Two teacher taped a Norman Rockwell print on the blackboard and instructed the class to write a story. She wrote a three page story and was thrilled when the teacher read it to the class. Life progressed as normal through school years, marriage and children. She jumped at the opportunity to live in Australia and Saudi Arabia and, while living overseas, travelled worldwide. Several years later when she finally had a moment to catch her breath, Jeanette began putting to paper all the stories that had been rolling around in her head.
She currently works full time, is a member of two writers groups and sits on the Board for the Saskatchewan Writers Guild. She writes YA fiction, poetry and has completed a YA novel, Bloodkin, for which she is currently looking for a publisher. Someday Jeanette hopes to re-write her grade two story of Rockwell’s picture A Boy Meets His Dog from an adult perspective.
What was your favourite picture book? What was special about it?
Who of us does not hold a special place in our memories for stories that took us to new and fascinating worlds in our childhoods.
When I turned 5 years old I was allowed to get my own library card. I don’t remember the name of the first book I borrowed but I remember the dark blue cover with a silhouette of a girl petting a puppy. Inside were wonderful water colour pictures of kids and dogs. I also remember the librarian cautioning me to take good care of the book and bring it back on time so I could get another one.
What was the first chapter book you read?
The Bobbsey Twins at the Seashore. The book was tattered and the spine was broken but my sisters and I read pretty much any children’s book that came through the house. I think this one had been passed down from cousins.
The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. I was ‘horse crazy’. What wasn’t to love! From the cover art of a rearing black horse to the adventure inside the covers, I loved it all.
Did you ever reread your favourite chapter book once you became an adult? Did it stand the test of time?
With so many amazing books on offer I never re-read The Black Stallion. Perhaps it’s time.
Mom wouldn’t let us spend our money on comic books but we had some Golden Classics in the house, again, probably passed down from cousins. My favourite was Ivanhoe. That’s probably when my love of high fantasy was born.
Did you prefer fiction or non-fiction?
Definitely fiction. I lived in the real world with all its problems. Why would I want to read about it!
My introduction to series was my brother’s Hardy Boys and Spin and Marty books. For some reason our town library didn’t carry them so I had to wait until my brother received one for a birthday or Christmas. And then I had to be patient while he read before I was allowed to.
Did you have a local library? What do you remember about it?
Our town library was probably my favourite place until I hit my teen years and noticed boys. The librarians were wonderful, often holding back books for my sisters and I that they knew we would enjoy. When I was 14 I went through a phase of reading myths and legends. I don’t remember the librarian’s name but she went out of her way to bring in books from other branches once I’d plowed through what our small branch owned.
During summer holidays I would go to the library with my sisters and our friends. We would borrow books, go sit on the lovely shaded front lawn of the library and read. Sometimes we would return the book the same afternoon and get a new one before going home.