Jane Powell

Author

About Me

Hello and welcome to my site!

I am an author and have published a novel, a nature guidebook, as well as some short stories, articles and opinion pieces. My second novel, about the experiences of teens in youth protection in Montreal, is currently in the works.

My adventure in the exciting world of writing fiction began when I was just a kid, living on a little island on Rivière des Prairies just outside Montreal. Although Sky-bound Misfit is my first published novel, my writing dreams were sparked in elementary school. As soon as I could read, I knew that I wanted to write. I savored every bit of the novels I read, not just for the story itself but also for the way it was told and the author's writing style. By the time I had reached grade eight, I was writing short stories and poems for my friends and classmates.

 

My teen years were filled with complications, as I became a survivor of sexual assault just as I was entering teenhood, which had many reverberating effects (my first novel was inspired by this experience). At age 16, I was admitted into the youth protection system in Montreal and remained there until I turned 18 (of which inspired my second novel). Although I was expelled from school in grade 10, I managed to graduate from an alternate school with much help from supportive teachers. The Montreal youth protection system had not prepared me for independence and I found myself quite alone and depressed upon discharge. I spent a lot of time couch surfing.

 

When college finally came along, I chose the Social Sciences program.​ Journalism was my goal, but life took over and I became a single parent at the age of nineteen. Journalism required an around-the-clock lifestyle that I couldn't compete with, so I settled on the Languages & Literature program instead. My need to explore people, cultures, and society through reading and writing remained strong. With a lot of effort, dedication and support I continued on to complete degrees in Social Anthropology, World Religions, and Education. My writing took an academic turn and my life became busy with school, family, and work. However, my dream of writing fiction continued.

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As a young single mother and university student, I struggled with social anxiety. I had always been shy and the pressures involved in juggling parenthood, financial obligations, and university were hard to manage. At times, the challenges in my life seemed to be suffocating my dreams. My dream to write was crumbling along with my mental health. Then one of my teachers put me in touch with a fantastic program called Project Chance. Project Chance was a low-cost housing project for single mothers who were also university students. Our building housed twenty-one mothers with their children. With my new support network, I persevered through my studies. I am sharing this part of my life with you because the support and life experience that I gained during this time were invaluable to my creative growth as a person and my ability to keep dreaming. During this period in my life, I realized that working through life's challenges was just as important to my creative self-growth as was having time to write. I knew that one day I would write my book and that everything up until that day was essentially research.

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With my renewed lust for life and alleviated financial pressures, I craved new experiences and put all of my spare change towards traveling. I explored the world, soaking up experiences in Europe, Australasia, West Africa and remote parts of Asia. Together with my young son (and later with my husband and two younger children), I lived, studied and worked in Canada, Norway, Australia and New Zealand. My lust for writing grew along with my stack of journals. 

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Somewhere along the way I fell in love, learned to climb rock and ice, back-country ski and sea kayak, got married (to the awesome guy who I learned all those cool tricks with). During this time, I began to work for the United Nations Association of Norway, creating environmental education programs for children. My work involved project coordination, blogging, creating community activities, and writing stories and songs for kids. I also taught at the local university college and worked as a freelance editor. In 2012, I moved to a small town in British Columbia with my family, picked up mountain biking and skate skiing (together with the same awesome guy), and continued my work coordinating educational programs, producing educational material, blogging, teaching and editing.

 

All this may seem like a busy distraction away from my dream of writing fiction, but it was the contrary. My life experiences and challenges have been exceptional learning opportunities and they are what make me a strong creative writer. If I had to reduce my advice for other start-up authors to one sentence, it would be this:

Live, struggle, learn new things, listen, take notes, grow, and you will create!

 

Born in: Sweden (to Irish parents)

Raised in: Laval, QC, Canada

Current place of residence: Columbia-Shuswap, BC, Canada

Favorite book: The Power of One, by Bryce Courtenay

Toughest challenges in life: dealing with discrimination, bullying, sexual harassment, sexual assault, social anxiety, and depression.

Favorite pastimes: reading, writing, skiing, mountain biking, climbing, kayaking, hiking, playing with my family and friends.

 

 

Sky-Bound Misfit

Now Available For Purchase

Frankie's life began in an Irish pub in Montreal's French east end. As she listens to her dad's band jam to the beats of life, the most unfortunate of coincidences happens and her life is changed forever.

Being a girl in the 1980s isn't easy. Frankie soon comes to see it as an impromptu jam session filled with unexpected beats. The beats she experiences in high school are filled with laughter, tears, love, anger, and hope. Dealing with bullies becomes a daily nightmare. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll become a big part of her struggles and healing process.

Frankie learns that the key to survival is friendship, determination, and figuring out how to become an author in the song that is her life.

*Accompanying the book, you will also find discussion questions on the book's topics.​

 

Testimonials

Word on the Street

 

A beautifully written book about a teenager’s survival and resilience. 
Although Sky-Bound Misfit does not fall within my usual genre of novels, it was highly recommended to me by a friend. It starts with a young girl, Frankie, witnessing the death of her father as the result of a misguided prank. As her mother is preoccupied with discovering herself in the far reaches of the world, Frankie is adopted by her uncle, who lives on an idyllic island close to Montreal. As she makes new friends, she gradually recovers from the loss of her father and flourishes at her new school. However, the innocence of early adolescence is soon shattered by another traumatic experience that changes her life forever and makes her the target of the local school bullies. Sky-Bound Misfit is an overpowering story of recovery, survival and resilience and is a compelling read. It is very well crafted and draws you into Frankie’s world and her journey through life. I would highly recommend this beautifully-written book.

S.J. Williams

Excerpt from Sky-Bound Misfit

“Later that day, I sat just below the tracks on the ledge that was molded into the top of one of the enormous concrete posts that held the train bridge up. The bridge had three huge iron arches that stretched above it from one end to the other. Iron beams crisscrossed from the tops of the arches down to the mainframe, linking the magnificent structure together. From a distance, at dusk, the train bridge looked like a fantastic beast, like a dragon bounding over the river with its back and tail arching in waves of playful excitement. It reminded me of Falkor, the white luck dragon. I sat on the ledge with my headphones on, listening to music with my back against an iron beam. The river rushed under the bridge, far beneath me. Earlier in the summer, Eva and I had picked this to be our regular meeting spot. It was our secret place, our “clubhouse,” where we could be alone, uninterrupted. 

Eva lived in Roxboro, the next train stop over toward Mon­treal. The train bridge was about a half hour walk from her house. She’d only taken the train a handful of times, though, as she said her mum didn’t trust any vehicle that she wasn’t driving herself. Eva and I had planned to meet at two o’clock. I checked my watch. She was a few minutes late, which was typical of Eva. If I was a five-minute ear­ly-bird, she was a 10-minute late-bird. 


I ejected the U2 tape from my Walkman, popped in Pat Benatar, and pressed play. As I was fiddling with my Walkman, Pinky crawled out of my bag, up the front of my T-shirt, sniffed the air, and then made herself comfortable on my shoulder under my hair. I wasn’t worried about her disappearing on me. She regularly followed me around the island. She knew her way home. I found a marker in my bag and began to doodle. 


A few minutes later, I put down my marker and studied the drawing I’d just completed on my arm. My butterfly tattoo had been transformed into a magical flying luck dragon. I smiled, satisfied with my work. Much better. The dragon was the one from the dream I’d had in the music room, just before I’d fallen madly in love with Gil. Thinking of this luck dragon made me feel happy and safe, and a little sad too. If only my luck hadn’t been so delicate, so volatile. If only. I put my leather armband back on, over my luck dragon doodle. It was still technically that damn butterfly tattoo. I preferred it stayed hidden. It wasn’t a topic I wanted to discuss with anyone.”

 
 

HuffPost Opinion Pieces

 
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I Was Raped In The 1980s And This Is Why I Never Reported

October 12, 2018

Creative Writing Helped Me Work Through My Depression

January 29, 2019

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Media Buzz

 
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Novel Follows Life of Girl Growing up in the '80s

By Keri Sculland

Published in The Golden Star 

Dec. 20th, 2018

Click here to read the article.

Spotlight on: Sky-Bound Misfit

Be sure to check out Reviews in the City's Spotlight on Sky-Bound Misfit!

“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”

Malala Yousafzai

 

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