A tremendous amount of research goes into Caroline Pignat’s books.
To ensure the authenticity of her second book, Greener Grass, the author toured Ireland, visiting museums and archives devoted to the mid-19th century famine in that country.
The result was the story of 14-year-old Kit Byrne, and her labouring family and their struggles to survive the crop failure.
Last week, Greener Grass was shortlisted for a Governor General Literary Award in the children’s category.
The Dublin-born Pignat, who was raised in Ottawa and now calls Kanata home, said she enjoys exploring characters on the brink of adulthood, because it is such a tumultuous age.
“There’s so much potential, but they’re still so insecure in themselves,” she said.
The sequel to Greener Grass, called Wild Geese, is expected out next fall. The book will follow members of the Byrne family as they immigrate to Canada during the typhoid epidemic of 1847.
Winners of the award receive $25,000 and a bound copy of their book. They will be announced on Nov. 17.