t January 2017 | sh C. K. Kelly Martin o

Sometimes you hear writers talk about the book of their heart, the one they love beyond all others. The book I'm about to tell you about is the book of my heart. I began writing the first version of Just Like You Said It Would Be back in 1999, making it a nineties baby and a current eighteen-year-old. It was the book I started writing young adult fiction for (at one point it was even a trilogy) and the book I've never really stopped writing. In fact, I doubt I've left the story alone for more than eighteen months at a stretch since 1999; over the years I've revised, reworked and rewritten the novel more times than I can count.

Just Like You Said It Would Be centres around a love story set in Dublin, and focuses on a Canadian girl with screenwriting ambitions (and an Egyptian and Irish background) and an Irish boy in a garage band— that much is the same as it was eighteen years ago. Pretty much everything else is different. It's grown, and then grown again so that except for its heartwhich I know well—I can barely recognize it myself. In 2013 I was incredibly lucky to receive a Canada Council grant for the project and rewrote the story from scratch. This was where the book made it greatest leaps, but the work didn't stop there.The novel was under construction again in 2015/2016 and even more recently, in minor ways.

And now, when it's exactly where I want it to be, and after much internal debate, I've decided to release Just Like You Said It Would Be myself next month. There's a cover reveal scheduled for it February 2nd and because I designed the cover I'm extra excited (if that's even possible for  considering how much I already love this book). If you're a book blogger who wants to take part in the reveal you can head over to Xpresso Book Tours to sign up. You can also add it to your Goodreads list. If you're wondering how it fits in with the rest of my work, I'd say its closest living relative is Come See About Me but without the grief and featuring younger characters. 

I'll be posting the first chapter on my website shortly (after my laptop comes back from the shop) but in the meantime, here's the official blurb:

Did you ever want something so much that it felt like a kind of sickness, one you didn’t want to be cured of? On New Year’s Eve the feeling compels seventeen-year-old Amira to text the Irish ex-boyfriend she’s been missing desperately since they broke up at the end of summer, when she returned to Canada.

They agreed they wouldn’t be friends, that it would never be enough. But that was then—back when Amira’s separated parents had shipped her off to relatives in Dublin for the summer so they could test-drive the idea of getting back together on a long haul cruise. Back when Amira was torn away from a friend in need in Toronto only to fall in love with a Dublin screenwriting class and take a step closer to her dream career. And only to fall for cousin Zoey’s bandmate, Darragh, the guy who is first her friend, then her enemy and later something much more complicated—the guy she can say anything to, the guy who makes every inch of her feel wide awake in a way she hadn’t known was possible. The guy she might never see again. Or is there, despite the distance, somehow still a chance for them?


I'm not going to lie, life has been rough on multiple fronts lately. But I'm immensely grateful to have some wonderful writing news to share. Monday afternoon I received notification from the Canada Council for the Arts that my young adult WIP has been approved for a grant. On that same day I also received a cheque from the Ontario Arts Council Writers' Reserve program for the same project.

I couldn't feel more grateful and elated to have this support and vote of confidence. If there were a hilltop handy I'd probably be singing from the top of it like Julie Andrews. This happy news comes at a time when I sorely need it. I can't thank the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council enough. I'm also intensely thankful to live in a country that values and supports the Arts with grants like these. They make a very real and tangible difference to Canadian artists.



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