I’m Erin Dealey, and I write books for kids. I’m a teacher, presenter, rhymer, blogger, and proud Drama Mama.

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It’s #Hockey season! 7 Qs with Jocelyn Watkinson about THE THREE CANADIAN PIGS: A Hockey Story = win-win!

October 18, 2022

I’m super excited to welcome Jocelyn Watkinson,


(Illus. Marcus Cutler / Sleeping Bear Press)

to the blog today!

Illus. Marcus Cutler, Sleeping Bear Press

We saved this FUN, fractured fairytale picture book, for October because– helloo–

it deserves a HOCKEY SEASON CELEBRATION–right?

But don’t take my word for it:

“Lessons about the importance of good sportsmanship and honoring the terms of competition are delivered clearly, intentionally, and in rhyming verse. ..the emphasis on settling scores with competition instead of violence makes it a sweet, silly lesson for young athletes. A humorous exploration of the value of playing fair.”

–Kirkus Reviews

Time for some questions!

Q 1. What was the inspiration for this book? Also why pigs? : )

Jocelyn Watkinson: I love fractured fairy tales! In 2018, my family and I moved from Canada to the United States and so took up writing as a hobby while I was waiting for work authorization. This story is a nod to Canada, its passionate hockey culture and some yummy foods that I miss from home! I was working on a different fractured fairytale story and bouncing ideas off my family when my mother suggested taking a shot at redoing The Three Little Pigs as Canadian hockey players! (Thanks Mom!). 

Interior art by Marcus Cutler from THE THREE CANADIAN PIGS: A HOCKEY STORY by Jocelyn Watkinson, Sleeping Bear Press.

Saving their bacon!

JW: Hockey being such a staple in Canada, I decided the pigs would face off against the Wolf in a hockey game to “save their bacon” and worked to weave as many hockey references through the text (e.g. pads on their shinny-shin-shins!). I spent the majority of my childhood in hockey arenas watching my little brother play, learning hockey lingo so it certainly shaped my childhood growing up in Ontario, Canada. My entire family are all huge hockey fans and players, including my husband and son so it certainly helped with creating this story! 

Interior art by Marcus Cutler from THE THREE CANADIAN PIGS: A HOCKEY STORY by Jocelyn Watkinson, Sleeping Bear Press.

Q 2. What Hockey term/ slang best describes your writing journey for this book: (Please explain)

a.      Barnburner

b.      Breakaway

c.      Coast to Coast

d.      Silky Mitts

e.      Tic-tac-toe

f.       ___________ your choice

Jocelyn Watkinson: Wow – what a fun question! Undoubtedly, a breakaway. I was in the right place at the right time, I got a lucky pass from (a lot) a teammate(s) (so many supportive people in the writing community) and drove to the net. 

Image by Marcus Cutler

Meet the Illustrator

Q 3. What surprises did the illustrator Marcus Cutler bring to the project?

Jocelyn Watkinson: Where do I start!? Marcus, also a huge hockey fan, and Canadian, put so much Canadian flair into the illustrations. Wolf wears a Canadian tuxedo, his hat references a Tragically Hip song, Highway 1/Yonge Street, and check out all the silly names on the Stanley Cup, just to name a few! There’s a ton more but I’ll leave readers to discover them on their own!

Q 4. What position would your younger self have wanted to play if you’d had the chance to play hockey—and not just watch your brother?

Jocelyn Watkinson: Well I did get to play a lot of soccer and basketball and always seemed to be more of an offensive player. So I would imagine playing forward, probably on a wing and digging in the corners 😉

#Kidlit Tips & Takeaways

Q 5. Do you have any tips for pre-published #amwriting unagented authors?

Jocelyn Watkinson: As an unagented author myself, I’m always looking for tips on querying, so let me know if you have any tips 😉 but as for pre-published authors, just keep writing and take every opportunity you can. Connect with as many other writers as you can, provide good and honest feedback during critiques and you never know what opportunities may come your way!

Q 6. You were matched as the lucky PBchat mentee of the amazing Lori Degman. In addition to these lessons mentioned on your blog what were some of the takeaways from this experience?

Jocelyn Watkinson: The biggest takeaway from the mentorship was a great relationship with an even greater writer. Lori is an amazing mentor, talented and just an all around wonderful human being. I’m so lucky that she saw potential in my work and took me on. I’m so happy to be able to call her my friend and soon co-author on our upcoming picture book, the sequel to TRAVEL GUIDE TO MONSTERS (2020) which is TRAVEL GUIDE FOR MONSTERS PART DEUX: A CANADIAN ADVENTURE. 

TRAVEL GUIDE FOR MONSTERS PART DEUX: A CANADIAN ADVENTURE. by Lori Degman & Jocelyn Watkinson, Illus. Marcus Cutler, Sleeping Bear Press
–Coming April 2023!

Launch Challenges

Q 7. What are the challenges in launching a picture book these days?

Jocelyn Watkinson: Luckily, I haven’t experienced the same challenges that picture book authors and illustrators had with their launches in 2020 and 2021 since society is starting to open back up. The biggest challenge I have in launching this particular book is geography! I’d love to be able to reach more readers in Canada and young hockey players but living in California makes that a little difficult. If anything, the advantages to doing digital launches and virtual readings, which really kicked in during the pandemic, have made that a little easier!

PS Thank you so much for a fun fun fun interview, Erin!

Thank YOU, Jocelyn.

To learn more about Jocelyn Watkinson and her books,

check out her website: jocelynwatkinson.com

And follow her on social media:

Twitter: @JoceWatBooks

Instagram: jocelynwritesinrhyme


We think this one’s a WINNER!

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