I began writing the book in 1993. Before this, though, I did some research and found that publishers don't want to receive entire manuscripts. They don't have time to read them. Instead, they want a couple of chapters and an outline of the plot in the form of chapter synopses. So I outlined the novel from beginning to end and wrote the first two chapters, then bundled them up and sent them off. I'd gotten a list of young adult publishers and began working my way through them alphabetically, and over the next year I got a lot of rejections. Most were very kind about it, but a few weren't. One editor even wrote on the cover page, "No-one would ever want to read this," which devastated me. I was ready to throw the whole thing into the trash, but my wife encouraged me to keep writing the book and, in the meantime, to keep sending out the bundle, which I did. Finally, it went to Leona Trainer, who was president of Stoddart Publishing's YA line at the time, and she liked it and asked to see the entire manuscript. By this time, I had finished it so I sent it to her and the rest is history. I think it's interesting that every male publisher I sent it to rejected it, but Leona accepted it. When it won the Ann Connor Brimer Award, Leona and I went to the celebration, during which another publisher came up and asked if I was working on another novel. When I said I was, he gave me his card and asked, “Would you consider sending it to me?” Looking at his name, I blurted—much to Leona's enjoyment—”But you were the first one to reject Of Things Not Seen." Leona still laughs over that. By the way, Leona eventually left Stoddart and joined the Transatlantic Literary Agency—the largest literary agency in Canada—and became my agent. (She sold The First Stone to HarperCollins, and she sold my fourth novel, One on One, and my fifth novel, The Space Between, to HarperCollins, too.) She has since retired and I have a new agent, but we’ll always be friends. I consider myself very fortunate to have connected with her early in my writing career.