Bookseller for a Day

One of my long-held dreams is about to come true. For one day only, I’ll be a bookseller. As part of an exciting new initiative, authors across Canada will turn into booksellers on Saturday, May 2 at their favourite local independents. I’ll be at Bryan Prince Bookseller and Epic Books along with a stunning mix of authors including Krista Foss, Ross Pennie, Gillian Chan, David Collier, Aimee Reid, John Lawrence Reynolds, Bonnie Lendrum and Jill Downie. Details to follow. Do check it out: http://www.authorsforindies.com/

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Featured in Les Femmes Folles, The Women, 2014

Les Femmes Folles: The Women, 2014, the fourth annual anthology curated by Sally Brown Deskins, is available now. It includes art, interview excerpts, poetry and short-form writing by women in all forms, levels and styles of art from around the world. (And yes, I am one of those women.) You can preview (and buy) it here: http://www.blurb.com/…/5616adf8fd3607e377061aafea19eff53ec1…

 

Excerpt: Tell Everything on CBC Canada Writes

Tell Everything by Sally Cooper

My mother told me a story once about a foolish princess. We were hiking up the path to Banana Rock. Sunlight slanted through the branches. She made up the story, and I held her hand and matched my steps to hers. The princess was vain and not very pretty. When an old baron asked to marry her, her mother celebrated. The baron called the princess beautiful. She believed him and fell in love. The night before the wedding, the baron invited her to his house. Her mother insisted she wear a veil until she’d sealed the union. But the princess wanted her fiancé to admire her. When the princess walked into a hall of mirrors inside the castle, she threw off the veil and found herself in a dungeon packed with demon brides. A sorcerer turned her into a toothless old woman with a smelly, aching body. Because the princess was vain, the sorcerer made her sit in the hall of mirrors, where her ugly image stretched out in every direction. She warned each of the baron’s new brides-to-be not to look at herself, but none would listen. Even her mother said she’d be better off dead. “It’s not my fault,” cried my mother in the foolish princess’s voice. Her own voice rang with a smug glee that meant she thought it really was.

 

Read the full excerpt on CBC Canada Writes here.

Starting in medias res: Strong Beginnings with Sally Cooper

Sometimes you have to go for the end without being fully aware of the means.
In light of our collaboration with the Luminato Festival, we’ve decided to reach out to Canadian writers to find out how they begin their work. Today’s author is Sally Cooper who spoke to us about her novel Tell Everything. Click here to read the prologue to Tell Everything!

What came first for you—the story or the characters?
The characters came first, Ramona and Pauline. I wanted to write about a woman who was a sex offender and a friendship she’d had outside of her criminal activities. As the story grew, it taught me what it was. I learned that I wanted to write about consent, where it can blur, and about the cost of living with a disrupted sense of home or place. As a teenager, Pauline moves from a rural Northern community to an suburb north of Toronto. This dislocation informs her character in surprising ways.

Click here to read the full interview on CBC Canada Writes (2013):

Blog Hop: “I’m it!”

Two weeks ago,  Krista Foss tagged me as part of a writers’ blog hop. It’s been two years since I abandoned my blog, but I’m game for a one-off so here we go. I’m tagging two long-time writer pals, Diane Baker Mason, author of Last Summer at Barebones Lake and the novelization Men with Brooms and Tess Fragoulis, author and editor of four books, including Stories to Hide from Your Mother and most recently, The Goodtime Girl. Watch for their blog hop posts at the end of the month.

What are you working on? I’ll take the literal approach. In recent weeks I’ve been playing, using exercises, lists, scenes, essay ideas, whatever’s on my mind in the moment. I’m writing in the backyard, at cafes, at the college where I teach, in front of my students and in my my writing office on a Pilates ball using a variety of notebooks ranging from tiny to big, never on the computer, always by hand. After being felled (truly) by a series of injuries this year, I turned to writing my novel by hand and found the connection to the story visceral and energizing. And that. Yes, I am, how should I put it, in the middle of writing a novel, but saying it that way doesn’t feel quite right as I’ve recently completed a first draft. My two most trusted readers have it now, which is why I get to play.

notebooks
purse notebooks

How does my work differ from others of its genre? A tricky question, as the ‘genre’ of my work is literary fiction and what makes this genre unique is that each work has its particular sensibility; there is no formula. That said, my work concerns itself with issues of place and displacement in our province of small towns; suburbs and downtown spaces. My most recent novel, Tell Everything, addresses issues of consent and always in my writing I’m shining a torchlight on the dark and unexpected places love takes us.

Why do I write what I do? Why does anybody? Because we want to, or at least I hope we do. I could honestly say, I write and what I happen to write is what it is because I am who I am. This statement is especially true of the work I did as a younger and mostly intuitive writer. Plan? What’s that? My subconscious feeds my work, baby. As it does everybody’s. But I get that now, and I’ve learned that a plan doesn’t need to suck the energy out of a project. Rather it can provide a spine on which to build the story. My current novel needed a plan, and I was happy to stray from it.

Boxes of Manuscript

How does my writing process work? It’s a process and is subject to change and as such, is mostly dictated by my life. I am adamant about designating certain days and times for writing and cannot be swayed by offers to meet for coffee or to get my ears pierced. When I arrive at my desk or café table, there’s little ditzing around as I usually have a time limit dictated by my children’s school schedule, so I get right to it. I stop when my time is up, make some notes about what I’ve written and move on to the next piece of my day. Admittedly, it can hurt to let go of the written world, but then I greet my children and all is forgiven.

“The Aura of the Story” on Red Lemonade’s Blog

 

“The Moment changes…. Keep eye peeled regarding situation around you.

Learn its demands. And – meet them. Be there at the right time doing the right thing.” (Dick, 155)

Can a story have an aura?

Walter Benjamin tells us that an ancient statue of Venus “stood in a different traditional context with the Greeks, who made it an object of veneration, than with the clerics of the Middle Ages, who viewed it as an ominous idol. Both of them, however, were equally confronted with its uniqueness, that is, its aura.” (Sec. IV)

The literary object we expect to exude an aura is the book. Possession of the right book allows a collector to “own” history. Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Codex Leicester. Shakespeare’s First Folio. The Gutenberg Bible. But our oldest stories first came to us orally, were held collectively. If these stories had auras, would they embrace the shape of the teller’s mouth and the timbre of her voice? Would they contain the curve of the attending ear?

Read more at Red Lemonade’s Blog

 

“Rennick: Prints of Prints Taped on the Wall”

I
It started with a bridge he crossed and crossed again with friends who loved him in Amsterdam and ended with him devoured, the thread dropped in the labyrinth. It started with feathers and trefoils, fleurs-de-lis, poppies, paisleys, leaves and grass blades – the exuberance of pattern – and ended with striped tents and fence rails, black branches, floorboards, beams and looming cats, with him stepping off the secret path. And despite their ebullient love, his dissolution, a slow fade into sheets.

 

 

Greg Rennick

Read the rest at Hamilton Arts & Letters

Love Object

 

What happens when the person who loves you most can’t take care of herself? Sally Cooper asks that question in her first novel, Love Object, the story of a family’s implosion in the aftermath of the mental collapse of the mother at its centre. When Mercy Brewer is 12 and her brother, Nicky, 11, their mother is hospitalized and their bawdy grandmother steps in to take care of them and their father. Love Object is the story of how two teenagers make sense of the loss of their mother while coming to terms with their own emergent sexuality and the secret violence at their family’s core.

Buy it here on Amazon.

Love Object by Sally Cooper