In Conversation

I’m honoured and grateful to see “Writing on the Dotted Line: Fierce, Focused and Moving Forward with a Writers’ Contract,” the panel Krista Foss and I gave at last year’s CCWWP conference published in the current issue of TNQ: The New Quarterly.

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Gushing Gratitude & Bookish Cake

Smells Like Heaven had a swell launch this week in Hamilton at Bryan Prince Bookseller’s new community space. We had standing room only with guests from as far away as Haliburton, Owen Sound, Midland, Brampton and Toronto. Wendy O’Brien, a former colleague and all-around smart lady, interviewed me. The interview was nerve-wracking, vulnerable, funny and wide-ranging. My eight-year-old daughter filmed us from the front row. Adding to the atmosphere, art hung on the walls and from the ceiling–all created by children at my daughters’ school. I couldn’t have asked for more and am beyond grateful to all who came by or sent kind words. I’m thankful for the writer-friends over the years who put in time at writers’ groups and over cafe tables. I was lucky enough to share the night with a few, especially Krista Foss (of Hamilton) and John Miller and Elizabeth Ruth (of Toronto). I must also mention how much I appreciate Kerry-Cranston Reimer of Bryan Prince Bookseller for hosting the event, and my publisher Todd Besant and the staff of ARP Books, without whom the book would still be a file in my MacBook Pro.

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A List of News

The Toronto launch is coming up on Wed. June 28 at 7:00 p.m. at Another Story Books.

A Goodreads giveaway has started up today for Smells Like Heaven. It ends June 30.

My interview with GetLit’s Jamie Tennant is up on Jamie’s blog. Listen to it here.

My essay “How Not to Drown” is on TNQ’s 2017 Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest longlist.

*Photo credits: Daniel Hill

 

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.