January 3rd, 2017
While I wait patiently for the 1000 things to come rolling in (hint!) I can tell you about the tiny bits of buzz that are floating around regarding So Much Love, a novel that will be out and available in actual stores to actual readers in just over two months. Terrifying.
I mean great, very exciting, it is just that I am a little nervous. Anyway! There is a print review in the most recent issue (winter) of Maisonneuve, which I subscribe to and was reading on the treadmill when all of the sudden, there was my book cover! I was NOT expecting that three months before publication. It’s just a couple hundred words and mainly summary–I’ve squinted at it for a long time and can’t be certain if the reviewer liked it or not but it is still very nice to be mentioned! The review isn’t online, but if you read it in print, please let me know what you think.
And that, at two months and 11 days to publication, is what’s going on. Kind of lovely, really!
October 6th, 2016
It has been so long since I had multiple things going on, writing life-wise, I can’t even remember. Years, probably. But this is good stuff, guys, so it was worth the wait:
—Emily Saso’s fascinating new novel The Weather Inside came out in September, and is blurbed by me (and Bradley Somer). If you click on the book link you can even find me being quoted down near the bottom of the page, calling the novel “heartbreaking and hilarious.” So you should probably buy it!
–my short story “How to Keep Your Day Job” (aka the most successful thing I ever wrote) is being included in Room magazine’s 40th anniversary anthology, which is a lovely honour from a lovely magazine, and a thrill to be included with so many other brilliant women (if you click the link you see a partial list). Maybe you should buy that one too?
–I did a short interview with Danila Botha, author of the For All the Men (and Some of the Women) I’ve Known, which you should buy (there may be a theme here. Anyway, the interview was part of Danila’s tenure as writer in residence at Open Book, and I was thrilled to be included. This also constitutes the first press my book has gotten since its deal announcement back in 2014, and it’s really really really exciting and scary. If you’d like to read the interview, it is posted here.
See, I told you–excitement!
March 25th, 2013
Did you know there’s websites that review literary journals? Me neither, but there are and it’s pretty cool. Like New Pages, which reviewed the issue of Freefall Magazine that I was in, and a bunch more great stuff too. Neat!
Did you know there’s university courses on arts journalism? Me, neither, but there are and they’re amazing–I would’ve taken Ryerson’s Writing in the Arts course in a heart had it been available when I was in school. It wasn’t, but I did a short interview with a student named Julia Brunke for one of her assignments in the course and it cheered me up…read it here if you’re interested.
November 19th, 2012
When I posted my Next Big Thing interview answers, I tagged a couple fine gentlemen to do the next round, and they have kindly complied. Please see Jeff’s responses and Andrew’s responses for more insight on books you might be reading a few years from now.
November 13th, 2012
This is a fun internet meme that’s going around where writers talk about what they’re currently writing. Shari Lapena wrote an interesting one and tagged me in the process. So follow the link to read hers, then look below to read mine.
What is your working title of your book?
So Much Love
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I don’t know. It’s one of those sticky ideas that I’ve had for a decade and never written successfully, despite many attempts. Over the years the events and characters have become pretty solid in my mind. I don’t know really where they came from–it feels like asking, “When did you first find out about your parents?” I don’t know what makes me think this time it will work, but I hope I’m right! If not, I guess I can walk around with all these people in my head for another few years.
What genre does your book fall under?
Literary fiction, I guess, for want of being anything else.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Uhhh…really? I feel like most actors are way more attractive than the folks I’m writing about–not that they’re ugly, just…normal? I guess this is why I’m not a casting director. Ok, an honest attempt–man, there’s really too many characters in this book.
[20 minutes of earnest googling later]
Guys, this is giving me hives! I feel like a skeeze looking at someone’s photo with my head cocked and thinking, “Well, if she was 10 years younger…” I actually googled “First Nations actors” and then just decided to junk the whole thing. Utter fail. Sorry.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Um…it’s the story of a guy obsessed with women who have been the objects of violence…and also the story of those women. That’s not a very good description, actually. Sometimes I just think it’s a set of stories, each about a different kind of love. Those two sentences sound like two entirely different books. I’ll keep working on it.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? My agent is the lovely Samantha Haywood at Transatlantic Literary Agency.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
What makes you think I’ve done that? I’ve been working on this version of the book on and off for a year and a half and I’m *maybe* 2/3 done the first draft. Of course, it’s stories, so the individual pieces are pretty polished (I hope) but the overall structure of the book is still in process.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I thought the structure of the book was fairly unique until I read A Visit from the Goon Squad and The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao, both of which won the Pulitzer, National Book Award, etc., which weren’t things I was necessarily planning on So Much Love doing. So then I was sad. I’m all right now, but I going to avoid Olive Kitteridge, which everyone says is another book in this category that would make me feel bad about myself (they don’t say the last part, but I infer).
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Again, it was a long time ago so I don’t 100% remember. There are a couple other books that map this territory that I felt didn’t do it right, so that was probably a factor. Len Klimstra is definitely my most Updike-ian character, so there was probably inspiration there. As well, this is a book about people reading, at least to me it is. The characters live in and around and through books in profound and silly ways, something that has really helped me to understand them. So books inspired this book, I guess–not just their contents but their physical book-ness, too.
Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.
Be sure to line up your five people in advance.
So, honestly, I couldn’t find 5 people. I don’t want you to think that this is because I’m a loser with almost no friends (well…) but this meme has been around for a while, especially in Toronto where most of the people I know live, so it was hard to find folks who wanted to do it that hadn’t already. I’m glad to be exporting this to other cities, and if I only have two meme-buddies, at least they’re pleasingly exotic in their non-Toronto-ness:
Have at it, guys–looking forward to reading!
November 9th, 2012
The Next Big Thing is an internet meme that’s been floating around over the past few weeks. It’s about writers’ works in progress–what they’re up to, how it’s going, why they’re doing it, etc. At the end, you’re supposed to tag more writers so they can have a crack at it. Shari Lapena kindly tagged me so I’ll be filling it out over the next few days, and will post my answers here when they’re ready.
As for whom I’ll tag…um! I’m really hesitant to approach people about their works in progress because for some, talking about undone work is tantamount to bringing on a curse, or guaranteeing it’ll never happen. Or they just find it really depressing. I’ve definitely felt like that at times and though I’m over the principle horror for now, no telling when it’ll come back–I definitely empathize with those in the throes of it now.
So, I thought I’d just throw the doors wide open instead: are any of you guys a) currently attempting in some fashion to write a book and b) willing to discuss it, even in a vague and elliptical fashion? If so, drop me a note in the contact (above) or comments (below) and I’ll sign you up.
Until the next wave of horror!
October 10th, 2012
A bit of happenstance, and a bit not, has lead to a lot RR-related links in the West today–well, a lot relative to the norm, which is none. Ok, not my best sentence–moving on!
I did a fun interview with Cynthia Ramsey for the Jewish Independent in Vancouver. E-interviews can be terribly rote, so it’s thrilling as an author to open a set of questions to find that a journalist has engaged deeply with my work, and asked questions thoughtful enough to make me see it in some new ways, too. Hope you enjoy as much as I did!
My short story The House That Modern Art Built is now available on newsstands in PRISM international. This is the first thing I’m publishing from the current work–my first post-Big Dream publication, actually. Yipes, that was a long hiatus. Not sure why I needed a whole year, but it felt like I did at the time. Anyway, I’m proud of this story and proud also that it found a happy home at Prism. Hope you enjoy that, too!
June 13th, 2012
Anyway, one review to post for you, with Ange Friessen at *The Toronto Review of Books* and one review of *The Big Dream
at The Quarterly Conversation. Both are viewpoints on me and my work, I guess. I’m still working through this linguistic discovery.
In less mind-bending but no less interesting news, Michael was in need of an easy rhubarb recipe and I sent him my mom’s, which he tried and blogged about. So few people appreciate rhubarb, so this is exciting. Also, judging by the photos, delicious.
April 2nd, 2012
I’ve been doing a few things lately even *in addition* to swanning around the Maritime provinces and basking in the springtime sun here in Ontario. Today, for example, I ran *many* errands in the aforementioned springtime sun, which is somehow much better than the fraudulent summer sun of a few weeks ago. Today was one of those rare days for a 9-to-5-er, when I had time to prioritize those little errands like the library, the post office, the dry-cleaner–instead of cramming them on the tail-end of some more glamourous errand, they got to be centre stage. And I strolled between them listening to Belle and Sebastian (come on! anyone who doesn’t think Belle and Sebastian is the perfect soundtrack to a spring stroll is just a hipster too far). Lovely.
Ok, but also–some writing stuff. I contributed a line to Pass the Ghost Story, which is fun, creepy, and still in progress; I was interviewed by Grace O’Connell about Writers and Day Jobs, and I made the very long but very cool long-list for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. I’ve read enough of the books on the list to know what an honour this is, so I’m basking…just a bit!
And it’s only Monday!
November 2nd, 2011
I think most Canadian lit folk are familiar with Salty Ink, Chad Pelley’s outstanding blog about literary endeavours on Canada’s Atlantic Coast. Though I am attempting to marry my way to Atlantic Canadian status, in the meantime I am very honoured to be Salty Ink’s first “Canadian Affair,” which means I got to do a cool interview with Chad, even though I’m from boring Ontario. Awesome!