April 16th, 2017
Guys, a thing happened: So Much Love got shortlisted for The Amazon.ca First Novel Award. It is very nice to have my book noticed in this way, especially considering the calibre of the other books on the list–I’m thrilled that So Much Love was seen to be on the same level as these four impressive books (imagine being nominated for a prize and you thought all the other nominees were terrible? What an awful experience that would be!)
I like literary awards, though I know very well there are problems with the “prize-culture” that hovers around them. But it does seem like a pretty good thing to have a happy enthusiastic conversation about good books, celebrate them at parties, and give a few beleaguered, tea-stained authors a little bit of stardust. I’m delighted for myself but also for my publisher, McClelland and Stewart, and especially my beloved editor Anita Chong, who worked so hard on this book and believes in it so strongly. I am so lucky to have had (and to continue to have) such incredible support and I want the M&S gang to be rewarded for it. And maybe the attention around the nomination will help a few more readers to whom So Much Love would mean something find their way to it, which my ultimate goal this season.
I have been nominated for things before but not in a while, and not of this magnitude, if we judge magnitude by the size of the prize purse or the number of people who have been excited on my behalf about the nod. So I know from experience that it’s great that there’s over a month until the big party at the Four Seasons where the award-winner gets announced, so all five of us can bask in possibility until then. And I know it’s not just important to go around saying “it’s an honour just to be nominated” but to really mean it, because it *is* and why not enjoy the process, since I can’t control the result? I’m going to read the whole list, pick out a party dress, and truly enjoy the chance to meet the other authors and ask them about their work. And if rumour is correct, I’m going to eat a lot of excellent snacks.
If you’ve written to congratulate me, thank you–I’m hoping to cash in all those kind notes in hugs in the near future.
April 11th, 2017
Er, yes, sorry, it’s another post about me and my book. I’m just trying to keep the blog more or less up to date on So Much Love stuff while actually DOING all this stuff and also my 9-5 job, and that doesn’t seem to save much time for any actual creative work of any sort, even the little flights of fancy require for blog postery. I will get back to it, promise.
Anyway, I did a fun Magic 8 interview for CBC Books that’s live now, and an interview with Jamie Tennant at CFMU in Hamilton that will air in a month or so. In a cool turn, Jamie had a column in the Hamilton Spectator when I was a teen and I thought he was just the coolest–it was really fun and sort of a dream to be interview by him. Really looking forward to reading his new novel, too–it’s called The Captain of Kinnoull Hill and it’s about a man considered to be the least likeable person in the Chicago music scene!!
Looking forward to May, I’m a part of a dream event at IFOA on May 10 reading and talking with the ever-excellent Kerry Clare about our respective books with the also-excellent Amy Jones as our interviewer and Sheniz Janmohamed as host. That one should be a really great evening–you should come! But even if no one comes, I think we’ll have fun on stage.
And this one is weirder, but also cool…I’m an honourary caption for the First Book Pongapalooza event on May 16 in support of literacy for First Book! Come out and play some Ping Pong and help kids learn to read!
March 30th, 2017
Hello from Vancouver, where last night I read at the Incite series and yesterday was on the Global BC News at Noon. I find the clip pretty unwatchable, but apparently that is how people feel about seeing themselves on TV–most other people who have watched it think it’s fine (or have been too kind to tell the truth). It was very fun to do the interview with Sophie Lui and Squire Barnes, who were total pros and very good and making me feel both comfortable and smart–what good TV presenters do! I still can’t watch the clip, though.
I’ve discovered this lovely blog review at the Bookshelf blog by Andrew Hood. Andrew is an old friend whose work I deeply admire, so this was a delight to stumble across.
I also finished off a blog interview with Steven Buechler at Sea of Pacific Tranquility about So Much Love. I talk about how we are all know about crimes like the ones described in SML but we know about them in tiny ways, and most of us have the privilege of turning off the news when it gets distressing–but some don’t. The people who experience the crimes and their families don’t, and I wanted to use fiction and whatever empathetic imagination I possess to explore that world and that experience, an experience that doesn’t end.
It’s hard thing to get right–and I’m never going to capture the breadth of experiences in the world, because I’ve only written about a handful of characters and also because fiction is an art and what people think of art can be subjective–but just because I’m done the writing of the book doesn’t mean I can stop thinking carefully and deeply about the subject matter and how I present it each and every time I’m in public or online. I think I need to work on that.
Can you tell I’ve had some tough talks recently? Or have been spending too much time by myself perhaps? Or both? I have one brilliant sunny day left in Vancouver and then I’m going to come home and read at The Ontario Writers Conference Festival of Authors. And then maybe lie down for a little while.
March 20th, 2017
Guys, I’m really excited about the So Much Love launch party tomorrow (Wednesday) night 6-8 pm at Ben McNally Books (366 Bay Street, just south of Queen). There will be drinks and snacks and chat until about 6:30, a speech from the incredible Anita Chong, a speech from me, a short reading, then more chatting and books! It will be very fun, I think, and I have been looking forward to this a long long time–my speech will probably cover how long.
I am also terribly nervous, of course, too. What if no one comes? What if the people who are supposed to bring the wine and cheese forget and everyone was secretly just there for the wine and cheese? What if I read poorly? What if it is all just terribly awkward? But I alternate with great hope for a fabulous evening. I went to the wonderful Kerry Clare‘s launch last week for her exciting new novel Mitzi Bytes which was a wonderful reminder of how much fun a launch can be. Kerry is pretty amazing at enjoying the good that life has to offer, and she has been really drawing me along in celebrating both our books as they launch.
She even wrote this lovely review on her blog, which made me really happy. So I do kind of believe that the launch will be fun, though probably not as fun as Kerry’s because she read a ventriloquist sex scene and who can top that?
But still, I am hopeful of good times–so please come if you are in town and interested. No need to RSVP, especially not for regrets–just turn up if you like!
March 6th, 2017
My book is coming out in 8 days! There will be launches and interviews and actual humans reading it. I’m really excited. My life outside of the book is really challenging and sad of late, so I’m more determined than ever to enjoy the good bits of launching So Much Love into the universe. And there are a lot of good bits! I completely understand that some writers don’t enjoy promoting a book, but to me it is a reward. Finally getting to connect with readers and see how the book resonates with them is one of the sweetest plums of the writing life as far as I’m concerned–so much of writing is solitary, it’s thrilling to get to read aloud to real humans, or do an interview or Q&A and be asked insightful questions, or just have pieces online or in print and hear what people are thinking about them. So here’s some fun stuff…
–my Gritlit reading is booked for Thursday April 6, 9:30pm, with Iain Reid
–this sweet blog review at The Candid Cover. I know I shouldn’t google myself, and as often as not it yields something depressing or annoying, but this is a nice ray of sunshine!
–way off in the future, a reading at the Word Feast Festival in Fredericton in September
–a short piece posted at The Litter I See Project (which technically is a glimpse of what my next project might be, fyi)
There’s more stuff that isn’t fully fixed yet, like a reading in May with the fabulous Kerry Clare (whose book is also out in 8 days–preordered yet??) and maybe something cool in Montreal! Stay tuned…