April 11th, 2017

Me in May

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!

April 5th, 2017

Onwards to Hamilton

So I made it back from Vancouver safe but tired, spent a day sleeping and moving my car around, and then went out to Pickering for the delightful Festival of Authors. The weekend was more sleep and also taxes, and then on Monday I went out to Waterloo to visit the brilliant Claire Tacon‘s creative writing class. Claire’s students were engaged, thoughtful and well-read, and we spent a good hour together talking about writing in general and mine and theirs in particular before I got on the Greyhound home and passed out. Yesterday was the Toronto Review of Books We All Feel So Foolish reading, which was good fun and surprisingly packed–but with fellow readers Jessica Westhead, Heather Birrell, Mark Sampson, and Antanas Sileika, you can see why.

Today is a breather, thank goodness. But my CBC Magic 8 interview is posted, in case you’re curious about yet more of my thoughts.

Tomorrow I’m off to Hamilton to read at GritLit, Hamilton’s literary festival. My reading is at 9:30pm at the Art Gallery of Hamilton and is entitled The Disappeared, co-starring Ian Reid, but you should really take in any events at GL you can, as the whole weekend promises to be exceptionally good. I’ll also be on CFMU Radio with Jamie Tennant at some point tomorrow–that should be cool as well.

And then you get a break from the relentless RRing, and I will get some sleep and go back to talking about things other than myself and my book–which sounds just fine to me!

March 30th, 2017

Ongoing adventures

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 27th, 2017

1000 things: still likeable

From Josée Sigouin

307. Jazz instrumentals
308. Kekou’s dark chocolate-ginger sorbet
309. Riding a bike in a breezy dress on a sizzling day
310. Plain Greek yogourt mixed with cranberry sauce
311. Rediscovering an obscure song from decades ago
312. Banana sices dressed with fresh mint
313. Nina Simone
314. Cold-brewed green tea
315. Breakfast on the balcony
316. Mozzarella melted on a hot-cross bun, with a side of apple
317. A riot of colours – garden, painting, collage, fabric, etc.
318. Clementine sections dipped in Greek yoghourt & pumpkin seeds
319. Melody Gardot
320. Beets – the redder, the better
321. Night-scented stocks
322. Ataulfo mango slices sprinkled with Thai basil flower buds

And from me, because why not:

323. Seeing anybody learn anything brand new (but especially a cat)
324. Succeeding at paperwork
325. Figs
326. Chinooks
327. spumoni ice cream
328. going to bed when you’re really tired
329. finding something I thought I’d lost
330. how Lily Tomlin looks better and better as she ages–maybe that will happen to us all?

March 25th, 2017

Constant excitement

Oh boy. We had the launch party on Wednesday evening and despite me being pretty intense about the whole thing–I showed up over an hour early “just in case,” and then when everything appeared to be fine went out to dinner with friends but didn’t eat–it was really a lovely, loving evening. The M&S publicity staff did a great job setting up a party with wine and cheese and books and chairs for all who wanted them, and my brilliant editor Anita Chong made a lovely speech where she put the brilliance all on me (lies!) I was truly touched by how many friends, old and new, came out to wish the book well on its journey into the world. It was pretty great to have my family there, and as a special favour I had asked my in-laws to extend their vacation in Toronto half a week to be there too, and they did it, and even baked me a cake. And my brother- and sister-in-law even managed to get my niece there for part of the evening, no mean feat with a two year old. I laughed, I didn’t really cry too much, there was a lot of gorgeous cheese, and I received many hugs. It was intense, but great–and then some friends drove me off to finally get some food and I kind of slowly and gently collapsed. One cannot do too many evenings like that in a lifetime, but I’m glad this one happened happened.

Then I spent Thursday evening frantically working on the lecture I gave Friday at Laurentian University (Barrie campus) on the women in media/gender studies themes in my novel. They are most certainly there, but it is not necessarily a novelist’s role to pull them out or identify them, so it was a bit challenging to talk about my process with the book and stay in line with the the syllabus’s goals, but the class seemed to go well and I certainly enjoyed talking to the youth, so we’ll count it a win.

I’m taking this weekend off from book stuff, but on Tuesday I fly to Vancouver for more. Wednesday is a “media day,” in which I do interviews around Vancouver. Since those are local outlets, I don’t know that I’ll be able to share any of the results here, but if I can, you know I will. Then that evening I am very much looking forward to returning to the Incite reading series presented by the Vancouver Writers Festival and the Vancouver Public Library, where I’ll be reading with Janet McNulty and Lori McNulty. Hooray!

After spending Thursday frolicking in Vancouver (please don’t rain) I’ll be back in Toronto Friday morning to prepare for my Friday evening event at the Ontario Writers’ Conference Festival of Authors. That is in Pickering, suburban friends–please stop by if you are free. I have to admit that tickets–available on the site–are a bit pricy at $20, but I will try to make it worth your while. Also, I hear there are snacks.

After that, I plan to collapse or else start living in my car in order to defend it from being towed as my parking lot is being torn down and my poor car is homeless. This is really not your concern but is taking up a lot of space in my brain! ANYWAY, elsewhere on the internet there was a nice blog review of So Much Love posted today at Literary Hoarders and yesterday a lovely interview I did with Brad de Roo went up at Canadian Notes and Queries. That one was one of the most thoughtful and well-read interviews I’ve done in recent memory, and it was a real pleasure as a challenge to answer Brad’s questions–I hope you enjoy it.

Things promise to calm down soon–well, by the end of April anyway–and I will make an attempt to talk about something other than myself/my book in my next blog post but really, all this attention for SML is pretty thrilling and I am most certainly grateful for it.

March 20th, 2017

Launch party tomorrow (and assorted other news)

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 14th, 2017

Launch day!

So Much Love is real and available for your reading pleasure in stores, online, and–I believe–in libraries today. You can get a hard copy or digital in myriad formats, and then you can read it and see what I’ve been working on all this time–and even tell me what you think? I fixed my contact page so I’m easy to write to!

This isn’t the celebration I was anticipating for this book–things are challenging for me right now and I haven’t been able to do the obvious thing, go to a bookstore and visit my book out in the world. There have been some reports that it is truly out there, though–even on tables, even actually purchased by actual humans! So I’m semi-satisfied with that, though hopefully I’ll get out there myself soon.

But lots of stuff is upcoming, book-wise–perhaps I will eventually have seen enough of my book, though right now that doesn’t seem possible. A few highlights:

March 22, Book launch in Toronto!! There’s a complete list of events in the right sidebar, so I’ll mainly refrain from mentioning events I’ve talked about previously, but this is the big one, and I’m very excited. If you’re in Toronto and enjoy books, snacks, short readings, and–possibly–me, please consider stopping by.

April 2, 11am, I’ll be on the radio on Out in the Open with Piya Chattopadhyay. This isn’t even book-related–it’s an episode about personal transformation–but I think being on the radio is amazing, so here we are. I hope you can listen!

April 4, Reading for the Toronto Review of Books with Jessica Westhead, Heather Birrell, Antanas Sileika, and the one and only Mark Sampson.

April 25, Books and Brunch with Different Drummer Books at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Aldershot, with Trevor Cole and Kyo Maclear.

Before all of that, though, I’m finally going to make it out to a bookstore to celebrate another book, Mitzi Bytes by my dear friend Kerry Clare. In addition to being a very talented writer, Kerry is also the best Enjoyer of Events I have ever encountered, and sharing a book birthday with her has really helped me engage with the spirit of the thing. I also read Mitzi in draft (as Kerry did for SML) and can vouch that it is funny, wise, and surprising–can’t wait to read it in its final form. I will be raising all the glasses on Thursday, and speeding through the book soon after. You should too!

March 6th, 2017

Now in book news (no other stuff at all)

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…

February 13th, 2017

Book launch

Guys, I’m having a book launch–like really, actually, getting celebrate my book in the flesh with people who supported me to get to this point, plus anyone else who is interested in the book or some free cheese. Please come!

The above is in Toronto, since that is where I live, but I’ll also be hitting the road at least a little bit to promote the book and connect with readers in other regions. It’ll be fun!

Here’s the schedule, if you are curious. Please note that the starred events aren’t public ones, and that this plan is still a work in progress–new events will be added, so if you are sad I’m not doing an event close to you, please let me know! I can’t promise it’ll work out, but knowing people will come to an event is definitely a deciding factor in the event existing or not, so it’s worth getting in touch!

March 22: Book launch!
*March 24: Guest Lecture at Laurentian University at Georgian College in Barrie
March 29: Incite reading series in Vancouver with Lori McNulty and Janet Rogers
*April 3: Guest Lecture at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo
April 6-9: GritLit Festival in Hamilton
April 19: Pivot at the Steady in Toronto
April 22: Toronto launch of Making Room with Amy Jones and Ayelet Tsabari (technically, this isn’t an SML date, as I’ll be reading from an older story included in their anthology. But I’m including it anyway!)
April 27: Bibliobash in support of the Toronto Public Libary

February 12th, 2017

Long live 1000 things we like

I wondered if 1000 Things We Like 2017 might peter out due to lack of interest, but you guys really rallied–nice work. Here are some things you like:

From Claire

284. Ziploc bags
285. dead leaves

From Paul S

286. Forgetting everything except the present at the pinnacle of a long run.
287. Being incapsulated by music at a perfect concert.
288. Landing safely and smoothly after a turbulent flight.
289. Having your dog sleep on your chest.
290. A significant other massaging your scalp with their fingertips.
291. A pleasant forest trail dappled with mid-afternoon sunlight through the canopy.
292. Kaytranada

From Fred

293. Ginger Tea
294. Hans Rosling (RIP, but check out his Ted Talk)
295. going to the ballet
296. downhill skiing (I just recently rediscovered this)
297. the song “New York Minute” by Don Henley
298. teaspoons
299. cleaning out your purse
300. Contigo travel mugs (quality stuff)
301. Drake’s third mixtape (So Far Gone)
302. Photos taken in 1987
303. Beach holidays
304. Reading Wikipedia articles about Space Travel
305. Paintings of Napoleon
306. Cherry pie

From

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