Friday, December 21, 2012

The Next Big Thing

Len Joy  my best writing friend for the last seven years, invited me to join this chain-blog thingy (his words) in which writers answer a set of questions about their recently published book or their work in progress. 

Since I haven’t blogged for what it seems like years and my latest novel is not finished, I was somewhat reluctant to participate, but then I read Tara Laskowski’s interview  about her short story collection "Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons," and decided it would be a fun way to return to blogging. 

But before I start, let me introduce my writing group buddy, a Halifax-based YA author James Leck, who will be blogging from on December 26th. His first novel, The Adventures of Jack Lime has been shortlisted for the Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award 2012 and the Manitoba Young Reader's Choice Awards 2012. Buy it on or .

What is your working title of your book (or story)?

I’m on the 4th or 5th (or is it 25th?) draft of the novel. The first title was “The Sabbatical.” The second title, until very recently, was “Sandara.” Last week it changed to “The Faery,” and I’m sure it will change again.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

When we first came to Nova Scotia four years ago I stumbled upon an abandoned, one room cottage on one of the beaches. I really wanted to populate it, preferably by a witch who’d torment tourists with her dark and wacky magic. At that time I was finishing a different novel and it would be a couple of years until I started writing the current one. Sandara, the woman who lives in this cottage (in my imagination) is not a witch, but many think she is.

What genre does your book fall under?

Accessible Literary with a dash of mystery.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Younger Sandara: Meryl Streep.
Older Sandara: Meryl Streep. She can pull it off.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Flamboyant, charismatic Sandara is the master of deception and destruction and her exuberant joy, flippant indifference and cutting hatred bring strangers together and tear lovers apart.

Was your book self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m represented by the Beverley Slopen Agency.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

My first draft was relatively fast—maybe about 3-4 months. I knew how the novel would end, but the middle was muddled. I like the process of creating and some level of initial ambiguity. If I pre-planned everything, the writing itself wouldn’t be as fun and rewording. The subsequent drafts, especially “the last draft” take me much longer.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I’ve always been interested in how people behave in unusual circumstances. I also like to explore the concept of magic. In this novel it is very subtle, but it is still there.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The novel’s main force is Sandara, but the story is told from the point of views of Frannie, who starts out being Sandara’s friend, and Vera, who is at first a stranger to Sandara.

The End. But please keep on reading. ;-)

Check out the interviews of other participants: 
Len Joy (American Jukebox)
Amber Sparks (May We Shed These Human Bodies)
Bonnie ZoBell (The Whack-Job Girls)
Ashley Inguanta (The Way Home)
Cliff Garstang (What the Zhang Boys Know) I wasn't able to link the interview directly, so scroll down.
James Leck (The Adventures of Jack Lime)

*Note to future participants: I skipped one of the interview questions, so if you'd like to get the full list check one of the links above. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


This is my total word count at the moment. Look how pretty, look how symmetrical!
This novel is going well, and I'm really excited about all the stuff that's happening in it. Writing it has been fun.

Back in 10,000 words.

Monday, February 14, 2011


I just received the official notification from Descant that my story, Imagined Proximity to Death, (Descant #149) was nominated for the Journey Prize. Or to be more precise, the Writers' Trust of Canada / McClelland & Stewart 2011 Journey Prize.

I heard via email about a week or so ago, but now as the letter is taped to my fridge with my favourite duct tape, I no longer have any reasons to believe the initial email was an elaborate hoax.

I'm beyond thrilled! Still feels rather surreal, to be honest.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

a follower! Hi there! :-)

I have a follower who is not someone I already know, and not a duplicate of someone I already know (Hey, Chris! You're following me in double doses. It might cause health problems, and who knows what.)

So now I feel I have an obligation to the wild world wide web to maybe blog like once a week. And because Stacy (HIIIIIIIII!!!!!) reads my blog *always* and warms my heart (*always*).

Deep thought of the day: Came home tonight to my driveway completely blocked by a knee high wall of already frozen snow. Well, thank you! And, my dear husband, it was NOT like this when I left the house in the morning. I have blisters now from all of the angry shovelling.

Monday, February 7, 2011

I'm still here (sort of)

I set aside my almost finished experimental novel about the Chernobyl accident, and for the last two weeks I've been working on a new novel. I'm 17,000 words into it, and I think about it when falling asleep, and when I wake up.

It is a very different writing experience from my first novel (Swearing in Russian...) In Swearing my protagonist was extremely isolated and introspective, and being in her head was often difficult, as it was such a different mental space. In the current draft I'm writing mostly dialogues--my protagonist is meeting all those strange people, and there's a bit of a mystery going on.

I know that others manage to blog, and FB (may I use it as a verb?) and write novels, and send out short story submissions, and what not. I'm only managing my novel and my kiddos right now. I will blog more when this novel is out of the first draft stage, I promise.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Getting ready to fly

I don't know what I've been bying on Amazon, but I just received a notification that I might also like Customized Learning: Potential Air Force Applications.

In other news, when I work more on my novel, I blog less. I've been writing more. I'm happy about it.