Friday, December 9, 2016

Get Lit

I had such fun with Jamie Tennant on his radio show "Get Lit" the other day. You can give it a listen on Sound Cloud here:

“Get Lit” with Jamie Tennant (93.3 CFMU – Sound Cloud)

Be sure to check out Episode 1 and 2 for his interviews with Giller nominee Gary Barwin and Giller winner Madeleine Thien as well. Jamie is a wonderful literary interviewer for many reasons, the most obvious being: he's an author too. He wrote a pretty darn unforgettable novel about music, starting over, Scotland, magic and asshole-rehabilitation that came out this fall, The Captain of Kinnoull Hill. I can't remember laughing out loud while reading a book as often as I did here. Jamie has a gift for humour, but more than that, he's a very talented, empathetic writer. Lots of emotional depth and complexity, and skilled use of language, here. And the surprises! So many wild, wonderful, horrible things happen! I had no idea where Jamie was taking me, and I loved the whole trip!

Thanks for writing this wonderful book, Jamie. And thanks for having me on your show.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

My favourite novella eva

I am so excited for Corrado Paina, my friend and former boss. He has written a truly brilliant, hilarious and heartwarming novella, Between Rothko and 3 Windows. Translated from the original Italian by Damiano Pietropaolo, Corrado’s essential perspective on the Italian “immigrant experience” is unlike any I have ever read. He’ll probably hate me for using that phrase, “immigrant experience.” He’s probably rolling his eyes and swearing as he reads this. But dammit, Corrado, I am not a poet like you! 

Of course, Between Rothko and 3 Windows is so much more than a novella about an Italian immigrant in Canada. Pick it up if you’re looking for a book that: 
  • Brings the city of Toronto alive; makes you nod and sigh and smile at the places/faces you know
  • Spins the CanLit immigrant archetypes on their heads
  • Makes you laugh
  • Is written by a brilliant, original man who infuses poetry into everyday life
  • Muses on art, culture, racism, making a living at a dying newspaper, the pressure of community, of conforming, of family, fatherhood, health, aging… 
And never mind all that. If you just want to read a twisty-turny murder-mystery… THIS IS THAT BOOK TOO.

If Between Rothko and 3 Windows doesn’t win the Toronto Book Award, I will eat my hat.

For more on this novel, visit Quattro Books here.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A little help from my friends

Anne made signs! How cute is she?

Unless you have connections, it's challenging to get the word out about a first novel. My publisher has been exceptional -- going above and beyond to get my novel noticed. But it's tough out there. Especially in the fall when I'm up against the biggest U.S. and UK books, and the Canadian prize winners. I've been trying a few things on my end. Tweeting, blogging, shaking hands, attending festivals, doing readings, etc. Some attempts have worked better than others. At a book party in September, for example, I worked up the nerve to initiate a conversation with a big name in Canadian publishing -- only to get shot down. It was a classic humiliation. He turned, gave me a "you are a Zero" stare, and promptly introduced me to the lonely expanse of the back of his plaid shirt.

So it's a grand understatement to say that I've been grateful for the support I have received. Whether it's posting book reviews online, showing up en masse for my book launch, buying more copies than they need, displaying copies at their desks, or writing letters of recommendation for my various pipe dreams, my friends and family have been behind me 100%.

A week ago, one of these supportive humans did a wonderfully generous thing: She threw a book party for me. It wasn’t a book club so much as a night with a bunch of smart, well-read women who value books, yes, but who value supporting each other even more.

I did a brief, nervous reading, answered some questions and sold a bunch of books! Then, as the party wrapped and I hoovered the crackers and hummus, us stragglers sat around and gabbed and drank and laughed. Oh! And I got to pet a dog!!

Thank you for opening your home to me and my novel, Anne. It was a perfect night. And thanks to all of my other friends, family and blog readers who've been supporting me and my little book. I'm lucky to have you.