Catherine Knutsson's Blog, page 10

June 22, 2011

So, it's been a while since I updated my blog. Oops. However, I blame life-interference – lots has gone on in the last, oh, five years, I'd say. And, May 2011 turned out to be like the Coles Notes version of all the ups and downs of those five years – like the last hurrah at the end of a cycle.


Anyhow, I'm chalking it all up to life lessons, ya know? What doesn't kill me makes me stronger – that sort of thing. And I do believe that – someday, I'll look back and say, yes. All of that needed to happen so that I would be ready for where I am now.


However, in the present, my daily mantra has been "All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well," a little prayer borrowed from Julian of Norwich, a 14th century anchoret. Easy for her to say – she walled herself up in a cell so she could devote her days to prayer and not have to deal with the rollercoaster of regular life!


But, getting back to this blog, the trouble is…I don't know what to say. I keep thinking, what do I know, or what have I experienced, that could possibly be of interest to anyone? I think a great deal about the division between author and book. I read a quote a while back that went like this "An author in his book must be like God in the universe, present everywhere and visible nowhere." (Gustave Flaubert, FYI), and yeah, I agree with that. So where does that leave an author in this day and age where we're encouraged to have an online presence? Does that online presence muddy the waters, so to speak? I can't help thinking it does, and yet, here I am, writing a blog post, ruminating about…well, I don't even know!


Initially when I created this blog, I intended to write about the writing life, how to live and breathe creativity, but the thing is, I'm not sure I know all that much about that, and there are lots of other writers who do, and have written wonderful books that convey so much knowledge and wisdom about how to live this strange life we artistic types live. It's not easy, let me tell you, though I suspect I'm preaching to the masses here. And, most of what I know about living a creative life comes through the filters of being a musician, not a writer.


So where does that leave me? I'm not sure. Ha, how's that for a revelation? I guess the thing is that really, life isn't divisible into neat boxes – the "creative" box, and the "laundry" box (which is very full at the moment), and the "family" box – it's more like a washing machine full of unsorted clothes, all tumbling around together, muddling up colours, so when you take the clothes out, you discover your white pillowcases are now pink, but that's okay, because pink is a nice colour too, right?


Anyhow, the long and the short of it is that I'm going to try to write something here on a weekly basis. I don't know what (I'm open to suggestions!), but what I hope I'll accomplish, even if it's on the smallest of scales, is to help others find their way through the murky woods…where all sorts of stories lurk in the shadows, waiting, waiting…


(Oh, and just because, here's my cat hiding in the garden…)


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Published on June 22, 2011 09:52 • 18 views

April 12, 2011

I just posted an interview with Ruta Sepetys, author of the beautiful and haunting BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY, over on the Apocalypsies blog – check it out here!


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Published on April 12, 2011 13:11 • 30 views

January 28, 2011

So, things have been quiet in these parts for a while. That's probably going to continue for a while later, though that's not a bad thing! I'm nearing the end of my revisions on THE WHITE RAVEN, the sequel to SHADOWS CAST BY STARS, which is great, and soon, I'll be heading back into what should be the last edits for SHADOWS. Until then, I'll be writing and revising and editing like a fiend, which leaves little time for anything else (life, included!).


However, it's all good. Writing is going well and I'm very excited about the next stage of things for both novels.


But, for now, it's nose to the grindstone for me!


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Published on January 28, 2011 16:08 • 31 views

January 13, 2011

Today, I got a peek at the cover art for SHADOWS CAST BY STARS, and it is beautiful. I am so thrilled and grateful and…*scrambles for words*….in awe.


I'm not able to share it just yet, but….soon. Very soon, I hope!


So, stay tuned!


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Published on January 13, 2011 15:52 • 31 views

January 4, 2011

So, in 2010, I read a total of 68 books, cover to cover (with one except, though I read four hundred pages of it, so I counted it). Go me! However, if I included the number of books I started and put down for one reason or another, well, the count would be much higher. That makes me sad, for a variety of reasons, but rather than dwell on that, let's dwell on the good stuff!


I read some fantastic books this year. The standouts for me were:


On the Jellicoe Road – Melina Marchetta (my favorite book of the year)

Why I Wake Early – Mary Oliver

Writing the Breakout Novel - Donald Maass (why oh why didn't I read this sooner?)

The Pricker Boy – Reade Scott Whinnem (the spookiest book I read this year)

The Magician's Elephant – Kate di Camillo (magical!)

Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green and David Levithan

Some Girls Are – Courtney Summers (made me cry)

Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott (also made me cry, but for very different (yet good) reasons)

Saving Francesca – Melina Marchetta

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures – Anne Fadiman

Reckless - Cornelia Funke

The Magic Thief – Sarah Prineas


And the rest:

Tam Lin - Pamela Dean

Catwings – Ursula le Guin

Hawksong – Amelia Atwater Rhodes

The Truth Teller's Tale – Sharon Shin

Return to Bone Tree Hill - Kristin Butcher

Dressage Masters: Techniques and Philosophies – David Collins

A Breath of Snow and Ashes – Diana Gabaldon

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase - Joan Aiken

An Echo in the Bone – Diana Gabaldon

Coventry – Helen Humphreys

Booklife - Jeff Vandermeer

When the Body Says No – Gaber Maté

The Body Sacred – Diane Sylvan

The War Diary of Clare Gass – Clare Gass

Heal Your Body – Louise L. Hay

Spirits of the Earth – Bobby Lake-Thorn

The Night Tourist - Katherine Marsh

The Natural Remedy Book for Women – Diane Stein

Women Overseas: Memoirs of the Canadian Red Cross Corp - ed. Day, Spence,

LaDouceur

Light Beneath Ferns – Anne Spollen

Eating in the Light of the Moon – Anita Johnston

Joan – Donald Spoto

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K Rowling

Song of the Sparrow - Lisa Ann Sandell

Archangel – Sharon Shinn

Finnikin of the Rock – Melina Marchetta

Roxie and the Hooligans – Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

The White Darkness – Geraldine McCaughrean

Maybe – Brent Runyon

The Magicians – Lev Grossman

Mistwood – Leah Cypess

The Line – Teri Hall

Matched – Allie Condie

Prophecy of Days – Christy Raedeke

Hourglass – Claudia Gray

Paper Towns - John Green

Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins

Nomansland - Lesley Hauge

Three Day Road – Joseph Boyden

Leviathan – Scott Westerfeld

Delirium – Lauren Oliver

Revolution – Jennifer Donnelly

Ravensong: A Natural and Fabulous History of Ravens and Crows – Catherine Feher-Elston

Eating for Acid Reflux – Hill Sklar and Annabel Cohen

Chronic Heartburn: Managing Acid Reflux and GERD – Wendland/Ruffalo

Blood Roses - Francesca Lia Block

Wasteland – Francesca Lia Block

Solving Horse and Pony Problems – Guay/Schlinkert

Dressage Training Customized – Britta Schoffmann

The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova (okay, so, I only read 400 pages of this thing – the first 300, and the last 100. I skipped the middle 400 pages…and didn't miss a thing…)

Twenty Boy Summer – Sarah Ockler

Heartsinger – Karljin Stoffels

Witch Child – Celia Rees

Between Shades of Gray – Ruta Sepetys

The Thief – Megan Whalen Turner


All in all, I read a lot of enjoyable books this year. There are exciting things happening in contemporary YA, and I think adult fiction could learn a thing or two or seven from what YA authors are doing. It is possible, believe it or not, to write beautiful literary work that is exciting, compelling, and non-navel gazing.


However…(yes, there is a however), I really am troubled by how many books I put down. I'm not going to mention them, because…well, because. But I will say this: maybe it's because I read and write fantasy, or maybe I just don't enjoy the paranormal stuff, but, by and large, the books I put down most often were YA fantasy and paranormal fantasy. To me, they read like the same book with different covers, for one. Another other issue is that concept often seemed to trump good writing, and with the ones I did finish, I couldn't help thinking, "So what?" at the end. Fantasy shouldn't do that, in my opinion. Good fantasy – the best kind of fantasy – opens a window into ourselves at some level. At least, the kind of fantasy I enjoy (and prize) does. However, there's no accounting for taste, right?


And, I did have some quibbles about a few trends in YA (trends as a whole worry me), but I'm not sure if that's because I'm old and jaded, or because I've been stuck in the revision trench most of the year, or what. I need to think about this a bit more – a post for a later date, perhaps.


Anyhow, my book shelves are full of new books ready to be devoured. My reading goals this year include reading more non-fiction just for the sake of reading it and not because I'm researching or trolling for story ideas, and to read more historical fiction, especially YA historical, simply because!


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Published on January 04, 2011 13:10 • 26 views

January 1, 2011

Hangin' with the cormorants at Neck Point, looking out towards Shack Island…


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Best wishes for a safe and prosperous 2011!


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Published on January 01, 2011 21:44 • 17 views

November 11, 2010

November 7, 2010

So, I've been lurking in the revision cave the last while, hence the lack of posting anything at all. It's kind of a weird spot to be in, I think, working away on one's first novel, because there are all sorts of things I'm discovering, and yet, I'm not sure I could articulate them in any coherent manner, even if they were of interest to anyone else (and I'm pretty sure they're not, because I have a feeling the revision cave skews one's perspective on just about everything. For example, I find it impossible to believe that my book is NOT the center of the universe. Someone tells me that in actual fact, Toronto is…heh. Don't worry if that doesn't make sense – inside Canadian joke!).


Therefore, having something to post about that isn't related to SHADOWS is a welcome change! And here it is: my story, "Sky Falling" (which is one of my favorites), has been published in the current issue of ON SPEC, should you wish to read (and I hope people do, not only because my story is in this issue, but because ON SPEC is a great magazine!).


Anyhow. There you have it. A post. About writing.


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Published on November 07, 2010 21:10 • 35 views

October 5, 2010

1. Our hotel room has a chaise lounge. I've always believed a writer should have such a thing, and so I've been spending my days chaising. This is as it should be.


2. I've got a line on a retired Prix St George dressage horse that may be coming up for lease. I'm going to meet him on Thursday, along with a potential coach. Fingers crossed!


3. Health has been up and down. Some days are good, some days less than optimal, but I'm getting it figured out, slowly but surely.


4. The second editorial letter for SHADOWS arrived shortly before we moved out of our house, so whilst chaising, I am also busy marking up the manuscript. Most of the changes I need to make aren't big, but there are one or two that I just haven't been able to get my brain around, and they're the one or two which will impact every single thing in both this book and the next. Fortunately, le chaise lounge has a fantastic view of the harbour and Newcastle Island (which the husband and I hiked on the weekend, so there will be photos – hopefully the ones of the mink we saw turned out!). My camera cables are all packed, so here's a photo off the internet that's close to my view:


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Not bad to stare at while trying to figure things out, huh?


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Published on October 05, 2010 16:54 • 42 views

September 23, 2010

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Published on September 23, 2010 17:16 • 27 views

Catherine Knutsson's Blog

Catherine Knutsson
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