Blog Tour

Angie Abdou, author of the Canada Reads selection The Bone Cage and the much anticipated Between (coming this fall), tagged me in a roving blog tour that features writers talking a bit about their writing and their process. I first met Angie at the Fernie Writers’ Conference in 2007 when she taught a fiction workshop that inspired the work that got me into Sage Hill which inspired the work that led to my first novel. Angie is an unflagging supporter of CanLit and writers … check out her blog tour contribution at

As you can see, I don’t have a proper blog. Luckily Goodreads provides this space and, who knows, maybe this will get me started blogging.

What am I working on?

I’m working on a novel that I was working on before I wrote Loggers’ Daughters (published November 2013 by Oolichan Books I’m somewhere in the midst of this second novel. I might have a beginning. I might have an ending. There is only the great lonely desert of the middle to be traversed. Only. Ha!
I try not to talk too much about my work in progress even though I feel foolish stumbling around saying “uh” and “um” when people ask what it’s about. With Loggers’ Daughters it took me months after it was published before I could say what it was about and even now I still sometimes “um” and “ah.”

How does my work differ from other work in its genre?

A reviewer recently called Loggers’ Daughters an old fashioned novel and I wasn’t offended. I don’t think I set out to write an old fashioned novel but I can see that the label fits. I don’t think much about genre when I write. I put my fingers on the keyboard and words come out and that’s what I’ve got in me to give so I try to follow it where it goes. That’s not much of an answer. I feel like I haven’t written enough yet, or finished enough work yet, to have a sense of what kind of writer I am and how my voice will differ.
If you’d like to read something more articulate, the novel was reviewed here
and here (pg 14)

Why do I write what I do?

If I had finished my degree I’d have majored in history and women’s studies. Instead I write fiction and much of my writing (so far) is about times that are just on the verge of disappearing. I’m often trying to get down the women who built the bridges that I walk on every day. I also want to get down the history and geography of this northwest place that has shaped my life. In the process I come upon timeless issues and I try to get them down too (from wherever my character is standing).

How does my writing process work?

Wry smile. When it works, my writing process is quite structured and tediously incremental. I’m a new(ish) runner and I’m always finding connections between my running and writing practice. For example, you can’t train to run a half-marathon in a day or a week or even a month (well, I can’t anyway). The muscle and breath and will for long runs come in small increments during training. When I’m writing, that’s how I write: daily increments accumulating until I have a stack of scene, character, setting. Then I spread all those increments around (on the floor) and see what I’ve got. I cobble them together. Then I write more increments to fill in gaps. Then I take a bunch of stuff out that doesn’t need to be there. Maybe somewhere around here I will try to make an outline. There might be more research that needs to be done. Then I write some more increments. And so on. Eventually I have a very rough draft. Then I can see what I’m really missing. So I write that and whatever else happens to float up. Eventually I have a second draft. Then I do this thing I do that crosses an Uta Hagen exercise I learned from my (actor) daughter with a rewriting exercise from Jack Hodgins’ Passion for Narrative that involves (horror of horrors) starting again on blank pages. Eventually I finish a true-blue draft. Then I get someone to read it.

PARTNER BLOG: It seems we are tagged in pairs, so check out my partner on the blog tour, Kim McCullough who has an honest to goodness blog at Kim and I were both in that same Angie Abdou fiction class in Fernie and both had our first novels published at nearly the same time. Despite the 500Km between us we managed to share a couple of readings (and a few glasses of celebratory wine) last fall. Kim’s novel, Clearwater, is here

NEXT UP: I’m passing the blog tour baton to Kimberley Fehr who I met at in 2008. We were both in Terry Jordan’s fiction workshop and though we live quite a distance apart we kept in touch, cheering for each other’s progress in that way new writers do. Kim has published some great short stories (I’m especially partial to this one: ) so be sure to check out her blog tour post next week.

BONUS FEATURE: some of the other authors who contributed to the blog tour:

Kathy Para* Theodora Armstrong * Eufemia Fanetti * Kathy Page * Janie Chang * Lorna Suzuki * Barbara Lambert * Matilda Magtree * Alice Zorn * Anita Lahey * Pearl Pirie * Julie Paul *Sarah Mian * Steve McOrmond * Susan Gillis * Jason Heroux
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Published on July 07, 2014 16:53
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