1) Hands down the best things is the ability to spend time making up stories ALL DAY. I’ve always loved the process of creating stories and characters. I feel beyond fortunate to be able to do it for a living.
2) Hearing from Readers: Writing is a solo activity. You sit alone making things up wondering what people will think when you finally get to share it. When people take the time to email or reach out on social media to say they like what you wrote, it is an amazing feeling.
3) Dress Code: I spend the vast majority of my days in comfy clothes covered in dog hair. If I don’t feel like shaving my legs- no one cares.
4) Work Schedule: This could go on the best and worst list of being a writer. There is no formal start time. No boss making sure you put in your hours every day. It means you can sleep in if you’re tired, knock off early if the sun is shining and the beach is calling. The downside is that you’re always at work. And if you don’t keep yourself on a schedule deadlines have a way of sneaking up on you.
5) Booksellers and Librarians: I have a serious book habit. I am one of those people who gets really anxious if I don’t have a good book on the go and a few dozen more in my to-be-read list. Writing gives me an excuse to read even more. It allows me to meet and talk with librarians and booksellers who are some of my favourite people in the world.
I can imagine no other thing I would rather do. For everyone who has bought my book (or asked their library to carry it) thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Tomorrow is my wedding anniversary. I am a firm believer that you don’t need someone in your life to be happy, but if you can find the right person, it sure does make life a lot of fun. Things I adore about my DH include:
WITH MALICE (have you had a chance to buy a copy? If not feel free to scamper over to your favourite bookselling site right now, I’ll wait) is set partially in Italy. I had the chance to do research in Italy for this book and I fell in love with the place. Some of my favourite things included.
ALL OF IT
So it’s here. WITH MALICE officially hits shelves today. I’ve said it before- writing is a solo activity, but publishing is a team sport. I want to take a couple of minutes and thank a few people.
First, I have to thank my family. My parents were always book people and they gave me that love of reading. I look forward to my cousin Jeanette driving me all around the great Chicago area later this week and all my family for their support and letting people know we’re related.
I don’t want to brag, but I have pretty awesome friends. I could never thank them all, but extra kudos go to Kelly, Denise and Joanne who read early versions. To writer friends: Joelle, Serena, Robyn, kc, Helen, Carol and Lisa who cheered me along the way. Also to non-writer friends Jamie and Laura who provide valuable balance to my crazy.
To my amazing agent Barbara Poelle who believed in me and in this book. It is not going too far to say it would not exist without her.
The team at HMH has been amazing to work with- Sarah, Meredith, Anna, Ruth and Karen all deserve an extra call out. I’ve also gotten to work with the team at Raincoast here in Canada and I would miss out if I didn’t thank Fernanda, Jamie, Melissa and Megan in particular.
To booksellers and book bloggers who have helped spread the word- thank you, thank you, thank you.
To Chevy and Terra who offered their time to read and offer blurbs- much appreciated.
I am fortunate to be a part of the Surrey International Writer’s Conference and I appreciate the support of my fellow conference planners. Here’s to celebrating this October.
To my fellow instructors and students at the SFU The Writer’s Studio. I’ve learned as much as I’ve given this year.
To writers I’ve never met- but who inspire the heck out of me with their books- hugs and kisses.
My two dogs Cairo and Gimlet provide needed distraction, humility and unconditional love.
Most of all to my husband who has always believed in me and my books. As I always say- I could do it without him, but I don’t want to. It would certainly be less fun.
Lastly- to all of you who take the time to read this book, leave a review or tell a friend. I truly appreciate it.
Happy Summer Reading!
The countdown is on! WITH MALICE comes out next week. Eep! I’ve been counting down for so long I can hardly believe it’s here. I’m excited to share this book with the world. To tide you over until next week I thought you might like to hear about some of the inspiration for the book.
1) Friendships: I am fortunate enough to have amazing friends, including one that I’ve known since seventh grade. Friendships are complicated, great when they’re good, but if they’re bad- they can be toxic. I wanted to explore how friendships can include love and envy, loyalty and betrayal- all in the same relationship.
2) Serial Podcast: After I’d written the first draft of this book I started to listen to the first season of the NPR Serial Podcast (If you haven’t listened you REALLY should- it’s awesome.) What I loved about the podcast is that every time I listened to an episode my view of what happened changed. I wanted to see if I could create that sense of how new information can twist what you think you know.
3) Italy: I was lucky enough to do a semester abroad (England) when I was in college. There is something about travel to a place that changes how you see your own life. As I wrote this book I took a research trip to Italy and fell in love with the place.
4) Brain Injury: I’ve worked for years as a counsellor for people who’ve had a significant accident or illness. I am always impressed by the strength people show in recovery. Having worked with individuals who have had brain injuries I liked the idea of creating a character who can’t even trust her own recall of memories.
5) Give them something to talk about: Before I wrote this book I sat down and thought about of some of my favourite books and what it was about them that I liked. One thing they had in common is that they raised a question- made me want to talk about them with someone else to get their opinion. I decided that I wanted this book to make someone finish reading it and then instantly want to talk about it with someone else. Guess we’ll find out next week if I managed to pull that off!
Most of these will come as no shock to those who know me.
Shoes: I have a passion for good shoes. Fluevog’s are a favorite as they tend to be a bit quirky. (like me.)
Knitting: This is my go-to relaxation activity. If I can watch a movie (or hockey) while knitting then life is pretty good.
Dogs: No need to comment on this.
Art: Having beautiful things makes life feel more beautiful. This horse we bought in Italy. I adore him.
Writing: But of course! Few things are better than the chance to make things up for living.
I am a bit dog crazy. You know that person who crosses the street to catch up someone to meet their dog? Yeah- that’s me. As I kid I nagged my parents endlessly until they got me a dog. I believe the argument was won when my grandma said “Get the girl a dog or she’ll turn out weird.” Alas- the weird had already arrived. This does not mean that I dislike cats (or ferrets, or parrot or pet of your choice) just that I find dogs to be the pet of choice. A few of the reasons include:
1) Dogs are Always Glad to See You: I can leave the house for five minutes and when I return the dogs greet me as if I was gone at war for years. It makes coming home extra special.
2) Dog Snores: I find this to be an irresistible sound. I would also include dog dreams here too when their wee paws spin about in the air.
3) Always Up for Adventure: Dogs are always up for something new. Walk? Why yes, they would love to! Try something that just fell on the floor? Don’t mind if I do! Anyone up for a nap? Why indeed! Dogs are eternally optimists.
4) Emotional Sidekicks: Dogs make great therapists. If I’m ever down for some reason my dogs immediately sense this and snuggle up. Or they dig a whole in the ground- but most of the time they are great in the comfort department.
5) They Remind Me of What’s Important: Dogs don’t worry about what other people think of them, they aren’t cruel because someone else is different. They focus on the important stuff- love the people/pack close to you, enjoy a good walk, take a nap in the sun when you get a chance, celebrate a good meal and when you have a chance to play- take it.
My office is in what used to be the porch of our house that before we ever moved in was winterized. Considering I spend so much time in here- I thought you might find it interesting to know my must-haves.
1) Tea: First thing I do every morning is fire up the kettle and get a cup of tea going. No mug of tea? No writing. My go to favourites are from Davids Tea. At this point I feel like they should give me a kick back as I’ve hooked dozens of people on their teas.
2) Office Supplies/Good Pen: I have a pen addiction. Who am I kidding? I love all office supplies. Few things make me happier than a Staples run where I can load up on Post-it Notes, markers, and index cards. I have a couple of really nice pens by Visconti (Italian of course) and they are the ones always by my side.
3) My Mac: I should admit I’m not exactly technically savvy. I lucked out when I married DH because he’s a computer engineer and so far has managed to fix every problem I’ve created for myself. He got me hooked early in our marriage on Apple products and I’ve never turned back. Currently I write on an MacBook Air. I love it for being portable and when at home I can add a wireless keyboard and giant monitor.
4) Moleskin Notebooks: While I write my books on the computer- I am addicted to having a notebook close by. I buy Moleskins in bulk. I use them to make notes, to do lists and when I get stuck in a book I find handwriting is the way to get things moving again.
5) Vintage Typewriter: I love typewriters. There is something about them that I find beautiful. I have a Corona from 1918 that sits on the shelf next to my desk. When I’m feeling wild and crazy I also like to have fresh flowers around.
What may surprise some people is that generally I keep my office pretty tidy. Clutter messes with my brain. I need a relatively clean space to write. I know the cliche is that writers are surrounded by stacks of paper, but that doesn’t work well for me. Not that it doesn’t get messy- just that I try to keep it organized when possible.
The only thing better than a good book is sharing one with a best friend! Help me celebrate the release of WITH MALICE by telling your friends about the book in a Tweet, Instagram, Facebook post, or via an email.
Every time you share the news of WITH MALICE you’ll be entered to win one of five gift packages which will be given away between May 10- June 7. Gift packs include:
How to enter:
Tweet or Instagram using the hashtag #summerofmalice. Feel free to share that you are looking forward to reading the book, your love of thrillers, a link to your favorite bookstore that sells the book, link to a review or your Goodreads page showing it is on your list- or any other ideas you may have!
I look forward to seeing how you spread the news and hope you enjoy reading the book!
I am going to admit a bias, but I do love a good 80’s movie. John Hughes was a hero of mine. I
1) Breakfast Club: A classic. I remember thinking that movies couldn’t get better than this. I also adored 16 Candles (oh Jake Ryan- how I loved you.) Ferris Beueller’s Day Off and Pretty in Pink.
2) Raiders of the Lost Ark: Ever since his Han Solo days I had a thing for Harrison Ford. When this one shows up on TV I can still watch it over and over. I also have to give a tip of the hat to The Empire Strikes Back, which in my humble opinion was the very best of the Star Wars original trilogy.
3) Aliens: This movie scared the daylights out of me. Other great action films included Terminator and the original Die Hard.
4) Princess Bride: I am still capable of quoting huge sections of this movie. I also give the book a big thumbs up if you’re looking for a good read.
5) When Harry Met Sally: Nora Ephron was an AMAZING writer and this was one of her best.
Fire up your Netflix for the weekend!