Yesterday I was guest speaker at the Vancouver One-to-One Literacy Society's annual party. Hycroft Manor, where we were, is some amazing house. It recently suffered a flood, so we had to move from the downstairs ballroom to a smaller but very lovely space, full of gorgeous plasterwork and adjacent to a green-tiled solarium, on the main floor. According to the Ghosts of Vancouver website, Hycroft is haunted by at least seven spirits and a black football-shaped orb. I saw none of these.
I did see about 150 Society members, who are some deeply amazing people. The volunteers work on reading with struggling individual kids in elementary schools for several hours a week, and many of them have been at it for years.
As part of the talk, I read from a part of my novel when Daniel is learning to read and write with his own tutor, his sister-in-law (I had to alter the history a bit--it wasn't actually Israel's wife, but another brother's wife who helped him). Yesterday made me realize what a key scene it is, though it's a quiet and relatively uneventful one. Reading is his first escape from the confined life he dislikes. The tutors I talked mentioned that the escape goes both ways--they feel it too when one of their students breaks through with a book.
I'm still in Vancouver today, which feels like a little holiday also. Flowers all over the place. This morning I recorded a radio interview for CBC. This afternoon I went back to bed for a while. This time, the hotel room seems to be haunted only by a vacuum cleaner revving every so often next door.
Easter weekend is through. The chocolate ain't. Tell me I'm not the only mother who samples her kids' takings.
No chocolate in the backwoods. If you've read All True, you'll know there was a lot of meat involved year-round. Those hunting, skinning, and dining scenes were tough for this vegetarian to write, at least at first. I love research, though. I loved reading about how all butter smelled slightly sour in those days, and what parts of which animals were considered the best eating (beaver tail, buffalo hump and tongue, etc.). I was also happy, if a little repulsed, to recognize some of the pork-preserving techniques I remembered from reading the Little House on the Prairie series as a child.
Well, I'm thrilled that All True has been nominated for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, and especially to be in such great company: Emma Hooper, Sean Michaels, Guillaume Morissette, and Chelsea Rooney. I'm in the middle of Chelsea's fierce and intelligent Pedal right now, and the others' novels are in the reading line-up beside the bed.
Nick Mount, the head judge, says my version of Dan is "intimate." Well, I've had a few requests for more smut in the sequel, so I'll continue to work on the smuttiness. For now, I'm feeling pretty happy at the prospect of returning to Toronto in May for the awards evening, and more drinking, huzzah.
I'm the author of My Name is a Knife, All True Not a Lie In It, and The Old Familiar.