A new edition of No Relation

January 12th, 2016

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I just received a few copies of the new edition of No Relation. It’s due to hit bookstores in the next couple of weeks. I’ll miss the bears on the front cover of the original edition, but it seems the folks at McClelland & Stewart are trying to create a common look for my novels as this cover matches in general format of the cover of Poles Apart. Looks good to me!

Nine years later…

January 1st, 2016

2015

Yes, you’re right, it’s time to cast my mind back over the last year for the annual counting of my writerly blessings. I started this yearly tradition back in late December 2007, one year after I started this blog. And every year since, I’ve reminded myself, and anyone who happens upon this humble blog, that, nine years later, I have been very fortunate in my life as a writer. 2015 was no exception:

  • I slowed down a bit on the book talk circuit but still managed to put in well over 100 appearances in support of No Relation and then, later in the year, Poles Apart. I spoke at book clubs, literary festivals, writers conferences, libraries, community organizations,  schools, and many other venues. I’m convinced my book sales are heavily influenced by how many talks I give. And we all know how important book sales are to a writer’s ability to land publishing deals for future books. So I’ll be on the road again in 2016. Happily, I enjoy this part of the writer’s life.
  • The Best Laid Plans TV series won two Canadian Screen Awards. My wife and I were at the ceremony when Jonas Chernick won for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. Peter Moss also won for Best Director.
  • Last spring, I again taught the Humour Writing course at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies. (Incidentally, I’m due to start teaching the eight-week course again later in January.)
  • In July, I was one of the writers aboard the Ocean Endeavour for the twelve-day Adventure Canada  cruise up the coast of Labrador all the way north to Ungava Bay. It was an extraordinary experience, not just geographically with ice bergs and polar bears, but the people, staff and passengers, were amazing. I’ll never forget the experience.
  • In September, I had the surreal experience of boarding a flight in Toronto bound for Vancouver, reading a few chapters of my first novel, The Best Laid Plans in the early part of the flight, then watching an episode of the CBC-TV series The Best Laid Plans on the Air Canada entertainment system, and finishing off the day by watching the debut performance of The Best Laid Plans – A Musical, at the York Theatre in Vancouver. I loved the musical produced by Touchstone Theatre and Patrick Street Productions. Efforts are underway to have the show tour. I’ll keep you posted.
  • I signed an option agreement with PDM Entertainment, the same production company that produced The Best Laid Plans TV series for CBC, for the film rights to No Relation, my fourth novel. The wonderful actor/writer, Jonas Chernick (Daniel Addison in the TBLP TV series), is writing the screenplay. There’s a long way to go yet, but the first steps have been taken.
  • While at the annual Writers’ Trust Gala, I was introduced to one of my literary heroes, John Irving. I managed to construct several complete sentences in a row while my heart pounded beneath my tux.

This is not an exhaustive review of 2015, just some of the highlights for me. Looking ahead, 2016 is shaping up to be another busy year. In the next two months I have about a dozen speaking gigs scheduled, including trips to Whitehorse in a few weeks, and Galiano Island off the west coast in February.

I’m also working away on my sixth novel, tentatively entitled, One Brother Shy. I hope to finish the outline in the coming weeks so I can start writing the manuscript before the month is out.

Happy New Year!

Globe and Mail reviews Poles Apart

December 19th, 2015

Globe review 151219

When the Globe and Mail review of your novel is longer than expected, it’s even harder to read the entire piece while holding your breath. I was very happy after I exhaled.

To save you from squinting to read the review in the image above, here’s what went down in the paper:

Check your privilege

A freelance writer becomes a feminist icon in Terry Fallis’s new novel

Terry Fallis writes just about the tidiest romantic comedic novels you can find on Earth, let alone in Canada. His latest, Poles Apart, revolves around a youngish feminist who is also a straight white man, which is no easy task.

Everett Kane’s life is suddenly weighed down by familial responsibility when his father suffers a stroke. At the request of his business-mogul mother, Everett, a freelance writer in his late 30s, is sent to stay with his dad in Orlando to oversee his convalescence. He is delighted to discover Beverley Tanner, one of his feminist heroes, is a patient at the same facility as his father. Inspired by this to rediscover his undergraduate zeal for the equality of the sexes, abetted by the good fortune of free time as his father recovers, Everett launches an anonymous blog that goes viral overnight.

At the same time, construction of a new nightclub is under way just below Everett’s new apartment. In a typical Fallis comedic set-up, the nightclub just so happens to be an exclusive gentleman’s club called XY. Not only that, but the club’s Lothario owner, Mason Bennington, is the subject of the very blog post that launches Everett into the blogosphere’s regency.

(Everett’s blogging talent is linked to the placement of his feet over the bolt of a certain pole that happens to have its upper-most end in the floor of his apartment; Everett never quite links the power of the strip-pole to his ability to generate blog posts, but we are left to conclude that somehow the physical connection to the dancers below ties him more closely to his subject matter.)

A couple of contradictory elements are teased into the plot clearly enough to keep leisurely readers engaged early on. Everett’s father, Billy Kane, a lowbrow man’s man of an era that predates Don Draper, is grappling with his post-stroke recovery alongside a fictional co-founder of Ms. magazine, lobbing knuckle-dragger come-ons and receiving witty barbs in return. Everett befriends a dancer employed at the downstairs club, and his second-wave notions about female empowerment are overturned in a hurry. And, when Everett meets the counsel charged with Mason Bennington’s case, his interest is piqued and a love story begins to blossom.

Fallis excels at making his readers love his characters, even those with truly unlovable traits. Much as in No Relation, an unlikely group of characters is brought together by happenstance featuring an everyman protagonist, ready and eager to write but somehow blocked at the beginning of the book. The reading here is easy, and all of the good-guy characters have depth, but, at the same time, they are given enough space and plenty of foils for their traits, be they virtue or flaw. Men writing on feminism, let alone a man writing about a man writing about feminism, could be very loaded territory, and Fallis goes so far as to create fictional feminist canon texts from which his hero draws inspiration. However, the hero transparently has blind spots, and remains astute and imperfect. Interestingly, Everett’s political hero Beverley Tanner is famed for her memoir The Funny One: Reflections of a Feminist with a Sense of Humour; having this text as the basis for a protagonist to draw from in a humorous novel is not so much a trope as a possible detail of a past that very well could have been.

In a novel that takes a lighthearted knock at the foibles of the earnest, most privileged class, one conceit smacks a bit odd: Fallis points out race when it isn’t white, signalling that white is the default audience, the assumed character base. While the book does a sound job showing how the most sincere, educated male feminist can still have blind spots, there may still be another blind spot in the text itself.

A beautiful function of fiction is to not just show the world as it is, which this book does indeed – all references to contemporary media are spot-on, and characters engage with the world in a very natural way – but how it can be. Everett’s transition from troubled sideline feminist to an active, productive voice in the conversation shows an evolution that is entirely within the realm of the possible. He remains humble, maintains his sense of humour and gets over himself in an entirely useful way. Everett and his father, Billy, heal together, and the reading stays sharp and light enough while giving the real issues fair play.

Imagine a crew of unassuming readers with invisible sexist tropes lodged somewhere within the recesses of their minds, chuckling along and finding themselves somehow subtly transformed while consuming this pleasurable novel – that scenario would be a literary conclusion to outlive the book itself.

Lauren Bride is a Toronto writer.

With a slightly different headline, you can click here to read the review online.

Poles Apart Bestsellers List Roundup

November 11th, 2015

In the first few weeks of its life, it’s been very gratifying to see Poles Apart grace a number of bestsellers lists in various positions. I just wanted to note them here for posterity’s sake, as this blog is a kind of digital scrapbook of my writing life. Here’s hoping Poles Apart hangs on for a few more weeks before it inevitably slips off these ever-changing bestsellers lists. I’m grateful to the many readers who have bought the book and helped propel it into these rankings.

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MyStore Bestsellers list 151031

Globe bestsellers 151031

TorStar Bestseller list 151031

Poles Apart: Chapter 16

November 11th, 2015

The End

Welcome back to the podcast edition of Poles Apart, my fifth novel published by McClelland & Stewart. This week, the final chapter. We skip ahead three months as Everett heads to California on a mission in memory of Beverley Tanner, and then he pays a visit to the person who started all of this in the first place.

I really hope you’ve enjoyed the Poles Apart podcast. I’ve certainly had fun bringing it to you. The book is now in bookstores across the country and available online as an e-book. Thanks for listening.

Of course, your comments on Poles Apart are always welcome here on the blog. You can also follow me on Twitter (@TerryFallis) or send me an email to tfallis@gmail.com.

The voiceover that opens each episode of the podcast belongs to my good friend, Roger Dey.

Poles Apart: Chapter 15

November 5th, 2015

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Welcome back to the podcast edition of Poles Apart, my fifth novel to be published by McClelland & Stewart. This week, Everett entertains a job offer, is laid low by some very bad news, and launches a hail Mary in a bid to reconnect with Megan Cook.

Of course, your comments on Poles Apart are always welcome here on the blog. You can also follow me on Twitter (@TerryFallis) or send me an email to tfallis@gmail.com.

The voiceover that opens each episode of the podcast belongs to my good friend, Roger Dey.

Poles Apart: Chapter 14

October 31st, 2015

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Welcome back to the podcast edition of Poles Apart, my fifth novel to be published by McClelland & Stewart. This week, Everett flies to Washington D.C. to put Beverley’s plan into action. Then in the glare of the media, he goes public to keep Mason Bennington at bay.

Of course, your comments on Poles Apart are always welcome here on the blog. You can also follow me on Twitter (@TerryFallis) or send me an email to tfallis@gmail.com.

The voiceover that opens each episode of the podcast belongs to my good friend, Roger Dey.

Poles Apart: Chapter 13

October 23rd, 2015

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Welcome back to the podcast edition of Poles Apart, my fifth novel to be published by McClelland & Stewart. This week, Everett comes face-to-face with Mason Bennington. Lewis does a number on Ev. And Beverley cooks up a plan to help Everett out of a very sticky situation.

Of course, your comments on Poles Apart are always welcome here on the blog. You can also follow me on Twitter (@TerryFallis) or send me an email to tfallis@gmail.com.

The voiceover that opens each episode of the podcast belongs to my good friend, Roger Dey.

Happy Poles Apart Publication Day

October 21st, 2015

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Yesterday, Poles Apart officially became a book on its formal release date. You should now be able to find it in bookstores across the country. I celebrated last night by helping our ball hockey team, and I use the word “helping” loosely, win our second consecutive championship before heading off to the hospital ER to have my chin sewn up. In a brilliant play that may have changed the face of our game, perhaps even the face of hockey itself,  and certainly my own face, I managed to dive and clear the ball from our zone while shorthanded, and then, because the dive on its own wasn’t quite dramatic enough, I decided to smash my chin on the concrete floor. (There’s not a lot of give in that concrete floor.) The good news is we won the championship. The bad news is I now have four stitches in my chin as I embark on some book-related travels to Woodstock, Surrey, Victoria, and Ottawa with seven speaking gigs in the next seven days. I’m hoping to at least get a cleft chin out of it.

Don't be confused. My twin brother Tim is kneeling in the front row while I'm standing at the right.

Don’t be confused. My twin brother, Tim, is kneeling in the front row while I’m standing on the right.

Hospital for chin

Poles Apart: Chapter 12

October 16th, 2015

post it on laptop

Welcome back to the podcast edition of Poles Apart, my fifth novel to be published by McClelland & Stewart next week. This week, Everett’s role in the Eve of Equality blog is finally uncovered. He is stalked and caught by one of Mason Bennington’s henchmen, and finally, Everett discovers there’s been an intruder in his apartment.

Of course, your comments on Poles Apart are always welcome here on the blog. You can also follow me on Twitter (@TerryFallis) or send me an email to tfallis@gmail.com.

The voiceover that opens each episode of the podcast belongs to my good friend, Roger Dey.