Archive for the ‘Doug Gibson’ Category

Poles Apart manuscript is finished…

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Cover page

 

It’s always nice, even a thrill, to write the words “The End” at the bottom of the page. I finished the manuscript for my fifth novel, Poles Apart, last night. It comes in at just under 98,000 words, and so is a touch longer than my last novel, No Relation. I wish this meant I was well and truly finished. Alas, no. We’re still a long way from seeing the novel on bookstore shelves. But I think of this as, to borrow from Winston Churchill, “the end of the beginning.”

My wonderful editor, Douglas Gibson at McClelland & Stewart, will now go through it, first as a reader, and then on the second, third, and fourth passes, as an editor. We’ll talk about this reaction and suggestions. Then I’ll take another run through it, tweaking here,  tightening there. If our first four novels together are any indication, and I hope they are, the editing process ought not to be too onerous (I’m touching wood right now!). But we’ll see.

I’m just happy to have this first major phase completed. If all goes well, expect to see Poles Apart in bookstores in October, 2015. (Fingers eternally crossed…)

Today’s the day: No Relation is published

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

May 20, 2014 seemed a long way off when I finished the manuscript for No Relation late last summer. But it’s here, now. My thanks to my friend and editor, Douglas Gibson, my publisher, McClelland & Stewart, my awesome publicist, Frances Bedford, and my wonderful agent, Beverley Slopen, for making this happen. And of course I’m grateful for so many supportive friends and readers who have kept me motivated and loving what I do. Finally, none of this would have happened without my endlessly patient and encouraging family. Thank you Nancy, Calder, and Ben.

Here’s hoping you all enjoy No Relation. As of today, it’s now yours…

First copy

Humbled by my university…

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Last night, my wife, Nancy, and I got all dressed up for a big formal shindig in Hamilton. It was the annual Applause and Accolades awards dinner for McMaster University’s Faculty of Engineering. Though it may seem strange to some, I earned my degree in mechanical engineering from McMaster and have always been proud to wear the iron ring on the pinkie of my working hand. Last night, despite never practicing formal engineering for a single day in my life, I was humbled to receive the L.W. Shemilt Distinguished Alumni Award named for the revered Dean of Engineering who served for my first couple of years at Mac. It was a wonderful evening.

My deep gratitude to the current Dean of Engineering, Dr. Ishwar Puri, and his team who made all of this happen. I’m also grateful to President Emeritus Dr. Alvin Lee and my editor Douglas Gibson for appearing in the video used to introduce the award last night. Feeling very blessed today…

Shemilt Award

Thrilled to sign with M&S for my next two novels

Friday, July 5th, 2013

This happened a while ago, but the news was just released today. I’ve signed a two-book deal with McClelland & Stewart, under the Douglas Gibson Books imprint. Doug Gibson will still be my editor. My fourth novel, No Relation, is written and edited, and is already in M&S’s hands for copy-editing, layout, and cover design. It will be published in May, 2014. It’s possible I’ll actually have my fifth novel written by then, (he says, optimistically) as I’m now deep into the planning stages of it, and hope to have started writing the manuscript by the end of the year. It’s tentatively called Poles Apart. (I’ll write more about novel #5 later in the summer, when the story is more fully developed.)

It’s an honour to be with McClelland & Stewart for my next two novels. My gratitude to my agent Beverley Slopen, and the great folks at M&S, Ellen Seligman, Doug Gibson, Bhavna Chauhan, Kristin Cochrane, Anita Chong, and of course my tireless publicist, Frances Bedford. Onwards…

Writing Update: No Relation (4th Novel)

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

On January 5th, 2013, I recorded on this blog that I had officially started writing the manuscript for my fourth novel, No Relation. Well, I’m thrilled to report that two days ago, my editor, Doug Gibson, passed along the final manuscript to McClelland & Stewart for copy-editing and proofreading. In other words, the book is essentially finished. (WooooHoooo!) Last week, I went through Doug’s minor but thoughtful and very beneficial suggested tweaks to the manuscript. It’s a better book and it’s in better shape thanks to Doug’s insights and experience. So for the time being, it’s now out of my hands.

If you’re thinking that six months is not a long time to write a novel, do not be deceived. Writing the manuscript is the very last step in my particular writing process. In the preceding six to eight months, I’ve been carrying around the whole story in my mind, developing it, changing it, putting it back the way it was and then changing it again, refining the plot, developing the settings and characters, and eventually drafting a 50-70 page chapter-by-chapter outline to guide me in writing the manuscript. In other words, by the time I get to the actual crafting of sentences, I know everything there is to know about the novel, from start to finish. So at that stage, the writing itself is, thankfully, relatively straightforward and efficient. It just requires that I put my ass in the chair long enough to bang out 100,000 words, preferably in the right order. But you’ll eventually be that judge of that.

Finishing No Relation liberates my mind to start mapping out my fifth novel. I’ve had an idea simmering in my brain-pan since last December. I think it’s almost ready to see the light of day. (You don’t want to be inside my head for longer than seven or eight months!) So I hope to start wrestling novel #5 into shape so I can start writing it as early as the fall. Onwards…

 

Wow… still reeling…

Saturday, June 8th, 2013


This past Monday evening, I was emceeing the 2013 Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Awards at the Toronto Congress Centre. It was wonderful meeting, and having dinner with, the legend Alice Munro, and spending time with Will Ferguson, one of the nicest and funniest (he’s a three-time Leacock Medal winner) writers we have in this country. Much to my surprise, I was actually a finalist for the 2013 Author of the Year award alongside Alice Munro, Will Ferguson, and Nancy Richler.

I spent a good part of the night shuttling from backstage to the podium, introducing each award and the resepctive presenters. When it came time for the Author of the Year category, I was quite happily backstage as reigning CBA President, Mark Lefebvre (who writes as Mark Leslie), took the stage to rip open the envelope (yes, they actually do the whole “…and the winner is…” routine) and announce the lucky name. Fortunately, I was backstage at the time, fully expecting to hear one of the other stellar writers’ names called, when Mark distinctly read my name. It took me a moment to find my  jaw on the floor, it was quite dark backstage, before I wobbled back onto the stage. I thanked the many independent booksellers with whom I’d worked over the preceding five years, paid tribute to my wonderful publicist at Random House, Frances Bedford and my literary agent, Beverley Slopen, and offered my deep appreciation to my editor and friend, the incomparable Douglas Gibson. Finally, I just closed by saying that there had never been a more grateful recipient of this honour. Then gathering myself, I switched back into emcee mode with my knees still knocking, noted that we were “now returning to regularly scheduled programming,” and introduced the next award. Then I darted backstage to hyperventilate until I had to return to the microphone to welcome the next presenter and generally keep the trains running on time. Believe me, I was very thankful for the distraction of my emcee duties. As I said in my closing remarks, when I think back, years from now, on the 2013 CBA Libris Awards, I suspect I’ll remember very little about my duties as emcee.

Winning Author of the Year was indeed a shock. But the honour really should be shared with my patient and indulgent family. You see, I’ve done a lot of talks and readings in the last few years. There were 130 last year, and I seem to be on a higher pace this year. I truly believe that this is how you sell books in this country, and better the odds that you’ll get to write and publish a next novel. But it is not without sacrifice. I haven’t been there for as many family dinners and weekends as I would have liked. The load at home unavoidably shifts to the shoulders of my wife, and two sons. I’m very grateful that they have accommodated the demands of my writing life, on top of everything else that comes with having a family. None of this would have happened without their support. Somehow, I will try to make it up to them…

Say what? A CBA Author of the Year Finalist?

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

 

I’m not quite sure how to process this, but it seems I’m a finalist for the Canadian Booksellers Association Author of the Year Libris Award. It’s an annual honour handed out by the independent booksellers to a “Canadian author of an outstanding literary work published in the previous year that makes a significant contribution to Canadian culture. The work must combine readability with strong sales. The author should be one who has offered strong support to the bookselling industry.” (There are lots of other Libris award categories but the graphic above just shows the first two.)

I certainly wouldn’t have thought I’d be a candidate for this, particularly when the other names in the running are Alice Munro, Will Ferguson, and Nancy Richler. (Since my great editor, Douglas Gibson, also edits Alice Munro, he’s quite excited about it all.) I have traveled the province, and sometimes the country, for readings, often supported by wonderful independent booksellers, but still, this is most unexpected. Needless to say, I’m shocked and thrilled at the same time. The awards are announced at a big dinner on June 3rd at the Toronto Congress Centre. I was actually the Emcee for this dinner last year. I don’t expect to be going anywhere near the stage this time around, but it sure is nice to be in such fine company on the shortlist. Perhaps I’ll get to meet Alice Munro. Now that would be cool…

Five years later…

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Time to look back on my writing year, as I’ve done annually since starting this blog back in January, 2007. It was another year of counting my literary blessings. Here are a few highlights that made 2011 such a memorable year for me:

As you can see, it was a very happy fifth year in my life as a writer. I am one, very grateful novelist.

Looking ahead, there’s more excitement coming in 2012. First and foremost, my third novel will hit bookstore shelves in September. Beyond that, who knows?

 

Writing Update: Manuscript Finished!

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Six months ago to the day, I started drafting the manuscript for novel #3 (it’s still untitled). Last night, at close to midnight, I actually wrote the words “The End” to complete the draft. It always feels great to bring the story full circle. It comes with a real sense of accomplishment, even though the journey is far from over. The manuscript is just over 91,000 words, which should make the book about 300 pages, I figure.

So what’s next? Well, now I head back to Chapter 1 and start the editing and polishing process. I also do a ‘humour check.’ This can mean toning down or even cutting out some of the funny stuff that may just be trying too hard. Alternatively, I may pump up the laughs in places where I haven’t fully exploited the comic potential. But I’m learning to let the story carry most of the load. It’s nice to have a laugh or two along the way, but it should only support, not supplant, the story. So I’ll spend the next month of weekends and the odd weeknight massaging, rearranging, cutting, and adding to make sure the last six months of writing hangs together as one continuous, seamless, compelling story. Then on December 1st, I’ll send it off to my editor, Douglas Gibson at McClelland & Stewart, as well as to my literary agent, Beverley Slopen. Doug will carefully read the manuscsript more than once, and then add his distinctive, insightful and almost always sound editorial suggestions in pencil in the margins. He’ll pass the manuscript back to me probably by the Christmas holidays. I’ll then work my way through it, making changes where required. Then I imagine I’ll send it back to Doug sometime in January where the more formal publishing process begins. There’ll be copy-editing and cover design, not to mention the gathering of blurbs from interesting folks. Then, if all goes according to plan, the book will miraculously appear on bookstore shelves and in online catalogues in early September 2012.

But the big news today is that the first major hurdle has been surmounted. The story is fully written for the first time. I’m going to bed…

I’m thrilled to sign on with M&S for novel #3

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

I’m very happy to announce that last week, my wonderful literary agent, Beverley Slopen, and I agreed to a publishing deal with McClelland & Stewart, under the Douglas Gibson Books imprint, for my third novel. I could not be more thrilled to be staying with M&S, the only publishing home I’ve ever known. I’m grateful to M&S Publisher, Doug Pepper, and my editor Doug Gibson for their faith in me as I write my as yet unnamed novel #3. If all goes well, it will be on book store shelves in September, 2012. Here’s the official announcement straight from M&S. Now back to my writing!