Archive for October, 2012

Go west young man…

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

So I did. I’ve just returned from a 12-day book tour through western Canada, organized by the incomparable Frances Bedford, my publicist at McClelland & Stewart/Random House. It was really the first time in my writerly life that I’ve spent 12 consecutive days as a writer, without my day job intervening (well, mostly). And it was wonderful. It began in Victoria with a reading at the famous Bolen Books, organized by my friend and fellow writer, Robert Wiersema. It was a great event with a big crowd in a beautiful, big and independent book store. Afterwards, Robert and I had a great time catching up over dinner. The next day, it was off to Calgary for WORDfest, one of the largest writers’ festivals in Canada. I hosted and moderated a session called Lattes, Love and Laughter with Shauna Singh Baldwin, Billie Livingston, and Lorna Crozier. It was a fun event with lots of laughs sparked by these three very talented writers.

That evening, I was driven to the picturesque town of Turner Valley to give a talk and reading at their brand new library. What a great crowd and a great event. I signed a lot of books that night and I’m grateful.

After Turner Valley, it was off to The Banff Centre for four glorious days at what’s called the Summit Salon, communing with fellow writers and getting a big chunk of work done on my fourth novel. As you can imagine, the scenery was breathtaking, and more importantly, inspiring. I found it quite easy to spend large spans of time writing away amidst the mountains. I was also asked to write a guest post for The Banff Centre blog about my podcasting experiences. It was the least I could do. I hope that somewhere in my future is another visit to the Banff Centre.

Here’s a shot taken by Meghan Krauss, a photographer studying at The Banff Centre, to accompany the blog post. If you look past the figure marring the shot, you get just a glimpse of the beautiful scenery

Then after another day in Calgary doing media interviews and signing copies of Up and Down in various bookstores around town, I caught a flight for Edmonton. After a few more media and book signing stops, I gave a reading at the Chapters South Point store. Another warm crowd showed up and we had a good time.

My final event was in St. Albert, a suburb of Edmonton at their annual STARFest, the St. Albert’s Readers Festival. What a fun night it was. The prominent and popular Edmonton Journal columnist, Paula Simons, interviewed me on stage before I did a reading and then took questions from the floor. Paula asked some very insightful, even penetrating questions. I had to be on my toes, but thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Now my western swing is over and I’m trying to get back in the swing of things. But still lots of events to promote Up and Down. Off for readings in Bayfield tonight, and then Flesherton tomorrow night. And so it goes…


Up and Down Update

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Yes, I know, I’ve been slow in getting back to the blog now that the final podcast episode has been uploaded. No excuses beyond a very busy schedule while still trying to shoehorn my day job around it all. But just to bring you up to date, the new novel, Up and Down, seems to be doing very well out of the gate. Two days after it was published, it debuted on the Globe and Mail Canadian Fiction Bestseller list at #7. It then went to #5 for the next two weeks, and was still hanging on at #8 this past weekend. As well, the Goodreads reviews seem to be very favourable. There have been a few formal reviews published in the Montreal Gazette, the Kitchener-Waterloo Record, and the Saint John Telegraph Journal, with more to come, we hope. Finally, a number of book bloggers have added their voices and reviewed the novel, here, here, and here. In the middle of it all, someone sent me the Canadian Booksellers Association’s Canadian Fiction Bestseller List for the week Up and Down was published. What a shock when all three of my novels made the list. I grabbed a screen shot for posterity’s sake as I doubt this triple play will ever recur for me.(And I was right. The next week, The High Road had slipped off the list.)

Needless to say, I’m thrilled with these early signs that Canadians are enjoying Up and Down.

I’ve been on the road quite a bit lately promoting Up and Down including quick visits to Collingwood, Ottawa, Huntsville, Barrie, Orillia, Grimsby, Hamilton, Georgetown, Creemore, London, Ajax, and Aurora, and of course, there have been lots of gigs in Toronto. Later this week, I’m off for a 12-day swing through western Canada with stops in Victoria, Calgary, Turner Valley, Banff, Edmonton, and St. Albert. This will be my longest literary road trip to date. (I’m blessed with a very supportive family!)

I’m still working out how best to talk about Up and Down, and which sections to read at events. But, it’s coming. I figure I should have it sorted out by the time I’m back home towards the end of the month. What a happy whirlwind. Stay tuned and thanks so much for all the encouraging feedback. It means a lot to me, particularly with the new novel still so fresh on the shelves.