Archive for January, 2013

Writing Update

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Just thought I’d bring you up to date on my progress in writing my fourth novel, tentatively called No Relation. Having started the manuscript in the first week of January, I’m very happy with what I’ve been able to write thus far. As of today, I’ve written nearly 30,000 words with drafts of Chapters 1-5 completed. I anticipate the novel will have 17 or 18 chapters, so it feels good to have a solid chunk in the can already. Of course, the wheels could fall off my writing at any time. In fact, they probably will now that I’ve crowed about how well it’s all going! All things being equal, it feels like I should be able to finish the manuscript sometime in the summer.

I’m still happily very busy with readings and talks on my third novel, Up and Down, so the trick is to keep my butt in the chair in the time I have leftover and sustain the pace of my writing. I aim to complete one 5,000 word (approximately) chapter each week. Then I’ll  start back at the beginning to edit.  I’ll keep you posted.

BookManager releases bestsellers list for 2012

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

This is a thrill and a half. The fine folks at BookManager, the organization that tracks sales from independent booksellers across Canada, has released their annual list of the top-selling books of 2012. Narrowing the focus to this country, what an honour it is to have two of my books among the ten topselling Canadian novels of 2012. It’s wonderful to be on the list with two other Leacock winners, Will Ferguson and Patrick deWitt, my friend Eva Stachniak and so many other fantastic writers. It’s also nice to see that three of the top ten are comic novels. I’m not sure that’s happened in a long time. This is great and encouraging news as I dive into writing “No Relation, my fourth novel. Happy New Year? It certainly is…

I’m out of the gate… on novel #4

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

Well, it’s official. Having spent the fall taking the ever-evolving idea for my fourth novel from my head, where it’s been steeping for a year, and mapping out the story in a 46 page outline, I have now started writing the actual manuscript. In fact, I’ve already written a first draft of Chapter 1, just over 5,000 words. So far, so good. It looks like there’ll be 17 or perhaps 18 chapters in the 90,000 to 100,000 word manuscript.

It feels great to be writing again. The only difference this time around is that I’ve crossed over to the Mac world and am writing on a brand new MacBook Pro Retina 15 inch laptop. It is beautiful, and the keyboard in particular is wonderful. Writers care about keyboards. So I expect the next six to eight months or so to be a tough slog, but it’s nice to have the outline done and the first chapter in the books, so to speak. Next, I’ll take another quick pass through Chapter 1 for initial editing, set it aside, and then jump into Chapter 2. I’m quite methodical at this stage in the process (actually, at all stages) and never write chapters, or even scenes, out of order. I start at Chapter 1 and write until the novel is done. It’s the engineer in me.

The novel is tentatively entitled “No Relation” although anything could happen between now and the publishing date, which I hope will be the fall of 2014, preserving my ‘a book every other year‘ publishing cycle. I’ll update you from time-to-time as the writing progresses. Now, back to the manuscript…

Six years later…

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Each year for the last six, I’ve been enumerating the blessings in my writing life in an annual blog post. This is it for 2012. I have much for which to be thankful.

  • Great progress was made on the CBC Television miniseries based on the first half of The Best Laid Plans. Scripts for all six episodes, penned by the star writing team of Susan Coyne and Jason Sherman, have now been submitted to CBC. As for what happens next, it’s always a bit of a mystery, but I gather that when CBC is happy with the scripts, we then move on to things like casting, location scouting, and eventually shooting. Still not sure about timing, but it all seems to be on track. Fingers crossed.
  • This past spring, we signed agreements with Touchstone Theatre in Vancouver setting the stage, so to speak, for them to develop The Best Laid Plans as a stage musical. They have engaged Governor General’s Award-winning playwright Vern Thiessen and accomplished composer Bryce Kulak. This will likely take a couple of years, but it’s a thrill to be a fly on the wall as this creative process unfolds.
  • In September, Up and Down hit bookstores. We had a wonderful launch at the Dora Keogh pub here in Toronto. It was a great relief to have the novel so well received by critics and readers alike.
  • The Canadian Booksellers Association Canadian Fiction Bestseller List for the week ending September 15th showed Up and Down at #3, The Best Laid Plans at #7, and The High Road at #14.
  • In October, I did a twelve-day western book tour to promote Up and Down, with stops in Victoria, Calgary, Turner Valley, Banff, Edmonton, and St. Albert. It was the first time I had ever spent twelve consecutive days as a writer, and it was great.
  • Just a few weeks ago, it was confirmed that in the fall of 2013, Random House will publish/distribute Up and Down in the United States.
  • Just last night, New Year’s Day, I finished the 45-page outline for my fourth novel, tentatively entitled No Relation. I’ll  be starting to write the manuscript later this week. If all goes well, it’ll be published in September 2014.

I hope your 2012 was as rewarding and interesting as mine. Thanks to all those readers, book club members, festival-goers, friends, family, and perfect strangers who have helped me along the way, and there were many. I am truly grateful.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2013. Now, time to get writing…