Archive for March, 2020

Guess who’s coming back?

Sunday, March 29th, 2020

3a book graphic

This has not been a closely-guarded secret. In fact, I’ve been mentioning it when asked at talks and readings for the last few months (back before the Corona Curse when I was still touring around). But I realized yesterday as I finished writing Chapter 1 of my eighth novel, that I’ve never formally noted it in this space. So here goes. The characters from my first two novels, The Best Laid Plans and The High Road, are returning in my next novel. That’s right, Angus McLintock, Daniel Addison, Muriel Parkinson, Lindsay Dewar, Bradley Stanton, and some new players are back in Operation Angus, the tentative title. It should be out sometime in 2021, likely the late summer or fall.

After having given nearly 1,000 book talks and readings since 2008 when The Best Laid Plans was published by McClelland & Stewart, the most common questions I field from readers are various versions of “When will you write another Angus novel?” I never closed the door on another “Angus novel” but to be honest, I never really had the intention of returning to the principled Scottish engineering professor with the unruly hair and beard. Okay, “unruly” is a profound understatement. But as the years passed and more and more readers asked about it, the idea of a third novel about Angus, his trusty sidekick Daniel Addison, and the rest of the gang began to sound more appealing. Well, now is the time.

The tentative title is Operation Angus, though that could change before publication. (After all, Albatross, the title of my last novel was an eleventh hour change just before publication.) I’d like to have “Angus” in the title to make it perfectly clear for readers that the accidental MP is back. The story is less a political satire and much more of a comic thriller. Without going into too much detail, Angus, now a Cabinet minister, and Daniel, while in London, stumble upon information about an assassination plot against the President of Russia set to unfold while he is briefly in Ottawa for a meeting with our Prime Minister. For various reasons, the intelligence is not considered credible (except by Angus and Daniel) and so the RCMP and CSIS don’t really pursue it. Angus and Daniel are left to uncover and thwart the assassination attempt pretty much on their own, supported by the quirky bunch around them. I should probably stop there.

If all goes to plan, I should have a completed manuscript ready for my editor at M&S, Bhavna Chauhan, by the end of August. Now back to Chapter 2.

Screen Shot 2020-03-29 at 9.16.11 AM

This is the simple table I use when writing my novels to help me keep track of word count and sometimes to make me feel good about my progress or daunted by what remains. Right now, it’s more of the latter.

After 7 months, Albatross still a Canadian bestseller

Friday, March 20th, 2020

This afternoon, on a lark, I checked back in with Bookmanager, where you can find all of the books in Canada ranked according to the previous week’s sales. Bookmanager provides the bestsellers lists for several major media outlets including CBC Books. I confess that in the weeks following the launch of my novels, I usually check the Bookmanager rankings every half hour or so! (Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration.) But Albatross has now been in bookstores since last August so I haven’t checked the numbers for quite a while. But I just did, filtering for “Canadian” and “fiction.” What a lovely surprise it was, in these bleak days of social distancing and self-isolation, to see that Albatross remains among the top twenty bestselling Canadian novels some seven months later (albeit at number twenty). Chuffed. Now back to our regularly scheduled hand-washing and crowd-avoidance. Stay safe, all.

BookmanagerMarch 2020

Covid 19 cancels lots of upcoming events

Thursday, March 19th, 2020

corona virus

The worldwide spread of the Corona Virus or Covid 19 is arguably the greatest threat to human life that our generation has confronted. I hope everyone is following the guidance health professionals are providing including social distancing, hand washing, no face-touching, and self-isolation. That is the only way we’ll emerge from this crisis and eventually return to our normal lives. Not surprisingly, many of the engagements I had scheduled in the coming months, including upcoming festivals in Quebec City, Gananoque, and Hamilton have been cancelled along with other events like local talks and readings. A visit to Thunder Bay has also been postponed. I’ll miss participating in these but let there be no doubt, cancelling them was the right call and in everyone’s best interests. So I’ve updated my Appearances page and I’ll continue to do that as more events are likely to fall away in the coming weeks and months. Stay safe everyone.