Archive for the ‘Marc Garneau’ Category

My talk to the Ontario Writers’ Conference

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

Earlier this year, I was invited to give the closing address at the Ontario Writers’ Conference. It was not one of the standard talks I often give about one or another of my books or my strange journey to the published land. So I was a little nervous about it. Anyway, for what it’s worth, you can watch it here if you’re interested or suffer with insomnia…

Up and Down hits the U.S. market tomorrow…

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Tomorrow, June 25th, the American edition of Up and Down hits bookstores south of the border. The new cover is quite similar, but eliminates the Canada Reads reference across the top of the Canadian version, and replaces the Marc Garneau blurb along the bottom with a lovely comment from U.S. broadcasting superstar, Ali Velshi. I think it’s a very clean and compelling cover. But then again, I’m biased. The book itself is a more traditionally-sized trade paperback, without the French flaps and the funky, unevenly cut pages. This version will also be available in Canada, replacing the original higher-end edition, starting tomorrow. Here’s hoping it triggers a sales resurgence here at home.

I have no idea how the novel will be received by American readers, or whether there will be deep penetration in bricks and mortar bookstores, although there was a nice Publishers Weekly review that may help. Time will tell. But it’s exciting to test another market. It’s also a bit early to know if I’ll be visiting the U.S. anytime soon to promote Up and Down. In the meantime, my fingers are crossed. Feel free to cross yours as well.

Up and Down: Chapter 16

Friday, September 14th, 2012

In Chapter 16, Landon and the crew of the Aeres make a triumphant return to Earth, while David has a near-death experience when he makes it back into the Turner King offices in Toronto.

Next week, Chapter 17, the final chapter, as David makes an unscheduled trip out west.

The voiceover that opens each episode of the podcast was provided by my friend, Roger Dey.

Comments are welcome here on the blog, via email to [email protected], or over at iTunes.


Up and Down: Chapter 15

Friday, September 7th, 2012

In Chapter 15, the shuttle Aeres docks with the International Space Station and Landon is forced to dust off some skills she hasn’t used for a very long time.

Next week, Chapter 16 as crew of the shuttle Aeres makes a triumphant return to the Kennedy Space Centre.

The voiceover that opens each episode of this podcast was provided by my friend, Roger Dey.

Comments are invited here on the blog, over at iTunes, or via email to [email protected]

Neil Armstrong

Monday, August 27th, 2012

As we enter the final countdown to the launch (pun intended) of my third novel, Up and Down, many people have been asking me about the origins of this story. (I have written about it before on the Indigo Fiction blog.) Well, in no small part, you can trace the roots of Up and Down back to Neil Armstrong, who passed away this weekend. On July 20, 1969, my twin brother Tim and I were on a remote 20 acre island in the southwest arm of Lake Temagami, about 100 kilometres north of North Bay, Ontario. We were nine years old, and our annual three week stint at our beloved Camp White Bear was drawing to a close. Late that night, the entire camp gathered in the main lodge. The younger campers, my brother and I included, were in our pyjamas and had brought our sleeping bags with us to spread out on the hard wooden floor of the lodge. A small, portable black and white television, the only one on the island, was set up next to the fireplace, with wobbly rabbit ears festooned with enough tin foil to encase a year’s worth of leftovers. As the evening wore on, many of our cabin mates fell asleep, but I was wide awake. I could look over my shoulder through the front window of the lodge and see the glowing moon hanging in the black sky.

Shortly before 11:00 p.m., thankfully, a couple of hours earlier than the official NASA schedule dictated, Neil Armstrong opened the hatch of the Lunar Module and stepped out onto what they literally called the “porch.” As soon as he pulled a lanyard to unfold and turn on the TV camera mounted to the side of the landing vehicle, a ghostly image materialized on the screen of that black and white television. I could actually see Neil Armstrong standing there at the top of the ladder. I looked again over my shoulder at the moon, and then quickly back to the TV. It didn’t seem possible, yet I believed it to my core. Then, he calmly descended the ladder, and after pausing on the last rung, finally stepped onto the surface of the moon. Neil Armstrong was standing on the moon, a different celestial body from where I sat, over 250,000 miles away. It was hard for my brain to process then. It’s still hard to fathom it now.

In that instant, something changed for me. Something clicked. Something shifted. It ignited in me a burning interest in space and all things flight-related. Over the intervening years, that fire has sometimes been a raging inferno, other times just a flickering flame. But that fire has always been there, and still is. It fuels the tale told in Up and Down. (In fact, a version of this camp story appears in Chapter 3 of the novel, although it’s been transplanted to rural Mississippi.) I’ve always believed that writers are at their best when they write about things they know about, care about, or most of all, are passionate about. It’s why I tend to write about things that have consumed me in my life. (It also cuts down on the need for research!) So when it came time to write a novel that was not about politics, it was completely logical, perhaps even predictable to those who know me well, to set it in the world of public relations, against the backdrop of the space program. Write what you know. Write what you love. Write what fascinates you.

More than forty years ago, Neil Armstrong helped set me on the path to writing Up and Down. It’s almost surreal that he’s gone now. I guess I just assumed that the first of our species to complete such an epic journey and set foot on the moon, would somehow live forever. For me, he will…

Up and Down: Chapter 13

Friday, August 24th, 2012

In Chapter 13, Landon and Eugene catch a ride on the famed “Vomit Comet” and then fly to California for a spin on the 20 G centrifuge. Next week, Chapter 14, as Landon, Eugene and David head to the Kennedy Space Centre for final preparations to light the candle on the shuttle Aeres.

The voiceover that opens each episode of the podcast was provided by my friend, Roger Dey.

Comments on the podcast are invited here on the blog, via email to [email protected], or over at iTunes.


Up and Down: Chapter 11

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

In Chapter 11, Landon heads to Houston with a chaperone to start her astronaut training, while David digs up something that was supposed to remain buried.

Next week, Chapter 12 as things heat up at the Johnson Space Center and there are some changes at Turner King.

The voiceover that opens each episode of the podcast was provided by my friend, Roger Dey.

Comments are invited here on the blog, via email to [email protected], or over on iTunes.

Up and Down has “blurbs!”

Monday, March 26th, 2012

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always been a big fan of blurbs on books. You know, those unfailingly glowing quotations from big names or big media outlets emblazoned on the front and back covers of novels? I always read them. While some can be over the top, having a better known author or a celebrity of some kind blurb your book seems to infuse it with more credibility than if the book were… um, “blurbless.” I’m thrilled to report that Up and Down, due in bookstores on September 11 (no, I actually don’t know why that auspicious date was chosen), will feature at least four blurbs. I am nearly overwhelmed with gratitude. It’s no small matter to let your name and words appear on someone else’s book. So I am truly grateful for the very kind sentences posted below. I blush, look at the floor, shuffle my feet, and buckle my belt tightly around my head to manage any undue swelling.

Here are the blurbs so far:


“Terry Fallis has done it again. Up and Down is another hilarious page-turner that also packs an emotional punch. Only a very talented writer can balance humour and pathos so skillfully. Beautifully written, these characters rocket off the page and straight into your heart. This is satire at its finest.”

Ali Velshi, CNN Anchor and Chief Business Correspondent


“Terry Fallis is a brilliant and very funny writer who also understands the human heart. His words will split your side on one page, and put a lump in your throat on the next. You’ll not only come to like his quirky characters, you’ll want to meet them and take care of them, too. Terry Fallis is a writer to watch, and more importanly, to read.”

Ali Velshi, CNN Anchor and Chief Business Correspondent


“In Landon Percival, Terry Fallis brings to vivid life an unexpected hero– tough yet endearing, brave yet vulnerable. As told by the adorably self-deprecating David Stewart, Landon’s highly entertaining story of NASA intrigue and public relations high jinks reminds us of what it means to be Canadian.”

Cathy Marie Buchanan, New York Times bestselling author of The Day the Falls Stood Still


“A rollicking good ride. Funny one moment, serious the next, always compelling: a reminder that we can all dream.”

Marc Garneau, Member of Parliament and Canada’s first astronaut


“Gently satirical and intelligently frothy, Up and Down achieves a delightful weightlessness as transporting as the space voyage it deals with.”

Andrew Pyper, bestselling author of The Guardians