Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

One Brother Shy is a #1 Canadian Bestseller

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

What a thrill it was to discover this morning that One Brother Shy has ascended to #1 on the CBC Books Canadian Fiction Bestsellers list. This is wonderful news and I’m grateful to everyone who has supported this novel including readers, booksellers, and my great team at McClelland & Stewart.

CBC Bestsellers June 17


According to the Telegraph-Journal,  One Brother Shy also seems to be doing well in New Brunswick. Thank you New Brunswickers!

NB Bestsellers List (June 23).PNG

One Brother Shy on The Morning Show

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

The Morning Show

It was fun to appear on Global Television’s The Morning Show earlier today to talk about One Brother Shy. The butterflies in my gut kindly flew in formation. (Click on the photo or the link to watch it.)

Winnipeg Free Press Review

Sunday, June 4th, 2017

The first few weeks after a new novel drops, it’s always a rather anxious time as you await reviews from readers and critics alike. The response to One Brother Shy from readers, as reflected in the reviews on Goodreads, has been generally quite positive. But you also worry about what the critics will say.

The Winnipeg Free Press is first off the mark with their review. I’m breathing easier now.

Winnipeg Free Press Review

Globe and Mail reviews Poles Apart

Saturday, December 19th, 2015

Globe review 151219

When the Globe and Mail review of your novel is longer than expected, it’s even harder to read the entire piece while holding your breath. I was very happy after I exhaled.

To save you from squinting to read the review in the image above, here’s what went down in the paper:

Check your privilege

A freelance writer becomes a feminist icon in Terry Fallis’s new novel

Terry Fallis writes just about the tidiest romantic comedic novels you can find on Earth, let alone in Canada. His latest, Poles Apart, revolves around a youngish feminist who is also a straight white man, which is no easy task.

Everett Kane’s life is suddenly weighed down by familial responsibility when his father suffers a stroke. At the request of his business-mogul mother, Everett, a freelance writer in his late 30s, is sent to stay with his dad in Orlando to oversee his convalescence. He is delighted to discover Beverley Tanner, one of his feminist heroes, is a patient at the same facility as his father. Inspired by this to rediscover his undergraduate zeal for the equality of the sexes, abetted by the good fortune of free time as his father recovers, Everett launches an anonymous blog that goes viral overnight.

At the same time, construction of a new nightclub is under way just below Everett’s new apartment. In a typical Fallis comedic set-up, the nightclub just so happens to be an exclusive gentleman’s club called XY. Not only that, but the club’s Lothario owner, Mason Bennington, is the subject of the very blog post that launches Everett into the blogosphere’s regency.

(Everett’s blogging talent is linked to the placement of his feet over the bolt of a certain pole that happens to have its upper-most end in the floor of his apartment; Everett never quite links the power of the strip-pole to his ability to generate blog posts, but we are left to conclude that somehow the physical connection to the dancers below ties him more closely to his subject matter.)

A couple of contradictory elements are teased into the plot clearly enough to keep leisurely readers engaged early on. Everett’s father, Billy Kane, a lowbrow man’s man of an era that predates Don Draper, is grappling with his post-stroke recovery alongside a fictional co-founder of Ms. magazine, lobbing knuckle-dragger come-ons and receiving witty barbs in return. Everett befriends a dancer employed at the downstairs club, and his second-wave notions about female empowerment are overturned in a hurry. And, when Everett meets the counsel charged with Mason Bennington’s case, his interest is piqued and a love story begins to blossom.

Fallis excels at making his readers love his characters, even those with truly unlovable traits. Much as in No Relation, an unlikely group of characters is brought together by happenstance featuring an everyman protagonist, ready and eager to write but somehow blocked at the beginning of the book. The reading here is easy, and all of the good-guy characters have depth, but, at the same time, they are given enough space and plenty of foils for their traits, be they virtue or flaw. Men writing on feminism, let alone a man writing about a man writing about feminism, could be very loaded territory, and Fallis goes so far as to create fictional feminist canon texts from which his hero draws inspiration. However, the hero transparently has blind spots, and remains astute and imperfect. Interestingly, Everett’s political hero Beverley Tanner is famed for her memoir The Funny One: Reflections of a Feminist with a Sense of Humour; having this text as the basis for a protagonist to draw from in a humorous novel is not so much a trope as a possible detail of a past that very well could have been.

In a novel that takes a lighthearted knock at the foibles of the earnest, most privileged class, one conceit smacks a bit odd: Fallis points out race when it isn’t white, signalling that white is the default audience, the assumed character base. While the book does a sound job showing how the most sincere, educated male feminist can still have blind spots, there may still be another blind spot in the text itself.

A beautiful function of fiction is to not just show the world as it is, which this book does indeed – all references to contemporary media are spot-on, and characters engage with the world in a very natural way – but how it can be. Everett’s transition from troubled sideline feminist to an active, productive voice in the conversation shows an evolution that is entirely within the realm of the possible. He remains humble, maintains his sense of humour and gets over himself in an entirely useful way. Everett and his father, Billy, heal together, and the reading stays sharp and light enough while giving the real issues fair play.

Imagine a crew of unassuming readers with invisible sexist tropes lodged somewhere within the recesses of their minds, chuckling along and finding themselves somehow subtly transformed while consuming this pleasurable novel – that scenario would be a literary conclusion to outlive the book itself.

Lauren Bride is a Toronto writer.

With a slightly different headline, you can click here to read the review online.

Poles Apart Bestsellers List Roundup

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

In the first few weeks of its life, it’s been very gratifying to see Poles Apart grace a number of bestsellers lists in various positions. I just wanted to note them here for posterity’s sake, as this blog is a kind of digital scrapbook of my writing life. Here’s hoping Poles Apart hangs on for a few more weeks before it inevitably slips off these ever-changing bestsellers lists. I’m grateful to the many readers who have bought the book and helped propel it into these rankings.

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MyStore Bestsellers list 151031

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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…

Hanging in on the bestsellers list

Monday, July 28th, 2014

No Relation has now been on the market for ten weeks. So you can imagine how thrilled I am that for the tenth straight week, it’s still hanging in there on the Globe and Mail Bestsellers list. Honoured, humbled, and grateful.

G&M Bestseller list July 26, 2014

A No Relation Book Trailer

Friday, June 27th, 2014

Book trailers are all the rage these days in the publishing world. My great publisher, Random House/McClelland & Stewart has just produced this book trailer for No Relation.  I think it captures the spirit and tone of the novel very well.

National Post reviews No Relation

Friday, June 13th, 2014

Here’s the review of No Relation that will appear in the National Post on Saturday, June 14, 2014. My stomach is always in knots when I know a major media outlet is reviewing one of my novels. But those knots are untangled now.

NP Review

No Relation
By Terry Fallis
McClelland & Stewart
395 pp; $22.95

Only once, ever, has someone pronounced my last name correctly on the first attempt. Most people, instead, say Roo-ba-cha. (It is pronounced Rue-bach-a.) Over the years, the thing I’ve most enjoyed about my unique last name is that there just aren’t many of us; there are two others that I’m aware of, and none of us is famous — yet. When I was younger, and introduced myself, people usually thought I was saying “Rebecca.” To fix this, I figured I’d just go by Nicole — like Cher, or Madonna.

Our names are important; they help shape who we are. Sometimes you meet someone and when they tell you their name, it doesn’t seem to suit them (“You don’t look like an Emily … ”) while others seem to fit their names perfectly, like a well-worn pair of jeans. We ascribe personalities to names — all Lindsays and Victorias are rude, while all Megans and Charlottes are nice. Some people change their name, believing the original just wasn’t right. We name our children, of course, and our pets, but also boats, sometimes our cars, sometimes a house. Some families ascribed so much importance to a name that they pass it down from generation-to-generation, like an heirloom. But what do you do when your name happens to already belong to someone famous?

That’s the problem facing Earnest Hemmingway, a middle-aged ad copywriter living in the Big Apple. He feels that any other famous name would be more bearable than the one he’s been saddled with by his father, Earnest Hemmingway III (EH3), who is pressuring him to take over the family business. He understands Hemingway was, and is, greatly admired, but he just can’t stand the man’s writing. He goes by “Hem,” instead.

When the teller at the DMV doesn’t believe his name is Earnest Hemmingway, Hem loses it — yelling and banging on the glass partition. The whole incident is recorded, uploaded to YouTube and, of course, goes viral. Among the commenters, Hem notices a small group of nine people come to his defence. Coincidentally, all of his defenders share a name with someone famous. This gives him an idea. Hem decides to track down others who share his unusual problem. He posts an ad in The New York Times seeking people who share famous names in hopes of establishing a support group, of sorts, where those saddled with famous monikers can help each other with the problems their names cause.

Hem’s problem is that he isn’t just a copywriter, but an aspiring novelist suffering from writer’s block, which he believes is being caused by the ghost of Ernest Hemingway. To exorcise the ghost, Hem sets out on a geographical tour of the real Hemingway’s career, travelling to Toronto (where he was a reporter for the Star) then Paris, Pamplona, Key West, and, lastly, to Ketchum, Idaho, where the writer took his own life. Considering Hem doesn’t like the guy, you can rest assured there are going to be some bumps along the way.

As with his past novels, which include The Best Laid Plans and The High Road, Fallis employs an easygoing yet compelling writing style . The subject matter turns serious, at times, but Fallis keeps things light, finding humour in dark situations.

I once had a job where a client’s file listed her name as Julia Roberts. I wondered if she resembled the famous actress and what it must be like to walk around with such a famous name. Why didn’t she change her name to Julie? Was this her married name or was she born into it? My mind wandered repeatedly back to this curious situation while I was reading No Relation. So what’s in a name? When it’s Terry Fallis, you know it means a good book.

Nicole Rubacha is a freelance writer and screenwriter.

Montreal Gazette Reviews No Relation

Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

While I was in Montreal for a day last week, I sat down with Bill Brownstein of the Montreal Gazette. A photographer was also there, just to add a little more stress. Anyway, Bill was wonderful and the resulting article/review in today’s Gazette is faithfully reproduced below. (Breathing a little easier now…)


Gazette Review photo

Terry Fallis didn’t follow a typical strategy for success

MONTREAL — Terry Fallis is fast becoming a master of fiction writing. But the Canadian author’s life story would read as even more far-fetched than the wildest fiction he has penned.

Fallis, a Torontonian, is actually a mechanical/biomedical engineer by trade, although he never practised. Instead, he became a political strategist, having worked on the campaigns and legislative staffs of Jean Chrétien, Jean Lapierre and Michael Ignatieff. Then he left politics to co-found Thornley Fallis, a public relations and social/digital media agency.

Then ennui set in. So he began writing a blog and doing a podcast by night and on weekends. Out of this came Fallis’s first novel, The Best Laid Plans, about the angst of a burned-out strategist who figured his only out from politics would be to manage the career of a seemingly unelectable candidate. And, natch, even the best-laid plans don’t always pan out.

Fallis was unable to lure a publisher into releasing his satire on the Canadian political system. So he published the opus himself.

And go figure: Fallis went on to win the literary lottery. Against all odds for a self-published novel, The Best Laid Plans snagged the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour in 2008, was republished by McClelland & Stewart, was the 2011 winner of CBC’s Canada Reads, was transformed into a six-part CBC TV series this year, and is slated to become a musical on the Toronto stage.

Fallis proceeded to write The High Road and Up and Down, both finalists for the Leacock award. And his fourth novel, No Relation, has just been released.

Once again in No Relation, Fallis employs his understated whimsy and sense for irony, in a hilarious chronicle about a hard-luck fellow who loses his wallet, his copywriting job and his girlfriend one fateful day. Though he wants to become a novelist, the young man is getting pressure from his father to help run the family’s underwear business.

On top of everything else, the fellow is forever haunted by his name: Earnest Hemmingway. A hard name to live up to for a wannabe writer. It matters not that he is actually Earnest Hemmingway IV and that EH I was born four years before the literary lion who was Ernest Hemingway. To be fair, EH I was also quite the pioneer: a cross-stitching underwear icon who is reputed to have put the wedge in wedgie.

To kill time between avoiding his family and the workforce, Earnest Hemmingway — or Hem, as he prefers to be called — embarks on a project to recruit others cursed with the names of the famous but who are not related to them. Hence the book’s title.

And so it is that Hem hooks up with a Mario Andretti who is a terrible driver, a Mahatma Gandhi who has anger-management issues, a Marie Antoinette who has a pastry shop called Let Them Eat Cake, and a Diana Ross who is a terrific crooner, but only when she’s drunk.

Hem also conscripts a Jesse Owens, Clark Kent, James Moriarty and Jacqueline Kennedy to the club. So pumped is this crew that they go on to form their own baseball squad, with Gandhi in right field and Jackie as team cheerleader.

What delightful lunacy Fallis has concocted here, with a dollop of intrigue and even romance.

Fallis is in a buoyant state, having just learned that No Relation is climbing the sales lists like a bullet and that it has been optioned by the same producers who turned The Best Laid Plans into a series. But unlike his Diana Ross character, he chooses to celebrate with a cola at a downtown bistro.

As was the case with his other books, the seed for No Relation was sown from an actual encounter.

“In 1989, I had a client meeting in downtown Toronto,” Fallis recalls. “The client was having a labour dispute, so we also met with a labour lawyer, who introduced himself as Brian Mulroney. But not the Mulroney who was Canada’s prime minister then.

“I remember thinking: This poor guy — what must his life be like? He can’t go to his son’s soccer game or a client meeting without having to endure comments which would surely be elicited whenever he announced his name. That’s obviously a thin premise for a whole novel, but it made for a solid foundation on which to build this family saga.”

Fallis, 54, is abundantly aware that he has been on the kind of hot streak that is rarely played out in these increasingly difficult times on the literary front.

“I don’t take it for granted ever,” says the affable writer. “I pinch myself every 20 minutes or so. I just can’t believe what has happened. I feel that I’ve exhausted my lifetime allocation of good fortune.”

Luck can only go so far. Talent helps. So does experience. Fallis’s days as a strategist certainly put him in an excellent position for a parody on Canadian politics. In fact, it’s somewhat surprising that he was unable to land a publishing deal for The Best Laid Plans.

“The challenge was that I had written a satirical novel on Canadian politics, and every agent said: ‘Are you crazy? Why would you do that?’ Then I was checking around the bookstores and couldn’t find any Canadian political satires.

“So even though I was racked with doubt, I decided to pursue it. I’m a member in good standing of the write-what-you-know school. I like to make sure I’m writing with authenticity and conviction.

“People have often said that I must have had such belief in that story to self-publish it. That wasn’t it at all. I just wanted to find out whether I had written a real novel. But I became so close to it that my sense of perspective completely abandoned me.”

Winning the Leacock award gave Fallis the necessary confidence. His ensuing good fortune motivates him to continue on his path. He’s at work on his fifth novel, Poles Apart, “my feminist comic novel about the leading feminist blogger in the world — who happens to be a guy.”

Still, he has no plans to give up his PR day job just yet.

“Doing that makes it easier for me to do this,” explains Fallis, who is married to an assistant deputy minister in the Ontario government and is the father of two grown-up children. “I can’t complain, but it’s tough to make a living as a novelist in Canada. When I think I can, I will.”

And that time should be coming real soon.


Montreal Gazette, Wednesday, June 4, 2014