Archive for the ‘National Post’ Category

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.

Seven years later…

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014


While it seems impossible that seven years have escaped since I created this blog, the date staring back at me on my iPhone must be right. It’s New Year’s Day, and time for the annual accounting of my literary blessings in the gift that was 2013. Here are at least some of the highlights that made 2013 such a great year in my writing life:

  • I squeezed in 137 speaking engagements, readings, talks, etc. in 2013, up from 121 last year. I really don’t know how I fit everything in but it would not be possible without the patience and forbearance of my wife and two sons. My travels took me all over the country including, Vancouver, Calgary, Whitehorse, Ottawa, Montreal, Banff, and every region of Ontario.
  • Work continues on the stage musical of The Best Laid Plans but there’s no word on when it might be finished, let alone staged. Stay tuned.
  • In June, I was shocked to be named the winner of the 2013 Libris Award for Author of the Year, presented by the Canadian Booksellers Association. I’ll be forever grateful.
  • Up and Down continued to sell well, and the second edition hit the U.S. market in late June.

It was quite a year. Looking ahead to 2014, I’m really focused on:

  • The Best Laid Plans TV miniseries on CBC starting in a few days;
  • starting to produce the chapter-by-chapter podcast edition of my fourth novel, No Relation (look for Chapter 1 in February);
  • the publication and launch of No Relation in May;
  • writing my fifth novel, Poles Apart (I hope to have it finished by the end of the summer (he says optimistically)).

My undying thanks to so many who have made 2013 such a banner year in my writing life. Here’s to a wonderful 2014 for us all.

CanLit is Sexy? Who knew…

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

CanLit is Sexy, an anonymous blog, has just popped up twisting the titles of selected Canadian novels in rather suggestive ways. Now, the National Post has jumped on board, too. Some of these are hilarious. Have a scroll through and perhaps suggest others. I’m honoured to have been included in this august list. Although, I figure with the word “laid” in the title, it was an easy call… (creepy photo of me too, which seems kind of appropriate under the cirsumstances.)


National Post Q&A re upcoming VIWF

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

I’ll be leaving for Vancouver on Thursday for the Vancouver International Writers Festival. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll be doing two readings and speaking on two panels on Friday, October 22nd. The first panel is on Friday afternoon and is called Day Job. It will revolve around that familiar challenge of fitting writing into your daily life while juggling a family and a full-time job. The second session is in the evening and is called Funny Guys. The focus, as you  might expect, will be humour in writing.

In anticipation of the Vancouver festival, the National Post is running a series of Q&A style interviews with various writers attending VIWF. Mine ran today

National Post story about self-publishing

Sunday, July 4th, 2010

A few weeks ago, I was interviewed by Mark Medley for  a story on self-publishing in the National Post. It seems I forgot to mention it here on the blog (at least I think I forgot). It ran in many Canwest papers across the country. In any event, here’s the piece. Thanks Mark.

Voting for Canada Also Reads opens! So VOTE!

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Vote early and vote often. But seriously, if you have a moment, head over to Canada Also Reads and register your vote. The polls are open until March 12th at 1:00. The winner will be announced on Monday, March 15th. Consider this to be part of your obligation as Canadians! Canlit needs your support!

Canada Also Reads TBLP essay by Andy Maize

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

The essays in defence of the Canada Also Reads shortlisted books started yesterday. Two essays each day are posted on the National Post‘s Afterword blog. This afternoon, Andy Maize’s defence of The Best Laid Plans appeared. Andy Maize, co-founder and lead singer/songwriter with The Skydiggers has written a wonderful piece in support of TBLP. I love it and I’m grateful for the time, thought and care Andy clearly took in composing his essay. But it’s not over yet. On Monday, March 8th, starting a 1:00 p.m., the National Post and Afterword blog will host an online chat with all of the panelists and authors. Should be fun. Then, Canadians will be able to vote online for the Canada Also Reads winner. Here’s hoping all of you loyal readers of this humble blog will cast your vote for TBLP when the time comes.

Quill & Quire quotes authors’ rules for writing

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

Quill & Quire has assembled on its blog some quotations from several authors capturing a selection of writing rules. Not sure how I made the list but Q&Q is clearly excerpting the Canada Also Reads piece the finalists were asked to submit last week for the National Post’s Afterword blog. I’m delighted to be there amidst some wonderful writers and their sage advice.

Wow! TBLP a “Canada Also Reads” Finalist

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

You may recall a blog post I wrote at the end of December about being long-listed for the National Post’s Canada Also Reads competition. I was really happy to be among the more than 60 books on the list. So imagine my delight late this afternoon at finding The Best Laid Plans on the shortlist. What’s more, my old friend, Andy Maize, co-founder and lead singer of the great Canadian roots rock band the Skydiggers has agreed to defend the novel in the competition. I’ve known Andy for more than 25 years. He was the lead singer in our band at McMaster University. He was by the far the best of us, as his subsequent music career illustrates. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with Andy.

Starting on March 1st, the defenders will author articles about their designated books, extolling their virtues and urging Canadians to read them. There will also be a live online chat with the authors and defenders in early March. Finally, Canadians will vote for their favourite. So there will be a role for all of you in making sure TBLP has a good showing! There are some wonderful books in the running including Cathy Marie Buchanan’s The Day the Falls Stood Still, so check them out.

I’m over the moon that TBLP is a finalist. This is wonderful news, particularly with The High Road being published in September. Stay tuned and get ready to vote!

Stellar entry list for 2010 Leacock Medal

Friday, January 1st, 2010

Now that entries have closed for the 2010 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, I decided to check out the list. Wow! Sixty-one books entered this year. That’s a larger field than usual. It may well be the largest field since the award was established in 1947. There are some really big names in the running this year, including three-time winners Stuart McLean and Arthur Black, two-time winner Will Ferguson, 2009 Leacock finalist William Deverell, CODCO founder Greg Malone, CBC Radio personality Jonathan Goldstein, National Post gossip columnist Shinan Govani, and the very funny travel writer Jane Christmas. I would not want to be deciding from among these hilarious authors.

The next step is the unveiling of the short list, usually in late March. Then, the winner is announced, usually in late April at a wonderful luncheon in Swanmore Hall in Orillia, just next door to Stephen Leacock’s home. Time to start reading some of these great and funny books!

Trust me. Winning this medal can change your life: