Archive for the ‘political novels’ Category

The Best Laid Plans: A Musical

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Poster

It’s been four years in the making, but opening night is just two days away. This is the novel that keeps on giving. After the CBC Television miniseries, I never dreamed I’d be flying with my family to Vancouver for the premiere of The Best Laid Plans: A Musical. But we leave tomorrow morning. We’ll attend the preview Friday night, and then the official premiere on Saturday night. I’m giving a talk before the Sunday matinee and I’ll probably stay and watch it a third time.

I really must thank Peter Jorgensen, Katrina Dunn, Vern Thiessen, Ben ElliotAnton Lipovetsky, and the rest of the cast and crew for taking The Best Laid Plans from page to stage. I cannot wait to see the show that these talented theatre pros have mounted. Once again, I note how lucky and blessed I’ve been with my first novel that I never thought would ever see the light of day in print, let alone on television and now on stage. (That sound you hear is me counting my blessings.)

Here are some shots from an actual performance.

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Here a shot taken last fall at the Vancouver International Writers Festival with Vern, Anton, and Ben.

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TBLP makes Samara/Writers’ Trust Shortlist

Friday, July 1st, 2011

What a thrill. The Samara Foundation and the Writers’ Trust of Canada have joined forces to find the “Best Canadian Political Books of the Last 25 Years.” Over the last couple of months, nominations were sought from Canadians and nearly 200 books were submitted. Yesterday, a shortlist of 12 finalists was unveiled. Canadians are now invited to read the twelve books and vote for our favourite. Early in August, the winning book will be announced. Somehow, The Best Laid Plans made the cut and stands as the only novel among the twelve finalists. There are some terrific reads on the list including my friend John Duffy’s award winning book Fights of our Lives. I don’t know whether being the only work of fiction in a collection of wonderful nonficition books about politics works in TBLP’s favour, but I can tell you that it is a singular honour to be anywhere near the shortlist, let alone on it.

So, veering dangerously close to “pimping mode,” you can vote for the book of your choice here, or click on the graphic below. As always, my thanks for your support…

My CBC Book Club Podcast episode

Friday, October 1st, 2010

A couple of weeks ago, I got a call from one of the literary producers at CBC Radio about coming in to record a segment of their great CBC Book Club Podcast (longtime listener, first time… guest!). So in I went to the CBC Broadcast Centre, slapped on the headphones, and answered a series of questions I’d been sent earlier in the week. It was kind of fun. Anyway, it was produced and posted today. Check it out if you like…

THR excerpt in Canadian Government Executive

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Earlier in the summer, I got an email and then a phone call from Toby Fyfe, Editor-in-Chief of the fine trade magazine, Canadian Government Executive (CGE), to discuss The High Road. He’s a smart guy and a nice guy. He asked permission for the September issue of CGE to carry an exclusive excerpt from The High Road. Given the mag’s readership of senior civil servants, Toby thought if might be a great fit. I was certainly flattered but had to check with the powers that be at McClelland & Stewart as this was the first time I’d encountered such a request. In short order, permission was secured and in the next week or so, the September issue of CGE will be landing on subscribers’ desks complete with an exclusive chunk of The High Road. Here’s hoping it’s well-received. My thanks to Toby for the idea and I hope it doesn’t kill sales of the venerable magazine’s October issue!

TBLP quoted in organization’s Annual Report

Monday, May 31st, 2010

I received an email this afternoon from a good friend who had just perused a copy of the Annual Report of the Ontario Centre for Engineering and Public Policy. Much to my surprise and delight, on the inside back cover of the annual report is the following quotation from The Best Laid Plans:

“The engineer’s critical and methodical approach to problem solving is well suited to realms beyond the scientific. What are the knowns? What are the unknowns? What are the constants? What governing laws are at play? It’s the scientific method brought to life in a different setting.”

Terry Fallis, The Best Laid Plans

It took me a while to place the passage but I eventually found it. It’s part of Angus McLintock’s diary entry that closes Chapter 13. I had no idea that it had found its way into the Annual Report of CEPP but I’m thrilled just the same.

TBLP hits KOBO

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

It took a little longer than with the Kindle store and the Sony Reader bookstore, but TBLP has just landed on KOBO, the Canadian ebook retailer. I’ve really enjoyed reading novels on my Sony Pocket Reader and I think many others do too. I’m glad that readers can get TBLP, and soon, The High Road too, as ebooks. Reading is reading, paper or screen.

Books & Brunch event in Uxbridge tomorrow

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

I’ll be in Uxbridge tomorrow for brunch and a reading oragnized by Shelley Macbeth and her wonderful Blue Heron Books store. Apparently, more than 100 tickets have been sold for the event so I can feel my abdominal butterflies assembling. I have some family and friends kindly attending the brunch so there’ll be a few familiar faces in the crowd. I truly enjoy meeting readers of TBLP and my publisher is encouraging me to keep up the events with The High Road due to hit book store shelves in September. I believe there are still tickets available so if you’re in the neighbourhood, I’d love to see you. You can score tickets by calling 905-852-4282.

Writing Update: Final manuscript submitted

Sunday, January 3rd, 2010

My editor, Doug Gibson, dropped by yesterday morning with the final version of the manuscript for The High Road. He’d wanted me to see and approve a couple of dozen or so added commas and other punctuation changes to put the book to bed. It took me less than an hour last night to walk through the entire manuscript, searching for Doug’s modest pencil edits. So it’s really done now. Well, you think it’s finally done, but it’s never really done until it’s sitting on a bookstore shelf. But the final manuscript is now handed over to one of McClelland & Stewart’s skilled copy editors. As Doug describes it, it’s the copy editor’s job to make Doug and me look like idiots by discovering many errors in syntax, grammar, spelling, and continuity that neither Doug nor I caught the first 47 times we’d reviewed the manuscript. And rest assured, additional minor edits will arise as we wend our way towards publication. That’s just how this works. But, it feels good to have reached this stage, and before our deadline too. The manuscript isn’t contractually due to M&S until January 11th.

This copy editing phase apparently should not take too long. Then they’ll format and lay out the book block, as it’s called. This is how the inside of the book will look when it’s finally published. We’ll then print out several copies on 8.5 x 11 inch paper and send them around to literary luminaries who might read it and pass favourable judgement on the novel. Ultimately, we’re looking for endorsements that can be quoted in publicity materials, and even on the book itself. Finally, they’ll move into cover design. Doug Gibson’s idea is that The High Road should look like a companion novel to TBLP. So there will almost certainly be graphic and thematic elements from TBLP’s cover that will be found in the cover design for its sequel. I find the publishing process to be endlessly fascinating, so I’m looking forward to what comes next. Still, we’re at least eight months away from the release of The High Road. That’s just how long it all takes. Sigh.

This has all gotten me thinking about what may come next. So I spent this past Friday mapping out novel #3. (And that’s what it’s called at this stage, Novel #3.) It’s not part of the Angus canon, but is something new. I’m enjoying plotting the story, but it still needs more time just steeping in my head before I’m ready to start the formal outlining and chapter notes, let alone the actual writing. Strange not to have Angus in my head, but I’m sure he’ll return…

Wow… good news from Amazon.ca

Friday, December 18th, 2009

While this list changes every hour or so, it seems that TBLP has again risen to number one on the “Political” bestsellers listing at Amazon.ca, at least for a few minutes. Perhaps someone in my family is doing their last minute Christmas shopping. However it happened, it’s good news. As I often do in such situations, and never knowing if it will ever happen again, I grabbed a screen shot as evidence. If you click on the graphic below now, TBLP will probably be well back in the pack, but for this one brief shining moment, on a Friday afternoon the week before Christmas…

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Still six days of Christmas shopping left…

McClelland & Stewart to publish The High Road

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

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It’s official. The paperwork is done, and I’m thrilled to announce that next September, McClelland & Stewart will publish the sequel to TBLP, entitled The High Road. Even better, Douglas Gibson will again be my editor and publisher, under his own M&S imprint. There’s none better than he (he’s edited Alice Munro, Robertson Davies, W. O. Mitchell, and the long list goes on and on). I could not be happier.

I had always hoped that it would unfold in this way after M&S published TBLP, but in this uncertain climate, it’s never really done until the contract is signed. Well, the ink is now dry. I want to thank my wonderful literary agent, Beverley Slopen, who worked with Doug and M&S to make this happen.

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DG Book

In the next few weeks, I’ll be doing some final tweaking to the manuscript based on Doug Gibson’s close editorial review. I’m pleased that there’s not much left to do on it and it’ll be done by early January. Then Doug and M&S take over. There’s cover design to do, layout, and cover copy, among other steps along the way. We’re also trying to gather some big names to provide endorsements of sorts that might appear somewhere on the front or back covers. So far, Jim Cuddy, the amazing singer/songwriter from Blue Rodeo, has agreed to “blurb” the novel. He said he really enjoyed TBLP, and who am I to argue? (If you’re wondering how I was able to connect with Jim, we actually play on the same ball hockey team. He’s a great guy and a stalwart defenceman too.)  As well, former Leacock Medal winner Ian Ferguson (another great guy — hilarious too — I’ve come to know since meeting him at last year’s Leacock Luncheon) has also promised to provide a quotation.  Of course, neither of these great Canadians has yet read The High Road manuscript, but here’s hoping they like it when they do early in 2010. Fingers crossed.

This news simply continues what has been for me, an extraordinary journey since I “went public” with the first episode of the TBLP podcast nearly three years ago, nine months before it was yet a self-published book. What a ride it’s been…