Archive for the ‘political novels’ Category

McClelland & Stewart to publish The High Road

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

ms-logo

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.

Douglasgibson

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…

A reading for the party faithful…

Friday, November 27th, 2009

On Monday evening, December 7th, I’ll be travelling to Dundas, Ontario, just outside of Hamilton, to give a talk and reading to a group of Liberals. Hamilton is my old university stomping ground so I’m really looking forward to going back. My friends at the wonderful local bookstore,  Bryan Prince Bookseller, will be on hand to peddle copies of TBLP. My pen will be uncapped and ready to inscribe.

The event is to celebrate the contributions made by members of the Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale Federal Liberal Association and I’m delighted to be a part of it. The kind organizers have even put together a flyer to promote the event, featuring a generously overblown description of my political career. In reality, and even through the rose-coloured glasses of hindsight, my formal stint in politics was neither “long” nor “storied.” It was a blast, and certainly shaped my future. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. But I was never really a “player” in the Liberal corridors of power. Nevertheless, I’m thrilled to have been invited. Secure in the knowledge that I’ll be among the party faithful, I may read some of the more partisan sections of TBLP! I’ll report on the event afterwards.

Dundas Liberal event

Thornbury library talk, reading and signing

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

This coming Sunday afternoon, October 18th, I’ll be in Thornbury, Ontario, near Collingwood for a reading, talk, and signing, at the L. E. Shore Memorial Library. The good folks from Jessica’s Book Nook will have copies of TBLP available, so I’ll have something to sign. I’m looking forward to it and appreciate the efforts made to pull it together.

The fall colours should be beautiful on the drive up if the sun is shining. The Meaford Express has written about the event already so here’s hoping it’s a full house.

Thornbury Library gig

Writing Update: Eureka!

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Reading etching with ex mark

I’m really happy to report that over the weekend, I finished the draft manuscript for The High Road. Yep, the process that began last December when I started to create the outline for the TBLP sequel, has now, some 10 months later, crossed another major threshold. I must confess, after such a long process of outlining and writing, it felt amazing to key in the words “The End” after putting Chapter 20 to bed.

Writing my second novel has reaffirmed my faith in the writing process I seem to have adopted, or stumbled into. I was looking back through this blog and noted that I finished my first pass at Chapter 1 on February 17th. I could not have written 100,000 words in less than eight months of evenings and weekends without leaning heavily on the outline I’d already  spent about two months preparing. When writing, I have two Word documents on the screen at the same time. My outline is on the right hand side and my manuscript is on the left. I just follow the outline and write, page by page, chapter by chapter. There was still room for spontaneous creativity as I was writing. There were several additions to the story that weren’t in the original outline, but the major plot points have all been preserved. It felt like the process worked well, though I admit I have little to which to compare it.

Though the manuscript is now essentially complete, there’s still work to do. I’m now returning to the beginning of the novel to begin editing and polishing. I actually do quite a bit of editing as I write, so at this stage, I’d say the manuscript is probably the equivalent of a third draft. My plan (and my editor’s too) is to hand over the edited and polished manuscript by the end of October. There will almost certainly be some additional tweaking and, of course, proof-reading after that, but the heavy lifting (I think and hope) is done.

Now, on to the polishing…

polishing car

Writing Update: Getting so close now…

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

writing-graphic

I’ve told my editor/publisher Douglas Gibson that I’ll have the completed manuscript to him by October 31st. So I thought it was time for another update. (Anything to distract me from actually finishing the book!)

I’m actually quite far along now and feeling good. It seems to go faster when the finish line is in sight. There are 20 chapters in The High Road, and I’ve just started to write Chapter 18. Yes, only two and a half chapters to go and I’m done. Well, not so fast. Actually, when I finish Chapter 20, I’ll then go back to the beginning and take another pass through it all to edit and polish. But I’ll make my Halloween deadline. Doug has already reviewed the first 60,000 words or so and has made some suggestions that I’ll incorporate. Mercifully, there are only minor edits to make and he’s quite pleased with what he’s seen so far. So I’m breathing again.

Usually, if we’re not too busy on weekends, I can write a first draft of an entire 5,000 word chapter from Friday night to Sunday evening. And it almost always happens on weekends when I can carve out several hours at a time to write. I don’t seem to be able to get much writing done during the week after a long day at the office. So thanks to my very indulgent and understanding family, I able to sequester myself in our third floor library for long stretches on Saturdays and Sundays. I’ll report in again when Chapter 20 is in the books (as it were).

Getting ready for a short Niagara tour

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Next week I’m off to speak about, and read from, TBLP at the public libraries in Fort Erie and Pelham, in the Niagara region.  It’s been in the works for a while now and I’m looking forward to it.  I’ve done a couple of interviews with the local media down that way and the resulting stories are starting to emerge. I hope the media coverage helps to draw a good crowd for the events.

Though I’d never thought of it, a couple friends have asked whether I would read from the manuscript of the TBLP sequel, still tentatively called The High Road. Good question. I suppose I could but I suspect that most of the people in the room will not have read TBLP yet so it may not be particularly meaningful. On the other hand, if most of the audience has read TBLP, they might prefer to hear me read a snippet or two from the next book. I’ll have to play it by ear and decide when I get there.

Stay tuned for a writing update on my progress on The High Road.

Here’s the Niagara This Week story. Ahhh but fame is fleeting. The reporter (very nice guy) actually got my name wrong in the first sentence and in the photo caption calling me first “Doug Falls,” then “Doug Fallis.” It’s already gone to press so the print versions will feature my new pseudonyms but the online story should be okay. He sent me this corrected copy. I thought it was quite funny. He was mortified. No matter. It’s when they stop talking about your book that you have to worry…

Niagara this week article 090924

Artist, writer, photographer, friend Peggy Lampotang reviews TBLP

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

My friend and fellow hockey parent Peggy Lampotang has kindly reviewed TBLP on her blog.  She’s an accomplished photographer, artist, and a very good writer too. I really hope more readers will get to see her short stories sometime in the future. Thanks Peggy…

Peggy's Blog

Two Niagara region readings coming up…

Friday, September 11th, 2009

I’ll be taking a vacation day on September 30th for readings at the public libraries in Fort Erie, in the afternoon, and then in Pelham, in the evening. After a very quiet August, my autumn dance card is rather full. Feels good to get back out there…

Pelham Library

Muskoka writer reviews TBLP on her blog

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Jenn Jilks is a Muskoka educator, writer, poet, and photographer who writes a blog populated with her musings, reflections and photographs.  She was kind enough to read and review TBLP.

JenJilks Blog excerpt

I know I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. What has struck me over and over again, throughout this writing adventure I’m on, is just how gratifying it is to hear positive feedback from readers who have enjoyed the book. There is nothing more meaningful or rewarding. In the end, it’s what it’s all about. It’s why most writers are prepared to sequester themselves for long stretches of isolation. A positive review from a reader is, to a writer, what that one good shot amidst years of slices and hooks is to a golfer.  It keeps us coming back, whether we’re banging on the keyboard, or swinging at the driving range.  Thanks Jenn.

Reader reviews are what it’s all about…

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

TBLP doesn’t generate a ton of reader reviews on Chapters-Indigo or Amazon but it’s sure nice to get them, particularly if they’re positive. I don’t know about you, but I always scan the reader reviews before I buy a book. they’re often more meaningul to me than the Globe and Mail or New York Times book reviews.  I read as a reader, not as a reviewer.

Authors write to have their work read. So hearing nice things from actual readers is just so gratifying. I happened to check last night and the seventh TBLP reader review has just appeared on Amazon.ca.

Amazon

“The Best Laid Plans has to be one of the best books this year. The author has an insiders knowledge of the Canadian political system. Without boring us with the day to day minutae he is able to give us a clear picture of what is wrong with the system and lets us form our own opinions on how it might be changed. Mr. Fallis has a delightful sense of humour and has no difficulty letting us in on the joke. How wonderful life would be if only we really did have a few politicians such as are described in this book. I shall be seeking more books by this author.”

Burtine Kendall, Alberta

Makes it all worthwhile.