Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mothers & Teachers

My mother and father-in-law just returned from a month long tour of the East Coast. In amongst their trip pictures of lighthouses were photos of my mother-in-law repositioning my novel to the front rack at every single Chapters/Indigo location she visited on the East Coast.

I've been doing Chapters book signings lately and my own mother comes out to them. When people stop by the table (yes, once in a while customers will do this), my mom pops out of nowhere and starts muttering to herself that her bookclub LOVED this book, or that The Prairie Bridesmaid will make the perfect Christmas gift for everyone she knows. She'll turn to the customer/victim and state "I've read rave reviews about this book!" and then she'll recite them. She wanders around the store with a stack of books in her arms - one facing out in every direction in a subtle attempt to recruit people over to the signing table.

I should curb all of this behaviour, but I don't. There's something really comforting about knowing that regardless of your book sales, your mom (or mom-in-law) will always support you.

There is a segment of the population who do not support me, in fact, they seem to hate me (and my book): elementary school teachers. The disenchanted, I-hate-my-job, the-world-f#@king-sucks teacher protagonist of this book has caused a few pair of cotton panties to get all in a knot. I have a lot of respect for what elementary school teachers (teachers in general) accomplish in a day. A lot people wouldn't be able to do it, and well, my character happens to be one of them. I'm surprised they are always trying to skewer me, because by creating this character, Anna, I've essentially elevated them to sainthood.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Talking and Refusing to Talk

The book clubs have been fun - though I did get repeatedly speared by one woman who just didn't believe that a teacher would do all of the things that Anna does is this novel. I didn't bother telling her that I'd done all of it and a lot more as a classroom teacher. I like it when people get out their pointy sticks...makes for a more interesting evening. For the most part, however, the book clubbers have all been kind. Though, as I was leaving one of them, a woman almost ran me down with her Hummer.

I've been doing lots of talking lately - interviews, bookclubs, festivals etc. and it's been great. Ironically, I spent Thursday evening at a class for parents of children who don't talk. Ahhh, the irony. I was told things like...your child is in the ditch and you just need to help him get back on the road. Apparently Oskar should be rattling off 50 words by now - at almost 2. He simply won't talk. He does have an excellent sense of humour; we are pretty sure that he can talk, but chooses not to so that we get to attend these classes and watch powerpoint presentations about how to connect with your child. Hell, he proably has a blog about this on his toddler facebook page.

Reading: I'm currently reading Joseph Boyden's novel Through Black Spruce. At a fundraiser next month I've been assigned to defend it as the book that should win the Giller. There's a scene in it about an aboriginal 5 year old boy being led off to residential school by his parents. It made me weep. It should win. (Well, Cellist of Sarajevo should win, but that's another blog)

Watching: Madmen. I had to take a break from the book and have turned to the shoulder of MADMEN for the past few nights. I've watched something like 13 episodes in the last 3 nights after Oskar is in bed. The 50's were a bizarre time and I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. Advertsing is a bizarre industry and I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.

Writing: Well, I'm finally writing. Enough said.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Book Clubs... Here I Come

I'm going to three book clubs in Winnipeg this week...and I wish that I could attend all of the others that are happening in other provinces and even in the States.

I have to be candid though, I'm worried. I drink a lot and I shoot off my mouth, and said mouth can be foul at times. So, I'm thinking that my plan at these events should be to pass on the booze - though I don't think, to date, I have ever passed up a free drink (see previous blog about the career counsellor; the things we'll do for free alcohol). At any rate, I shall try to pass on the red wine.

It will also be strange to be sitting in someone's living room listening to them dissect something I"ve spent years writing. I could be subjecting myself to total torture and criticism -and much of it, I'm sure, deserved.

The point of bookclubs is not to be polite because the author (aka white elephant) is in the room. A good book club will discuss things about the book that work, but it will also address things about the book that do not work. Maybe I'll get asked ...what the hell were you thinking when you wrote blah blah blah ...because I think it was pretty stupid. My worst fear, probably, is that I will entirely agree with these types of comments.

All of this said, I'm thrilled that people are choosing this book for their clubs. Really. This means that real readers who like to think about and talk about books are sinking their chompers into my novel...and this excites me!

Wait a minute...why isn't my own bookclub doing The Prairie Bridesmaid