Q: How long does it take to write a book?
A: For me, it varies. I feel like it takes me about 3 months to write the first draft, and then after that it can be a year of revising or totally restructuring, because my first drafts are often a dog's breakfast, but I need to get something out to start.
Q: Where do you get your ideas?
A: I stare out a lot of windows and they flit around my head until I grab them or they settle down. I remember hearing Stuart McLean say that ideas are a dime a dozen; it's getting them into books that is the work, and boy, is that true!
Photo credit: Kat Keenan Photography
Q: Are there book ideas that haven't worked out?
A: Oh yes. The sacrificial lamb, the ideas that I just couldn't work through. It doesn't happen much anymore, as I know more now about what works and what doesn't, and why.
Q: When do you write? Where?
A: I like best to write in the morning, and usually at my local cafe on days I'm not at Ryerson for classes or meetings, in which case there is a cafe there I go to before my classes or meetings. I try and write whenever I can. Sometimes it's just re-reading what I wrote, sometimes it's outline/brainstorming or fiddling with a paragraph, and sometimes it's full-on.
Q: How do you fit writing in with being a full-time professor?
A: There is no job like the one I have, and I am so fortunate to have it. It allows me so much flexibility, and Ryerson supports my writing with great gusto. Plus, I absolutely love teaching. My students give me energy, they inspire me, and my job is constantly changing. Ultimately, I love to write, and so I find the time to work it in.
Q: Was Sister of Mine based on anyone you know?
A: No. As a writer, I like to observe people, to absorb anecdotes and attributes. But no character can ever be someone else for me. They have to be themselves.
Q: Do you have a sister?
A: Nope! But I am a sister. :) I have a brother, and we have a relationship nothing like that of Penny and Hattie, thank goodness!
Q: What kind of books do you like to read?
A: I'm a book junkie, a fanatic. I read all different kinds of novels, but I love literary fiction and historical fiction.