Meeting the writer: Michael Crummey

DSC05394  What’s the difference between Michael  the man and Michael Crummey the writer?

At Burlington Public Library’s One Book One Burlington celebration, newly Governor General nominated Michael Crummey was asked that question.  He answered something like–I put the best part of myself in a novel. Obviously the worst part of me still exists, it’s a part of me after all.  He went on to say that when he really loves a writer he sometimes avoids meeting him/her so that he doesn’t become disillusioned.

What I like about meeting another writer, especially one in a totally different genre, is that I can put my feet up and be the reader.  I can ask reader type questions like “Why didn’t you use quotation marks?”  Michael avoids quotation marks when the dialogue is not in the present “realistic” portion of the novel in both Galore and Sweetland.  It may not be word for word exactly what the character said.  (Hence, I did not put his earlier answer in quotes, please note.) I can ask writer type questions:  “Do you write from an outline? Do you write scenes here and there or do you work in a linear fashion?” No outline. Linear.  Again no quotations as these may not be Michael’s exact words–I like to have a few of points in mind that I will cover. I write 500 words a day.  Maybe on a good day 1,000.  I move to a point on the horizon. But that point often shifts. On writers’ middle-of-the-book misery he says he tells himself something that somehow gives him comfort–I will finish this book. It will suck. And I will never have to write it again.

What I liked hearing is that now that Michael’s more experienced with his own writing rhythms and cycles he’s enjoying writing the book more.  Confirms how I feel (can a GG be far off in my own career?) On meeting Michael the man after meeting him as the writer–for me, it enhanced the experience of reading his work.  Thank you Burlington Public Library for hosting this event.

Signing: Interacting with some great readers.


“I like Canadian authors because there is not a lot of them and they are all really good.”

Yesterday, Jennifer Maruno (Totem, Kid Soldier, War Bird & The Cherry Blossom Series) and I met some wonderful readers.  Here are the names of some of the young people who came over to our signing booth, front and centre at Chapters, on Fairview in Burlington. Drawn by the promise of “an autographed bookmark from a famous Canadian writer”,  Aiden, Alysha, Ashleigh, Emily, Eyrin, Isabel, Julia, Kate, Olivia, Owen, Monette, Paloma, and  Vivian enjoyed a chat about history, books, writing and reading.  (This is a memory game for me–I’m sure I’ve forgotten some names–plus writing them down will provide me with names for future characters.)


What I remember most vividly is how excited they were to talk with real live authors.  Jennifer and I mostly just told them the plots of our books and that takes forever since we have so many.  I made them guess the number of flies in a jar as an intro to Revenge on the Fly.  Believe it or not, I gave away free plastic flies.  Who would want one?

As a lead in to Totem (Dundurn) Jennifer  performed an impromptu assessment of a young lad’s spirit animal vis-a-vis designing his own totem pole. He liked collecting, especially rocks, and often encountered small animals. Somewhere on his totem should be either a squirrel or a chipmunk.

What I also remember is an afternoon of laughter and fun. Jennifer and I enjoyed  each other’s company.  Sitting at a table in the front of a store, can be a bit of a fishbowl experience.

Thanks to Rebecca Rahey for the great book display you see in our photo.  We know she and the rest of the sales associates will continue doing a wonderful job of hand selling our books.

Thanks also for the wonderful opportunity for Jennifer and I to interact with so many book lovers including ourselves and the staff.