My e-reader, just like my laptop, closely resembles my favourite childhood toy, my etch a sketch. Okay, hands down physical books are still better. I like to know where I’m at in a book, if I’m close to the end in physical page thickness. My ereader makes me read faster just like SRA did when I went to school. Who remembers SRA in the late 60s and early 70s? Scientific Reading Association. You were tested and put into a colour and then you had to read short stories on that colour of cards while being timed. Afterwards you answered questions, again timed, and corrected your answers from another card. Faster and faster, up the ladder of colours. Yes I can speed read now and it can be a blessing and a curse. I don’t savour details like some people. Instead I gallop through plots which makes me a pretty good concept editor. Too bad I have to copy edit things too.
I am a big Linwood Barclay fan as I first encountered him as a Star columnist who wrote about his Burlington (my town) home life. His first mysteries still had that comfortable suburban feel and column humour. Now they’re gone to thriller twists and turns, but still with the great funny characters. I loved The Accident and read it in this copse of trees at Bronte Creek, in their dog park. Now I hate using any Chinese electric products. Thanks Linwood!
Chevy Stevens is a BC thriller writer whose stories Still Missing and Never Knowing were great reads to gobble up on an Ereader. In the first, the real estate agent is kidnapped and lives a year with her abductor, bears him a child and all things creepy. In Never Knowing the main character finds out some horrible truths about her birth father. Twist seekers charge your Ereaders please.
Lucy usually writes scary novels like The Mysterious Mummer or Walking with the Dead (a Silver Birch Winner) but here she’s collaborating with my daughter Robin McNicoll to touch up some illustrations on a new graphic novel. It’s still in grant proposal stage so I don’t want to say too much about it. I did read the first fifteen pages and it’s hilarious. I hope Canada Council juries like having their funny bones tickled. Still who cares, as long as I can buy and read the whole book soon. Attracted by the hum of creativity, Hunter sat down to watch the process and in the end, received an autographed first draft, worth millions once Lucy takes over for J.K. Rowling.
Nothing to do with writing or selling books, I just love sandcastles. For the past couple of years I’ve been a judge in Burlington’s Sandcastle Competition. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert in anything sandy but I just love the sculptures and the beach, watching the sailboats come in. This year they made all their past winners judges and really didn’t need me. How about I emcee instead? So same deal, great sandart pirate themed this year, hot hot weather, good beach music and lots of yachts and other boats drifting in. I intro’d bands and events into a microphone, something authors are pretty used to doing and enjoyed the day. Now I said it had nothing to do with writing but as I stood there looking out on the lake, I remembered the scene from Dying to Go Viral. As part of her redo of her last week on earth, 14 year old Jade wants to go to the beach but has no car or means and can’t share with her family that she’s only got a week to live either. So she hops a bus and heads for Burlington Beach and it’s a great day even though it’s not Hawaii or California or any other exotic beach locale. Dying along with Jade, taught me to appreciate local sunrises and sunsets and beaches as well as sand pirates like this.
This is the second book in a series I’m working on where the main character dies in the first chapter, stupidly, and meets someone dead from her past at the gates of entry into the next life. The character begs to return to life to address regrets and is granted the last week of her life to do over. Can she avoid death? Maybe sometimes.
In Death on Track
, Paige evades bullies by taking a shortcut along the rails during a snowstorm. Working on the second draft (and by second, I really mean about the hundredth, only this one is as a result of feedback from writers) I wanted to find an actual location where this might have occurred. Here it is in summer, along Dundas Street. The mall nearby is unfortunately a strip of box stores. The high school, unbuilt and unnamed as yet.
When visiting schools and conducting writing workshops, I’m often asked to address rewriting but usually in the sense of how hard we work at it and how many times. It makes it all seem like such a burden.
Going through this second draft and painting on a second coat of detail was actually a delight. I visited and interviewed an independent grocer, Mario of Marilu Foods on New Street. I think I changed 10 words because of this interview but the story become so much more clear and real to me. Most of the anxiety of writing is gone too as a result of the feedback. My writing critiquers made me feel the actual plot of the story was a success. The way it sounds in the creator’s head is not always the way the public reads it so this was a huge relief.
Now I’m waiting for a second round of reviewers to write a third draft.