Rowers Online: An author Q&A

Rowers Online is a web feature, where we ask six questions of our upcoming readers, and they answer however many they like. It’s a way to learn a bit more about them and their writing. And, if they choose, a shortcut to knowing what drink to buy them at the bar.

Anubha Mehta

ANUBHA MEHTA

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Whether you have a small flame or a raging fire in your belly to write – just write. Dig deep and indulge fearlessly in your imagination. Let it appear flawed, random, disjointed, imperfect, for that gives us opportunity to learn, grown and envision some more. Never underestimate the power of your interpretation of the world. In front of the integrity and primacy of your story or your idea, the written word is just one medium of expression. We are all born out of stories and stories are all around us. Don’t give up, try to live life daily and let the magic unfold around you. It will.

Q. What part of the day is your best time for writing?

Day or night, when inspiration strikes. Sometimes in the middle of the night I wake up to write, sometimes I wake up early when my body is rested but my mind is bursting with ideas or with a sheen of clarity that I had been waiting for. Sometimes I cannot sleep till I write. Sometimes I cannot write till the ‘to do’ mundane chores are completed. Many times, while dealing with real life issues of my day job, my imagination suddenly hijacks my mind to spaces and places on the dark side of the moon. And I jot down points that are to be written out that night after work. Often, I percolate or flirt with an idea till I am ready to write. And other times I randomly write without pre-thinking, planning, editing or trying to make sense- whenever I can snatch time from my day or night. If we could invent a 25th hour of our day, that would really help.

Q. Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

Peacock in the Snow is a genre-bending thriller about the seamless, adventurous journey of girl across continents, generations and cultures to find a love that is so improbable and discover a secret that sets her free. My writing builds comparators of issues, characters and situations by drawing on life lived in both the East and West.

Q: What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

Ants in Your Pants. Have you heard of this cocktail? A smashingly popular drink from the far East which I discovered thirty years ago when I was marooned on a small island of Phuket in Thailand (another story) . On this island the ant population had exploded, and the natives started using them as a crunchy ingredient full of vitamin C in their cuisine and drinks. Ants in Your Pants since then has spread in its popularity in Latin America and France without the ants of course. Here is how is it made: https://www.absolutdrinks.com/en/drinks/ants-in-the-pants/
Ingredients:

  • 1 Part Gin
  • ½ Part Triple Sec
  • ½ Part Sweet vermouth
  • 2 Dashes Lemon Juice

How to mix: Fill a shaker with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.


Judy RebickJUDY REBICK

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Just do it.  If you have an idea for a book, just start writing.  These days you can even try out an idea by blogging some of your initial writing.

Q: Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less. 

My new book is a memoir of healing from childhood sexual abuse through activism and therapy.  As well as telling my story, the book makes the point that while trauma can be very destructive, surviving it can create many strengths and even superpowers.

Q: If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

I did have a superpower.  Dissociative Identity Disorder made me fearless but if I could have chosen, I would have preferred leaping tall buildings in a single bound.

Q: What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

My favourite drink is Pinot Noir or if not available Merlot.


Cassandra BlanchardCASSANDRA BLANCHARD

Q: If you could own only one book, what book would it be?

The Covenant by James Michener, a historical fiction about South Africa.

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Don’t give up, keep writing no matter how hard it gets. It can be pages long or a sentence as long as you keep trying.

Q: Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

A verse memoir consisting of prose poems about my experiences with addiction.


Derek MascarenhasDEREK MASCARENHAS

Q: If you could own only one book, what book would it be?

Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance. It’s one of the few books I return to every few years, and I’m always so moved and inspired by it.

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Know that other writers are going through similar struggles and it really helps to connect with them.

Read. Read as much as you can (but not so much that you don’t have time to write 😉

Keep… going. Many times it seems like an insurmountable task finishing a manuscript, but do what you can to quiet that voice of doubt, and let the voices of your characters guide you.

Q: What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

I’m not a big drinker (yay tea!), but usually my go-to is a gin and tonic.


YILIN WANG
Yilin Wang
Q: What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

My favorite piece of advice I give to other writers is to learn how to edit your own work. I have been in many writing workshops that focus on generating new work and getting feedback on drafts, which can be very helpful for the creation of something new, but sometimes left me not knowing how to move forward with the project. I feel that my writing really improved when I started reflecting deeply on my own writing and editing process. Learn how to work with critique feedback and how to apply your own instincts as a writer and reader to the page.

Q: Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less. 

My current focus is a historical fantasy novel inspired by Chinese martial arts fiction (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon would be an example of work in this tradition). I’m also working on a collection of short stories that revolve around themes of mythology, art, and diasporic narratives; if anyone wants to check out my work, I would recommend reading my short story “Sparrow,” which came out last fall in Clarkesworld.

Q: If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

Teleportation! I have lived in four countries (China, the U.S., Scotland, and Canada), and over a dozen cities, an experience that has instilled in me eternal wanderlust. I get very restless if I stay in one place for too long. I love traveling to other places. It would be wonderful to be able to teleport to anywhere in the world.


Ed BrownEDWARD BROWN

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Lighten up, get curious, be genuine, and live what you write.

Q: Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less. 

Forrest Gump on self-guided walking tour of Toronto.

Q: What part of the day is your best time for writing?

When the idea arrives.


Rebecca_Higgins by Hayley_AndoffREBECCA HIGGINS

Q: If you could own only one book, what book would it be?

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. That lovable, lonely weirdo making notes on people and getting into trouble for it has inspired me since I was eight years old.

Q: Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less. 

I write about quirky characters doing weird things in their attempts to navigate the world and connect with each other. Usually, somebody has a feeling, and then they have a snack.

Q: If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

It’s not original but I’m saying it anyway because it’s true: I’d want to fly. I have a lot of vivid dreams, usually bad dreams of one kind or another, but my best recurring dream is the one in which I fly. I kind of jump and it turns into flight, and I always feel so free and joyful in those dreams.


Matthew WalshMATTHEW WALSH

Q: If you could own only one book, what book would it be?

Sheep’s Vigil By a Fervent Person by Erin Moure (although the name is different on the book I think).

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

My best advice would be to just focus on your own voice, don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. Your writing career will be different from their writing career. Be creative and spontaneous with your work or project in the beginning, then get focused when you know where it is going. Write something every day even if it is just a sentence.

Q: Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.  

Weird little things I have seen while travelling around this place called Earth with or without potatoes on the side.

Q: What part of the day is your best time for writing?

There is never a best time, it’s just when something starts happening in my brain that I need to write down or download into a notebook or a computer so I can see it on paper. Mostly it’s when I`m walking around the city, but the middle of the night is when I do my best editing.

Q: If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

Having everything bad (foods, alcohol, working out, etc) for me be good for me.

Q: What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

Ice cold water or apple cider with bourbon or both.


Michael Rowe2
MICHAEL ROWE

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

A: It’s a two-part piece of advice—the first piece of advice is to read constantly and omnivorously, and don’t restrict yourself to the genre you aspire to work in. My second piece of advice is to start writing for publication as soon as you feel ready. Send things out. Don’t sit around and dither about whether or not to do it. While it’s wonderful if lightning strikes and you get a book deal early, most writing careers are the product of a long apprenticeship, which involves writing to be read, not just for your own pleasure. There seems to be an abundance of people who claim that they’re “writers,” but whose output apparently has precious little to do with getting an actual writing career started.

Q: What part of the day is your best time for writing?

A: Ideally first thing in the morning. There is an enormous amount to be said about getting to the computer with a rested, relaxed brain, when the doorway from the subconscious to the conscious is still ajar, if not fully open. When I was in my 20s and 30s I used to love writing all night, but in those days recovery was a matter of eight hours of sleep—any eight hours. The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve come to appreciate the wisdom of morning writing: getting up, feeding the dog, and tottering over to my desk for the daily word-count. Of course, this obligates me to go to bed at a reasonable hour, which is a bit hit-and-miss sometimes.

Q: If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

A: I’d love to be able to fly. I’m very fond of people, but I do find they sometimes look and sound much, much better at a distance. The air strikes me as an ideal vantage point most days.


SARAH HENSTRA

sarah-henstra

 Q: What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Discover the magic of slow accumulation. If you write 250 words—that’s one page—every day, you will have a novel-length draft at the end of a year. That may seem like a long time to pick away at a first draft, but how many years have you passed without having a novel by the end?

Q: What part of the day is your best time for writing?

First thing in the morning—ideally, straight from sleep to the page. I’ve been experimenting recently with dreaming and writing down my dreams as raw material for stories and scenes. Now that I’ve been practicing awhile, it’s amazing how many of my dreams I can remember if I write them out immediately upon waking. When I reread the stuff later, I often can’t remember having dreamt it or even having written it! I like the spooky, magical feeling of material coming to me from somewhere not quite conscious.

Q: If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

I’d be the Stopwatch—a superhero who can create secret, clock-standing-still pockets in time that other people don’t experience. This is a wholly selfish superpower, in that it’d let me sneak off and write without anybody noticing. Actually, when I’m deeply immersed in my writing practice I have the opposite experience: it always seems that time ticks by extraordinarily fast. Writing in general doesn’t obey clock or calendar time very well. I find that my writing-related tasks always take way more time or way less time than they should.

Q: What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

I lean in the tequila/lime direction.


DOYALI ISLAM

Doyali Islam

Q: If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why? 

Self-serving answer: apparition (like in Harry Potter), so that I never have to worry about drinking water and then being stuck on the subway or without a clean bathroom. Compassionate answer: the ability to protect in various ways – such as by casting the Cave inimicum spell for myself or others or by using Protego totalum (Harry Potter).

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers? 

Follow your intuition.

Q: Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less. 

heft (M&S, 2019) is a ledger of tenderness, survival, and risk.


Sheniz JanmohamedSHENIZ JANMOHAMED

Q: Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

Over-ambitious. Messy. Tangled in the language of place. Persistent in its desire to be “just right”. My ancestors want me to write about them, but through my eyes. It feels like just one long pathway in the woods of geologic time, and I’m trying my best to capture it all.

Q: What part of the day is your best time for writing?

Often when I’m in the middle of doing something else, or just about to fall asleep. I’ve tried to create a schedule of time to write, but it never works. My muse hits me over the head whenever she pleases.

Q: If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

To take away people’s suffering.


HB_Hogan_photoH.B. HOGAN

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Be curious and compassionate.

Q: Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

At a recent reading there was a bit of a confrontation between audience members – one bewildered reader asked me why it was so dark, another laughingly insisted that it was empathetic and funny. This is gratifying to me because I can escape giving a direct answer to this question and let the readers sort it out.

Q: What part of the day is your best time for writing?

Morning – preferably before 7am. I can’t always pull it off but when I do I feel accomplished no matter what I’ve written.


AYESHA CHATTERJEEAyeshaC

Q: If you could own only one book, what book would it be?

The complete poems of Emily Dickinson. I will never tire of reading her.

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

I’m going to cheat and offer two bits of advice, because these have stood me in good stead. 1) Read lots of books, fiction as well as poetry and 2) memorise poems that you love. It helps you to internalise rhythm. It’s not really that different from memorising lyrics to songs, which we all do.

Q: What part of the day is your best time for writing?

Mornings, because my thoughts are still uncluttered then.


kath macleanKATH MACLEAN

Q: What part of the day is your best time for writing?

Although my mind works best in the early hours when the world is quiet and I’m not world weary yet, there is no golden time. Grab whatever you get whenever you get it. I find deadlines enormously helpful to motivate me and keep me going. If you have to get something done it will happen! Getting a piece ready for a writing group is often the only thing that gets me into the chair — wanting to meet with other writers and getting their support –it’s so influential. !  I prefer long stretches of intense writing time and I’m a huge fan of writing retreats where I can completely ignore everything and just concentrate on the work, but since one can’t always get away, write whenever you can in big chunks of lots of little ones.

Q: Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less. 

Imagine if you could press rewind and have that very important conversation again, the one that might change everything in your life, would you? in Translating Air,  modernist writer, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) steps back in time to converse again with Dr. Sigmund Feud  during their sessions in Vienna, (1933/34) but this time she has more perspective, maturity and hindsight and hindsight as they say, is EVERYTHING!

Q: What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

Oh how nothing beats a loely bubbly! Fun, flirty, deliciously sweet (but not too sweet); it always says, yes, yes, perhaps it is so!  Second in line is a super hot Caesar — bring on the heat, but please include veggies tooth-picked on the side.


leila marshyLEILA MARSHY

Q: If you could own only one book, what book would it be?

I regularly cull my bookshelves Kondo-style but the one book I’ve held on to through moves and shakes is the Norton Anthology of English Literature. I loved it in grade 9 and I love it still. I’ve read its thin onion pages backwards and forwards so many times they got even thinner. Although…they now have a boxed set of World Literature. Maybe I’d trade up.

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Get involved with your local writing community, go to readings, groups, workshops. Don’t be shy. I was, which is why it took me way too long to get it all done.

Q: Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less. 

Canadian young woman looks for her Palestinian father in Cairo, in the process discovers how a sense of home and belonging can snake through generations and still remain real and urgent.

Q: If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

To go back in time. I’d visit Jesus and ask him to be a little more descriptive about his relationship with his disciples.


john_millerJOHN MILLER

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers? 

If you get feedback on your writing—from editors, friends or writing group members—don’t get defensive. The reader is never wrong. You don’t have to agree with the fix they propose, but if you’re reasonably certain they were paying attention when they read your work, consider the problem they’re raising and see if you can find your own solution.

Q: Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less. 

Wild and Beautiful is the Night is the story of an unusual friendship between Paulette and Danni, two women struggling to find their way in Toronto’s sex trade. It’s a story of finding common ground despite difference, and about figuring out when you need to go it alone and when you need your friends.

Q: What part of the day is your best time for writing? 

Early morning, between 7 and 10am: I ignore the yawning because my mind is fresh and rested, ready to create new worlds.


concetta principeCONCETTA PRINCIPE

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Never give up and trust yourself. You are the one who is processing something so don’t take negative feedback as a real thing. Usually, it means you need to do some more work, but that work is up to you…

Q: What part of the day is your best time for writing?

Morning. Early when no one is around. When I can mumble to myself and write; when no one is asking anything of me; when I can hear myself think and hear the words say.

Q: If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

My superpower would be to blink my eyes and kill the engine of the car that’s about to mow down pedestrians, children and dogs and all living things; or kill the engine of speeding vehicles in quiet neighbourhoods. A secondary power would be to have the diamond finger that operates remotely to ruin the paint on a fancy vehicle that thinks that the car gives the driver rights above the law that says ‘thou shalt not kill’.


aaron tuckerAARON TUCKER

Q: If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

I grew up getting Spiderman comics as an allowance and so I’ve always been partial to his agility. It seems to me like he’d never be uncomfortable, whether he was in a small airplane seat, sleeping on the ground in a tent, nowhere: his body would just be flexible enough to just adjust. I could get a lot of daily tasks done! Plus, I’d be super bendy which seems fun. I feel like people might pick powers that are super functional; I like ones that make my quality of life better without adding crime-fighting responsibilities.

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Read books you’ve never heard of. What I’ve found is that I get handed or recommended terrific books by my very smart friends, or in classes, so I’m never short of books that belong to popular or “canonical” (whatever that means) conversations. But, I think there’s a special joy to be found in wandering the stacks of a library or a used bookstore, handling books you didn’t know existed until that point, to wander into directions of thought that you never thought you might be interested in. To me it’s a break from the (pretty simple) “Amazon recommendation”-zation of books, where a reader doesn’t have to even really leave one webpage to be bombarded with books related to past purchases or browsing history. This can be useful, for sure, but I think there’s also a lot to be gained from the surprises of the unknown.

Q: Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less. 

My novel,Y: Oppenheimer, Horseman of Los Alamos (Coach House Books), poetically recounts Robert Oppenheimer’s work on the first atomic bomb at the Manhattan Project as it interwove with the love triangle between himself, his wife, Kitty, and his mistress, Jean.

I also have a chapbook version of a larger manuscript, titled Catalogue d’oiseaux, that is going to be published by Anstruther Press this spring. It is a long love poem that ties together travel, fine art, geography and birds. Lots of birds!


Aparna Kaji ShahAPARNA KAJI SHAH

If you could own only one book, what book would it be?

I would own Middlemarch by George Eliot because the novel encompasses all of life and all of humanity.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Setting aside a time for writing everyday is essential, though it is easier said than done! Regularity and discipline seem to work for me.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

Morning is my most productive time. If I write in the mornings, I have the day to ponder over it, and perhaps take a second look later in the day or the next day.


Amanda LeducAMANDA LEDUC

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Read, write, read—and don’t give up! Inspiration comes from exposure to words that make us feel alive. When you read, you get excited about words, and it’s that excitement that carries you through countless drafts of something. Drench yourself in words whenever you can, and remember that your book has a home and a birthday, even if you don’t know it yet.

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

A novel about a woman who falls in love with a centaur during the end of the world. As one does, naturally.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

The morning—definitely the morning. I tend to get my best writing done before noon, though I’ve been trying to train myself to write for stretches of time in the evening as well. Something about the optimism of the morning appeals to me—so much time in which to be productive and great, before I inevitably procrastinate and squander it all on the World Wide Web.


Pratap ReddyPRATAP REDDY

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

Ramya’s Treasure is about immigration and integration from the standpoint of a lonely East Indian woman, who discovers strength within her to overcome challenges thrown at her by fate. Dreary as it may sound, let me hasten to add: there are dollops of humour too in the book.

If you could own only one book, what book would it be?

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

My sixpenceworth: Start on your magnum opus, now! And don’t be your own critic (there are enough of them in the world as it is).

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

Club Soda.


Karen SmytheKAREN SMYTHE

If you could own only one book, what book would it be?

Either Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway or Jenny Erpenbeck’s The Visitation. Both cover swaths of time, unrequited love, and the impact of horrific historical events on personal lives, and both are experimental in form.

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

My second novel is about several aging residents of a small town that has become a tourist mecca for the wealthy. It is also about the use of land and the impacts of privilege on morality, and of trauma on subsequent generations.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

Between 2 and 5 in the afternoon, in my writing shed, are my optimal writing hours. I’m not a morning person in any way, shape, or form. After the gym and errands are out of the way—and in winter, there is still daylight—I have the most energy and the clearest mind.


Stevie HowellSTEVIE HOWELL

If you could own only one book, what book would it be?

Birds, Beasts, & Flowers by D. H. Lawrence.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

We always say “read”! But I think it’s super important to read outside your field, & outside your psychographic.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

I don’t drink alcohol anymore. I love a pint of soda water with lime, extra love for including some pulp.


Myna Wallin

MYNA WALLIN

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Join other writers who meet regularly to read and critique each others writing. It’s a way to keep producing and others will give you the feedback you need to make your work even better.

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

My newest book, a collection of poems, Anatomy of an Injury (Inanna Publications), brings together themes of death, of gender and sexuality, and the true complexity of a woman’s perspective.

“In her disarming candour, she is a Canadian Anne Sexton, forthright, glamorous, savvy–and innocent.” ~Molly Peacock, author of The Analyst and The Paper Garden.

What is your favourite drink at the bar?

Last night I discovered a new drink, a Moscow Mule. I suppose it’s appropriate since all four of my grandparents fled Russia for Canada.

A dry full-bodied red wine always goes down nicely, too.


David DemchukDAVID DEMCHUK

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

I find my writing benefits from routine, habit and ritual. I do not write daily, and I do not write thousands of words in a session–but I do write regularly, and usually at the same time of day, in the same space, often listening to the same music, with generally the same kind of preparation beforehand. I find that these are the keys that unlock and amplify my writing voice.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

Lamentably, I generally write between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. (sometimes later) and then am a complete ragbag the following day. And I generally write 4 to 5 evenings each week and try to take at least two evenings off.

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

My new book is titled Red X and it’s a queer horror novel with historical and documentary aspects, about a monster who is taking gay men from Toronto’s Church-Wellesley area, and has done so for the past 200 years.


Drew Hayden TaylorDREW HAYDEN TAYLOR

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Along the path of creation, there are many obstacles that can and will potentially give you a sense of dejection. They are constant and will not go away. The best thing you can do is make friends with what ever crosses your path, and hopefully, lessen the sting. Frequently, and I cannot stress this enough, as writers, we can be our own worst enemies.

Describe you new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

All my work can be broken down into three levels of exploration -I want to create interesting characters, with an interesting story, that takes the audience on an interesting journey. If I can do that, everything else is superfluous.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

I like mornings. I am fit and ready to take on the world. And as the day progresses, I get less fit and can only take on a hemisphere. And then a continent. and then a country. A province. A city. A village and then my house. After that, time to go for a latte.


Barbara Sibbald

Photo credit: Sean Sisk


BARBARA SIBBALD

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

I once read that only amateurs wait for inspiration. That seems a bit harsh, but the corollary to that certainly holds true for me: the key to writing success is applying my seat to my chair and writing. Without distraction. Every day.

Describe your new book  in two sentences or less.

I’m working on a cross-genre memoir/biography about my great-grandparents who lived in the Northwest Frontier of India in the late 19th century. Stephen Turner wanted more than anything to be part of the British Raj yet being one-quarter Indian meant he never would be.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

Definitely in the morning, before the chattering monkeys wake up.


Puneet DuttPUNEET DUTT

If you could own only one book, what book would it be?

Middlemarch. The re-reading experience always manages to feel like a first reading, but different from the one before, because there is always something new to find in it.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

The work you’re meant to write is not always the work you want to write.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

Anytime my son is at the grandparent’s house.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

To have super hearing with the ability to read  minds, because as writers, we can never have enough ideas, inspiration, dialogue and stories.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

Mojito!


Andrea ThompsonANDREA THOMPSON
If you could own only one book, what book would it be?

It’s a toss up between Coleman Barks’ Essential Rumi and the Oxford Dictionary.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Know that your story is important – we need your voice in the chorus in order to be whole.

Describe you new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

My latest CD and poetry collection focuses on the history of spoken word – specifically the influence of Black (North) American art and literature, from slavery to today.


Kurt Zubatiuk pic

KURT ZUBATIUK
Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less. 
An epic fantasy and lesbian love story. A pair of immortals, persecuted by prevailing religious orders, must flee from pogroms and find their way to the the legendary land of their kind.
What part of the day is your best time for writing?
When I am on, ALL day, everyday.
If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?
To be able to master ch’i the way the flying Kung Fu masters of wuxia stories do.
What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?
Gin and tonic or Smithwick’s ale.

charles smith by Bia Rohde

CHARLES C. SMITH

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Write until your fingers ache. Then write some more!!

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

I write evening and night for the creative parts and i edit in the morning.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

Summer time is for beer and Bone Shaker is it!


CoraSire

CORA SIRE

If you could own only one book, what book would it be?

After James, the latest novel by Michael Helm, featuring an imagined creativity drug. It’s a deeply layered exploration of where the science of our world is taking us and the implications for art, especially poetry.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Persist no matter what and don’t let self-doubt hinder your aspirations!

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

I often write of elswheres, drawing on my encounters in faraway places  and my family’s history of displacement.


StanleyF  

STANLEY FEFFERMAN

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Writing is a craft. Enjoy fitting words together.

Describe you new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

I am working on a book of autobiographical essays. I am working stories I have carried around for a long time into a pattern.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

I drink non-alcoholic, so a juice or an herbal tea.


jenniferlovegrove

JENNIFER LOVEGROVE
What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Read widely, write as much as you can, find a supportive community you connect with, and write the kinds of work you want to read. That’s nothing that hasn’t been said before, but I think it’s solid advice.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

For me, I do best with early mornings before the rest of day clutters my thinking and my focus, but that is not always practical or feasible. Lately I’ve been taking more of a “whatever whenever you can” approach, as I have a full time job at UofT, as well as freelance editing work, so I’ve been doing lunch hour writing sessions instead of predawn ones. I will get back to the early mornings eventually, but I’m learning that berating myself for getting much-needed sleep is pretty counter-productive, so I’m adjusting to the midday option for the time being.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

Is decisiveness a superpower?

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

Ha ha, a sessional craft beer IPA or a red wine, especially if it’s a Chilean Malbec. But I’m not as picky as I sound, I swear.


GEORGE ELLIOTT CLARKEhi-george-elliott-clarke

Describe you new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

My poetics / aesthetics is to combine Black English and Ivory Tower, the earthy and the intellectual, the filthy and the highfalutin. My new book-in-the-making, Canticles II, applies this approach to Scripture!

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

To read MUCH and ALWAYS speak the TRUTH.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

The Negroni (1/3 Campari, 1/3 Gin, 1/3 Martini Rosso): Accept no substitutes!


ElePawelskiELE PAWELSKI

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

The roots of my stories lie in real life. In my recently published novella, The Finest Supermarket in Kabul, a suicide bombing draws in three idealists from across Afghanistan’s war-ravaged capital. I’m currently working on a novel that features parallel stories about a mother and son trying to find each other after becoming separated during Germany’s WW2.

If you could own only one book, what book would it be?

Donna Tartt’s The Secret History closely followed by Patrick de Witt’s The Sisters Brothers: the first, because the dialogue is so rich and palpable, and the second, because the skirmishes and conflicts of each short chapter set up definitive character growth as well as progression on the protagonist’s journey.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

I’d like to have the Superhero power to deflect cars when they are within half a metre of my bike. And to install an indestructible coffee cup holder on my handle bars.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

For the record, I began with this question, although it’s last on the list. Favourite bar drink is a tie: glass of dry, full-bodied red and/or a gin-and-tonic laced with cucumber, occasionally drank concurrently.


VEENA GOKHALE Veenaphoto

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less. 

As a humanist writer I reveal the inner world of my diverse characters and link them to the larger reality and socio-political issues, while retaining some positivity and humour.

If you could own only one book, what book would it be?

A really tough one, but I will settle for Ursula K. Le Guin’s EarthSea Trilogy.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Keep going and digging deeper. Finding your voice and style is key. It will eventually make you like yourself as a writer and attract people to your writing as well. But it will take some courage and time to find and develop.You could have more than one voice and style, but they will still be all your very own.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

Night.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

Teletransportation. Imagine what I would save on ticket to India where my mother, brother and extended family live!

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

What a great idea! Mojito, though any rum cocktail would be welcome.


jameslindsayJAMES LINDSAY

Describe you new book or your work in general in two sentences or less. 

My new chapbook, Ekphrasis! Ekphrasis!, on Anstruther Press, is a weird little collection of poems about art, music, psychoanalysis, and people who play video games on YouTube. The the poems are set in pairs that mirror each other, mimicking language form and explore the process of doubling.

If you could own only one book, what book would it be?

I always love reading responses to this impossible question! Can it be two books? Can it be American Genius, A Comedy by Lynn Tillman (a novel about a woman who is either in a hospital or an artist colony; her thoughts on textiles and her relationship with the other residents) and also Bender, the selected poetry of Dean Young? Today, after looking at my bookshelf, they were ones that stood out.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Write and read as much as you can. Think and talk about writing and reading as much as possible.


daneswanDANE SWAN

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

“Let the water boil before you put the pasta in the pot.” It’s actually my buddy Dan D’Onorio’s advice, but I regularly use it in workshops and talks.

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less. 

“He Doesn’t Hurt People Anymore” are a collection of short stories that are meant to entertain you while on your daily commute via public transit, or sitting in the passengers seat. Some of the stories are pretty dark, but there’s an undercurrent celebrating redemption throughout the collection.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

I try not to write between 5-9 AM. Every other hour is fair game. That said, I really enjoy the feeling of stillness that late nights can evoke.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar 

Either a wheat ale, ratler, cider that actually tastes like apples, Guinness, Heineken, or Dark and Stormy (Black Seal and Ginger Beer).


JimRobertsheadshotJIM ROBERTS

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Learn techniques that don’t really interest you right now. If you write free verse, try a few sonnets. If you’re a formalist, do some spoken word.

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

Left Shoulder Voices is 14-line poems made of lines I deleted from other pieces over the past ten years or so. I hadn’t realized I was so pissed off at the business world until I put them together.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

The morning: that’s when my mind is clearest.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

To alter the structure of reality so that all our waste plastics are automatically teleported into the homes and gardens of our corporate and political leaders. Because.


CorneliaHooglandCORNELIA HOOGLAND

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

Life and death. My brother’s life, and his death. Not only the facts of it, but our relationship––that even in death––is reciprocal. It’s his work to find me as well as mine to get to know the new him. Trailer Park Elegy is about my search.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

I try always to be engaged with “writing,” whether it’s listening to a small, nearly-inaudible voice, watching my dog smell the air, or repeating out loud a word I hear or read; its texture and sound.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Why write poetry if not for the great joy of writing poetry?


catherinegrahamCATHERINE GRAHAM

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

Well, two new books actually, a debut novel Quarry and my sixth poetry collection The Celery Forest. The novel’s protagonist Caitlin Maharg lives with her parents beside a water-filled limestone quarry and must deal with family tragedy and secrets as she grows into adulthood. The poems in The Celery Forest deal with the topsy-turvy world I found myself in after learning I had breast cancer.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

Morning is best. I am closer to the dream world then, the uncluttered mind. The images that have been roaming through me during the night are there to catch in glimpses, if I’m lucky.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

To protect the development of your inner world as best you can—deepen your intuition and imagination, the connections and synchronicities, the sense of knowing that comes from deep engagement, an inner dedication that can’t be rushed.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

A cold beer on tap from a microbrewery.


marc dsMARC DI SAVERIO

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

My best piece of advice for aspiring writers is to keep a strong writing schedule.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

My favourite drink, right now, is White Russian.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

Morning is my best time for writing.


NORA GOLDNoraGoldbyChris-Frampton

Describe you new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

My latest novel, THE DEAD MAN, is about a female composer who can’t recover from a brief love affair she once had, and also can’t finish the composition she started soon after that relationship ended. All this begins to change after she visits the places she and her lover spent together, and finds a way out of her obsession and grief, thanks to the power of music.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

Morning. As soon as possible after waking up. I try not to do anything else in the mornings except write.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Persist. Don’t give up. And read lots of great writers.


Michelle Winters

MICHELLE WINTERS

Describe your work in two sentences or less:

I like to think my work pushes the limits of the probable with absolute sincerity.

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?

The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst, by Nicholas Tomalin and Ron Hall. Not only is it perhaps the most amazing story in existence, but it’s so effectively written that you actually believe you’re out on the ocean, alone, losing your mind right along with Crowhurst. Or am I the only one that thinks that sounds fun?

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Find yourself a lucrative trade so you don’t have to worry about making money from your writing.


Adam PottleADAM POTTLE

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

My writing explores the beauty and wisdom of Deaf and disabled people.

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?

If I could own only one book, it’d be Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

I prefer to write at night. Night’s when all the beasties poke their claws out of the shadows.


Mugabi ByenkyaMUGABI BYENKYA

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

Dear Philomena, is the story of two strokes, one boy, one girl and a whole lot of magical realism.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Vulnerability is strength.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

American Pale Ale’s or your favourite beer! Love trying new beers.


Anne_McDonaldANNE MCDONALD

If you could own only one book, what book would it be?

Greek Lyric Poetry: A New Translation by Sherod Santos, because there is so much in it. Each piece is evocative; one can create something, or many things, from each piece or fragment and so it’s endlessly inspiring, as well as consoling.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

Flying – as fast as I want to go so I could be with anyone or anywhere in seconds. And be warm enough while flying – no cold breezes like when biking.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

Right after breakfast with two to three cups of good tea that I can make last well into mid-afternoon.

What’s your favorite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

The more citrusy and hoppy an IPA the better.


gilmoreCHRIS GILMORE

Describe you new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

A short story collection about the anxieties and absurdities of modern life.

If you could own only one book, what book would it be?

The Collected Works of Shakespeare

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Don’t do it.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

After most people go to sleep.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

The ability to create a reliable agent out of clay.

What’s your favorite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

Guinness.


michaelfraser_author_photo_by_ Krystyna_WesolowskaMICHAEL FRASER

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?
“This is How You Lose Her” – Junot Diaz

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?
To hear people’s thoughts.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

White Rum on the rocks with lots of lime.


ursulaURSULA PFLUG

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.


My 2017 release is a near future YA novella titled Mountain. It’s part of Inanna’s Young Feminist imprint. It takes place at a gathering on Mount Shasta in Northern California, where seventeen year old Camden has been abandoned by her mother.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?


I’m at my best if I get up when it’s still dark. Then I’m less likely to see the work that needs doing around the house.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?


“Be yourself, only more so.” I think it’s actually something Marc Laidlaw once said, talking about writing slipstream. I can say it in a longer and more complicated way, and often do, to students, but Marc nailed it.


CLEA ROBERTS 
clea small
If you could own only one book, what book would it be?

My dog-eared, broken-spined, out of print copy of Robert Graves’s, The Big Green Book.

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

My book, Auguries, is named after the ancient practice of drawing an imaginary field in the sky, observing the types and behaviours of birds that fly through that field, and then using that information to inform decision-making. In many ways, each poem in the book is an augury of sorts.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

I prefer to start out fresh in the morning, but I can make any time of day work.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?
Teleportation—it would be a great way to reduce my carbon footprint on book tours.

MICHELLE ELRICK

Image made By Scott Munn

Photo credit Scott Munn

Describe you new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

then/again is a book of poems that inhabit space and the memories of places that once were intimate, defining arenas of self discovery.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

Mid-morning and late at night. Afternoons are a write-off.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

I would want the power to help people relate one another and I would use it to end economic oppression, racism and religious arrogance.

If you could own only one book, what book would it be?

This is a hard question. There are three, very different books that immediately come to mind. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman might squeak by as a winner, over I and Thou by Martin Buber and Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder—a book I’ve reread more times than any other.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Make sure you have a second career that is flexible enough to leave time for your writing, yet which also pays the bills. Or, marry someone with money who thinks literature is close to god.

What’s your favorite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

Red wine for readings, white wine for parties, beer for summer patios and any artfully made cocktail for nights in high heels.


Marianne_by_Melanie_Gordon

Photo credit: Melanie Gordon

MARIANNE APOSTOLIDES

Describe you new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

I write prose which plays on the boundary between genres (fiction/ nonfiction, or poetry/ prose). I’m not terribly interested in plot; what interests me is the tension—within language, as within the body—between logic and pure physicality, as it pertains to the creation of a narrative or self.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

Early morning. I’m usually at my desk by 6am, with a cup of double espresso. (…I’ll drink eight shots before the session is done; at this point, caffeine is my only addiction…)

What’s your favorite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

Laphroaig, neat… It’s smoky, peaty, skanky (…in a good way…).


levensonCHRISTOPHER LEVENSON

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?


What a horrible thought! It would probably be Yeats’s  Collected Poems, with  Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano  and Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse being tied for a very close second.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Advice for aspiring writers: (especially poets) Don’t be afraid to be influenced. Read widely.  You can’t be totally original, ( no one  ever is,) so  submit to whatever writers attract you, imitate, then come out the other side with whatever aspects  of their work, attitudes, techniques etc you find you can use. We are all amalgams of what we have  read and experienced

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?


My favourite drink, which  may be hard to find unless there’s a Balkan demographic around Kensington Market, is slivovica (Jugoslav plum brandy). Otherwise a glass of retsina or a shot of ouzo  (both Greek) would be very acceptable substitutes.


weissALLAN WEISS

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

The adventures of a Jewish wizard and his cynical telepathic horse. [What more do you need to say??]

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

The wee hours of the morning

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

Diet Coke or soda water. Leave the fruit wedge OUT!


adlerNATHAN ADLER

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.


Wrist is an Indigenous Monster story written from the monster’s perspective, The Adams Family meets Norval Morisseau.

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?


Tough question because I’d get bored of reading the same book over and over again, no matter how much I like it. So maybe one of those tablets so I could download a different ebook. But that’s side-stepping the question. So maybe “Interview With the Vampire”, or “Wuthering Heights”, or “Drawing Blood”, or “Cruddy”. I’ve read all those books more than once already and would still read them again.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?


A Gin and Tonic, or Jameson and Diet Coke, or red wine, or white wine with ice cubes, or a beer.


arnottJOANNE ARNOTT

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

Halfling spring: an internet romance (Kegedonce) is a book of love poetry.

A Night for the Lady (Ronsdale) explores the terrain of poetry conversations, with a wide variety of correspondents.

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?


Tao te Ching (Dao De Jing) Lao Tzu

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

Pale Ale sounds like a good drink for poets, but really I forage wide across the spectrum of beer/ale/ipa/lager/pilsener.


mswaine_rowersMEGAN SWAINE

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

Any time of day! But late morning seems to be the best.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

The ability to sound convincing no matter what I was talking about.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

Merlot 🙂


sbowness_rowersSUZANNE (SUE) BOWNESS

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

I like to devote weekend afternoons where possible to writing, easing into the effort with some inspiration from my favourite books. The trick is not to spend too much time reading so you can eventually move on to your own work. I also get my second wind in the evening, so some writing happens then, although I aspire to do more writing in the morning. Fall resolution #1.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

I’d love to see into the future.  To peer in and know that vampire novels would be a thing, or that Google was the right stock to pick, would be fun. Of course, there would also be downsides, and it would also be hard to keep the future to yourself.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

As a non-beer drinker, I’m thrilled about the recent rise of cider. Supermarket usually has Pommies on tap, a decent variety, although my favourite is sweet Somersby. Second and third favourites are a nice glass of wine (Reisling’s my favourite) or a cold gin and tonic. You have many options.


jfoster_rowersJENNIFER D. FOSTER

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

I like to write in the morning, after I’ve walked our greyhound, Aquaman, and after a (hopefully) healthy breakfast and some herbal tea. Thoughts and ideas often start swirling around in my head during and after the walk, and the tea helps clear and focus my mind. I also find writing later at night, before I go to bed, is useful, as my mind is ruminating on the day’s events.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

This is a very tricky question, as there are many superpowers I’d like to have: flight; invisibility; telepathy; telekinesis; zoolingualism; supernatural vision (Steve Austin, anyone?). But I think I’d most like to have supernatural hearing. How many times, as a writer, have you caught snippets of a conversation, only to wish you could have eavesdropped on the entire thing (while being invisible!)?

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

I discovered the Corpse Reviver last year and love absolutely everything about it: it’s delicious, the name is incredibly clever; and I love the fact that it’s made with a dash of absinthe. I ordered it at a bar in Newfoundland recently, and the server looked at me blankly—that’s usually what happens when I ask for one. Luckily, there’s a great restaurant in my neighbourhood that makes a delightfully wicked Corpse Reviver—cheers!


hwood_rowersHEATHER J. WOOD

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

The morning after a good cup of coffee.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

The ability to fly and to reach into the clouds and discover the treasures hidden within them.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

A dry red wine or a gin and tonic


Trevor Cole

TREVOR COLE

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

The Whisky King is a historic narrative that follows the rise of two men: Rocco Perri, once English Canada’s most famous and powerful bootlegger/mob figure, and Frank Zaneth, Canada’s first undercover Mountie. It’s a Jazz-Age story full of guns, booze, mob hits, official corruption and even a tragic romance or two.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

You have to read! Read everything. Read to find out what you admire, what stories intrigue you and what sentences thrill you. Read the masters to find out how it’s done. Read so much that it gets into your bones and becomes part of you. Any writer who doesn’t read is a writer doomed never to be read.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

EI’ll take a well-aged Kentucky bourbon on the rocks. Failing that, a shot of good tequila always hits the spot.


Elise LevineELISE LEVINE

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

My novel Blue Field is about: risk addicts and obsessive love and grief. There’s some sex in there too.

 If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?


My Superhero power: to always have part of my brain sitting at a little table with pen and notebook (old school!) at five a.m. in a cheap motel room just off the highway, out the window fog rolling off an ancient mountain. Plus the miracle of a decent cup of coffee keeping me company.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

I confess: I’m a lightweight when it comes to drinks. An ale or glass of white wine (for some reason, red makes me ill) is about it for me.


Steven Mayoff

STEVEN MAYOFF

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

My novel, Our Lady of Steerage is a non-linear, multi-generational story about the friendship between two women, Mariasse and Dora, that takes place in Montreal. Their relationship is defined by recurring cycles of rescue and betrayal as they move in and out of each others lives over a 40-year period (1923-1962).

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Not everyone can have a writing career, but anyone can cultivate a writing life. No one can take that away from you.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

I don’t drink alcohol and I’ve been cutting out sugar, so no soft drinks or juices. If anyone wants to buy me a drink, an Americano coffee or some green tea would be most appreciated.


spenstKEVIN SPENST

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

I love poetry for its plasticity, its ability to fill forms traditional and new and occasions joyous and somber. I have two full-length books that explore faith, familial relationships and mental health, and I have over a dozen chapbooks that respond to visual art, Finnegan’s Wake and the similarities between environmental disasters and heavy metal lyrics.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

I’m a morning writer. When the writing life is good, I get up at four and I write for a couple hours before I have to head off to work. When times are harried, I write on my iPhone while stopped at a light on my way to work. When times are extra intense, I’ll write after work. When I’m on a book tour (now), I write poems about clouds etc on airplane sickness bags that I fold into chapbooks.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Read as deeply and widely as possible.


Adrienne Gruber

ADRIENNE GRUBER

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

Any time of day when my kids aren’t hanging off of me and wiping their sticky little paws on my pants. But ideally, from around 9am-3pm, when I’m the most awake. You know, the time that is never available to me!

 If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

These days it would be to have boundless energy to do all the things I want to do after my kids are in bed. Coffee is almost powerful enough to make this happen, but even its magic has limitations.
What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Ignore unsolicited advice! But also, don’t worry about what other writers are writing about. Embrace the content that you’re drawn to writing. Your audience will find you.

Elana WolffELANA WOLFF

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less?

The poems in Everything Reminds You of Something Else riff on the porousness of states and relations, the connective compulsions of poetic association, and the detonations waiting in everyday love, in language that frequently speaks to primary irony.

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?

It would have to be the TaNaCH — Torah, Prophets, and Writings — aka the Bible, in Hebrew. But since I’m greedy I’ll also have the collected works of Franz Kafka and W G Sebald in bilingual editions. Poetry is in them.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?
 
I can write any time of day or night. Best is when it’s coming through.


Jacob ScheierJACOB SCHEIER

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?

If I could own only one book, I’d say Stranger Music (the selected Leonard Cohen book), which was the one book I carried around with me when I backpacked around Egypt 15 years ago and still have the very well worn copy of.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?


The best part of my day for writing is first thing in the morning… I feel my creativity leaks away as the anxieties of the day build up. But I feel like I still have a foot in my unconscious if I write as soon as I get up (or rather as soon as I finish making coffee).

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?


My favourite drink, since I’m not buying (apparently) is any single malt scotch, neat. preferably a 12-year Macallan, not to be too specific about it, but I would gladly drink a Jameson on the rocks.


Pamela MordecaiPAMELA MORDECAI

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

My writing in prose and poetry explores voices, in particular those that criss-cross the range of Jamaican vernacular speech, as the ground of character and so the basis for story.

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?

The Bible, because it’s a compendium of bewildering history, amazing stories, and poetry of great beauty.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Read as much as you can, aloud when you can, and talk about what you read with other devoted readers.


Molly PeacockMOLLY PEACOCK

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.


The Analyst is a series of linked poems about a patient-therapist relationship that drastically changes when the analyst suffers a stroke but survives to become a painter.

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?


The Norton Anthology of World Poetry.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?


Morning—first thing, no breakfast, tea only, bathrobe and cat.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?


I’d like to have a Psyche Superpower! It would be the power to make people in power want to examine their lives, to remember their own feelings in times of crisis, and act in empathy with the situations of others.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?


Schedule it. Just like a doctor’s appointment. And treat it like a doctor’s appointment. You have to go. You can’t have lunch with your friend. You have to hire childcare to do it. Then enter that designated square on your calendar as if it were a meadow, just waiting for you.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?


A hot toddy, whiskey on the side. It’s really the hot water, honey and lemon I’m after!


Jeff CottrillJEFF COTTRILL

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Always write what you would want to read if you were the audience.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

Any cider that isn’t Strongbow.


Jasmine D'CostaJASMINE D’COSTA

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

The core of my work deals with racism, the other, and moral ethical questions without being didactic but through the characters in my stories. I am a storyteller that uses various devices to animate my characters without using one voice.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

4.00 am- 10 am. That way I put in 5 hours of work and then I can live and experience the rest of the day.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Always remember that your work is more important than you.


carolegCAROLE GIANGRANDE

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

In retreat from a failing marriage, Valerie’s come from Toronto to hike the remote French island of St. Pierre, only to walk right into the horror of 9/11; her son and his partner are missing in New York City. All That Is Solid Melts Into Air unfolds in the flow of Valerie’s thoughts, memories and ordinary life, far from her loved ones on the terrrain of a strange new world.

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?

Virginia Woolf, To The Lighthouse. I love this book and I’ve read it many times, but as for the one-book rule, I’d probably cheat and load a pile of texts on my e-reader (since I don’t define them as “books,” just a lot of pixels strung together).

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Read everything! Write every day, even for a half-hour. And keep submitting your work. That one publisher’s “yes” will clear away the sting of a hundred rejections.


biancalBIANCA LAKOSELJAC

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

My new novel, Stone Woman, chronicles the lives of five women whose fates are bound by a Vietnam War draft dodger from the hippie subculture of Toronto. This is a story of passion, of art, of the legacy of loyalty and choices made. It is about social change and self-realization in the midst of one of the headiest periods in Toronto history.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

It would be the power to acquire the knowledge and wisdom of the ages, so I could write the Novel Impossible—the one everyone in the world would wish to read.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Write because you love it!—all of it—the fear of the blank page, the challenge of the first draft, the agony of the rewrite, and another, and yet another. Write because you love it—even when your fickle muse knocks on your head at 3am and ushers your grumpiness to the laptop and you hate her for it. But soon the words are flowing, and the more they flow the more you love her and thank her for tormenting you at this ungodly hour. Write for the love of it and you won’t be disappointed. Write for the money and you will.


caseyCASEY PLETT

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?

A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews. I never get tired of reading that book, I really don’t.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

On the business side: Don’t be afraid to ask how much you’re getting paid and when you’ll get the money, before you agree to do something. Even if you’re okay with doing it for free and that’s just where you are in your career: Ask. Get good at it. It will serve you in good stead all through a career.

More murkily: I don’t know if this is helpful to others, but…to me writing is being alone, in a room, with my thoughts, speaking to someone else, alone, in a room, who’ll eventually read them. Me, in a room, speaking to a stranger, alone, in a room. Everything else is vehicles and numbers.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

Rye and diet Coke in a tall glass. Or a whiskey sour.


melaniemMELANIE MAH

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.


The Sweetest One is about the Wong family, denizens of a small, redneck town in Alberta who have endured immense tragedy. Specifically, the book is about Chrysler Wong, a very anxious, potentially cursed girl who wants to find love and live in a city, even though these are also the things she’s most afraid of.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

Afternoons and evenings.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?


The prospects are all either very scary or very weird, but the elasticity of Mister Fantastic could come in handy for slingshotting myself around the world or doing various chores while also lying on the couch.


lanapeschLANA PESCH

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.


When Marie Ross finds herself unemployed and newly separated, her life takes an unexpected turn when she moves back to her hometown on the prairies. Dysfunctional family antics, small town politics, and dated religious traditions are the driving forces behind Blunt, a story about impermanence, and the place we call home.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?


Morning. Pre-brain clutter.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?


A nice hoppy craft brew. Whatever is on tap similar to Left Field or Flying Monkeys.


David ClinkDAVID CLINK

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

The Role of Lightning in Evolution is a collection of speculative poetry. Suzette Haden Elgin defined the genre as “about a reality that is in some way different from the existing reality.” A speculative poem usually has one or more of the following genres: science fiction, fantasy, horror, magic realism, steampunk, alternative history, surrealism, science, the fantastic, and the mythological.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

To see through dark liquids.

So I can see through to the back of a coke label to see if it is a prize winner. But they don’t do that anymore, do they? So strike that. Put me down for flying. I can do that in my dreams, so why not in real life?

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?




The 7 “R”s: Take the original three “R”s:

READING; WRITING; and, ARITHMETIC; and add:

ORIGAMI; RECALCITRANCE; ORIGINALITY; and, REVIEWING.


vanessashieldsVANESSA SHIELDS

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?



Wow. No one’s ever asked me this question. What a tough question!! A book of poetry – collected works of love poems – including Shakespeare, Neruda, Rumi, Gibran….Gah. I don’t know. I would cry if I could only ever own one book.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?



I think it’s from 10am to 2pm, but my ‘time for writing’ has been so inconsistent in the last little bit that I can’t really say! I usually get a surge of energy around 5, right when I have to do everything but write (cook dinner, help kids with homework, tidy house – domestic bliss, right?). If I’m heading toward a deadline, I can write anywhere, anytime. I’ve gotten pretty good at disciplining myself, so as long as I do that, I can write anytime.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?



Ha! My son asks me this all the time. I’d like to be able to breathe under water. I think I was a humpback whale in a past life. I love the water. I love swimming. It would be incredible to be able to breathe underwater…maybe I could talk with the ocean, the fish – and I could be their voice and help save the planet. Kinda.


hoaHOA NGUYEN

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

From my painter friend Philip Trussell who wrote of my work, “The individual words are luminous with ‘cellness,’ seeming each to know the others, and having a way of being the whole while holding to their own grasp of place. Syntactically alarming and alerting to fresh perception, these poems set thought to new leaps, brightly.”

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

I tend to read directly after reading/hearing poems read for an hour aloud and in response to writing strategies drawn from the work and of my own invention during a private poetics workshop that I lead in cyberspace / my home. Which means, typically, on Sundays at 5 PM –but also whenever I can get at my notebook.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Read deeply and widely. Perform some form of service to boost the poetry community such as writing reviews, interviewing, curating a reading series, editing a magazine, publishing books, and textual scholarship. Persist and make things happen.


jakeJACOB MCARTHUR MOONEY

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

It’s a book about the future that posits 2016 will be a millennial moment in time, complete with the death of idols and the rising of fools to power. I apologize for being right about everything.

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?

It would either be the full 2010 Encyclopedia Britannica or my wife’s novel.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

I’d like to be good at Twitter.


adebeADEBE DERANGO-ADEM

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?

The Prophet by Khalil Gibran

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

After the moment in time where one would be writing “the aubade.”

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

It’s not how you sell the ship, it’s how you sail one. Paraphrased from the beauteous mind of Ursula LeGuin.


charlenechallengerCHARLENE CHALLENGER

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

I write fairy tales.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

The morning is best for me (there’s just something about daylight that’s so beautiful), though it’s rare that I’m able to write in the morning. I do most of my writing at night.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

I’d love to have super strength, that way I can stand up to bullies.


robertcolman
ROB COLMAN

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Best piece of advice for aspiring writers is twofold – read a lot, more than you write, and find a supportive community in which to work – there are so very many of them, especially in Toronto.

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?

If I could only own one book, it would have to be the Oxford English Dictionary (which is cheating, because it’s two volumes).

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

My drink of choice is a gin & tonic.


francesboyleFRANCES BOYLE

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

My book is a collection of poems, mostly lyric or narrative, that explore shadows and absences via family history and imagined stories, traveling highways and paths along rivers. In both Light-carved Passages and my newer work I go into some dark places and speak in a variety of voices, but I’m always feeling around for the light switch on the wall or looking for a glimmer of light in the far distance.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Read everything you can get your hands on. Read things you love, and try to figure out why. Read things you hate, and try to figure out why. Imitate freely, and own your influences. Do lots of practice writing and don’t worry about making it good at first, just get down the impulse, the spark, the energy. Surprise yourself.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

I’d love to have the ability to split into multiple me’s: a team to get all the day-to-day necessaries accomplished; one to craft poetry, another to write fiction, and at least one who could just go for long walks and stare into space for hours. And of course I’d also need the ability to bring all that experience back together into a single me.


dickinsonclourMARY LOU DICKINSON

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

Latest is about impact on individuals in families and families of the omissions people leave in what they tell each other and the secrets they keep from each other.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?  

Morning.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Get started. Sit/stand at your desk and write. When you have enough writing to share, find a writing group and participate. Sharing lessens isolation and critique can help you improve your work.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

Cheap date…non alcoholic. Often water. But as for food, the banana rolls with ice cream and chocolate at Rowers are outstanding.


shane-joseph

SHANE JOSEPH

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.
A novel about corporate greed, political corruption and second chances in love, set in Vancouver Island and Toronto during the robocalls scandal.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?
Don’t aim for fame, aim for writing the best piece you can, one sentence at a time. Fame may follow.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar?
Scotch and soda. And I’ll accept generous offers to buy me a drink.


stan-rogalSTAN ROGAL

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.
Rogal’s compelling novel offers a new look at the traditional Canadian tale of a city boy in the “wilderness,” taking aim at our literary mythology with sharp, satirical darts.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?
I prefer writing in the morning, though I tend to write longer, later, as I near the end of a piece.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar?
Red wine is my preferred poison, though I’ve been known to enjoy a shot of bourbon if we’re celebrating.


cherie-dCHERIE DIMALINE

What part of the day is your best time for writing?
At night. Which makes me a zombie at my 9-5, but that’s how it goes. I tried to move my hours to daylight but the work came out sounding like a manual to upgrade to Windows 10.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?
Read! Read diversely and across eras and genres. Slow read the work you most admire and strive to be in league with, but read it all.

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?
Well, I would be dead, but if I really had to choose it would be a volume of collected works by either Charles Bukowski or TS Eliot. That way, every time I read it, I would find something new or feel something different dependent on the day.


christopher-canniffCHRISTOPHER CANNIFF

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.
About Poor Man’s Galapagos (my latest novel): Tómas Harvey, an irrigation engineering student on a small, impoverished island in Ecuador, is conscripted into military service in the border war with Peru as his father, a renowned British travel writer, disappears. Certain he will die a senseless death, fighting his enlistment and searching for answers, Tómas embarks on a journey of discovery that may lead him closer to his father and to his biological mother who abandoned him at birth, and away from his home for the first time in his life…

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?
That’s easy, the Bible.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?
Read and write, every day. Become part of a writing community. Don’t think about your failures, and focus on your successes as a writer. And as the President of the Canadian Authors Association Toronto Branch, I encourage everyone to join and to become involved!


m-kiddMONICA KIDD

What part of the day is your best time for writing?
Definitely in the morning. Preferably with a box of dry cereal and a bottomless cup of coffee.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?
To be able to stop time, roll it backwards and forwards like a tape reel. Remember tape reels? There are things I would change. And things I would relive. And wouldn’t it be nice to stop fretting about what the future holds?

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?
Lately it’s been Uncle Val’s Botanical gin. I’ve always been a beer girl, but lately I’m on the G&T. Not sure what this says about


susanmccaslinSUSAN MCCASLIN

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.
My new volume of poetry, Painter, Poet, Mountain: After Cezanne (Quattro, 2016), re-enacts a journey to Aix-en-Provence in 2013 where I found myself in a “heart-soul-mind-clench” with the post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne. The book traces how the artist from Aix-en-Provence accompanied her home to the Fraser Valley outside Fort Langley, British Columbia where she gazed through his eyes to see afresh the trees and landscapes near her home.

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?
The Complete Words of William Shakespeare

What part of the day is your best time for writing?
After 10 pm.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?
Flight, because I’d like to be momentarily a bird, particularly an eagle.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?
Read, read, and read, not just email notes and blogs, but old, new. Then reread.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?
A glass of Vendemmia from Italy.


sabrinarSABRINA RAMNANAN

What part of the day is your best time for writing?
Four years ago I might have said: In the early morning when the house is quiet and sunshine is streaming in through my office window. Now my answer is: When the kids are both sleeping and, miraculously, I am still awake.
What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?
Write what moves you. Write what makes you laugh. Write the story you want to read. Write for yourself.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?
Double rum and coke.


Dietrich KalteisDIETRICH KALTEIS

Describe your new book in two sentences or less.
 Edgy crime fiction with a touch of dark humour.
What part of the day is your best time for writing?
 For me, early in the morning is the best time to write. I start at about 5:00 and go until noon.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?Write as often as you can, and when you’re not writing, read what inspires you to write.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?
 Beer. Like my fiction, I like it dark.
Jess Taylor

Author photo credit Angela Lewis

JESS TAYLOR

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?

Right now: Mary Gaitskill’s Bad Behaviour. But normally, it’s J.D. Salinger’s Nine Stories.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?

To heal myself and others, emotionally and physically. I wish everyone I loved could have no pain. But being able to teleport would also be super cool! I hate transit, I hate how many people talk to me/bump me/touch my arm on transit and wish I could be somewhere instantly.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Stick to a schedule and also be careful with your finances haha.

Also, stay honest and look into your fear. Don’t worry about people liking your work NOW. Think about the kind of work you think needs to be in the world, that is true to lived experience, and write that.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?

Cranberry and soda or a coffee with milk!


Dan PerryDANIEL PERRY

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.

Hamburger is a collection of 23 stories–some flash and some longer–set in Toronto but also in Nicaragua, Philadelphia, Venice, Montreal and more. My publisher says: The pieces include dark satirical perspectives and situational ironies, and although they frequently carry images of struggle, fatigue, and loss, they move the people who populate them into decisions that offer tense moments of hope and beauty.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?

I love a weekend morning, especially for a first draft. Sometimes I go running first, sometimes I don’t, but either way I like to get in front of my computer fairly early and see whether I can fall into a nice, long trance; I’ve lost entire Saturdays because I’ve needed to get to the end of a story! (I may revise this preference once I start focusing seriously on my first novel…)

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Get hungry. Read more, write more, revise more, submit more. Go to more literary events. Meet more of your peers. No one will bang down your front door just to see if you’ve been hiding some great writing in your house; like it or not, you’ve got to hustle. Once your work’s out there, promote it: make a website, a Twitter feed, a Facebook page, even if these are all for just 50 people for now. Find your audience. Everything big was small first.


Kevin HardcastleKEVIN HARDCASTLE

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.
It’s a book about people who fight and endure, faced with violence from other people and from the natural world, and under pressure to stay afloat despite long odds. However hard, somehow those stories tend to really be about hope and the bonds of family, and not about the naked ugliness of the things that the characters fight against.

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?
I thought this would be harder to answer, but, right away, I thought of the Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, Finca Vigia Edition, or The Lost Salt Gift of Blood by Alistair MacLeod. The first one is kind of cheating, as it is all of Hemingway’s stories, but it has about every lesson I ever took in about how to write a line. I’ve always mentioned Lost Salt Gift of Blood as my favourite writing by any Canadian, and some of the finest short stories ever written. There is more weight in that slim volume of pages than most writers could ever hope to have in a life’s work.

And I guess this is a case where the range and depth of a good short story collection makes that much more sense to have with you if that is the only thing you can have.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?
I tend to write in the afternoon, but I can churn out some decent work at night, if I get down to it. I am against mornings for the most part, and it’s highly unlikely I’ll work then, but if I can get my ass in the chair at any other time, I can usually accomplish something of worth.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?
The best superhero power, hands down, is the Zack Morris Time-out (from the teen TV epic, Saved by the BellI). There is no greater power in the Marvel-verse, DC-verse, or universe than freezing everyone around you by calling time, having the whole world at your mercy, and then being able to break the fourth wall to, well, I’m not sure who (but I’m sure it is very mystical). Superman has nothing on the Zack Morris Time-out.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?
Get tough. Pay real attention to what matters. Don’t quit.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?
I tend to drink bottles of a rare and delicious craft beer called Budweiser. If a bar is too lowly for that, I’ll drink a rye and diet-coke or ten.


Maire T. RobinsonMAIRE T. ROBINSON

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.
Skin, Paper, Stone is a novel about a Medieval historian and an aspiring tattoo artist who unexpectedly find love in post-boom Galway City. But both must face up to their troubled pasts and overcome increasing present obstacles in order to create a future together.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?
First thing in the morning before the sneaky demons of self-doubt and procrastination have had a chance to wake up. The trick is to tiptoe past them and settle down at your desk with an obscenely large cup of coffee.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?
Read voraciously, trust your instincts, and follow your own unique passions. Always write what is interesting to you first and foremost. Don’t try to pre-empt what will be marketable or write something you’re wishy-washy about. This is especially important when you’re working on a novel because you’ll be spending at least a year of your life on it, if not more. So, for the sake of your own engagement and possibly even your very sanity, it’s best to pursue something you believe in and can commit wholeheartedly to.


Larissa LaiLARISSA LAI

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.
Knife wielding lady litter mates repopulate the world.

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?
Pu Song Ling’s Strange Tales of Liaozhai, Hong Kong Commercial Press edition

What part of the day is your best time for writing?
In the morning, when I’m supposed to be doing something else.

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?
Ooh, that’s a hard one. A death stare that shuts up the mansplainers would be a good one, especially the ones that keep telling me how young/small/emerging/junior I am, but so would killer focus to shut out the petty call of bureaucracy when I’ve got writing to do, and then on the other hand jolly green genius to stop capitalism and make everyone share stuff fairly without it would also be pretty great.


Tasneem JamalTASNEEM JAMAL

What part of the day is your best time for writing?
Lately, I’m finding that I am most productive very late at night (between midnight and 4 a.m.). The silence of everything feels like a cocoon. My husband and children are fast asleep and no one is calling me or texting me or emailing me. Or if they are I am perfectly content ignoring them. I try to steal a nap during the day to help make up for the lack of sleep. (Though I can never fully make it up.)

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?
I don’t know if any existing Superhero possesses this power, but I would choose to need only two hours of sleep a night. (See above.)

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?
Be honest in your writing. You can feel it in your gut when you are bullshitting. Avoid that feeling.


Priscila UppalPRISCILA UPPAL

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.
Cover Before Striking is a collection of 13 stories each about people pushing the limits, testing their way of interacting with the world, literally and metaphorically playing with fire.

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?
Don Quixote.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?
Any time before dinner. I used to write extremely well at night and then I graduated from school and had to be up before noon.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?
There’s no such thing as Writer’s Block. There is too much in the world to write about. The problem is choosing. So choose what is most important to you.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?
My absolute favourite drink is a Kir Royale, but if the bar doesn’t make those I will take any full-bodied dry red wine.


Lisa de NikolitsLISA DE NIKOLITS

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.
My books are allergic to categorization which makes it very hard for me to describe them. I like my books to offer the unexpected and I like to challenge and entertain readers.

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?
The Norton Anthology of Poetry.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?
When the demon muse wants to have her way with me, I have no choice but to surrender, regardless of time or circumstance.  If I don’t have time right at that moment, I make notes, on receipts or my forearm, or napkins. The trick is to write it all down as soon as you can. I find that if I don’t write it down, I have a refrain in my head which I am sure is akin to OCD, so really I have to write or the voices won’t shut up.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?
Read a bunch of books about writing. Then throw them away, and get to it and don’t stop. Ever.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?
I doubt the bar will have my favourite drink! It’s a  Dutch liqueur called Advocaat.
It’s the colour of neon sunshine, it kicks like a mule, tastes as sweet as sin and pours as thick as mud!


LORI CAYER

Lori CayerDescribe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.
My work in the early days was something reflexive, it would happen, then I would attend to the results. Now it is an internal address I can count on being there, where I can go and simply continue where I left off.

What part of the day is your best time for writing?
Morning. There is clarity and psychic space available before all the sensory input of a day starts to fill the head.

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?
Think of your lines and/or stanzas as so many leggo blocks: boldly rearrange them and see what happens.

What’s your favourite drink at the bar (so people can buy it for you after)?
I have a mad new menopausal love affair with gin and tonic.


Max LaytonMAX LAYTON

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.
I write poetry for people who hate poetry. Funny, whimsical, relevant, touching AND non-academic, my poems are meant to be enjoyed…

If you could have one Superhero power, what would it be and why?
Invisibility: There are so many conversations I’d like to overhear and so many terrorists I’d like to scare the crap out of!

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?
KISS: Keep It Simple — and Short!


Lenore KeeshigLENORE KEESHIG

Describe your new book or your work in general in two sentences or less.
Running on the March Wind is my long awaited debut collection of poetry that allows readers to view the world through Anishnaabe experience and perspective.

If you could only own one book, what book would it be?
Any book by Native American scholar Vine Deloris Jr., author of the best-selling “God is Red”

What’s your best piece of advice for aspiring writers?
Advice for aspiring writers – write about what you know best, and be honest with your word choices.

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