Ottawa Reading and the Open Book “Overlooked Books” list

I was in Ottawa yesterday for a lovely reading at the Collected Works Bookstore. What a great audience! I was asked some really interesting questions that made me think more about my writing process. For example, one woman asked me what it was like to edit out pieces I worried would not be well received, which made me reflect more on the impact of audience on my writing. Another person asked how becoming a novelist had changed my relationship with my friends (writers are known for being conversation “magpies”). Someone else wondered about the ways in which characters take time and space in a writer’s head.

Sometimes the very best part about readings is the Q & A…


Would you like to nominate Stealing Nasreen for the Open Book “Overlooked Book” list? Below is some info:

What Canadian book do you think deserves more attention? Maybe you feel the book is an undiscovered gem. Maybe you think the book should have more readers or more media attention or more award nominations, or all of the above. Here is your chance to shine a little light on it — and to enter to win a $100 gift certificate for Pages Books & Magazines. Submit the title of your favourite overlooked book to Open Book’s Facebook discussion board or send an email to with the subject line “Overlooked Book.” The winner will be selected in a draw on December 21st and Open Book will compile an Overlooked Reading List from your entries and post it on our site.

Writing Time and Ottawa Reading

So far, November has provided me with lots of writing time. I’m esconced in the second novel, still untitled (although in a couple of grant applications, I’m calling it Mistake, which doesn’t really bode well).

The great thing about having plenty of writing time is that it’s possible to really delve into the characters’ moods and quirks. The story begins to have more continuity, and a little detail mentioned on page 9 is able to return on page 99. On some days, my head remains inside the novel, which feels like a decadent and fortunate place to be because ideas come much easier than if I’m less involved. It also means that I’ve got to work harder to pull myself out of it when I have to switch gears and work on other things or with other people (or risk exposing poor social etiquette). These things might be consulting work, psychotherapy or promoting Stealing Nasreen.

Speaking of which…

I’ll be reading in Ottawa at the Collected Works Bookstore next Friday, November 30th, at 7:30pm. I love going to Ottawa; I went to school there and still have some friends living there. If you are in the area, please come and say hello.