As I mentioned earlier, I love to find out about the nuts and bolts and neuroses that go into a book. I’ll be satisfying this curiosity by (hopefully) interviewing lots of writers, as well as other booky folk.
First up: Rookie novelist Lisa Guenther, who lives on a farm in rural Saskatchewan and is busy writing a fiction novel based in… yes, rural Saskatchewan (small town Can Lit is a fine tradition to be a part of! No matter what Victoria Glendinning says!).
The writer’s pets are Wanda (cat) and Rufus (furbaby).
What’s the breakfast of a writing champion? I don’t know, but my breakfast, without variation, is home-made, plain yogurt, homemade cereal, and some sort of fruit.
How long can you continuously write without taking a break? It depends. Anywhere from half an hour to a couple of hours. I don’t force it – if I need a break, I’ll grab a cup of tea or something. I just try to meet my goal, which is usually a chapter.
Come across any interesting words lately? Mendacity – a lie. Example: “This room is full of mendacity.” From “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Also “furbaby” – a puppy. My friend Kim introduced me to that one when she found out I was getting a puppy.
Do you have a lucky pen or notebook for ideas? I have several writing journals and several pens – I guess they’re all lucky
Who do you imagine as your readers? When I think of future readers, I think of people I actually know. My friends in Edmonton. You, and other folks from this neighbourhood.
How do you store your books? Messy stacks on a bookshelf. I just moved, so the ones I don’t look at often are in plastic totes.
What’s your favourite non-book thing to read? The Western Producer (farm newspaper) or a good blog.
Do you judge a book by its cover? Yes, always. Especially if it’s an author I’m not familiar with. Some authors have a similar look to their book covers, making it easier to pick out their new books on a crowded shelf. When I saw “The Flying Troutman,” I knew instantly that it was Miriam Toews’ new book, as it has a similar cover to “A Complicated Kindness.” I usually read the first few sentences too – if they don’t grab me, I don’t buy it.
What’s your first creative writing memory? In grade one or two I wrote a creative non-fiction piece about these older boys that mooned me and my friend. We then tattled on them, and they got in trouble.
What’s the worst thing you think you’ve written? Melodramatic poetry from high school. Bleh.
A freestyle writing challenge (A character muses that they like the smell of burning garbage): The smell of burning pop bottles flows like water into Merv’s nostrils. Without thinking, he inhales deeply, and exhales a contented sigh. Suddenly embarrassed, he glances furtively around the dump, afraid that someone has noticed his strange reaction. Scolding himself silently, he heaves the last bag of garbage into the burning pit, lumbers to the open door of his beat-up half-ton, and slowly drives away.