The Next Big Thing

The lovely Ayelet Tsabari, author of the upcoming collection of stories The Best Place on Earth, tagged me to answer a virtual interview about my next big thing. You can read about Ayelet’s here.

My Next Big Thing is an upcoming collection of poetry that will be out in the spring.

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:

What is the working title of your book?

Arguments with the Lake.

Where did the idea for the book come from?

A number of years ago I was asked, by Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, an environmental justice organization, to write some poems about Lake Ontario that I could read on a tour with Gord Downie,  Andrea Nann and Mark Mattson to try and engage people with Lake Ontario and the issues we face. Of course I said yes, and started thinking about the Lake, my relationship with it, its history, its story.

Shortly after the tour I started my Creative Writing MFA at Guelph and as parted of a poetry class was asked to write a series of poems around a subject or theme. I decided to stay focused on the lake. I thought I had lots left to say about it. I liked engaging with something so physically close to home (a big change from my other work to date). Shortly thereafter, though I realised I didn’t quite know how to say everything I wanted to say. I needed a new way to access the lake. I tend to understand my world, my life, through narrative. I needed a story I could sink my teeth into.

While reading I came across the story of Marilyn Bell’s swim across the lake and thought it was a fantastic way to explore the lake – what it was, what it’s become.

What genre does your book fall under?

Poetry.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

They don’t generally make movies of poetry books – although it has happened. But there’s also already a movie about Marilyn Bell called Heart. You can head over and watch it on Netflix.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A collection of poetry based around Marilyn Bell’s 1954 swim across Lake Ontario.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Arguments with the Lake will be published in the spring by Wolsak and Wynn. A couple of poems will be in an upcoming issue of THIS.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Not very long (especially compared to my first novel) I don’t think. Maybe a couple of months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I guess it fits into the world of narrative poetry, fictional biographical poetry – not that I would put it next to these – but The Collected Works of Billy the Kid by Ondaatje or Gwendolyn MacEwen’s TE Lawrence poems.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The work was initially inspired, by the folks at Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, and in particular Mark Mattson’s and Krystyn Tully’s hard and important work. I was inspired by how they envision a community on Lake Ontario, in how they see the stories, the art that comes out of our relationship with the lake as part of the work to protect it and keep it accessible.

For the most part I write from a place of asking questions – and similar to my novel, Above All Things – I think the question for me about these poems was why and how? Why and how does someone set out to swim across Lake Ontario and what happens as a result of that first decision.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The poems are only partially about Marilyn Bell. While I was researching I stumbled across the story of another young swimmer named Shirley Campbell. She tried to swim across Lake Ontario twice – the two years following Marilyn’s successful swim. Both times she had to be pulled from the water even though she was so close to finishing. Her life went in a totally different direction than Marilyn’s and it’s a fictional version of Shirley that is the voice of most of the poems. I wanted to imagine what happens when you are so much better at something than almost everyone else, but that still counts as a failure?

And now, find out what these five fabulous writers are working on… 

Aga Maksimowska

Jael Richardson

Carrie Snyder

Laurie Graham

Catherine McKenzie

 Message for tagged authors: Rules of the Next Big Thing

***Use this format for your post

***Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress)

***Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:

What is the working title of your book?

Where did the idea for the book come from?

What genre does your book fall under?

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged.

Be sure to line up five people in advance.

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One Response to The Next Big Thing

  1. Pingback: The Next Big Thing « cropsamples

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