March 10th, 2008
Good grief I adore Laura Lippman. Thank her lucky stars that this interview didn’t happen a) in real time or b) in person where I would have stuttered, shuddered, nervous-talked and probably not managed to get a single question out. But mainly just thanking her in my mind over and over again for taking the time to answer my questions, especially in light of the fact that she’s got quite a busy life right now.
February 28th, 2008
Is up on MSN today here. And if you don’t feel like clicking through, my favourite question and answer:
DM: What are you working on now? And are you still taking banana jobs?
BL: Still taking banana jobs. I always feel the need to state that I really love my banana suit. I definitely don’t do it because it’s the only job out there. And my friend Tara and I are working on a stage show called “Getting In On The Ground Floor and Staying There.” The title is in reference to the fact that we have been collaborating on comedy shows and films for the past 10 years, but have never “taken it to the next level.” Or any level, really. There were a few meetings with some Hollywood people where we were promised things. We’ll address those meetings in full detail in the show, as well as talk about things that make us laugh. Like the image of a bunch of helium balloons in a gazebo or those posters where a wet muscular man is holding a tiny newborn baby.
Creativity, in general, never ceases to amaze me.
August 21st, 2007
June 7th, 2007
We’ve started a really fun group in Facebook, “HarperCollins Canada – The Reading Group,” and part of the added-value content that we’ve been doing around our chosen books is author interviews. I really enjoyed the one I did with first-time novelist Claire Cameron and thought I’d reproduce it here for those of you either not interested in Facebook or not too keen on social media but booklovers all the same.
Posted verbatim from Facebook:
Claire Cameron answers some of my burning questionsall of which are safe to read even if you haven’t finished the novelthere are no spoilers. And if you know me, you know how hard that is for me to accomplish, as I am usually the one who gives away the ending without even realizing what she’s done.
Regardless, Claire’s poured her heart out both on paper and here for us all. So without further ado read along for the Q&A between me and author Claire Cameron.
1. Which grew first in your imagination when you came to write The Line Painter: the characters or the premise for the novel?
I had a picture in my mind of an unconscious woman lying on her back on the shoulder of the highway with one leg over the yellow line. Then I got the idea of a line painter driving up and having to stop to move her leg. From there, I developed the characters: a woman who had been through a recent traumatic experience and an pig-headed line painter.
The story didn’t really end up that way, but the premise came from the tension between the two characters as a result of that first image in my head.
2. What would you say is your favourite part of the writing experience? Which is your least favourite?
I have these moments when I’m writing where I feel like a rock star. Something clicks into place, or I get a scene just right, and I get this surge of adrenaline. I can almost hear the crowd. A roar rises up as the fans stomp and shout for more. The chanting reverberates and the sound and the lights wash over me. Except, they don’t. It’s actually quiet enough to hear a pin drop and I’m alone, in my pj’s, my hair in a knot and a stale coffee cup at my side. But whatever, it still feels good.
My least favourite thing is the neurosis. There are ample opportunities for a writer to worryI’ll get rejected, I got rejected, my agent is going to dump me, my publisher won’t take my next book, I’ll get ignored by the press, I’ll get attention from the press for the wrong reasons, I’ve peaked, I’m washed up, the best days are behind me, etc.
The thing to realize is that most of these things are fairly real possibilities on any given day. Seriously.
3. The landscape, and especially Hearst, is an important part of the novel. Did you set out to write a story about a road trip in particular or did the importance of the landscape simply evolve as the novel evolved?
I was living in London UK while I was writing this book. I love London, but it is crowded and I never got used to it. This one day I was coming up from the tube in Piccadilly Circus and I got caught in a human traffic jam. It was bumper-to-bumper bodies. I remember looking up at the sky, all I could move was my neck because I was wedged so tight against the other people, and thinking about the amount of open space in Northern Ontario. Even though Toronto is crowded too, growing up there I took comfort in the open space of the north. That’s when I got the idea of wanting to run away to the north.
All this to say, the landscape and the themes evolved together. They were intricately tied from the start.
4. Was it hard to balance the physical journey with the emotional journey that Carrie takes in the novel? Did you have an idea that one would necessarily influence the other?
I’m not sure I thought of them as separate. That kind of balance comes more easily for me. I seem to prefer to struggle over other things, like the description of roadkill, or a donut.
5. What has been the most daunting about the entire process of getting your first novel published? Do you have advice for other writers out there?
What wasn’t daunting? It’s one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. I think actually finding the courage to finish the novel was one of the worst parts.
AdviceI don’t know. Maybe be careful what advice you listen too. You have to find your own way.
6. What books are you reading right now? And did you have a feeling of where you wanted your book to fit into the entire canon of Canadian literature?
I am reading On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan. It is 166 pages and, as I’m a newish mom, seems just about manageable.
I’ve lived outside of Canada since 1995, so I wasn’t thinking about my place in Canadian literature when I wrote the book. This is a good thing. If I had been thinking in broader terms, I would’ve developed an incurable cramp in my brain.