An eye-opener!

Well now! Full disclosure. I must confess I’m  a political junkie. I believe it’s because I lived in the province of Quebec for over fourteen years. And that province is a hot-bed of intensity.

How do I find relief?

When the news gets too overwhelming, or I get too rattled, then I resort to a social-media black out. That’s the only way I can gain balance and strength and return to my regular life of inventing stories and putting words on the page.

Last week was not the time to move away from the screen.

No, it certainly wasn’t. I was riveted to the Ford/Kavanaugh testimonies in the USA.  In my opinion it was compelling. The theatre, the blame, the arcane rules of the Senate Committee. A daughter of a journalist remarked, “Why is everybody so old?”

My post today is not to display my opinion. Although I must admit, my chosen graphic certainly makes a statement. Everyone can come to their own conclusions as to what was unfolding in front of their eyes.

After two days of watching this event and the resulting discussions,  I decided I’d had enough. I put away the controllers to the t.v and closed the doors to the armoire.

What happened next?

I resumed my life. Chores, groceries and house work were on the list. Then I went to the library and picked up a book called, all we ever wanted by Emily Giffin, Penguin, Random House, Double Day Canada, 2018. And yes, the title is all in lower-case, although it pained me to write it that way. (too OCD for words).

I enjoy Ms. Giffin’s writing so picked it up. It’s so popular that it was considered an Express Read (with a 7 day loan). I inhaled it.

And guess what?

This book explored the identical themes that I’d just witnessed on t.v. Two different worlds. Wealth and privilege versus the middle class. The dueling points of view of ‘he said’, ‘she said’.

Lies and deceptions. Truth and honesty.  Entitlement on full display.

The advance praise for this book included authors Jodi Pocoult, Harlan Coben, Elinor Lipman and Kristin Hannah. Heavy hitters in their own genres.

This is a fast-paced, timely novel that I would highly recommend.

The Irony

 This wasn’t the novel that I intended to read or needed to read, considering the timing, but it was the one I ended up choosing. I didn’t know much about this book before I launched myself into it.

And I’m glad that I did.

The Question

Do you stay current with political events or do you find it too depressing and exhausting? Or do you find it energizing?

Can you stay in your fictional world while outrageous and addictive news is unfolding?

How do you cope?

The Vancouver Writers Fest – Oct 15-21

In the heart of Vancouver, on Granville Island as well as at three off-island venues, lies an outstanding opportunity for readers and writers to immerse themselves in writerly conversations about books.

A massive number of authors attend this festival. Events are organized by genre.

Participants can choose from the following:

Adventure, Can Lit, Current Affairs, Film & TV, Feminism, Humour, Indigenous, International Authors, Interviews, Memoir, Non Fiction, On Writing, Performances, Poetry, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Thriller/Crime and Youth.

School groups are encouraged and workshops are organized specifically for youth. Those events look fascinating.

If I had the opportunity to go, I would listen to:

Miriam Toews – internationally celebrated award-winning author, who always delivers poignant, personal writing.

Jodi Picoult – best selling author of twenty-five books who tackles provocative current issues.

Kate Atkinson – a master of many genres, evoking reflection, passion and intrigue.

Check it out. There’s something for everyone! Has anyone ever attended this event? Does it appeal to you?

 

 

Bonding on the fire line

Horrific fires continue to burn throughout North America. Courageous men and women, whether they are members of hotshot crews or smoke jumpers battle immense out-of-control blazes.

However, they pay a huge price. As the fire season progresses, they suffer mental and physical fatigue. Often they experience health issues because they don’t have enough time to rest and recuperate and eat properly.

It’s a culture where the participants tend to ignore their own issues. There is peer pressure to perform. Many want to protect natural resources and structures at all costs. Bonding is intense. Friends are made for life.

Quinn Cooper, my protagonist in Finding Quinn discovers that work on the fire line is addictive and satisfying. He cannot see a place for him in the world except for this occupation.

Until he meets Kelsey Malone. Quinn has to re-think his goals in life. Take the opportunity to read Finding Quinn and discover Quinn and Kelsey’s journey.

 

The only child. The middle child. The child in the crowd.

Families fascinate me. My mom was an only child. As the ‘one and only’ she had opportunities for travel, education and sports. She could have become very spoiled but she did not become entitled.

My dad had three brothers and three sisters. The children spent a lot of time sharing beds, arguing over chores and rushing to the dinner table to ensure they could fill up before the meal disappeared.

Two different childhoods. Two different experiences.

My parents had three children. I am the eldest and I have a brother and sister.

When I was growing up on various Air Force bases across Canada, many of the families that we knew had four or five children. That seemed to be the norm. Now, for the most part the only place you see large families is on reality shows.

As a writer, if I create a large family for a novel then I have endless possibilities. There’s always the high achiever, the kids that struggle, the loner etc. But above all of that, there is an opportunity for me to dig deeper. An opportunity to leap-frog over the stereotypes and create people that are intriguing and offer the reader something different.

I live for those moments when I’ve created a unique character who has a passion for something unexpected. I want to invent the hero or heroine who hears the different beat of a drum.

That’s why I’m having fun with ‘The Coopers’ my latest series. The Cooper clan consists of four brothers and three sisters. Lots of plot lines, lots of challenges and heartache.

What about you? Are you the only? Are you part of the crowd, as in many brothers or sisters? How has that shaped you and your life?

Would love to hear from you.

 

Embracing Joy

Joyful moments with children.

Parenting can be exhausting, complicated and stressful.  But it can also have stunning moments of pure joy. Kelsey Malone, the heroine of my latest novel Finding Quinn discovers that those special times can make her heart sing. She lives for these moments.

There is a lot of media that concentrates on the trials of parenting. And certainly those issues will never disappear.

Losing Joy

When we concentrate on the problems of parenthood and the cost of raising children and all of the difficulties, we tend to forget the pleasurable, happy times. I certainly don’t want to minimize the difficult moments.

Sometimes the problems never disappear. Financial issues plague most families. But in between the worry and concern, one must remember that these are adult issues. Hopefully, many children can be spared from embracing these concerns.

Kelsey Malone tries hard to shelter her two young boys from the harshness of life. But they’ve had to move constantly and she needs to address her own emotional needs as she transforms in widowhood.

My Approach

When I was writing this novel, I realized that this story could become very dark, even tragic. So, as the author, I made sure that I wrote scenes that were definitely child-centric. Noah and Zak became as real to me as my own grandson. And those boys were funny, active and compassionate. Hopefully, just like kids in real life.

Finding Quinn by Jodie Esch