What inspires bestselling author Catherine McKenzie?
Let's find out…
Hi! My name is crystal fletcher and welcome to all about canadian books. This week's guest is Catherine McKenzie. Catherine was born and raised in Montreal, practiced law for twenty years and now writes full time. When Catherine is not writing she’s an avid runner, skier and tennis player. We discussed her eleventh novel Six Weeks to Live which was published by Simon & Schuster.
What would you do if you had to solve your own murder?
Jennifer Barnes never expected the shocking news she received at a routine doctor’s appointment: she has a terminal brain tumor—and only six weeks left to live.
While stunned by the diagnosis, the forty-eight-year-old mother decides to spend what little time she has left with her family—her adult triplets and twin grandsons—close by her side. But when she realizes she was possibly poisoned a year earlier, she’s determined to discover who might have tried to get rid of her before she’s gone for good...
And can I just say...Wow! what an ending!
To learn more about Catherine McKenzie and to check out her other books
Author Advice & Reading
According to Catherine if you want to be a better writer you need to read more. As an avid reader I love this advice. No problem Catherine, I will up my book intake.
Catherine also reads from the first chapter of her novel and she puts me right in the doctor's office with her character Jennifer Barnes when she receives the shocking news she is dying.
How does delusion inspire author Andrèe A. Gratton?
Let's find out...
Hi! My name is crystal fletcher and welcome to this week’s episode of all about canadian books. I’m very excited to have Quebec author Andrèe A. Gratton and translator, Ian Thomas Shaw as guests.
Andrèe A. Gratton studied philosophy and classical studies in Montreal, Berlin and Strasbourg. She teaches philosophy in Montreal and loves swimming in cold water (I had to ask her about this)!
Ian Thomas Shaw is a novelist, translator, editor, former Canadian diplomat and development officer who has lived in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East. Ian speaks English, French, German, Spanish and some Arabic.
We discussed Andrèe's award-winning debut novel Choosing Eleonore which was published by Guernica Editions and Editions de la Pleine Lune, in French.
Choosing Eleonore tells the story of a one-way friendship. It explores the delusion of being loved. This is Marianne's story. Marianne is obsessed with Eleonore. From the first sentence..."Long before we met, Eleonore was dreaming of me. Not me with this hair, these two hands or the sound of my voice. No. Of me as a friend, an ideal friend," we feel that something is wrong in her perception of reality.
But who is this Eleonore, whom Marianne had never spoken to? What is so fascinating about her? Neither humiliation, rebuffs, rejection will disabuse Marianne of her certainty of being loved by Eleonore.
I was SO intrigued by both Marianne and Eleonore. To find out more about these women you'll have to read Choosing Eleonore.
To learn more about Andrèe A. Gratton
To learn more about about Ian Thomas Shaw
A Reading from Choosing Eleonore
For a peak into Marianne's delusional mindset, click below.
Merci Andrèe A. Gratton & Ian Thomas Shaw!
How does Toronto’s Chinatown inspire author Wayne Ng? Let's find out...
Hi! My name is crystal fletcher and welcome back. I’m very excited to have Wayne Ng as a guest on this week's episode of all about canadian books. Wayne is an award-winning short story and travel writer, a school social worker who loves to write, travel, eat and play—preferably all at the same time. We discussed his 2nd novel Letters From Johnny which was published by Guernica Editions.
It's 1970. Johnny Wong is in grade 5. A lonely boy who tries to stickhandle a neighbourhood of immigrants and draft dodgers. Johnny’s world unravels after a murder, a betrayal, and the unexpected emergence of a family member, ALL THIS as he tries to make sense of the FLQ crisis. His only solace are letters to a penpal, then to Dave Keon, captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Letters From Johnny is a charming and fun read. This novel made me smile A LOT!
To learn more about Wayne and to check out his fantastic travel pictures
Letters From Johnny Book Trailer
How do lottery tickets inspire Marissa Stapley?
Let's to find out…
Hi! My name is crystal fletcher and welcome to this week’s episode of all about canadian books. I’m thrilled to have Marissa Stapley as a guest. Marissa is an international bestselling author, award-winning journalist, editor, screenwriter and educator. We discussed Marissa’s latest novel Lucky which was published by Simon and Schuster.
Lucky Armstrong is a tough, talented grifter who has just pulled off a million-dollar heist with her boyfriend, Cary. She’s ready to start a brand-new life, with a new identity—when things go sideways. Lucky finds herself alone for the first time, navigating the world without the help of either her father or her boyfriend, the two figures from whom she’s learned the art of the scam.
When she discovers that a lottery ticket she bought on a whim is worth millions, her elation is tempered by one big problem: cashing in the winning ticket means the police will arrest her for her crimes...
You'll have to read Lucky to find out what she does!
To learn more about Marissa and her other novels
Author Reading & Writing Tips
If your dream is to be an author, be sure to check out Marissa's inspirational pep talk. Marissa encourages writers to sit down and do the work. It's not always going to be fun, or easy but you can't achieve your dreams without the hard work. And, NEVER give up. I couldn't agree more. Thank you Marissa.
Marissa also reads the opening of her new novel Lucky. I don't know about you but I'm also quite curious about Sister Mary Margaret!
How does murder inspire crime fiction novelist
But the plight of the homeless does.
Hi! My name is crystal fletcher and welcome to this week’s episode of all about canadian books. I’m excited to have Robert Rotenberg (who is Canada's John Grisham) as a guest. Robert is a novelist, screenwriter, teacher and full-time criminal lawyer. We discussed Robert's 6th novel Downfall--an instant bestseller! Downfall was published by Simon & Schuster.
Here's what Downfall is about.
For decades, the Humber River Golf Course has been one of the city’s most elite clubs. All is perfect in this playground for the rich until the homeless people move into the pristine ravine nearby. Tensions mount between rich and poor and reach a head when two of the squatters are brutally murdered.
Suddenly the plight of the homeless has everyone’s attention. Press. Protests. Politicians and the Public. The pressure is on for the head of Homicide Detective Ari Greene to find the killer and then, there’s a third murder...
You're going to have to read Downfall to find out what happens!
To learn more about Robert, be sure to check out the video talks featured on his website. You will also find the other books in the Detective Greene series.
Robert Rotenberg's #1 Writing Tip
Attention writers! According to Robert if writers want readers, agents, or publishers to keep reading they need to pay HUGE attention to the opening sentence, first paragraph and chapter of their book. Let's just say...after I listened to Robert's explanation of his "Are you 'in' or are you 'out'?" strategy, I went back and redid that first paragraph of my novel! Thank you Robert.
How do con men inspire author Susan Swan?
Let's find out...
Hi! My name is crystal fletcher and welcome to this week’s episode of all about canadian books. I’m thrilled to have Susan Swan as a guest. Susan is a journalist, feminist, novelist, activist, teacher and gardener. Susan’s critically acclaimed novels have been published in over 20 countries and we’ll be discussing her 8th novel The Dead Celebrities Club which was published by Cormorant Books.
Get comfortable we’ve got….Greed. Fraud. And financial fallout for you today!
Dale Paul is the hedge fund whale. He enjoys a life of self-delusion that allows him to gamble other people’s money. But when he gambles the pensions of the American military & fails Dale-Paul goes to prison; where he is confronted with the challenge of understanding himself and his place in the age of the new robber-barons.
If you'd like to learn more about Susan and have a peak at her gorgeous garden
Author Reading & Some Wisdom for Writers
To get to know Susan's con man Dale Paul, don't miss Susan read an excerpt from The Dead Celebrities Club. And, for writers who are working on their manuscripts Susan recommends to get that first draft down without criticism.
How does yoga inspire author Beth Follett?
Let’s find out…
Hi! My name is crystal fletcher and welcome to this week’s episode of all about canadian books. I’m delighted to have Beth Follett as a guest. Beth is a novelist, an essayist, a publisher (Pedlar Press), and a poet. We’ll be discussing her 2nd novel Instructor which was published by Breakwater Books.
When Ydessa Bloom’s husband dies in a Cessna crash in a mid-Ontario lake, she rents a cottage at that lake, without really comprehending why, and stays for three months. There she meets three people who will influence her life dramatically—her landlady, a yoga teacher, and a precocious eight-year-old boy named Henry Rattle.
Years later, at the age of twenty-five and reeling from personal tragedy, Henry seeks Ydessa out once again, and they find themselves alone on the day of the Northeast blackout, drawn into an encounter that will change them both...
This yoga lover also loves books. As the founder of Pedlar Press for twenty-five years Beth Follett published innovative, contemporary Canadian fiction, poetry and the occasional nonfiction. To check out Pedlar's website
Author Reading & Manuscript Submission Tips
As a publisher Beth also has some great advice for writers who are seeking publication. DO YOUR HOMEWORK! When you listen to Beth's advice you'll know why I've capitalized the previous sentence!
Enjoy Beth's reading.
How does water inspire author Nina Munteanu?
Let’s find out…
Hi! My name is crystal fletcher and welcome to this week’s episode of all about Canadian books. I’m thrilled to have Nina Munteanu as a guest. Nina is a Canadian ecologist and novelist who has also written: novelettes, short stories, creative non-fiction, general interest articles, science and nature articles, essays, non-fiction guidebooks and textbooks. We discussed Nina’s latest book A Diary in the Age of Water which was published by Inanna Publications.
Centuries from now, in a post-climate change dying boreal forest of what used to be northern Canada, Kyo, a young acolyte discovers a diary that may provide her with the answers about the Earth’s past—during the Age of Water. The diary spans a twenty-year period in the mid-twenty-first century, and it describes a near-future Toronto in the grips of severe water scarcity during a time when China owns the USA, and the USA owns Canada.
The gritty memoir is written by 33-year-old limnologist Lynna, a single mother who works in Toronto for CanadaCorp, an international utility that controls everything about water, and she witnesses the disturbing events lead to humanity’s demise....
This book FREAKED me out! Because the dystopian future Nina creates is plausible--from the melting of the Arctic ice, the demise of the polar bear, the changing ecosystems and water being a commodity more valuable than gold.
Be sure to visit Nina's website. Nina has a vast catalogue of books ranging from historical fiction to science fiction and there's some great insight into what we can do to help protect our beautiful planet. Nina hosts the Age of Water podcast with co-host Claudiu Murgan; a podcast devoted to exploring water and environmental issues.
Nina! I'm listening. I'm going to plant A LOT of trees!
Nina Reads an Excerpt from A Diary in the Age of Water
Nina has been teaching writing for years at the University of Toronto and George Brown College so she has a lot of advice to pass along...take courage, find your passion and write from the heart. If you do so your writing will sparkle. I couldn't agree more and Nina certainly sparkles!
How did author Lisa Braxton’s parents inspire her debut novel The Talking Drum? Let’s find out…
Hi! My name is crystal fletcher and welcome to this week’s episode of all about books. I’m delighted to have author Lisa Braxton as a guest. Lisa Braxton is an Emmy-nominated former television journalist and reporter. She's also an essayist, short story writer, and a novelist. We’ll be chatting about her award-winning debut novel The Talking Drum which was published by Inanna Publications. The Talking Drum, is a recipient of an Outstanding Literary Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.
The novel is set in 1971, in fictional Bellport, Massachusetts and it evolves around three couples hopes, dreams and challenges amid the coming urban redevelopment which will greatly impact the residents. Tensions rise as the demolition date approaches and suspicious fires begin to break out. Bellport residents find themselves at odds with the political system that is manipulating both their lives and their relationships…
Be sure to visit Lisa's website to learn more about Lisa and, she has some thought provoking questions for book clubs.
Author Reading & Advice for Writers
Don't miss Lisa Braxton read from her debut novel The Talking Drum. Lisa also offers some encouraging advice for writers and that being find a support group and plug-in!
What inspires an author who is also a world-famous would-be pickler? Let’s find out…
Hi! My name is crystal fletcher and welcome to this week’s episode of all about books. I’m excited to have author Kerry Clare as a guest. Kerry is also a blogger, editor, writer, and a reader who likes books even more than she likes tea (and she likes tea A LOT!).
We discussed her 2nd novel Waiting for a Star to Fall which was published by Doubleday Canada/Penguin Random House. This is a powerful book that asks...just how much are you willing to forgive in the name of love? Brooke is a young woman who has long been caught up in the orbit of much older rising political superstar Derek. They fall in love. But when Derek is accused of sexual misconduct Brooke is forced to re-examine their relationship and try to make sense of the man she loves...
Also included is an author reading as well as some great advice for aspiring writers...Don't peak too soon!
To learn more about this would-be world-famous pickler check out Kerry's website Pickle Me This. There's also some fantastic book recommendations (Kerry reads A LOT).
Story Teller. Content Writer. Traveller. YouTuber.