Like many of us, I spent much of yesterday thinking about Gord Downie and his incredible legacy. Very privileged to be asked to write some of those thoughts down here for the Globe. Downie’s loss is a deep wound. https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/…/why-ru…/article36645881/…&
Guess what I finally got to start working on this week? If you’ve been following along (and I forgive you if you haven’t), my concept for an ultra-fun, Vampires vs Flight Attendants movie won the WIFTV From Our Dark Side mentorship competition back in 2016. The movie — Fly Girls — was optioned by Triton Media back in December and with Hysteria put to bed (at least for now), I finally get to write my horror movie!
Well — horror-comedy.
I managed to dip my toes earlier this year, writing a screen adaptation of The Devil You Know for New Metric Media, but Fly Girls will be my first original screenplay. I cleaned out the office this week and started re-working my existing beat sheet… but what I really want to show you here is the amazing art Melissa Lee created to inspire me!
Melissa works with WIFTV on the Dark Side mentorship project, and we had a fun talk back in the fall about what kind of art she could make to help me push the project along. The best thing I could think of was a series of digital postcards that I could pass around here in virtual-world — but they turned out so drop-dead gorgeous that I’m going to print them up as glossy posters, I think, and wallpaper my office with them for the next couple of months while I’m writing.
I wrote up the slogans (with a little help from some pals who batted them around with me at a dinner party last year) and they’ve been pinned up on my cork board ever since. A fun reminder that this project was waiting in queue for my attention —
— and it’s finally here! Of course, Fly Girls is in early stages of development — so there’s no saying whether any of these will make into the movie’s official promo. But that’s no reason not to enjoy them now! I hope you love them as much as I do ❤
During the last few weeks of fevered rewrites on the the final draft of my new novel, I relied heavily on this clip of Kathleen Turner, as romance novelist Joan Wilder in Romancing the Stone, literally crying as she writes the last few words of a book:
I’m thrilled to announce this great news! My next novel, HYSTERIA, will be published in Spring 2018 by Harper Collins in Canada. Right now, I’m working hard to finish the book: a story whose post-war setting in seemingly idyllic 1950s upstate New York strangely parallels a young German woman’s relationship with her controlling husband, an American psychiatrist– until the couple’s small son goes missing. As she struggles to find her child, the mother finds herself torn between the possibility that her husband is involved in the boy’s disappearance and the dark suggestion that something otherworldly has taken him.
Read the deal announcement here.
What we’ve learned is that the rights we hold most precious, the rights we believe define us as a people, are in fact alienable, if we do not protect them with our strong voices and especially our strong actions. Our takeaway as Canadians has to be how we choose here in Canada to react, and how we choose to move forward. Don’t fool yourself: we’re not any better. Our election process last year was threaded through with racist ploys to win votes. I watched with horror as women were attacked on the street for what they chose to wear – because of a campaign promise from the man who’d already been our Prime Minister for years. Across the country we are watching right now as governments of every level ignore the rights of indigenous people to clean water, to their land, and to a real say in its use. Kellie Leitch, hoping to gain the federal leadership of the PC party, has already sent out a campaign letter promising to bring Trump-style politics to Canada.
What I’m saying is: Now is a good time to decide what is important to you. Now and for the next many years is the time to fight more starkly than ever for full and uncontestable equality. For women, People of Colour, indigenous people, LGBTQ people, for people of all religions, for citizens and for refugees.
A few days before this election, my daughter called me from the city where she now attends university, to tell me the details of how she peacefully protested DAPL in solidarity from here in Canada, how she walked into her bank– a major investor in the pipeline– and demanded some accountability. I take heart in that. But we need people of all ages to participate, everyone.
There is no time left for complacency – even with a new Prime Minister, even with a new government in place. There is no time left to take anything for granted, because the wall that is really coming up is the wall of intolerance from the south. It has a fantastic media package. It will be hard to avoid being crushed.
For every one of us expressing these same thoughts, for everyone I can imagine nodding along as I type this, I also know there is another person, someone who is galvanized by this election result. Someone who takes it as permission.
Super pleased to share that The Devil You Know has been shortlisted for the Thomas Raddall Prize at this year’s East Coast Literary Awards, along with superstars Robert Gray, for his book Entropic, and Mark Anthony Jarman for his book Knife Party at the Hotel Europa. (I have probably spent more time with Jarman’s short stories than those of any other Canadian writer, unless that Canadian writer is named Alice Munro, so this feels like stiff competition to me.)
I’ll be in Nova Scotia for a few days next week, around the awards ceremony. In the area? Come say hello!
Thursday, June 2, Raddall Prize reading in Liverpool, event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/278570965810147/
Saturday, June 4, East Coast Literary Awards, event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/527183197484352/
December is usually my favourite month. The kids get a long break from school (which means we get a long break from alarm clocks and lunch boxes), I get to break out my skis and snowshoes, and on top of all that, it’s my birthday month! Sagittarians are notorious birthday lovers, dontcha know.
This year, I’ve got three more great reasons-for-the-season:
- I’m home. I did the math last week, and it turns out I’ve been away for at least a week out of every month since June of this year — and some months, I was away three weeks out of four. So I am ready to light the fireplace, bake some cookies, and curl up on the couch in a big way.
- The Devil makes a splash on the year-end lists. I’m thrilled to see The Devil You Know make the cut at three very special year end lists: Lucky #13 at the National Post; Kerry Clare’s Best of 2015 at Pickle Me This; and the Globe 100 list at The Globe and Mail. (With an added mention by my Globe original reviewer, Stacey May Fowles, in her year-end column to boot!)
- The paperback has landed. Here at home and in the States, The Devil You Know is out in a new paperback edition, with a brand new cover. Look for the new edition in stores near you as early as this week.
Wishing you all the best coziness and winter sunshine through December, and the very best in 2016. By the time January rolls around, we’ll be ready to start packing those lunch boxes again… and imagine all the work I’ll be able to tackle once the kids are back in school. Happy New Year!