Why this book, now?

Little me at the beach, circa 1971 and the epigraph to my memoir.

Hello Summer—season of wild exquisite light and ideas that require open-hearted courage.

The publication date for Daughter of Family G is still three months off, but there’s plenty happening behind the scenes in preparation for the September 24th launch. As the final touches are being added to the cover, I’ve been prepping to record the audio book, and my fabulous publicist at Penguin Random House Canada has been putting together an amazing fall tour. I’ve already posted the details for a few of the events and there will be more added in the weeks to come. So far cities include: Halifax, Ross Creek, Lunenburg, Toronto, Hamilton, Victoria, Ottawa, Edmonton, Calgary, Charlottetown, Montreal and Saskatoon. I’ll be announcing updates via my e-newsletter and social media, so please consider subscribing and/or following me to stay in the loop.

Videographer, Malachy Schwartz sets up a shot to document Daughter of Family G.

One question that inevitably gets asked when an author has written a new book is: “Why this book, now?”

Answering that question, (at least for me) has always been a daunting task. I’m a strong believer in not forcing my way between a book and the reader. While I’m more than happy to answer questions about a particular work and my process, I try my best not to say things that might guide a reader’s experience with a book in any one direction. This feels even more important to me with the memoir, and at the same time, more difficult to achieve. With fiction, I’ve often had the luxury of supposing, right along with readers about a character’s motivation. With Daughter of Family G, the main character is, me.

The easiest thing would be to simply say, “because this is what I’ve chosen to write” and then leave the question hanging. But I empathize with a reader’s desire to understand a writer’s impulses, especially when they’ve chosen to explore something unexpected and out of the ordinary.

Detail from one of my journals.

This memoir is a departure from my novels and yet, in many ways, it isn’t. It sent me on the same sort of journey my fiction required—months of sifting through historical documents and sleuthing my way through libraries and archives—only this time it was personal, every word, every sentence. I couldn’t turn my computer off at the end of the day and escape it. Once I started, I had to keep going until I finished. I even wrote one thread of the memoir in real time over the course of the year I worked on it. If I was going to be completely open with my words, it felt important to lift the veil that hangs between a writer’s work and the reader.

So back to the question at hand—“Why this book, now?” Rather than post a few awkward sentences that felt entirely inadequate, I decided to do something different, something more personal. Joining forces with brilliant videographer, Malachy Schwartz, I opened my journals, my archives, my photo albums and my mom’s old sewing box, so you could see “why” for yourself.

Please note: One of the best ways you can support an author is by pre-ordering their latest work. It helps show the publisher and booksellers that there’s an interest in the book prior to its publication, and all pre-order sales go towards a book’s important first-week sales. I’d be extremely grateful if you’d consider pre-ordering Daughter of Family G through your favourite local bookshop or these online retailers: (the following links should also work for readers outside Canada.) A million thanks!

Chapters Indigo


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