As part of our second year of fun and frolic here at Canadian Lesfic, we will be posting a series of author interviews. From time to time you will have the opportunity to learn more about what the members of the Admin. Team and other authors have to say about writing, and about themselves. Enjoy!
What’s your best advice for someone who wants to start writing a novel?
Find beta readers/editors you trust, and listen to them. If they tell you something isn’t working or something needs to be cut altogether, don’t think they’re hurting your masterpiece or bruising your baby. Even Michelangelo needed someone to sharpen his tools and clean his brushes.
What sort of research do you do for your novels?
I like to say that I did five years of research for Kicker’s Journey, though it really only took five years to write it because I procrastinated on doing research. It always delights me when a reader or reviewer comments on how well I captured the flavour of the times, because it means the research paid off. It’s not that I dislike research. I just tend to find interesting avenues to get lost in and forget my primary purpose. I’ll spend hours researching on-line or in a library and emerge with a boatload of fun and mind-expanding facts, but little that actually applies to my novel. For my current novel I interviewed, in person and by phone, a couple of gentlemen involved in the monuments business, and that was fascinating. I got to see how monuments are created and the artistry that goes into commemorating lives. I’ll be tackling a Civil Rights era novel next, and as I live half the year in Atlanta, I’m in the perfect place to do such research.
How much of your personal philosophy on life goes into your writing?
It depends on the book. There is a lot of my personal philosophy in Coming Home and Walking the Labyrinth because both were so closely based on my life. Less so in Broken Faith, Kicker’s Journey or Bitter Fruit because they’re purer fiction.
What is your astrological sign and do you think you are that person?
I’m a Taurus and if you were to ask my wife how closely I match my sign, she would roll her eyes and say, “Perfectly.” She may even have said that if you look up Taurus in the dictionary, you’d find my photo there. I concede that I may be the tiniest bit stubborn and (ahem) the slightest bit self-indulgent, but on the more positive side, I’m also generous, easy-going, patient, and dependable. I do, however, suck at managing money, contrary to my sign’s traits. Fortunately I had the good sense to twice marry excellent money managers who could balance bankbooks with their eyes closed, so I’ve always been in good company.
Do you believe in soul mates? Why? Why not?
If you mean in the sense that there is only one soul that could ever be the right one romantically, then no, I don’t. But I do believe that we encounter and fall in love with the souls we are meant to be with. Though I identify as lesbian, not bi, I loved my late husband dearly. He was exactly the right soul for that time in my life, and now my wife is perfect for this time in my life. In the flux of life’s passage, those who are to journey with us show up at exactly the right time. That may not make for purely positive experiences, as souls are often tested by difficult challenges, but in my books, I do often refer to this basic metaphysical principle.
What is the best thing about Canada?
It’s home, pure and simple. Because I spend six months of every year in the U.S., I appreciate coming home for a multitude of reasons; to see family and friends, to inhabit my northern home again, to enjoy the cooler climes. I hate leaving my wife behind, but I also enjoy the quieter pace and the absence of profound cultural turmoil between right and left. It’s not that we don’t have a right-wing, politically speaking, but fortunately we haven’t yet devolved to the point where right and left are so far apart that there is no middle ground left to meet on. American politics are utterly fascinating. They’re also utterly exhausting.
Visit Lois at her website.