Due to the overwhelming response the interview, we posted it early!
Thank you very much to the ladies over at The SubClub books for arranging this. On May 30th, they will have an exclusive interview in which the charming Georgina Guthrie interviews me. There will be many giveaways, including International and US editions of the GABRIEL series as well as autographed copies of Georgina’s novels.
Hello Georgina. It’s a pleasure to have you with my readers and me. Thank you for agreeing to visit us and answer our questions.
Thanks for having me! This is exciting!
Your first novel, “The Weight of Words,” was published last year.
How did you become a published novelist?
After wondering what to do with my completed manuscript for about a year and a half and emailing you once a month to flail indecisively and pester you with probing questions (remember that?—best time ever, right? LOL), I finally queried with Omnific. Luckily, the publisher was interested in the story and then, shortly afterward, requested the sequels.
You’re a Canadian author. Was it important to you to set your novel in Canada?
I love Canada, and I think Toronto is a wonderful, vibrant city, but I don’t know if I set out specifically to write a “Canadian” story. What I really wanted to do was set the story at the University of Toronto. I have such amazing memories of my time there and was eager to revisit those memories. I believed I could recapture the way I felt when I studied there. I hope that’s the case.
Were there particular aspects of Canadian life and culture that you wanted to include in your writing?
I really wanted to include the letter “u” in words like “flavour,” “humour,” “favourite,” “honour,” and “colour.” Alas, I lost this battle. 😉 In all seriousness, I wanted the stories and characters to feel real. Setting events in actual locations allowed me to ground my characters in reality, even if the events do become a bit extreme at times. I hope readers who are familiar with Toronto feel a bit of a rush when they read about a setting they “recognize”. Gotta get at least one Timmy’s reference in per book. 😉
I’m thinking back to the Gabriel series now. Was there anything in particular that you wanted to include when you were writing, or did events just unfold in certain locales quite organically? I’d say that was the case for me. Proximity to Vic, really.
I think Toronto in general and the University of Toronto in particular lend themselves to writing and to film. The landscapes and settings are picturesque and the city has its own character, which is unique from, say, New York or London or Berlin.
I agree with you about Canadian spelling. Every time a Canadian drops a “u” an angel loses a wing.
Tell us about your new novel, which is the sequel to “The Weight of Words.”
Essentially, “Better Deeds than Words” picks up right where “The Weight of Words” left off and continues to follow Aubrey and Daniel’s journey throughout the semester. They aren’t prepared to wait to pursue their relationship and there are some rather unfortunate consequences.
Shakespeare plays an important role in your Words series.
What prompted your interest in Shakespeare? What’s your favourite Shakespearean play? Shakespearean character?
I’ve loved Shakespeare since I read “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” early in high school. I don’t know if it’s my British background, or my romantic sensibilities, but there’s just something magical in the Bard’s words and stories that I never grow weary of. My favourite of the plays? I have to choose one?? Not possible. “Hamlet” is a forerunner, if not for the plot, which can be baffling, then certainly for the language. Hamlet’s soliloquies are some of the most eloquent passages in the English language, which makes him one of my favourite characters, as well. But for brilliance of plot and imagery, I’ve always admired “Macbeth.”
(And even as I’m writing this, my brain is saying, “yes but…” “hey, what about…?”)
What’s your favourite? See? It isn’t easy, is it? I remember when we were trying to read “Measure for Measure” together. What ever happened to that? Did you finish?
Measure for Measure is one of those plays that you can read and re-read and still find something new in it. I suppose that’s one of the reasons why I like Shakespeare so much. I think the same is true of Hamlet and the Scottish play, as well as The Merchant of Venice.
You’re a new novelist. Do you have advice for aspiring writers?
My advice would be to write and read as much as you can, and if you’re looking to publish, talk to people, make connections, ask lots of questions, and be prepared to be patient.
I know you’re a Peter Katz fan. I enjoy his music as well.
Which song is your favourite?
Wow, that’s a tough question. It seems to me that Peter’s music resides in two different camps. There are songs which simply speak to the human condition—to love, loss, longing…My favourite song in this vein is “Posters,” one of his older songs. He doesn’t perform it live very often. I was lucky enough to hear him sing it in a beautiful art gallery in Toronto about a year ago.
But Peter also writes songs in response to things he sees happening around the world: things that deeply touch him or trouble him. He wrote a song after hearing about the tragic beating and subsequent death of Matthew Shepard in Laramie Wyoming. The song is called “The Fence,” and it’s absolutely heart-breaking, and brilliant. I’m so glad you took my advice and looked him up. I urge all of my readers to check him out. He truly is one of my muses.
I’m grateful you told me about his music. “Forgiveness” is a song that was very meaningful to me. I listen to it regularly. It’s very powerful.
Oh, absolutely—another favourite. That song was particularly inspiring when I was writing the third book in the Words series. One of the things I love best about Peter is the stories he tells to accompany the songs. The events that inspired the song “Forgiveness” are particularly compelling. If I’m not mistaken, the lyrics to the song were recently published in a university text book.
Is there a charity or organization that you support that you’d like to highlight?
I think it’s important for people to back charities that are personally relevant as opposed to throwing their support behind a cause because someone else tells them to. Personally, I donate to local organizations because it’s gratifying to see the positive results that can come from one’s contributions. There is a local palliative care hospice which looks after ailing teens that’s close to my heart as well as a cancer support center which was founded by an acquaintance of mine shortly before she lost her battle with breast cancer.
Where can readers find your first book and its sequel?
The books are available on Amazon in the USA, Canada and the UK. Barnes and Noble is also carrying both, and if all else fails, Ominific’s entire catalogue is available on their site. I’m hopeful that Chapters, here in Canada, will add Better Deeds than Words to their on-line catalogue. Perhaps one day I’ll even see my books on the shelves. (That’s a wee pipe-dream, there…)
Perhaps this is a good moment for Canadian readers to consider sending a tweet or email to Chapters and asking them to stock the books in store.
Tell us about the third book in the series. When will it release? Will it be the last volume in the Words series?
The final installment is called “The Truest of Words,” and I believe it’s due out in November of this year. It follows Aubrey and Daniel’s journey once the school year has wrapped up. As far as I know right now, that’s the end of the series.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Of course, the next few months will involve the editing of “The Truest of Words,” but once that’s wrapped up, I’m not sure what’s next. I’d dearly love to publish the YA book I wrote last year. (Perhaps this is this your subtle way of nagging me about it? LOL). It’s so near and dear to my heart. It’s been professionally edited and for all intents and purposes, it’s ready to go. I just need to take the plunge and start querying. (I’m setting aside a few months to send you flaily emails first, though. Brace yourself, okay?)
I think that’s great news, GG. I’d like to see your Young Adult novel published and I know readers will be happy to hear about that project.
Keep us posted and thanks again for joining us, SR.
Thank you for having me! It’s always a pleasure to chat with you, SR. And it goes without saying that I appreciate your support and encouragement. Now let’s get a drink! 🙂