Monthly Archives: May 2012

Toronto pics and write-ups

All five FICTIONistas on the Toronto leg of the tour. (l-r) Heather Birrell, Margaret MacPherson, Arley McNeney, Alison Preston, Sarah Kathryn York.

Many more pics in the Event Pictures gallery of what went on at the kickoff event in Toronto.

Read Winnipeg press The Lance’s feature on FICTIONistas here.

Alison Preston’s thoughts at CBC Manitoba’s SCENE.

One more event to go: Tuesday May 8th at Vancouver Public Library. Be there!

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The Fictionistas in Winnipeg

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And so It Begins!

Greetings from Winnipeg! I’m currently killing a few hours in the ‘Peg before round two of the Fictionistas, so I thought I’d send a brief update from the road.

The tour started in Toronto on Thursday. I arrived in Toronto filled with a lot of excitement and caffeine, but very little sleep. I’d picked going on an impromptu road trip with my boyfriend over doing laundry the day before, so I’d been up until 1 am hand-washing socks in the sink and trying to find book-tour-y type clothes that weren’t lying in the bottom of the laundry hamper. (So much for that careful wardrobe selection I’d posted about earlier).

Luckily, adrenaline kicked in and my nerves were calmed by meeting all the other awesome Fictionistas. I was especially excited to meet Suzanne Alexander, who’s the Publisher of Goose Lane editions. Everyone at Goose Lane – from my editor Bethany Gibson to publicist Corey Redekop – has been amazing, and I’ve been lucky to work with them all, so I was eager to put a face to at least one name.

The reading could not have gone better. All of us have very diverse styles, tones and subject matters, but they complimented one another in interesting ways and we were able to have some really great panel discussions on both craft and larger issues such as women writers who’ve inspired us. The standing-room-only audience asked a lot of smart questions and I certainly enjoyed (read: demolished) the cheese plate.

After a day of recharging and resting in the T-Dot, I got up early this morning to head to Winnipeg. Today I’m in an Air Canada sandwich: flying in to Winnipeg at 9 am, then flying back out again tonight to Calgary. It’s a whirlwind tour, but I wouldn’t miss it for anything. After all, how often do you get to share the stage with some of Canada’s most talented women writers?

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What Not to Wear

I’m counting the days until the start of the Fictionista’s book tour. Actually, right now I’m counting down the hours waiting to board a delayed flight in Montreal that will take me back to Vancouver for a scant 48 hours, before I get back on a flight to Toronto to start the tour. I digress.

To prepare for the tour, I should be selecting passages that will work well with many audiences or brainstorming engaging questions about women’s literature to converse about with my brilliant colleagues. Instead, I’m thinking about book touring wardrobes. One of the things that first attracted me to writing was that I could do it in sweatpants. Writing the book is a grueling process in itself, but it takes a whole different set of skills to emerge blinking from your apartment/cave and share your writing with the world, and one of those skills is the ability to put together a public persona that makes you look like a real writer-type-person.

You want to look polished, but not “trying too hard” or too corporate or too eccentric. You want to prepare for both Winnipeg blizzards and Vancouver rain. You want to blend in, but stand out. You want something at least moderately wrinkle-proof. It’s enough to make a girl want to crawl back into her sweatpants.

When I first started reading my work, I would always wear a top that was either lowcut, shiny or bright. My theory was that people would be too busy staring at my shirt to pay attention to my quavering voice and shaking hands. Now, however, I’ve gained some confidence and shed my sequined security blanket. It’s time for a wardrobe to match.

So, oh writers and Fictionista fans, give me your book touring fashion tips. How do you select what to wear on a book tour?

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