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Black Dog Freehouse

Where it all begins! The book launch is here, 7pm, September 5.

Everything is set up for a busy fall, with several events now booked for promoting my first novel, Blind Spot. I’ll kick things off at Edmonton Public Library – Strathcona Branch (8331 – 104 Street) with a reading on August 31 at 1:30pm. Then comes the official launch at the Black Dog Free House in Edmonton (10425, Whyte Ave.) on September 5 at 7pm. Fellow NeWest author. Thea Bowering, will also be reading from her new book, Love at Last Sight.

Back in Montreal, I’ll be joined by my Concordia colleague, Christian Durand, a fellow former Edmontonian, who will emcee an event at Librairie Drawn and Quarterly (211 rue Bernard O), September 25 at 7pm. Then on October 6 at 7pm, I’ll be reading downtown at Argo Bookstore (MY LOCAL, MY BELOVED! — 1915 rue Sainte Catherine O). I’ll be joined by fellow NeWest Press author, Margaret Pigeon, whose new book is a collection of short stories called Some Extremely Boring Drives.

The buzz in the media has begun early for Blind Spot. The novel is in Quill and Quire‘s Fall Preview and in 49th Shelf’s “Most Anticipated” List. The Edmonton Journal is running a series of four articles about the novel, mapping its lifespan, from inception to sale-time. The first article appeared Friday.

Blind Spot cover

Click to enlarge

This has been a particularly exciting week in the life of my novel, Blind Spot. The super-talented Michel Vrana, who also created covers for Esi Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues and for Jian Ghomeshi’s 1982, has produced what is in my opinion a fabulous design.

I’d always felt that the cover should depict a car crash, and furthermore, that it should be pretty clear that the crash was the result of a collision with a train. So I hope I’m not being hyperbolic when I say it was a stroke of genius for Vrana to take the railway crossing sign and blow it up like a giant X — symbolic of a warning, an error, or even an overturned cross.


For obvious reasons (!) I’ve been thinking a lot about covers lately… My personal favourite book cover of all time is the one for The Great Gatsby. I can’t  think of any cover quite like  it, having the power to live on in a reader’s memory forever. Those eyes and lips, seemingly floating in an early night-time sky, are forever entwined in my mind with the novel itself. This Atlantic article makes it pretty clear that F. Scott Fitzgerald himself felt similarly. “For Christ’s sake don’t give anyone that jacket you’re saving for me,” Fitzgerald wrote to his publisher. “I’ve written it into the book.”

It’s perhaps fitting that Gatsby’s cover remains the most iconic, born as it was when mass marketing was hitting its stride. Many other famous books, Lolita, for example, have been approached in numerous different ways by designers with very different sensibilities. This is probably more the norm for the book world. A story is as open to as many different visual “identities” as there are people reading it. Here are a few modern takes on Nabokov’s controversial classic. I like the way the designers feel in no way encumbered by the story’s most obvious thematic.

Besides Gatsby, the other covers that are most memorable to me are the ones for J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace, Michel Houellebecq’s The Elementary Particles, and Sue Townsend’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole.

Blind Spot is out September 2014  from NeWest Press. It’s already available for pre-order at evil Amazon.

I am almost finished the final draft of my book.  At this time in writing long works, I always get a bit scared that a bus will plough into me, turning me into strawberry jam.  It is not a nice thought.  I would hate to die without having the finished work get into somebody else’s hands.

The most recent draft of the book was emailed to my Yahoo account and currently sits in a file called Blind Spot.  This is as close to the final version as currently exists.  There is a note to myself in chapter 32 to rewrite the remainder of the chapter.  If I did not get around to that, chapter 27 from the previous draft would suffice.

 A draft also exists on my USB key, called — appropriate enough — “Blind Spot.”

All that said, I do intend to stay alive and finish things off!  Probably this weekend!