Cover Story

Cover Storygeneric-book-cover

I was recently asked how much control authors have over the covers and back-blurbs of their books. I suspect the answer is 'very little'. And this is probably a good thing. There is an enormous amount of pressure to get that cover exactly right. It's got to function as an advertisement, a logo, an introduction, a sample of the book's personality – all this without giving too much away or emphasising the wrong element. It's the cover's job to get that book out of the store and home with the right reader. Any time you see a novel for sale, you can be sure that someone has worked very hard to make sure that you really do judge it by its cover.

What if I had to design a cover for my own book?

My head would explode.

First Love

hhgttg-original-recordsFirst Love

What's your favourite book?


Hmm. Not really an appropriate reaction, is it? But this is such a scary question. I was recently asked this at a reading in a small town in Ontario along with three other authors. We were all on a stage and had to answer in turn, so the audience would get to hear and compare everyone's witty responses. I was first.

'Um!' I declared, 'Good question! Um! Well! Hey! Indeed. Yeah.'


No Excuses!

C-Horse1-2014ANo Excuses!

Okay, folks. The holidays were great, but now it's time to get serious. This is the year you're actually going to do it!

Do what? Well, that's up to you. Begin your novel, or finish it. Get that poetry or short story collection off the ground. Or just start writing regularly and keep up the habit. The important thing is, when 2015 rolls around, you'll be looking back on a year well spent, the time you actually kept those resolutions and achieved your goals.

Stop laughing. You'll hurt yourself.


Why Not a Book?

I wrote this article on request for the fine website, and I'm very glad that I did, although in many ways it's a complete about-face from my last post. Read on!xmas book tree

Okay, this advice is for me as much as anyone else. Buy books this Christmas. Put a great novel on your shopping list. It makes sense, doesn't it? If you're a writer, you're a reader, and you no doubt have memories of being transported by books in a way that nothing else can equal. So why wouldn't you want to share that feeling with someone else?

I don't know. But the truth is, I can't remember buying books for my friends and family that often at Christmas. I mean real books now, not joke books or internet spin-offs. A book of a hundred pictures of cats in moustaches or babies wearing bacon may be a worthwhile project, but it's not the kind of book I'm talking about. I mean a story.

Why is this so difficult?


Let's Not This Year

christmas-decorations25Let's Not This Year

Okay, let's get this straight. I like Christmas. I love mulled wine and eggnog, candy canes, crackling fires and the smell of evergreen boughs. If I find the perfect gift for someone, I can't wipe the goofy grin off my face. And I've always agreed that covering everything with glittery lights during the darkest time of the year, or any time of year, is a very, very good idea.

But sometimes I wish I had a choice.


Tales from the IFOA

IFOA nametagOver two hundred writers participated in the International Festival of Authors in Toronto this year, and I was one of them. I'm still a bit dazed. Just to put this in context, I have one book published. One. There is nothing else on my CV except some very long short lists and a couple of ESL adaptations. I felt like Cinderella showing up at this thing, only instead of being the star of the ball, she mainly gets to hang out in a corner with the coats, giggling incredulously. But I loved it.


Life at the Dome

Life at the Domedome fall

This is the last of the National Post blog articles from May. It's also kind of a prequel to this article about taking a cross country train to Vancouver. Read on, and if you remember the area, please leave a comment!

In 1991 I graduated from college and felt like I was free for the first time in my life. So when September rolled around I got myself off to a cabin on the bay side of the North Mountain in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley. It was the only place I wanted to be.


Judy Cameron

JudyJudy Lulu

Again, this one is mostly for family and friends, although the interested and the mystified are welcome to read.


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"...astonishingly good....a juicy coming-of-age story...also an important read." The Globe and Mail

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"Witty, devastating, with a melancholy humour..." Sunday Business Post

", top drawer stuff..." BGE Book Club

"...warm, witty, heartfelt and utterly engaging..." The Irish News

"A stunning debut. I loved it." The Irish Examiner