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Posted by Jess - - 3 Comments

Today's interview is with another Campaigner. Her short story A Ray for Mary Jo was published by Highland Press in the 'No Law Against Love' anthology (2006), which raised money for breast cancer. The publisher's rights to the stories ended this year, so the story is now available for sale as an e-story (only 99 cents!) in many places online. Bonny Blue Christmas was also published by Highland Press in the 'On a Cold Winter's Night' anthology (2009). Please welcome

Susan Barclay

What is your earliest writing memory? What did you write about? Did it have a title?

The earliest memory I have of writing anything goes back to when I was about three or four. I was sitting on the front porch of the house my mother still owns, singing a song I’d made up. My mom came out while I was singing and told me that it was amazing and we should write it down. Unfortunately, by the time she got out the pen and paper, I couldn’t remember the words. I have no idea what it was about or if it had a title.

When you were 6, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Like every girl of my generation, I wanted to be a teacher. :) I actually did apply to teacher’s college after university and was accepted into the program, but I decided I didn’t really like public speaking very much, so it was probably better if I accepted the invitation to get my Masters of Library Science instead. If I’d had more confidence, I’d probably have gone for a Masters in Creative Writing instead.

What is the best compliment your writing has ever received?

It’s hard to choose. Really! Here are my three favourites, in chronological order:
• My grade 2/3 teacher remembered a line from one of my stories and years later could still quote it from memory (which is a heck of a lot better than I could do)!
• After reading part of the novel I’m working on, one of my critique partners said she could see it becoming an OBOC book one day (One Book, One Community – where “everyone” in the community is encouraged to read the same book)
• When Wayson Choy, author of the Jade Peony, provided feedback on 25 pages of my novel and told me “You are a writer.”
Can you tell us a little about your current WIP?

Which one?! I’ve been working on a novel for adults for quite a while – something I work on intermittently. It’s about a mother-daughter relationship that is strained for reasons that the daughter doesn’t understand (ie the mother has a secret the daughter doesn’t know about). Other WIPs include a chapter book for children that I’m revising for the umpteenth time, a short story for adults that is part of a trilogy and deals with the subject of suicide, and nature-themed poetry.

Do you follow a routine when it comes to writing?

Unfortunately, I have no particular writing routine. It’s something I’m working on. I do have writing goals for this fall – you can find out more about them at http://notesfrominnisfree.blogspot.com/2011/09/on-subject-of-lists.html.

What do you find hardest about writing?

Being disciplined. When I actually do write, most of the time I find it fairly easy to get my thoughts, ideas and words on paper (or more correctly, on the computer screen). One author (I forget who) refers to it as “bum glue” – you just have to apply the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair. I like that! In fact, I’m putting it on an e-post-it right now!

What is your favorite book (at least currently)?

My favourite book so far this year is The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Isn’t that what everyone is saying?!

What non-writing hobbies do you like to participate in?

I enjoy reading, photography, walking for exercise, camping, and reconnecting with long lost friends.

If you had $1,000,001, what would you do with the $1?

$1 doesn’t go very far. I’d probably just put it toward a coffee.

Give us one random fact about yourself.

I share my birthday with Emilio Estevez, Stephen Baldwin, Kim Fields and George Carlin, among others.


To read more about Susan and her writing, check out her website or blog.

If you would be interested in being a BTWP interviewee, send me an email at jestkeptsecret (at) gmail (dot) com.

3 Responses so far.

  1. What a nice interview Jess. It's great to meet Susan and learn about her work. I love the compliment about One Book One Community-- what a fantastic thing for someone to say about your work!

  2. What a great interview! How funny that so many girls want to be teachers. Even the newest generation is filled with teacher hopefuls!

  3. Thanks for reading the interview, ladies; I enjoyed doing it!

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