Saturday 6 July 2024

The Story Behind the Story with Nicola Davison of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada.

 

The Scribbler is beyond excited to have Nicola as our featured guest this week.



Her novel has garnered tons of rave reviews and we wanted to let you folks know.

She has graciously accepted our invitation to tell us the SBTS of the book.

Read on my friends

 

 

 

 

Nicola Davison is a professional photographer and the author of IN THE WAKE and DECODING DOT GREY. Her first novel won the 2019 Margaret and John Savage First Book Award, The Miramichi Reader's Very Best Book Award and was a finalist for the Dartmouth Book Award. DECODING DOT GREY won the 2023 Ann Connor Brimer Award for YA fiction and was nominated for the White Pine Award. Nicola is a member of the Writers’ Union of Canada and the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia. In 2016 she completed the Alistair Macleod Mentorship Program; polishing off the umpteenth draft of her first novel with her mentor, Carol Bruneau. Born in Nova Scotia, she has lived in too many places and done just enough world travelling to appreciate home. She lives in Dartmouth with her boat-crazy family and delightfully stubborn Basset Hound.

 

Title: Decoding Dot Grey




Synopsis:

Eighteen-year-old Dot Grey doesn’t hate people; she’s just not especially fond of their company. It’s 1997, and she’s just left home in favour of a dank, cold basement, where she lives with several small animals, including a chorus of crickets, a family of sowbugs (they came with the apartment), a hairless rat, and an injured crow. Her job at the animal shelter is her refuge—so long as she can avoid her father’s phone calls. He’s trying to get Dot to visit her mother, but Dot knows there’s no point. No one ever understood her like her mum, who helped Dot channel her vibrating fingers into Morse code, their own private language. But her bright, artistic mother was terribly injured a year ago and Dot can’t reach her, even with her tapping fingers. Left with only a father who refuses to face the truth, she focuses on saving the little lives at the shelter. When Joe starts working there, everyone thinks he has a crush on Dot. Dot thinks he’s just awkward and kind. He shows his good heart when they rescue an entire litter of puppies together, and Dot finds herself warming up to him. But Joe waits too long to tell her his deepest secret, and soon she is forced to deal with two losses. In the end, Dot’s weird way of looking at the world is the one thing that will, against the odds, help her connect with it.


With clever wordplay and the most motley of crews—human and otherwise—Decoding Dot Grey is a tender and delightful novel from the award-winning author of In the Wake.

 


The Story Behind the Story:

I grew up in a house full of animals. We had all sizes–from hamsters to horses–and we always had cats and dogs. As a child, I felt more comfortable with animals than people. Still do.

In my early adulthood, just like my main character, I worked at an animal shelter. I witnessed a lot of suffering and was often frustrated by the system and how society treated animals.  Some employees were pragmatic about things while others harboured elaborate revenge fantasies. I’ve frequently thought about those people and wondered what they did after.

I’m a huge fan of coming-of-age stories. Most of the books and films on my re-read list fit that description. I especially like it when there’s a role for a dog/cat/donkey/bird/fish, told with a good dose of humour. Main characters who are decidedly quirky are also a favourite of mine. So, if I was writing a story in an animal shelter, it had to have those elements.

Early in the writing, I knew Dot had difficulty with human communication, preferring the company of animals and a few people in her close circle. I thought of Morse code; and how it could serve as an outlet for her anxiety as well as a secret language with her mother and grandfather. As Dot emerged, her identity wove into her name, like a dot: for her use of code, feeling insignificant, hopeless and unable to get through to the people in her life. But it’s also a source of fun for her, using it to communicate with the crow in the book and a way to make wry comments on things without people catching on.

As soon as Dot took shape and I had the setting of the animal shelter, I was madly typing. The only hiccup I had was that animal shelters have improved greatly in the past twenty-five years (phew!). So, instead of setting it in the present, I switched to 1997. I have since seen the book described as historical fiction. *snort*

 



Website – go HERE. 






A question before you go, Nicola:


Scribbler: What is the ideal spot for you when you write your stories? Music in the background or quiet? Coffee or tequila? Messy or neat?


N: The ideal spot? It’s an island in a temperate climate. Somewhere with horses, donkeys, scruffy dogs, lazy cats and fields of sheep. Early mornings, I’d write at a small table in front of a window with a view of the sea, taking frequent breaks for tea. A small stone pub is a half hour walk away - accessed by cutting through the field of horses/donkeys/sheep. There’d be large open hearth, a good dark beer on tap and locals who know when to keep their distance if I’m typing. But, late in the day when I’m letting the story rest, there could be poets, comedians, sailors who tell a good yarn. Maybe the occasional open mic night for everyone to share their work. A loose sort of writers group. In this scenario, I’d have a pen name because the popularity of my books have made it necessary to retreat from the public eye. The checks roll in and pay the bills while I keep on rolling out the stories.

My actual writing is done at a desk that looks out on a tree-lined city street. When I’m stuck with the story I head out for a walk around the nearby lake and record any flashes of insight on my phone with voice memos. I like working at coffee shops but I’m anxious about taking up table space and nursing a single cup of coffee for hours so I’m usually at home.

Last week I realized my son has outgrown his treehouse so I’ve claimed it as a writing spot. I have to climb a narrow ladder carrying my computer and there’s just enough room to sit with it on my lap but it’s quiet and I can stare off into the fluttering leaves and think. Yesterday, I surprised a squirrel who must frequent the little house, he did a double-take and sprinted off. Sometimes people walk past and I overhear snatches of conversation. We writers are shameless eavesdroppers so I suspect it will enrich my characters, reminding me that people have so many layers.





Your new writing spot sounds delightful, as does your new friend. 
Maybe he/she will be back.

Thanks for being our guest, Nicola. 

We hope you find that small table and view of the sea to write one of your stories.




And thank you, dear readers.

Saturday 29 June 2024

Interview with Visual Artist Nadine Godin of Neguac, NB, Canada,

 

Hey Scribbler fans. Someone new!




I met Nadine at a major craft fair and was immediately drawn to her vibrant and colourful paintings.

         She has graciously accepted our invitation to be our featured creative this week and to share some of her fabulous images.

Read on my friends.

 

 

Welcome to the Scribbler, Nadine. Before we discuss your art, tell our readers about yourself.

 

Nadine: I am an artist from Tabusintac, New Brunswick. I was raised in Fair Isle, a small community not far from Neguac. I own a fabric shop and this year is our 25th anniversary. I have been teaching quilting for ten years. I previously owned a flower shop for fifteen years. Mother of two and a grandmother of four. Married to a wonderful husband, Marc.

 

Scribbler: On your website, you mention you started painting in 2012. Tell us about the beginning.

 


Nadine: I started painting in 2012 when the kids were older and I didn’t need to spend as much time with them. In the beginning it was for pleasure until a cousin encouraged me to display my art in an event happening in Caraquet. This was the opening of a new career for me.

 

Scribbler: I’m fascinated with your images of boats, particularly fishing boats. What is your inspiration for these?



Nadine: I grew up in a village of fishermen. MY brother-in-law is a fisherman also. It has always amazed me how people work hard at making a living and how fishing was the main source of revenue for many back in the days.

 

Scribbler: Are you participating any future events or showings where the public can see your work?

 

Nadine: From June14th to August 18th, my paintings will be displayed at de Quai des Artislist which is situated behind Le Carrefour de la mer in Caraquet, NB. People can also find me at my studio at 1110 Principale, Neguac.

 

Scribbler: Your Artistic Mission states, “I paint to touch the soul through the eyes.” Can you tell us more?

 


Nadine: I want people to look at my work and find a sense of past memory, something that speaks to them. Something that brings them home.

 

Scribbler: Anything else you’d like to share with us?

 

Nadine: Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be a guest. People can find my calendars throughout the province at In Colors, Moncton, Village de la Sagouine in Bouctouche. Libraries, Moncton at the Coliseum and...


                             .......by visiting our website HERE.

 

 


 

You are most welcome, Nadine. Thank you for being our guest this week. We wish you continued success with your painting.

 

And a SPECIAL THANK YOU to all our visitors and readers.

Saturday 22 June 2024

The Story Behind the Story with Author Olive Mazerolle of New Brunswick, Canada.

 

The Scribbler is pleased to have Olive as this week’s guest. 


She has an interesting and thought-provoking story to share. You will be treated to the SBTS, so read on my friends.

 


Olive Mazerolle was born in Baie Sainte-Anne, New Brunswick, Canada. She worked with the New Brunswick RCMP as a Civilian Member for 35 years and retired in 2016 with an unfortunate PTSD diagnosis. Discovering the post-traumatic growth (PTG) concept has given her a new lease on life.



Title

Dancing with the Clouds - A true story of post-traumatic growth






Synopsis

"Is it possible for trauma to lead to personal growth?”

As a civilian employee, Olive Mazerolle gave thirty-five years of her life to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. At the end of her career, after experiencing both personal and professional traumas, she found herself diagnosed with moderate-to-severe PTSD. Through years of seeking the psychological help she needed, she finally understood that her traumas had led her to Post Traumatic Growth (PTG).

For Olive, PTG was transformative and brought renewed growth after adversity. She turned towards altruism, opened up to new experiences, became spiritually mature and embraced gratitude for the life she now lives, saying, “Without these challenges, I may not be the person I am proud to be today.”

Healing from immense grief and guilt led her to accept that life’s adversities are indeed life lessons. Her cancer diagnosis led to a healthier lifestyle. Addressing sexual harassment in the workplace brought validation and restored her self-worth. Most importantly, she recognized that anxiety can be controlled by a shift to positive thinking.

This beautifully written, heartfelt memoir of survival, grace and evolution will deepen your appreciation for life.




The Story Behind the Story

 

Excerpt from the book - (beginning of Chapter One)

          Trauma and grief followed me at every moment of my life until I finally found true joy.

        I never thought of these events as abnormal until I started writing about them and reading them out loud to my writing group. Seeing the expressions of shock and awe from my five wonderful WOWs (Women of Words) made me realize that my experiences were not commonplace.

        It’s almost too much! It’s unbelievable that you have lived through these experiences and come out at the other end happy and healthy, said teary-eyed Eveline.

        That was an ah-ha moment for me! How did I end up living happily ever after with everything I had been through? And if  I could be happy, perhaps I could help someone else go through difficult times by writing a book about my journey to wellness. Would such a book be worthwhile to someone else?









A question before you go:


Scribbler:
What is the ideal spot for you when you write your stories? Music in the background or quiet. Coffee or tequila? Messy or neat?



Olive: I like moving around and having a window nearby when I write. So a lot of the book was written in my home office, but I had to move to the basement for a while where I have a larger table so I could refer to my many many notebooks which I continually referred to. In the end, I was in a comfy chair in our den sitting by large windows looking out onto our backyard.

I have a playlist on Spotify - Dancing with the Clouds - with songs that bring me back to the time and place of many of the events in the book.


Coffee in the morning and lots and lots of tea in the afternoon. And snacks of course. A glass of wine at the end of a productive day and Champagne when it was published.

I love being orderly but, honestly, my desk/table was mostly very messy with all the notebooks and photo albums I kept referring to.





Thank you for being our guest this week, Olive.
I am certain there will be many readers who find comfort and direction from your story. 
We wish you continued success with your writing.




And a Jumbo THANK YOU to all our visitors and readers.



Sunday 9 June 2024

The Story Behind the Story with Author Kathy Shuker of Great Britain.

 

This week we're catching up with Kathy who has been a welcome guest before. 

 

She is kindly sharing the SBTS of her newest novel.

We are pleased to have her back and if you missed her first visit, take a peek Here.

Read on my friends.

 

  

Meet Kathy.

I trained as a physiotherapist but a back injury soon forced me to change career. After studying design I worked as a freelance artist, supplying galleries and teaching. I began writing several years ago and published my first novel, Deep Water, Thin Ice, in 2014. Writing novels quickly became a passion, satisfying my creative itch even more than my painting did. I love to get into the heads of my characters and see where they take me. The journey is always intriguing, sometimes poignant, occasionally even funny. I have since published six more novels – multi-layered character-driven mysteries with a strong sense of place. The most recent book is the third in a series of stand-alone stories, the Dechansay Bright Mysteries, all linked by the central characters and set in the world of art and art restoration.

When not writing, I am a keen amateur singer and musician, playing acoustic guitar, fiddle and piano, and I enjoy learning foreign languages and read widely. I’m lucky enough to live in a beautiful area near the sea in southwest England.

 

Title: The Angel Downstairs

 


Synopsis: Some people never tell the truth. They daren’t.

Eric Dechansay is a successful artist with a popular studio in Paris, the life and soul of every party. Then the threatening letters start. Eric’s past - and someone he thought was dead - have come back to haunt him.

Hannah Dechansay knows nothing of her father’s past but a phone call from her half-sister has her leaving Oxford and on a plane to Paris. She won’t be welcome. Eric’s carefully constructed life is crashing around his ears and Hannah’s determination to find out why will only make things worse. Her father’s clearly frightened and he’s lying. And then there’s the piano player. Who is he anyway?

As the stakes rise inexorably higher, who can Hannah trust?

 


The Story Behind the Story: I started the Dechansay Bright Mystery series in the first lockdown of the Covid pandemic. They were difficult times for everyone with bad news all around us and nerve-racking uncertainty. I had an idea that two itinerant art restorers, working for a firm which specialized in on-site conservation, offered the possibility of interesting mysteries to be solved. It gave scope for a different setting each time as well as the potential to delve into the sometimes dubious dealings in the dark corners of the art market. Above all I wanted to make the series entertaining as well as mysterious, an antidote to the news reports. Since the two restorers, Hannah and Nathan, don’t get on but are often obliged to work together, there was immediately scope for light-hearted antagonism. I set the first book of the series back in 1990, partly to clear my head of the pandemic and partly to write in a world which hadn’t yet become dependent on technology.

The first book, A Crack in the Varnish, is set in Provence in an idyllic location but with all sorts of buried secrets. The second, By a Hand Unknown, is set in the east of England in a beautiful watery region called the Norfolk Broads. Since Hannah is half French and her semi-estranged artist father lives in Paris, I always planned to set a story there and The Angel Downstairs is that story. I have been lucky to visit Paris many times and it always charms me. I wanted to communicate that charm, especially to anyone who has never had the opportunity to go there.

How the story developed from there, I would struggle to explain. Once I finish a story it almost feels as if someone else has written it. The creative process is a strange beast and perhaps it is unwise to try to analyse it too far. But my novels, for all the mystery and intrigue, are always about the people – how they react, how they cope, how they get hold of their lives and try to do something with them. Some of the nicest compliments I’ve had on my writing have been from people who’ve said that the characters felt real, that they, the reader, felt like they were following the characters round, living their lives vicariously. That pleases me. Although each book is a standalone story, since the same two main characters appear in each novel, there is an arc in the development of their relationship and their behaviour as the series progresses.


 

 

Website – Please go HERE.  

   

 

A question before you go, Kathy:


Scribbler: What is the ideal spot for you when you write your stories? Music in the background or quiet. Coffee or tequila? Messy or neat?

 Quiet if possible. I live in a small village where usually all I can hear are tractors passing and birdsong. That’s perfect: I can disappear into my own world. I punctuate the day with several mugs of tea and coffee and I live by notebooks. Every novel had its own large notebook with research notes and plans etc, plus there’ll be a small, jot-down-ideas notebook for carrying around so my work area has these plus maps and a calendar for the setting and anything else that might either jog my creativity or provide valuable information. It’s not tidy. I do write on a laptop though. It makes it so much easier to delete and rewrite!!




Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to tell you about my latest work.





You are most welcome, Kathy.
The Angel Downstairs sounds delightful and entertaining.
Thanks to you for being our guest. We wish you continued success with your stories.


 A special thanks to all our visitors and readers.

Sunday 2 June 2024

The Story Behind the Story with author Joe Mahoney of Riverview, NB, Canada.

 

Let’s welcome Joe to the Scribbler.


I had the opportunity to meet Joe at a book signing and discovered he wrote a book sharing his many years with CBC.
I’ve also had the pleasure of reading his memoir and I enjoyed it immensely.
We are most fortunate to have him share the SBTS with us.
Read on my friends.



Bio: 

I was born in New Brunswick, raised in PEI, and educated in Nova Scotia, Ontario, and France. I worked full-time for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for 35 years where I spent about 19 years in production, working on all the major shows out of Toronto, including a decade making radio plays. In 2007, I left production to join the CBC management team, where I managed broadcast maintenance teams and, eventually, the eastern real estate portfolio. I spent my final year as both Operations Manager (Acting) for Nova Scotia and Regional Property Manager. I retired from the CBC in 2023 and now focus my attention on my family, my writing, and starting a little indie press, Donovan Street Press. I’ve also taken up karate again after a long hiatus and am trying to get back in shape.

My debut novel, A Time and a Place, was published on October 1st 2017 by Five Rivers Press. My memoir, a behind-the-scenes glimpse of working at CBC Radio, Adventures in the Radio Trade, was published on August 1st 2023 by my own indie press, mentioned above.

I’m a member of SF Canada, Canada’s National Association of Speculative Fiction Professionals, and SFWA, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association.

Title: Adventures in the Radio Trade


 

Synopsis: Adventures in the Radio Trade documents a life in radio, largely at Canada's public broadcaster. It's for people who love CBC Radio, those interested in the history of Canadian Broadcasting, and for those who want to hear about close encounters with numerous luminaries such as Margaret Atwood, J. Michael Straczynski, Stuart McLean, Joni Mitchell, Peter Gzowski and more. And it's for people who want to know how to make radio.

Crafted with gentle humour and thoughtfulness, this is more than just a glimpse into the internal workings of CBC Radio. It's also a prose ode to the people and shows that make CBC Radio great.

 


The Story Behind the Story: I’ve always been in the habit of writing down anything interesting that happens to me, and lots of interesting stuff has happened to me working at CBC Radio. At first it was all just private journaling, but then I started a blog, and a lot of the material wound up there. After many years of this, a friend of mine suggested I write a book about my experiences. I realized I had a good portion of the book already written, and that much of it just might be of interest to fans of CBC Radio. A glimpse behind the curtain, how the sausage gets made, that sort of thing. Although a memoir, it’s much less about me than about CBC Radio during that time period, between 1987 and 2007.  By that time I’d had experience self-publishing, and didn’t really want to give the rights to anyone else. Nor did I think a major publisher would be interested in a memoir by me, though to be fair I didn’t really try. So I turned it into a book myself, with the help of an expert editor, Arleane Ralph, and an expert book designer, Avery Olive of Bibliofic Designs.

 

Website – Please go HERE.




 



A question for you, Joe:

Scribbler:
What is the ideal spot for you when you write your stories? Music in the background or quiet. Coffee or tequila? Messy or neat?

Joe: Having written from about the age of ten, I’m happy to write anywhere. It’s the only way to actually get any writing done. I don’t need to be in anything resembling the perfect spot. That said, if I COULD have the perfect spot, it would be anywhere I can have a little music on in the background, a hot coffee at my side with a fresh cinnamon bun just waiting to be eaten, a friendly pooch at my feet, and an open laptop. Neat, but not fanatically so.



An Excerpt from Adventures in the Radio Trade:

 


 I’ve met many well-known people during my time with CBC Radio. Sometimes I didn’t know they were “somebodies.”

“Did you know that was Joyce Carol Oates sitting beside you in the Media Library?” producer Ann Jansen asked me one day.

I’d had no idea. And that was fine with me. Most of the time meeting famous people I pretended that I didn’t know who they were anyway. It was just easier that way. It levelled the playing field. Even if I did happen to know who they were, I didn’t necessarily know much about them. We had jazz artist Diana Krall on the show Q one day. I hadn’t set up any microphones because she wasn’t supposed to perform. As we sat in the studio control room just before the interview, one of the show’s producers asked if she wanted to perform during the interview.

“Sure,” she said.

“Can you set her up?” the producer asked me.

I turned to Diana. “What instrument do you play?”

Everyone looked at me like I’d crawled out of a hole in the ground.

“Piano,” Diana said. “I play piano.”

I knew the name Diana Krall but I wasn’t knowledgeable about her career or music. For all I knew she could have played saxophone (and for all I know she does).

I already had mics on the piano, actually, so it was just a matter of adjusting them. The interview was delightful. Jian asked Diana what type of music she enjoyed in her downtime: “If you were to sit down, what’s your music?”

“Right now?”

“Yeah.”

Diana played a few nondescript notes on the piano. Her twin sons had been born the year before. “Millie the Elephant packed her trunk and sang goodbye to the circus,” she sang, and laughed. “That’s about where I’m at right now.”

What does meeting famous people get you? The ability to name drop (like I’m doing right now). Does anybody like a name dropper? I don’t mind writing about the occasional celebrity encounter, but I’ve rarely felt comfortable talking about them.

The thing is, whatever these people have accomplished, at the end of the day they’re human, just like the rest of us. And unless you work with them for a while (and maybe not even then), a brief encounter is not going to make you the best of pals. 

Still, all that said, I cannot deny that meeting and occasionally working with celebrities can be interesting and is often entertaining. Meeting artists takes on a special significance when you’re a fan of their work. Eric Idle may put his trousers on one leg at a time, but let’s face it: he’s Eric Idle of Monty Python. Like Diana Krall and so many others, he also appeared on the show Q, where he called us all “freeloading bastards” during the show’s credits and understood perfectly well just how much we’d all get a kick out of that. 



Thank you, Allan!



You are most welcome, Joe. Thank you for being our guest this week. We look forward to more of your stories and wish you continued success.


And a special thanks to all our visitors and readers. Feel free to leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you.

Saturday 25 May 2024

The Story Behind the Short Stories with Eden Monroe and Angella Cormier. Both of New Brunswick, Canada.

 

This week we are going to discuss one SBTS for the popular Anthology – Spring Paths - and the other of the forthcoming Summer Paths - with two terrific storytellers



Our guests are the final two contributors and they are sharing their inspiration.


If you missed the previous SBTS for Spring and Summer Paths, then please go HERE & HERE & HERE & HERE.

 


Eden Monroe writes about real life, real issues and struggles, and triumphing against all odds. A proud east coast Canadian, she enjoys a variety of outdoor activities, and a good book.

 

Title of Short Story: Foul Play

 

Synopsis: Saffie is a gifted high school student with an axe to grind about her absent father. So she takes matters into her own hands and finds that murder is not only satisfying payback for her broken heart, but the perfect antidote to high IQ boredom. And then she meets her match, but all spider webs are dangerous when fools rush in.

 

 


Inspirations: In Summer Paths I briefly step out of my lane as a romantic suspense and mystery author. It’s incredibly freeing to create something deliciously outrageous, then tear it up and write something even more unconscionable. That’s how Foul Play was born, a read-aloud class project that became a short story. No one, living or dead that I’m familiar with, inspired Foul Play in any way. My sole ambition was to conjure up an interesting psychopath.

Eden has been a guest previously and you can read it HERE.

Website

 


Angella Cormier grew up in St-Antoine, in southeast New Brunswick. It was in this small town’s library where her love of reading and writing were born. Her curious nature about everything mysterious and paranormal helped carved the inspiration for her current passion of writing horror and mystery stories. She is also a published poet, balancing out her writing to express herself in these two very opposing genres. Angella has an extensive background in Interactive Multimedia Technology since 1998. She now owns and operates “Ancor Creative Solutions” as a personal creative assistant, where she proudly helps other writers with their cover design and book formatting, among with many other services.


Title of Short Story: Love and Crafts.

Synopsis: One will brighten your day while the other will keep you in the dark, never to be known. Kindness or Judgment; which would you choose?

 


Inspirations: My main character was inspired by a good friend of mine who is a free-spirited bird watcher and is often seen with her binoculars and notepad, counting the birds she spots. I was motivated to choose the setting of the story by the beautiful town of Shediac, New Brunswick area, specifically the Pointe-du-ChĂȘne wharf and Shediac Island nearby.

The idea started percolating one day while parked out there, watching the coastal birds flying to and from both locations. I wondered what if there are things they see out there that we haven’t yet?

The theme sprouted as I noticed an increase of judgmental and bigoted behaviours, both on and offline. I pondered, what if we truly understood what someone else was going through? What if we saw things from their perspective; how much more would we understand then? Would we be as unkind if we knew all the little details that are unknown to us?

Although it is fiction, I aimed to bring up a very important life lesson, and that is to not judge another, as you do not know what they are going through, nor do you know the full story, even if you think you do.


Angella has been a guest before and you can read it HERE.

Website


 Buy HERE.


Thank you ladies, for being our guests this week. We wish you continued success with your writing.


 

And a HUGE thank you to all our visitors and readers. Go ahead – leave a comment.