Sunday, 14 October 2018

The Miramichi Reader with James Fisher

Our guest this week is James Fisher of Miramichi, New Brunswick. 

Those of us that know James, know how much he loves to read. He also enjoys sharing his thoughts about the books he reads (both fiction and non-fiction) and is the owner of the splendid review website – The Miramichi Reader.

Visit his website here.

He is kind enough to participate in a 4Q Interview.

I was born in Kingston Ontario. After finishing high school there and loafing around at various jobs, I met the woman who is now my wife (of 31 years) who encouraged me to get a career. So I did. I am a Medical Radiation Technologist as well as an MRI Technologist. After living and working in Toronto for about twenty years we chose to move to the east coast to Miramichi where I work at the Miramichi Regional Hospital.

4Q: How did the Miramichi Reader begin James.

JF: It began at the lunch table at work one day, almost four years ago now. A fellow technologist and one of our radiologists were at the table and since we are all "friends" on Goodreads, it was suggested that I start a book review blog since they enjoyed reading the short reviews I would post at Goodreads. This was all the encouragement I needed since I had recently closed down my Microsoft Windows support blog I ran for many years. Windows had become more and more user-friendly over the years and I had no interest in the ins and outs of an operting system any longer. I always enjoyed reading book reviews and I thought that would be a great job: reading and writing about books! I have tried to focus on Atlantic Canadian authors and publishers, but I have strayed into Quebec (there's some great English-language translations of contemporary Quebec French novels coming out now) and Ontario.

4Q: On your website you’ve created The Very Best Book Awards. How did this come about and tell us briefly about this years winners.

JF: Initially, I created them as a tongue-in-cheek take-off on certain national book awards, which - while important to the industry - rarely, if ever acknowledge books from small press publishers or even self-published authors. There's no big-budget publicity department to get their books out into the wild, so to speak. I felt I could do my part for these authors and publishers by instituting my own little award.
This year's winners were fortunate: I actually had a little gift for them! A small Miramichi business that makes soap and candles generously supplied the award in the form of a small book with a bar of "Miramichi Sunrise" inside.
As for this year's winners, I had to narrow it down to three categories: Best Fiction, Best Non-Fiction and Best New Book (Fiction or Non-fiction). There were also "Notable Achievement" winners, one in each category.
The three main winners were: Catherine Graham for her novel (her first): Quarry, Melanie Grondin for Best First Book for her book on the life of stained glass artist Guido Nincheri, and Lorri Nielsen Glenn for her memoir Following the River (Best Non-Fiction).

4Q: Please share a childhood anecdote or memory.

JF: I suppose my best book-related memories are of my parents' instilling the love of reading in me. They would always be going to the library to get a book to read, but they only ever read in bed. Dad was for westerns, Mom for mysteries. I've always read, from Kindergarten on. In the public school I attended, they would take us to the library once a month, on a Friday, to hear the librarian read a story. The library, although just a small branch one, was a magical place.

4Q: How does The Miramichi Reader decide which books to review? Can you be contacted by authors to have their book reviewed?

JF: Sometimes I pick the books, other times the publishers will send books they want me to review. I have sought out small publishers and contacted them. They are always eager to have their books reviewed, I have found. The same with authors who contact me (via my Contact page). While I may not accept fiction books from time to time (due to a large TBR stack) I do encourage authors to at least contact me, even if I cannot get to their books in a timely manner. 

4Q: Any last thoughts you want to share?

JF: I am so thankful for the all the wonderful authors, publicists and publishers I have met over The Miramichi Reader's brief existence. They have been generous with their books, their time and their social media support. It makes it all worthwhile to hear an author or a small press publisher tell you how much they appreciate my reviews. It has also been encouraging to have some of my reviews quoted in print form, too.

As well as the website URL above, you can find James at these links;

Thank you James for being our guest this week.

The Miramichi Reader’s review of Wall of War -


  1. Replies
    1. My pleasure James. Glad to have you as this week's guest.

  2. I all the time emailed this blog post page to all my friends, as if like to read it afterward my links will

  3. Hi Allan,
    thank you for posting and giving us a glimpse behind the scenes of the Miramichi Reader. I'm just starting to learn more and more about the different bloggers in the region/province. It's amazing what you and the others do to help authors and to expose local writing.
    Keep it going.


    1. Thanks for the kind words Steve. Glad you visited. We are al in the same boat and can use whatever exposure we can get. Glad to have James here as well. He's a very cool guy.

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