Tag Archives: mcnally robinson

Getting To Know Emma Donoghue in Person

Emma was interviewed at McNally Robinson Booksellers by Winnipeg International Writer’s Festival Director Charlene Diehl

Emma Donoghue’s latest book is set in a Toronto mansion with thirty- two rooms. The house is inhabited by two sets of gay parents, seven children named after trees, a frightened cat, inquisitive rat, crippled parrot and three-legged dog.

You might know Emma as the author of Room. She also wrote the Oscar nominated screenplay for the movie based on the novel. I had the pleasure of hearing her interviewed at Winnipeg’s McNally Robinson Book Sellers last week.

Emma, the author of several successful adult novels is currently promoting a new project, a book for children called The Lotterys Plus One. Emma wants to show readers just how diverse families can be and The Lotterys Plus One certainly does that. The four parents in the novel come from India, Jamaica, Scotland and the Mohawk Nation. Many of the seven children are adopted. One has attention deficit disorder, another a physical disability, and a third gender identity issues.

Striking illustrations like this one by Caroline Hadilaksono help readers sort out all the characters in The Lotterys Plus One. 

The children are all home schooled and the parents don’t work because long ago they found a winning lottery ticket that left them financially set for life. Things are ticking along as normally as can be expected in this unusual household until a grandfather moves in because he is suffering from dementia. How will the family cope with this cantankerous newcomer?

We learned quite a bit about Emma’s personal and family life from her talk with Charlene Diehl

Author Emma Donoghue grew up in a large Catholic family in Dublin Ireland but now lives in London, Ontario where she parents two children with her partner Chris. Emma told us she used some of her own parenting experiences in The Lotterys Plus One. For example the children in the novel get head lice, something that has happened several times to Emma’s children. Emma says when her children do something funny or interesting she will ask them, “Can I use that for one of my book characters?”

I was curious how Emma had found the switch from writing for adults to writing for children. She says writing for children is much harder. It took her six years to write The Lotterys Plus One. She is a busy woman with as many as ten writing projects on the go at once, short stories, poetry, novels, screenplays and children’s books. She collects ideas for all ten projects in separate files on her phone. She finds inspiration everywhere and making notes in her phone is the handiest way to keep a record of things as soon as she sees or experiences them. Later she transfers these files to her computer.

Emma answers questions from the audience

After Emma’s interview the audience had a chance to ask her questions. One young girl said she wanted her mother to write books too and asked Emma if she could teach her Mom how to write a book. Emma said, “Everyone has a book in them. Your Mom does too. She just needs the time and space to write it.”

Another audience member said she had never seen the movie Room because there was no way it could compare to the book. Emma said she loves the movie version of Room. She thinks the director did a marvelous job with her story.

I asked her what books she had read as a child and she said pretty much anything but did mention Jane Austen, Enid Blyton and C.S. Lewis. She said she had loved fairy tales.

My friend Wendy getting her copy The Lotterys Plus One signed by Emma Donoghue

Her new book is a bit of a modern fairy tale and I think Emma knows that, but she also hopes the diverse family in The Lotterys Plus One will help her readers realize it can be enriching and positive to have an open mind about what  we consider to be “ideal” when it comes to family life.

Other posts………

Writing For Children- Not As Easy As I Thought

Writer or Palaeontologist?

Chocogasm Course at McNally Robinson Booksellers

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Filed under Books, Canada, Childhood, Writing

Broken Stone

I loved the photographs Carol Shields included in Stone Diaries.  After I read the book I carefully studied the photos trying to link characters in the story to people in the photographs.

broken-stone

I felt the same way about the photos Gabriele Goldstone includes in her new novel Broken Stone.  I studied the photographs for a long time after I finished the book, mentally trying to connect the people in the pictures  with the characters in the story they inspired.

family-photos-Broken Stone is the second in a series based at least in part on the experiences of author Gabriele Goldstone’s own mother in Ukraine, Siberia and East Prussia. 

gabriele goldstone

Gabriele Goldstone signs copies of her book for her fans.

I went to the launch of Broken Stone at McNally Robinson on Thursday and thanks to Gabriele spent the better part of my Saturday reading her book. I had already finished Red Stone the first book in the series, and was anxious to find out what awaited its heroine Katya Halter. 

family photosAlthough Katya escapes communist Russia early on in the book, more challenges await her at the home of her aunt and uncle in Prussia. While the book tells Katya’s personal story it is set against the backdrop of Hitler’s growing popularity and rise to power and so we learn about that period in German history as we read.  The book ends with Katya leaving her family and striking out on her own.  What adventures lie ahead?  I guess I will have to wait for the third book in the series to find out. 

goldstone reading

Gabriele Goldstone reads to her audience from Broken Stone on Thursday night.

Broken Stone is targeted for young people and would be a great way for the many families  in Canada who have post World War I roots in Ukraine or Germany to give their children and grandchildren an interesting insight into their family history. 

Other posts……

Red Stone

The Disappeared

Remembering

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Filed under Books, Family, History