Raincoast Books offered me the opportunity to speak with Toronto author L.E. Sterling about her first novel published by Entangled Teen. According to Raincoast Books, which distributes Sterling’s Book, Glamazon Pictures has acquired the option to Sterling’s new book trilogy, True Born, with the production company now looking to adapt the story for the screen.
True Born, released May 3, is the first in a planned trilogy and worldwide rights have been secured on all three installments.
Glamazon was formed in 2014 with a view to bringing original female perspectives to film and TV projects.
Q. I certainly understand how Lucy and Margot must feel about not knowing what they are. I, too, just wanted to know and the wait is killing me. I am assuming not telling us whether they are a splicer, laster or true born in Book 1 was done intentionally to frustrate not only the characters, but the reader as well?
A. Ha! Sorry about that, Lisa! Yes, this was done intentionally – and hopefully everyone is very satisfied by the revelations that will occur through the next two books!
Q. How did you come up with the idea for True Born?
A. I’d say that many of the elements that appear in True Born have been brewing in me for some time. I have been worrying over the state of our environment and the consequences that could lead to for humanity for quite some time now. And I’ve been working with some of the world’s top biomedical engineers for the past four years – mind-boggling experience – who have really opened my eyes to the future of medicine.
But there’s a family story I heard about a while ago that I think True Born became the vehicle to explore. It’s the story of my great-grandmother who was separated from her family and her twin sister when she was a very young child. She was shipped from England to the new world, and by the time she arrived she had forgotten her own name, and instead gave everyone her twin’s name.
Incredibly, this woman didn’t find out she was living with her twin sister’s identity until she was in her 40s, I think. There was something about this bond, its almost supernatural qualities that helped my great-grandmother survive a very traumatic experience, and that really called to me.
Q. Did you write with the intention of it being a trilogy?
A. I hadn’t meant for True Born to be a trilogy at all. In fact, I had only ever meant for True Born to be a novella! I wrote the story originally to explore the world of Dominion City (where the first novel is set) for another set of novels I had hoped to write involving some of the same characters. For encouragement and perhaps some feedback from readers, I posted this on Wattpad and the response was insane.
Pretty soon I realized I had to write a novel-length version of True Born, and by the time I had made that decision I had also pretty much made the decision that it was going to be a trilogy. I like to think in three’s these days!
Q. Did you plan the entire book out before you started writing?
A. Once I had it in my mind to turn True Born into a full-length novel yes, absolutely, I sat down and worked on a complete “story bible” where I tracked characters, plot, notes, and so on. I need the bible to complete long projects or I would spend all of my time combing through the draft asking myself things like, “Uh, who the heck is so-and-so” and “what colour hair did he have again?”
I also had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to see happen throughout the three-book arc. Of course, as they say, the devil is in the details!
Q. What is your writing process?
A. My process really differs from project to project, but generally I would say I start a project when I get a tantalizing glimpse of the arc of a story. Usually this involves a very vivid first scene and a very vivid ending, and then I work on filling in all the blanks.
Q. I see from your website you have published poetry and short fiction in the past. What is your favourite media?
A. Yes, I have published poetry and short fiction and even literary essays! But I think I’ve found my favourite media now with novels. There is something I find utterly satisfying about writing a long story.
Q. What made you decide to write not just one book, but three?
A. I guess like the early readers of the (True Born) novella, I found the world I was creating, and especially the characters I was writing, very compelling. It is so easy to wake up in the morning and slip into Lucy Fox’s voice and perceptions. But beyond that, I found that I just couldn’t unravel the entire mystery going on in True Born in just one novel. There are some real complexities here with the politics and even the idiosyncracies of the Fox twin’s world. I found I just needed a much broader canvas to do any justice to their story – and of course, to the love story of Lucy Fox and Jared Price!
Q. What is your favourite part of the writing process? How did this process differ from True Born to the other books and anthologies you have been a part of?
A. I would have to say that my favourite part of writing is sitting down and letting the book take over. I am definitely one of those writers who loses herself in the process of writing. I think of it kind of like a voodoo possession – I become possessed by the “loas” of the book!
I won’t say my process of writing True Born is completely different from my other projects, but I will say that I have never heard a character’s voice so clearly. When I first sat down to write True Born there was this lovely, growly, sing-song-like voice that literally took over. Lucy’s perspective was so unique, so fully realized. I really love writing her – in some ways I suppose I look at myself as Lucy’s “other” twin!
Q. Any advice for first-time authors?
A. I really think it’s important for aspiring writers to treat writing as a job, a profession. You need to work hard at your craft, like a carpenter would. You need to practice all the time, like a pro athlete. And you need to learn as much as you can about the markets and business side of things, because if you want that dream to come true you have to take yourself seriously and set realistic goals to get you there.
Q. Why do you enjoy writing sci-fi and urban fantasy. What is urban fantasy?
A. Great question! Urban fantasy can be explained as fantasy in an urban setting rather than the high fantasy of, say, kingdoms that you’ve never heard of before, with dragons and kings and knaves. I find writing in these genres, and especially, mashing them up, very liberating as a writer. Realism has limitations I’m not comfortable with where’s the magic? whereas sci-fi and urban fantasy genres really allow me to tell a story with multiple dimensions.
Q. One can say True Born is an environmental book – if we don’t change our ways, something like this could happen. Was it your intention to create a book warning of a future where you don’t see the sun or people have to evolve or die?
A. Yes, and thank you! I take your insight as a huge compliment! Looking back at my other novels, I guess you could say that that environmental and even social critique is always at play in my work. I think my fears and speculation are always boiling away in the background, and these really come out through my creative process.
I also believe that science fiction and fantasy novels can be truly influential mirrors for society, science fiction and speculative fiction in particular. When people think of women’s reproductive rights, they immediately cite Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. When they think of governmental controls hoodwinking the masses they conjure up scenes from Orwell’s classic 1984. True, I also mean to entertain people as much as possible, but the critique is there also.
Q. What do you hope people take away from your book?
A. I want people reading the book to become completely immersed in the world of True Born. I want readers to lose themselves, in just the same way that I lose myself in an amazing book. If as a result of that immersive experience a reader feels they have gained an insight into life, the universe or reality, that’s icing on the cake. My one motto as a writer is one I have shamelessly stolen from E.M. Forster’s epigraph to Howard’s End: Only connect. I consider that my No. 1 job as a writer.
Q. What is your favourite book? Why?
A. How can I pick just one? That’s so hard!! And so mean to all the other books I obsessively love!!
Q. What are you reading now?
A. Oh boy! I have a huge stack of novels I’m working through. Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout, Shiver by Maggie Stievwater, Blood Price by Tanya Huff and Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan are on the reading list right now. (I tend to read not just one novel at a time, but several!)
Q. What are you working on now?
A. Currently I’m working on Books 2 and 3 of the True Born Trilogy. Book 2, which will be called True North, is due in stores April 2017. I don’t yet have a title for Book 3, but I am truly loving the writing process so far!
Q. Congratulations on your upcoming TV series. That is pretty amazing. Did they approach you or did you approach them?
A. Thank you, Lisa! The book was actually optioned for TV or film, so it could become either, but the producers are set on making a TV series (which I think would be rather amazing). I’m actually trying to keep my head over this because one just never knows when it comes to the TV/film business, but I’d really love to see it happen.
Weird true story: A couple of years ago I went to meet a friend from out of town who had invited out all his friends who have defected to Toronto (from Montreal), and one of the producers was there. We fell to talking and…a long time later, voila!
Q. Do you know when the series will come out?
A. No idea, sadly! Glamazon Pictures – the producers involved – are very keen about getting a project off the ground very soon, so who knows? Maybe a year from now? But this is not insider information!
Q. Do you have a dream cast for your characters?
A. Ha! I’ve had to think about that question a lot lately! I’m not entirely comfortable with giving “my” version of a dream cast because I don’t want to ruin readers’ experience, but if I had to pick a few…I think I’d pick Canadian actor Torrance Coombs (from Reign) for Nolan Storm and maybe someone like British actor Douglas Booth for Jared. I’m torn for Margot and Lucy. I’ve thought about someone like Aimee Teegarden from Star-Crossed…but on the other hand, wouldn’t there need to be a wild casting call to find two unknown but amazing auburn-haired twins? Then again, this is just my dream!!
L.E. Sterling, http://www.le-sterling.com/
Entangled Teen, http://www.entangledpublishing.com/category/entangled-teen/
After the great Plague descended, the world population was decimated…and their genetics damaged beyond repair.
The Lasters wait hopelessly for their genes to self-destruct. The Splicers pay for expensive treatments that might prolong their life. The plague-resistant True Borns are as mysterious as they are feared…And then there’s Lucy Fox and her identical twin sister, Margot. After endless tests, no one wants to reveal what they are. When Margot disappears, a desperate Lucy has no choice but to put her faith in the True Borns, led by the charismatic Nolan Storm and the beautiful but deadly Jared Price. As Lucy and the True Borns set out to rescue her sister, they stumble upon a vast conspiracy stretching from Dominion’s street preachers to shady Russian tycoons. But why target the Fox sisters? As they say in Dominion, it’s in the blood.
Editor’s Note: I have read a lot of sci-fi and fantasy and “the future looks terrible books”, but I must say this is by the far the weirdest I have read. I am not sure how I feel about it. I could understand Lucy and Margot’s frustration about not knowing what they are – because I felt the same frustration while reading, which makes it likely I will read Book 2 in what is planned to be a trilogy. I liked the sisters and their relationship, I liked Jared and Storm. I disliked many others. I disliked the future, although I wasn’t as scared as I sometimes I am – likely because I also thought it was completely unrealistic. I thought, while reading it, it would make a pretty good movie. I guess I was right about that.
Happy People Read & Drink Coffee
Agnes Martin Lugand
Diane seems to have the perfect life. She is a wife, a mother and the owner of Happy People Read and Drink Coffee, a cozy literary cafe in Paris. But when she suddenly loses her husband and daughter in a car accident, her life is overturned and the world as she knows it instantly disappears. Trapped and haunted by her memories, Diane closes her shop and retreats from her friends and family, unable and unwilling to move forward. But one year later, Diane shocks her loved ones and makes the surprising decision to move to a small town on the Irish coast, finally determined to heal by rebuilding her life alone – until she meets Edward, a handsome and moody Irish photographer who lives next door. At first abrasive and unwelcoming, Edward initially resents Diane’s intrusion into his life of solitude…until he can no longer keep her at arm’s length. Along windy shores and cobbled streets, Diane falls into a surprising and tumultuous romance. As she works to overcome her painful memories and truly heal, Diane and Edward’s once-in-a-lifetime connection inspires her to love herself and the world around her with newfound inner strength and happiness. But will it last when Diane leaves Ireland, and Edward, for good?
Editor’s Note: The book pulled you in by the second page. Wow. What a beginning. I found the book pretty predictable, except at the end when I wished for predictability. It’s a light, read, perfect for the summer. It is also soon to be a major motion picture.
How to Be Miserable
40 Strategies You Already Use
Randy J. Paterson
New Harbinger publications, http://www.newharbinger.com/
There are stacks upon stacks of self-help books that will promise you love, happiness and a fabulous life. But how can you pinpoint the exact behaviors that cause you to be miserable in the first place? Sometimes when we’re depressed, or just sad or unhappy, our instincts tell us to do the opposite of what we should – such as focusing on the negative, dwelling on what we can’t change, isolating ourselves from friends and loved ones, eating junk food or overindulging in alcohol. Sound familiar? This tongue-in-cheek guide will help you identify the behaviors that make you unhappy and discover how you-and only you -are holding yourself back from a life of contentment. You’ll learn to spot the tried-and-true traps that increase feelings of dissatisfaction, foster a lack of motivation, and detract from our quality of life-as well as ways to avoid them.
Editor’s Note: While I don’t like self-help books, I thought this was neat way of looking at them. Most chapters, which were short in an already small book, consisted of information and point forms of what you are doing to remain miserable. So in Lesson 5, Maximize Your Screen Time, it suggests you should read the news in endless and irrelevant detail and update your social media with important information such as the flu symptoms you had yesterday. Also fun titles, Can’t Afford It? Get it Anyway and Give 100 Per Cent To Your Work. A good book to flip through when you are looking to make little changes in your life.
Lucy Tries Soccer
Orca Books, http://orcabook.com/lucytriessports/
Eager to try a summer sport, Lucy and her friends meet at the soccer field for their first game of three-on-three! Thanks to Coach Nick, Lucy and the rest of Team Blue learn a few basic skills as they prepare to face Team Red. This is the third book in the Lucy Tries Sports series, designed to encourage children to get active and participate in sports. In Lucy Tries Soccer, Lucy discovers how much fun it is to play on a team and learns why soccer is the world’s most popular game.
Editor’s Note: This not my favourite Lucy book; Lucy Tries Luge is still our favourite. While my seven year old has played soccer, we really don’t know much about the sport, but I feel that it’s an activity most people know. I like Lucy trying exotic sports that most people are not familiar with. Saying that, I was please my son didn’t ask to try the luge himself. I have no idea where I would need to go to help him reach that goal.
We are all made of molecules
Ember, Penguin Random House, penguinrandomhouse.ca/
Thirteen-year-old Stewart is academically brilliant but socially clueless. Fourteen-year-old Ashley is the undisputed “It” girl in her class, but her grades stink. Their worlds are about to collide when Stewart and his dad move in with Ashley and her mom. Stewart is trying to be 89.9 per cent happy about it, but Ashley is 110 per cent horrified. She already has to hide the real reason her dad moved out; “Spewart” could further threaten her position at the top of the social ladder. They are complete opposites. And yet, they have one thing in common: they — like everyone else — are made of molecules.
Editor’s Note: I really didn’t like Ashley and while she certainly improved by the end of the book, I found her character lacking; I wouldn’t have liked her in high school although she certainly existed then and, sadly, now. I really liked Stewart and all the other “good” characters in the book. I thought each of them was wonderful editions to the story. Jared was despicable, and his parents not much better. Without spoiling anything, the turning point in Ashley’s life is disgusting and the result so upsetting.
Dignity, beauty, and Breast Cancer
Second Story Press, http://secondstorypress.ca/books/354-woman-redefined
When women diagnosed with breast cancer face the possibility of undergoing surgery or having a mastectomy they want to know what their bodies will look like afterward. But faced with only clinical and impersonal depictions of women’s bodies, how can they know what to expect? Will they still feel attractive? Will they still feel like themselves? Kristina Hunter was faced with those very fears with her diagnosis. During her treatment she met other women who also had no idea what their bodies would look like after surgery, and she set out to correct this. With photographer ML Kenneth, together they captured emotional photographs of women who have had breast cancer surgery, helping them reclaim their bodies, and then paired the photos with information on their corresponding surgeries. The result is this informative collection of personal, empowering and artful portraits that answers many questions about surgeries, while also asking questions about what makes a woman’s body beautiful. It gives future generations of diagnosed women a more tangible, and beautiful, reference of what to expect.
Editor’s Note: Each black and white photo shows one women’s survival picture and on the opposite page capital letter black and white words and phrases about the woman in teal and black in capital letters. Words such as creative, vivacious, yet reserved or strong, determined and positive. Each page also tells us the surgeries, usually more than one, that one person has gone through. I can only assume, and hope to never know, that brave, could be applied to each woman.
Beware That Girl
Doubleday Canada, http://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca
The Haves. The Have-Nots. Kate O’Brian appears to be a Have-Not. Her whole life has been a series of setbacks she’s had to snake her way out of—some more sinister than others. But she’s determined to change that. She’s book smart. She’s street-smart. Oh, and she’s also a masterful liar. As the scholarship student at the Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ladder and land a spot at Yale. She’s already found her “people” among the senior class “it” girls — specifically in the cosseted, mega-wealthy yet deeply damaged Olivia Sumner. As for Olivia, she considers Kate the best friend she’s always needed, the sister she never had. When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration, he immediately charms his way into the faculty’s and students’ lives—becoming especially close to Olivia, a fact she’s intent on keeping to herself. It becomes increasingly obvious that Redkin poses a threat to Kate, too, in a way she can’t reveal — and can’t afford to ignore. How close can Kate and Olivia get to Mark without having to share their dark pasts?
Editor’s Note: Wow. Just wow. What a read. At one point I thought I couldn’t finish it because of one character, but I am glad I did. Wow.
Cameron and his mom have been on the run for five years. His father is hunting them. At least, that’s what Cameron’s been told. When they settle in an isolated farmhouse, Cameron starts to see and hear things that aren’t possible. Soon he’s questioning everything he thought he knew and even his sanity. What’s hiding in the night? Buried in the past? Cameron must uncover the dark secrets before they tear him apart.
Editor’s Note: I liked it. I was kept guessing who did it until the end. I became as unsure as everything as the main character Cameron was, although I guessed not all was what it seemed. A great read. A perfect summer read, too. Creepy, but you don’t need to keep every light on the house, creepy.
Trial by Fire, A Riley Donovan Mystery
Orca Books, orcabooks.com
Editor’s Note: This book was a little slow to start, then pulled me in and kept me reading – and guessing – until the end. I like Riley. She is a great, strong character who doesn’t back down and believes in fighting out the truth despite the outcome for her. The stereotypical small towns equal narrow minds bugs me, but in fairness to McClintock, the story couldn’t have been set any place else.
When Blood Lies
Linda L. Richards, A Nicole Charles Mystery
Orca Books, orcabooks.com
Editor’s Note: Another great Rapid Read by Orca Books. While I the downsizing a Nicole’s newspaper may of hit a little close to home, it is always fun to read books about journalism, and how journalism is supposed to be. This book kept me reading from the time I picked it up until I put it back down when it was over. I look forward to reading more of Nicole Charles’ adventures and hopefully seeing her byline in the Vancouver Post.
Children and young adults
Forensics Squad Unleashed
Orca Books, http://www.orcabook.com/
Tabitha is thrilled to be attending a summer forensics camp, even if she has to go with her sort-of friend Mason. Soon she is learning to dust for fingerprints, photograph a crime scene and take footprint impressions. Even though the camp instructors have set up a “crime” for the kids to solve, Tabitha longs to use her newfound skills to solve a real-life mystery. She’s pretty sure a dognapping ring is active in her Montreal neighborhood, and when her beloved dog, Roxie, is stolen, she convinces her forensics “team” to help her find Roxie and nab the ’nappers.
Editor’s Note: I liked the book, but didn’t love it. Lots of information. And I love that it was set in Vancouver.
Who hasn’t dreamed of flying? In this enchanting bedtime poem by Canada’s Father Goose, a crotchety wizard shares his secret spell for taking flight. Based on Dennis Lee’s “The Wizard,” from his acclaimed collection Melvis and Elvis, and gorgeously illustrated by award-winning illustrator Dusan Petricic, Zoomberry is a magical adventure for the very young that will send readers soaring through nighttime skies.
Editor’s Note: I must admit, each time I read Zoomberry my mind immediately started to recite another book called Jamberry, which my son loved when he was younger. Zoomberry is quite a bit different. My son thought it was a weird and I could see why, perhaps a bit to abstract for a seven year old. I thought it was neat story about a little boy drifting off to sleep. I didn’t realize this was based on Lee’s The Wizard from Melvis and Elvis until I read the blurb. In interviewed Lee about that book, which you can read here .
Science, technology and learning
Did You Know? Animals
Why do tigers have stripes? How do chameleons change color? Why are flamingos pink? Did You Know? Animals answers all the probing questions kids ask about their favourite animals, organized by group. Children will discover amazing facts about a range of animals, from penguins to elephants and snakes to sharks. Focusing on what kids actually want to know about their favorite animals, the question and answer format makes it appealing to children aged 5-9 years old. With “Quick quiz” boxes that encourage the reader to find the answers for themselves around the page and a simple design that makes pages easy to navigate, Did You Know? Animals will keep young readers engaged and sharpen their knowledge of the animal world.
Editor’s Note: Apparently I am helping the myth about moles. These creatures are actually not blind, but just have tiny eyes. Their sense of smell is the most developed sense. Lots of information in this book and, as only DK can, presented in a way that is easy to read, easy to look at and really interesting. Despite your best efforts, you flip to the back to read the aptly named section called creepy crawlies to learn that dung beetles lay their eggs in poop so their young hatch and eat their way out. Disgusting. Each double page offers enough information about the creature to keep you satisfied, a two question quiz as well as two other creatures that offer similar traits. For example, dolphins have blowholes to breath air with its lungs (as it’s a mammal like us), but the water spider creates a silk-lined bubble of air to allow it to breathe underwater (great, can’t even get away from them even under the water) and a hippopotamuses have nostrils on on their heads to keep breathing even if their body is under the water.
Pocket Bird of Canada
DK Books, http://www.dk.com
Pocket Birds of Canada is perfectly sized to carry along with you on a bird-watching expedition. Each half- or full-page profile features high-quality, close-up annotated photographs of each bird, showing differences between males and females or juveniles and adults, along with range maps, and descriptive text explaining key information to aid in identification. Further details on voice, nesting and feeding habits, and preferred habitats help to complete the picture. Produced in association with David M. Bird, emeritus professor of wildlife biology at McGill University and a longtime bird enthusiast, Pocket Birds of Canada is an indispensable addition to any birder’s library.
Editor’s Note: I love birds. I have binoculars in my car and I have been known to pull over and check out what bird is in the tree – or mating at the side of the road. This little book is fantastic as it shows Canada’s birds. Despite the book’s size, it offers both the male and female version of the bird, a map as to where these birds are found as well as information about its voice, nesting, feeding, habitat, length and wingspan.
The Ultimate Interactive Guide to the Universe
Silver Dolphin Books, silverdolphinbooks.com
Explore the farthest reaches of the universe with this stunning visual atlas of outer space. From the big bang to the future of space exploration, The Ultimate Interactive Guide to the Universe gives children a detailed look at how stars and planets are formed, what causes black holes and nebulae to form, and the latest advancements in space travel. Flaps, pull tabs, a model solar system, a poster, and an interactive stargazer’s guide to the constellations of the night sky make this a complete guide to learning about the mysteries of the universe.
Editor’s Note: My seven year old and I loved the interactive part – a poster, a star guide that you put together and a 3D model of Earth’s satellites. The book itself is pretty fantastic. Lots of information, but only a paragraph or two related to a picture. We liked the fact file of each of the planets including length of a year in Earth years and length of a day, again in comparison to Earth. It’s a book we will look at over and over.
Complicated Stuff in Simple Words
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, http://www.hmhco.com/
Have you ever tried to learn more about some incredible thing, only to be frustrated by incomprehensible jargon? Randall Munroe is here to help. In Thing Explainer, he uses line drawings and only the thousand (or, rather, ten hundred”) most common words to provide simple explanations for some of the most interesting stuff there is,
Editor’s Note: This book is big – and full of information jammed into every space. The pictures are diagram-like rather than real. The type is small and in blue. It is super busy. I found that I looked at the diagrams and read the headers, and moved on until something caught my eye. But the author is right – simple words are used to describe everything from how a dishwasher works to my favourite Hole-Making City Boat, which shows this metal rod that goes from the boat to the sea floor described this way: “rock-eating metal sticks go down through this thing, and sand, rock and fire water comes up.” If you follow this “thing” you can see King Triton at the bottom of the page. While this method worked for some of the items such as how a washing machine worked, I found it frustrating for more complex items like cells. I wanted to know what the thingy actually was.
What is Out There?
Think Like a Scientist, thecreativecompany.us
A narration of the origins, advancements and future of the earth and space sciences, including astronomy and geology, and the ways in which scientists utilize the scientific method to explore questions.
Editor’s Note: The pictures were great. The information looked great, but I wasn’t interested in reading it. I read the caption information and flipped the page. The front cover shot – disgusting.
Other New releases
Moone Boy The Fish Detective
Chris O’Dowd and Nick V. Murphy
Feiwel and Friends, mackids.com
It’s lean times at the Moone Boy household and all Martin wants is a Game Boy. If he wants a Game Boy though, he’s going to have to work for it. So his imaginary friend, Sean, suggests he get a job…
After failing to find work as a stable boy, cowboy, or homeboy, the Moone boy instead becomes Boyle’s main butcher boy. But Francie Feeley’s Fabulous Fishatorium across the road is luring all their customers away. Convinced something fishy is afoot, Martin and Sean decide to go on an undercover mission to discover the secrets of the mysterious fish factory. But can Agent M double-O N E get to the bottom of Feeley’s slippery schemes without ending up sleeping with the fishes himself?
Doubleday Canada, penguinrandomhouse.ca
Twenty-something Londoner Claire has just resigned from her job without a plan – and although she is pleased, her family and friends can’t seem to understand. Before too long, she manages to push away both her safe, steady, brain-surgeon boyfriend and her difficult but loving mother. Quirky, questioning Claire hilariously navigates and comments on the emotions and minutiae of day-to-day life as only someone without the distractions of a regular routine can. Brilliantly observed, touching and wildly funny, Not Working is the story of a life unraveling and a novel that skewers the questions that have been keeping us all awake at night.
Walking to Camelot
A Pilgrimage through the heart of Rural England
John A. Cherrington
Figure 1 Publishing Inc., figure1pub.com
John Cherrington and his 74-year-old walking companion set out one fine morning in May to traverse the only English footpath that cuts south through the rural heart of the country, a formidable path called the Macmillan Way. Cherrington’s walking partner is Karl Yzerman, an irascible “bull of the woods,” a full 20 years his senior and the perfect foil to the wry and self-deprecating author. Their journey begins at Boston on the Wash and takes them through areas of outstanding beauty such as the Cotswolds, Somerset and Dorset, all the way to Chesil Beach. Their ultimate destination is Cadbury Castle, a hill fort that many archeologists believe to be the location of King Arthur’s legendary center of operations in the late fifth century when he — or some other prominent British warrior chieftain — made his last stand against the Saxons. Along the way the unlikely duo experiences many adventures, including a serious crime scene, a bull attack, several ghosts, a brothel and the English themselves. The historical merges with the magic of the footpath, with Cherrington making astute, often humorous observations on the social, cultural, and culinary mores of the English, all from a very North American perspective.
Orca Publishing, orcabooks.com
Amelia’s world came crashing down when her parents separated and she was forced to relocate with her mother to a new part of town. But when Duke and Gabriella move into the suite downstairs with their menagerie of exotic animals, Amelia feels like she’s been thrown a lifeline. Helping care for the animals gives Amelia a sense of purpose, and she’s determined to keep Duke and Gabriella’s secret. But eventually her mother discovers the animals and refuses to let them stay. To make matters worse, Winston, a sulcata tortoise, has fallen ill, and the medical bills are piling up. Can Amelia figure out a way to help save Winston and keep her newfound family together?
This article was originally published at insidetoronto.com