During the month of August, Judy Emery and I participated in Stratford's Celebrated Writers Series. Along with over 200+ fans and wannabe writers, we gathered to listen and learn from three master wordsmiths: Louise Penny, Giles Blunt and Germaine Greer.
We learned that...
- Louise Penny was advised not to set her books in Canada. Agents and publishers believed that no one would be interested in reading books based in Quebec. She stuck to her guns and her Chief Inspector Armand Gamache books have found a world-wide audience.
- Giles Blunt set his John Cardinal novels in the small town of Algonquin Bay, which is North Bay very thinly disguised.
- Louise Penny writes a minimum of 1000 words a day. When asked about inspiration, she commented that she would have major problems if she waited for the muse to strike.
- Giles Blunt works from 9 to 3 each day and outlines all his novels. Although he knows the ending before he starts to write, he will often make changes.
- Germaine Greer made fantastic use of very few primary materials--church and public records, deeds, wills--to recreate the life of Ann Hathaway in Shakespeare's Wife. She provided us with an interesting, informative and somewhat provocative lecture. Unlike the other two writers, she chose not to read from her novels. She considers readings to be "an insult to the audience."