Author Frances Greenslade (Stuart Bish)
Author Frances Greenslade is the "New Face of Fiction" for Random House of Canada. She is in Winnipeg to launch her book Shelter. The book tells the story of Maggie and Jenny, two sisters in search for their mother who left them in a small British Columbia town, and never returned.
Frances Greenslade got her BA in English from the University of Winnipeg. She now lives in Penticton, B.C. Rights for her debut novel have been sold in the U.S., Germany, Holland and the U.K. Here is Frances Greenslade with responses to some writerly questions.
What did you do immediately after hearing that you were being published for the very first time?
I think I phoned my husband and my father. My father was always a big supporter of my writing. He was a writer himself, loved books and had a huge and varied book collection.
How do you decide which narrative point of view to write from?
My first impulse is usually first person, because I strongly identify with my main character. But then I have to decide if I can sustain that voice through the novel and if the point of view allows me to tell the story I want to. For Shelter, I considered writing from three characters' points of view, but all first person. But then I became too involved with Maggie and couldn't let go of her voice.
Where is your favorite place to write?
My office at home. I built my own bookshelves, a wall of books that inspires me every time I look over at them.
Typewriter, laptop, or pen & paper?
I use a laptop most of the time. But I also use pen and paper, especially when I'm revising, because it allows me to completely re-think, rather than just tinkering with what I've already done.
Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what kind??
I sometimes listen to music as I write. I had a "novel playlist" for Shelter, with some Johnny Cash, Stanley Brothers, Lucinda Williams and Ted Hawkins, mostly acoustic guitar, bluesy/bluegrass music.
What is the first book you remember reading?
The first book I remember reading myself is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I know I read others, but this one stands out. The main character's name is Francie, the name I go by. She had a brother named Neely and my brother's name is Neil. This felt like such an honest book and it surprised me that I could read the intimate details of this girl's life and no one tried to tell me it wasn't appropriate. It was one of the books that taught me to trust literature to tell the truth.
What's on your nightstand right now?
Joseph Boyden's Through Black Spruce and Zsuzsi Gartner's short story collection, Better Living Through Plastic Explosives. Pure pleasure reading. Because I teach, I have certain books I have to read and re-read during the semester, so now that classes are done I can get to the things I've been waiting to read
If there was one book you wish you had written what would it be?
Maybe Margaret Laurence's The Diviners, because she saw herself as helping to build a Canadian mythology and she contributed so much to that.