Monday June 12, 2017

The first book singer-songwriter Christa Couture connected with after her divorce

The singer-songwriter explains why Zoey Leigh Peterson's debut novel struck a chord with her.

The singer-songwriter explains why Zoey Leigh Peterson's debut novel struck a chord with her. (Jen Squires/Doubleday)

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Singer-songwriter Christa Couture has a reputation for transforming tragedy into triumph through her songs. The Toronto-based musician (who also works on CBC's 2017 team) won the 2008 Canadian Aboriginal Music Award for Best Folk Acoustic Album and CBC Music called her third record, The Living Record, one of the best albums of 2012.

When she's not songwriting, Couture likes to read. She says that Zoey Leigh Peterson's Next Year, For Sure was the first book she connected with since her divorce. Next Year, For Sure follows a year in the life of a couple — Kathryn and Chris — who decide to open their relationship after nine years of monogamy.

The whole time this [relationship] is explored, there is such a compassion and respect towards these characters. There's not a judgement about what kind of relationship is better or worse. It's just this picture of two people trying to fulfil their own desires and hopefully not hurt the people that they care about. How do you balance the things you want and the things the people around you want? That gets a bit messy and it gets tricky.

It's told in months and there was a moment at the end of April when I turned the page to May — and I won't ruin it for you — but I had this painful feeling when I realized what was happening next. I think what you start to see in this relationship is that when you look back, you can see what led to where you are, but it's so hard to notice in the moment the little things that are piling up. You don't realize they are setting you on a totally different course.   

Christa Couture's comments have been edited and condensed.

Watch the music video for Christa Couture's "That Little Part of My Heart":