Books·Magic 8 Q&A

Annabel Lyon on the day job that's helped her writing the most

The author of The Golden Mean answers eight questions submitted by eight other authors.
Annabel Lyon is the author of the novel The Sweet Girl. (Phillip Chin)

The author of The Golden Mean and the The Sweet Girl answers eight questions submitted by eight of her fellow writers in the CBC Books Magic 8 Q&A. 

1. Shyam Selvadurai asks, "What is the hardest thing about being a writer?"

It's not that hard to be a Canadian writer. If I were a writer in Afghanistan or North Korea, I might find things to complain about.

2. Helen Humphreys asks, "If you weren't a writer, what would you be, and why?"

A university professor, because I could still have a life built around books.

3. Peter Robinson asks, "How important is the sense of place in your work?"

Not super important. When I use an urban setting it's usually Vancouver because that's what I know, but I'm not a big landscape-describer.

4. Sharon Butala asks, "Do you know how the heck we separate the writer-self from the writer's life, that is, the writing from the writer's person?"

I think we file this one under "glass houses: people living therein not throwing stones." No?

5. Helen Humphreys asks, "What is the best piece of advice about writing that you have ever received?"

Treat it like a job. You work on days you feel like it; you work on days you don't. Real adults don't procrastinate.

6. Timothy Taylor asks, "No seriously: how important have your other work choices — i.e. the things you've done to make money — been to your literary writing?"

Teaching writing has been important to my literary work. I believe strongly in the value of making writing a conscious process. You should know what your tools are, and how to use them well.

7. Drew Hayden Taylor asks, "Do you think you or your books would have been successful, say... fifty or a hundred years ago? Or has the style of writing changed too much in the passing decades?"

I have no idea.

8. Greg Hollingshead asks, "Auberon Waugh (by way of Randall Jarrell) has described the novel as a story that has something wrong with it. If you agree, do you think it's because the novel is a difficult literary form to get right or because as a literary form it has something wrong with it? If so, why or what?"

No, I don't agree. Some stories need a lot of time and space to get told. Some don't.

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