Books·Magic 8 Q&A

Cassie Stocks on living in fictional worlds

The author of the humorous novel Dance, Gladys, Dance answer eight questions from eight fellow writers.
Cassie Stocks is the author of the novel Dance, Gladys, Dance. (

Cassie Stocks's Dance, Gladys, Dance merges the lives of a 27-year-old woman named Frieda and a ghost named Gladys. Together, the two form a friendship that celebrates unexpected connections, art and the notion that it's never too late to realize your dreams. The novel received the 2013 Stephen Leacock Medal for humour and is currently on the Canada Reads 2018 longlist.

Below, Cassie Stocks answers eight questions submitted by eight fellow writers in the CBC Books Magic 8 Q&A.

1. Meg Rosoff asks, "Why are writers so odd?"

You have to be a little bent to pursue a writing career. You need to be tough as a diabolical ironclad beetle, soft as chinchilla fur, intensely dedicated, imaginative, driven, and a dreamer. Combining all those qualities would turn anyone a little odd; however, as Alice from Wonderland said, "You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are."

2. Eden Robinson asks, "Who was your most influential mentor?"

Sharon Butala was the first person to give me hope that I could actually write. Books themselves have probably been my biggest influence. I've lived half my life in the real world and the other half in literature.

3. Matti Friedman asks, "What book made the greatest impact on you?"

Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut.  A clever, multi-layered, gorgeous book.

4. Riel Nason asks, "Where in Canada haven't you been yet that you really want to visit?"

I've always wanted to go to the Cadillac Hotel in Cadillac, Sask. (population 95). I recently looked the hotel up and it's for sale. If anyone purchases it, let me know, and I'll try and make it for a beer, eventually.

5. Emil Sher asks, "What three words would you use to describe what makes a great story great?"

Comedy, tragedy and energy.

6. Cherie Dimaline asks, "What is your biggest fear when your books are finally released out into the world?"

My biggest fear, because my writing contains humour, is that may be ignored critically.  As Peter Ustinov said, "Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious."

7. Cea Sunrise Person asks, "What do you think the biggest misconception about writers is?"

That writers live far from the madding crowd in ivory towers, without bills to pay, cat litter boxes to empty, school lunches to make and lawns to mow.

8. Vincent Lam asks, "For you — what does the 'Ultimate Literary Event' look like?"

I'd like to attend a literary event set up as very large kitchen party, with plenty of beverages, writers and readers, talking, discussing, arguing and laughing. Writers are often seen only on stage at readings. People should see us relaxed in our natural habit. Most of us are quite ordinary (albeit a little odd).