Books·Magic 8 Q&A

What scares Scotiabank Giller Prize-shortlisted author Michelle Winters the most

The author of I Am a Truck answers eight questions from eight fellow authors.
I Am a Truck by Michelle Winters is on the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize shortlist. (Invisible Publishing/Sara Heinonen)

Michelle Winters has made the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize shortlist for her debut novel I Am a Truck. The novel follows Agathe as she deals with the sudden disappearance of her husband Réjean. The couple was just about to celebrate their 20th anniversary — and all he left behind was his truck.

We asked the Saint John, N.B., native to take the CBC Books Magic 8 Q&A and answer eight questions from eight authors.

1. Alan Cumyn asks, "What do you do when the well runs dry, when it feels like you've had your last good idea?"

I go for a walk until I have an idea, then I sit down and explore that idea until it leads to a better idea. Never let an idea escape.

2. Caroline Pignat asks, "What scares you most about writing?"

That I'm writing something that's already been written.

3. Taras Grescoe asks, "What's the biggest lie you've ever told (in life, or writing, or both)?"

I've never told a lie.

4. Eden Robinson asks, "What is your first childhood memory?"

Running around in a circle at church, getting dizzy and falling down. That's the first one I really remember the feeling of.

5. Rajiv Surendra asks, "Is there a book that you wish you had never read? Explain. Please."

They're all worth it, no matter how painful. Even you, Pincher Martin.

6. Nick Cutter asks, "How much of your fiction have you mined from your own life? If so, has it ever gotten you in trouble?"

I've mined all of it from my own life, then I've mangled it beyond recognition. I'm looking forward to writing in my 80s though, when I can start naming names. 

7. Kerry Clare asks, "What are some of your favourite words? Which ones do you use too often?"

My favourite word is "penultimate," but I hardly get to use it at all. I also love "component." In editing I Am a Truck, the word "gentle" came up a lot, which really says something about the book. 

8. Marc Raboy asks, "What is the most helpful advice you ever received from an editor?"

"Nobody knows how to write a book."