Books·Magic 8 Q&A

'When extreme emotion makes us cry, words are there to tell us why': Carol Rose Daniels on the power of words

The author of the poetry collection Hiraeth answers eight questions submitted by eight other authors.
Carol Rose Daniels is the author of several books, including the poetry collection Hiraeth. (Courtesy Carol Rose Daniels)

Carol Rose Daniels is a Cree and Dene author. Her novel Bearskin Diary won the 2017-2018 Aboriginal Literature Award. Her latest is a poetry collection called Hiraeth, about the impact of the Sixties Scoop on the lives of First Nations and Métis girls as they grew into women in search of a sense of belonging.

Below, Daniels takes the CBC Books Magic 8 Q&A and answers eight questions from eight fellow writers. 

1. Colleen Murphy asks, "Why do you love words?"

Happy, sad, confused or surprised — when extreme emotion makes us cry, words are there to tell us why.

2. J.J. Lee asks, "What ritualistic or superstitious habits do you follow as you write? Are there slippers you have to wear or an auspicious housecoat? Do you have a lucky keyboard? Must you compose on a yellow pad of legal size?" 

I usually smudge myself with sage before I begin. No harm in asking my spirit helpers to guide me.

3. Helen Humphreys asks, "Which of your books is your favourite?" 

My favourite book is one that hasn't been published yet, Wapawikocikanik — The Narrows of Fear.  It is with the publisher at the moment, release date TBA.  It is a story that champions the strength of women helping women, fake shamanism and how abuses within residential schools have contributed to homophobia within First Nations communities.

4. Tanya Talaga asks, "Who is your most feared critic?" 


5. Louise Bernice Halfe asks, "Where does the story come from?" 

I get most of my ideas either in the middle of the night, which means I lose sleep on a regular basis. I also develop characters and storylines while out for long walks with my dog.

6. Méira Cook asks, "Do you ever re-read books? Which ones and why?" 

There are so many great books, I rarely re-read a title. Although, my three children and I have our own family book club. We started our book club with a discussion of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I re-read this book because it's good for me to be reminded that the gifts I have been given are worthy of celebration on a daily basis. I wanted my kids to read it because it's a good message for them as well.

7. Lesley Choyce asks, "What do you think the role of the writer will be 100 years from now?" 

Storytelling has been around since the beginning of time. I expect it will be an important part of how we communicate until the end of time.

8. George Murray asks, "When is enough enough?" 

If you are asking about rewriting, I'm not sure there is an answer for that question. Each time a writer revises, the story becomes more fully developed, the characters are more believable.