Why does Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour finalist Jennifer Craig keep writing?
'I'm always trying to do better. There is always something to learn'
Jennifer Craig is a B.C.-based nurse-turned-novelist. Her most recent book, Gone to Pot, is about a grandmother who resorts to growing and selling marijuana in order to make ends meet. Balancing her life as a doting grandma, respected community member and drug dealer turns out to be trickier than expected. Gone to Pot is currently a finalist for the 2018 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. The winner will be announced on June 9, 2018.
Below, Craig takes the CBC Books Magic 8 Q&A and answers eight questions from eight fellow writers.
1. Zsuzsi Gartner asks, "Why do you write what you write and the way you write it?"
What a difficult question! I write the way I do as the result of many classes in creative writing and the study of many books on the subject but I'm always trying to do better. There is always something to learn. What do I write? The adage for writers is "Write what you know" and I suppose, to some extent that's true. However, I'm always researching about what I'm writing. For example, I am currently writing a novel about a woman growing up in Sparta in around 200 BC so I'm having to study ancient Greece. But I know from personal experience what it's like to grow up as a woman.
2. Kara Stanley asks, "Where is your preferred location to write? Home? Studio? Café? Library?"
I always write at home with my feet up and my laptop on my lap. I make notes in cafés sometimes but I don't seriously get down to it there.
3. Drew Hayden Taylor asks, "Which comes first, the title or the book?!"
The book, for sure. Sometimes I find a title difficult but the book suggests it. For example, Gone to Pot comes from when my main character is asked how things are going and she says, "Oh, everything's gone to pot," meaning gone haywire but the person who asked her thinks she means she's growing pot.
4. Heather O'Neill asks, "What's the strangest thing you've done while researching a book?"
Research for Gone to Pot meant working in growers' gardens, which was strange in itself, especially the smell. Learning how to trim the buds was entirely new to me and I was slow and inept compared with the experts.
5. Taras Grescoe asks, "What's the biggest lie you've ever told (in life, or writing, or both)?"
Do you seriously think I'm going to fess up in an interview???
6. Silvia Moreno-Garcia asks, "If you could have dinner with a fictional character, who would it be and why?"
Well he isn't a fictional character but a playwright. Alan Bennett, because he's funny and a wonderful writer. He's also my age and grew up in the same city I did.
7. Robert Wiersema asks, "If someone were to create a comic book based on your life, what would your hero name be, and what would be your special gift/skill?"
I Scream and the Seven Deadly Sins. Special skill: making gelato.
8. S.K. Ali asks, "What surprised you the most after getting published?"
How little author's earn.