The Next Chapter

Zoey Leigh Peterson on her oddest job

The author opens up about the time she did landscaping for her father.
Zoey Leigh Peterson is the author of Next Year, For Sure. (Vivienne McMaster/Doubleday)

Zoey Leigh Peterson's debut novel, Next Year, For Sure, explores what happens when a couple decides to become nonmonogamous. Her book made the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist. Before becoming an author, Peterson did some landscaping work for her father. This interview originally aired on Oct. 9, 2017.

"I've had so many odd jobs in my life, but maybe the oddest was when my father hired me to move a bunch of tiny landscaping rocks from one side of our yard to the other side of the yard. These rocks were about the size of a silver dollar. They were quite small. For some reason my dad decided, rather than paying me a lump sum, he would pay me a penny per rock. This meant that I had to count each rock as I carried it across the yard. It has only occurred to me in recent years, that I have no idea why he did it that way. I don't know why he didn't just say, 'I'll give you five dollars to do it.'''

Zoey Leigh Peterson's comments have been edited and condensed.