The Next Chapter

Why Kerry Clare thinks online identities are empowering

Longtime blogger Kerry Clare has made her debut as a novelist with Mitzi Bytes.
Sarah Lundy, the main character of Kerry Clare's novel, writes under the pseudonym "Mitzi Bytes" on the internet. (Tracey Nolan/HarperCollins)

Kerry Clare has written about books and family life on her blog, Pickle Me This, for over 15 years. The blogger and editor of the CanLit website 49th Shelf drew on her personal experiences of navigating motherhood and the internet as inspiration for her debut novel, Mitzi BytesThe book tells the story of Sarah Lundy, who has secretly maintained an anonymous online presence for years, through a divorce, second marriage and raising a family. One day, she receives a threatening message from "Jane Q" that could reveal her deepest secrets and jeopardize her relationships with the people in her life.

Democracy of literature

I am so inspired by the works that I read. There was a quote by Elizabeth Hay where she writes about her writing being on the coattails of great writers. I kind of feel that way too, Elizabeth Hay being one of those people I'd like to think I ride on the coattails of. It's so inspiring to read other people's work. If you love literature, you can partake in it by being a reader. It's very democratic and I think that's a wonderful thing.

Creating your own identity

Some people think that's a bad thing, that people are making their identities. But I think that when we get to construct our own identities, it is actually kind of empowering. Lots of people don't get an opportunity to define how they're seen. For people of colour or disabled people, sometimes the world tells you who you are. For anyone, I think that's the case. And so the opportunity to create your persona is actually a really exciting thing.

Kerry Clare's comments have been edited and condensed.