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My new novel is here

Moon of the Crusted Snow

If you let your imagination go, some interesting ideas will emerge and float around in your head. They’ll come and go over time, but once in a while one of those ideas really sticks. It firmly plants itself in your psyche, increasingly commanding your attention. If you let your imagination nurture that little idea, it grows and grows until it’s all you contemplate whenever your mind is free.

Eventually that idea gets so big that it can’t stay in your head anymore. You have to unleash it in some form. And then this gestating idea becomes words on a screen. It expands and evolves in that form, and before long it’s something you grow to love and believe in. When it’s fully formed enough, you share it with others to see if it’s something you can nurture even more.

And then you go back to it, and let the idea mature and develop as it should. Sometimes you reshape and recreate it. That can take a really long time. But if you’re patient with yourself and committed to making your creation the best it can be, it eventually becomes ready for the next step. You develop the confidence and passion to share it with strangers, who decide that they want to share it more widely for you.

Then you work with others who also believe in your idea and want to make it beautiful and wonderful. That can also take a long time. But it’s worth the effort and the wait. After a lot of hard work, everyone comes together and decides that what was once a little idea in your head is now ready for the world.

And then you get to hold it in your hands.

Moon of the Crusted Snow

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I’m very excited to announce that my next novel, Moon of the Crusted Snow, will be published by ECW Press in the fall of 2018. It’s a post-apocalyptic thriller that takes place in an isolated First Nation in northern Ontario. I posted a story synopsis on my Facebook page that you can read below:

When I started developing this idea a couple of years ago, I originally intended it as a short story. But the more I thought about it, the more it grew. I began writing in September 2015 during the two-week Indigenous Writers Program at the Banff Centre, and I’ve been able to keep a steady writing momentum over the past year thanks to kind grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. My employer, CBC Ottawa, has graciously granted me leaves of absence to accommodate the creation of this novel. And just this fall, ECW acquired the publishing rights. I’m extremely grateful to these organizations for this opportunity.

Moon of the Crusted Snow is a novel about the end of the world as we know it. I described it above very simply as a “post-apocalyptic thriller”, and that’s likely how it will be billed going forward. But it’s much more than a story about the apocalypse and its fallout. It’s about resilience, self-discovery, and renewal. Without giving too much away, an important underlying theme in the story is how one community’s collapse could be another community’s new beginning.

But there is a great deal of darkness through which the characters in the story have to find light. It’s a harrowing struggle through the harshest season. The unwavering desire to survive is what has always drawn me to post-apocalyptic novels, and some of those classic stories inspired me to write my own, but through an Anishinaabe lens. I hope you’re able to read it when it’s published. Stay tuned for more details in the lead-up. Miigwech!

Midnight Sweatlodge: The Audiobook

There’s a resurgence of Indigenous storytelling happening across Turtle Island. Through a variety of media, voices are getting stronger and stories are reaching farther. More Indigenous people are bolstering culture through stories and connecting with their roots, and more non-Indigenous people are learning about those crucial experiences.

Literature has been an important way to document those stories and teach others about Indigenous life. Many prominent and emerging authors are producing stellar work year after year. Books have been a substantially viable medium in accomplishing that. But in the world of Indigenous fiction, there’s been a largely untapped resource: the audiobook.

My good friend Rick Harp pointed this out to me earlier this year. While a handful of prolific authors has successfully adapted their books into audio, most stories remain in physical print. So he wants to start a new trend in Indigenous storytelling to change that.

Rick has chosen my first book, Midnight Sweatlodge, as his first project in this movement. He’s started a Kickstarter campaign to raise needed the money to turn it into an audiobook. It’s an ambitious, enterprising proposal, and I’m honoured and humbled he wants to use my fiction as his initial source material. For those of you unfamiliar with the original book, Midnight Sweatlodge is a collection of short stories that was published by Theytus Books in 2011. You can read more about it here.

Rick is a veteran journalist and a media visionary. With a wealth of experience at APTN, CBC, and other media outlets, he knows the importance of stories in keeping Indigenous culture at the forefront of our collective psyche. He’s the founder of mediaINDIGENA, the online multimedia magazine, and with all his experience and expertise, I’m confident he will do the stories I’ve written justice with his own voice.

So please check out the video he produced below, and visit the Kickstarter link. I hope you’ll consider supporting this exciting project!

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