Updates here have been very sparse lately, but I have a big one to share now. I’m very pleased to announce that I’ll be working with Penguin Random House Canada on a sequel to Moon of the Crusted Snow. Here’s a bit more from my literary agent, Denise Bukowski:
Based on the success of his bestselling novel about an apocalypse in a northern First Nation, Moon of the Crusted Snow, Anishinaabe writer and CBC broadcaster Waubgeshig Rice has been commissioned by Random House Canada editor Rick Meier to produce an as-yet-unwritten sequel set ten years after the events that forced the residents to retreat into the bush and resume their traditional lifestyle. The novel is expected to be published in 2022. Congratulations, Waub!
The story will pick up more than a decade after the blackout, following Evan Whitesky and his daughter Nangohns as they lead a small group of Anishinaabeg from their community on a voyage south. They seek the remnants of the world that once was on a quest to return to their people’s original homelands on Georgian Bay. It will be an ambitious story of sweeping reclamation.
I’m very thrilled to work with Rick Meier and the Penguin Random House team to develop this story. I can’t wait to revisit this world and these characters. They have stayed with me in many poignant ways for a long time, and I believe they deserve more of their story told. So big thanks to Denise Bukowski for finding me this opportunity, and to PRHC for their faith in the journey ahead. And of course, I will always be extremely grateful to Susan Renouf and everyone at ECW Press for helping me create this world in the first place.
This opportunity also means other big changes in my life, namely moving on from journalism and my career at CBC. I’ll have much more to say about that soon.
I don’t usually listen to music while I write. Sometimes I’ll put on some powwow music or ambient heavy metal during the creative process, but I typically find anything with discernible English lyrics distracting when I’m trying to put English words together. I do draw a lot of inspiration from music, though, and I’ll play a song or two before I sit down to write, and again when I’m done for the day.
Many songs influenced the writing of Moon of the Crusted Snow and were part of that pre- and post-writing ritual. Songs with speculative lyrics or dystopian themes were obviously in high rotation, given the story’s post-urban setting and plot. I also found myself drawn to songs that felt like cold, bleak winter. And to counter that darkness, I also played tunes that hinted at renewal and a more hopeful future. So here are some of the tracks that carried me through writing this novel, in no particular order:
Nine Inch Nails – “The Day the World Went Away”
PJ Harvey – “The Ministry of Defence”
Propagandhi – “A Speculative Fiction”
Deltron 3030 – “3030”
A Tribe Called Red – “Burn Your Village to the Ground”
It’s been a busy time since Moon of the Crusted Snow was published in the fall. But once winter arrived, I was able to slow everything down a bit and spend some quiet time with my wife and son. We’ve mostly stayed close to home here in Sudbury, which has been really nice and relaxing. It’s also been somewhat necessary to stay put, given the intense weather we’ve had here in northern Ontario so far this winter. So I’ve taken a bit of an intermission from writing over the past couple of months.
I travelled a lot over the fall to visit festivals and read at events to promote the new book. I also did a lot of writing in my spare time, hence no updates at this blog. But I did have one special opportunity that sort of reignited my interest to do a lot more personal writing here. To coincide with the release of Moon of the Crusted Snow, I was invited to serve as Writer-in-Residence for Open Book. It was a wonderful experience that allowed me to really reflect on writing that story, literary storytelling in general, and some of the issues I’ve grappled with as a Anishinaabe author. Here are the posts I wrote for Open Book over the month of October:
Big thanks to the wonderful team at Open Book for that great opportunity. I will revisit some of those discussions in this space in the coming months. Needless to say the journey with this book has been an exciting one so far, and I’m very thankful for everyone who’s read it, and for those who have invited me to share it across the land.
I also had many kind invitations to discuss the story in a variety of media. I’m honoured that many tremendous people took the time to chat with me about this book. Here are those interviews:
Some generous reviewers and writers also took the time to offer their thoughts and analysis of Moon of the Crusted Snow, and to have it discussed in so many ways is a humbling and encouraging experience. Here are some of those articles:
I share all these links not just to draw attention to the book and the praise it may have received, but to provide a resource for future discussions about its characters, setting, literary elements, and more. The Moon of the Crusted Snow journey continues with more events and readings this spring. I’ll share details as they’re confirmed, and I promise to write more here. Miigwech!