Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Sheree-Lee Olson

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Sheree-Lee

February 23, 2009 -

OBT:

What was your first publication and where was it published?

SO:

I did a comic strip for my Grade 7 classroom newspaper called The Moonsters. About Sue and Jeff, a brother and sister astronaut team who get captured and put into an intergalactic zoo. They may still be there. The paper folded after a few issues.

OBT:

Describe a recent Canadian cultural experience that influenced your writing.

SO:

I was delighted and excited by Nuit Blanche. I felt like I was in a magical city.

OBT:

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Canada” gift, what would those books be?

SO:

Swamp Angel; Surfacing; Elle. There’s a theme there, women and water.

OBT:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

SO:

In bed, in the morning before anyone else is up, with a big mug of dark-roast coffee, laptop on my lap, cat sleeping on the other pillow.

OBT:

William Faulkner was once asked what book he wished he had written; he chose Moby Dick (with Winnie the Pooh as a close second). Is there a book that you wish you had written?

SO:

The Reader. It’s a perfect book.

OBT:

Is there a book that you think you should have read by now but haven’t?

SO:

Thousands. But I got a new translation of Anna Karenina for my birthday, so this may be the year.

OBT:

What are you reading right now?

SO:

Ines of My Soul, by Isabel Allende, about the common-law wife of the Spanish conquistador who invaded what is now Chile. I’m also rereading For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway, which I love for its depiction of a hard-drinking, despairing, powerful female; Why Him? Why Her? , the latest book by Helen Fisher, a neuropsychologist who is my favourite writer on the subject of why, how and who we love.

OBT:

Do you have a specific readership in mind when you write?

SO:

The reader I try to keep interested most is myself.

OBT:

What are you working on right now?

SO:

A collection of stories that I thought I had finished a couple of years ago but I hadn’t. An entirely new novel (I am on the tenth opening page). A magazine article on the lost art of the kiss.

OBT:

Do you have any advice for writers who are trying to get published?

SO:

Thin your adjectives and thicken your skin.

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