Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Kim Moritsugu

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Kim Moritsugu is the author of six novels to date, including Looks Perfect, nominated for the Toronto Book Award; The Glenwood Treasure, shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Best Crime Novel award; The Restoration of Emily, serialized on CBC Radio; and the just published comedy of suburban manners The Oakdale Dinner Club. She also leads a walking tour for Heritage Toronto and teaches creative writing through The Humber School for Writers. Visit http://www.kimmoritsugu.com for more information about Kim.

Send your questions and comments for Kim to writer@openbooktoronto.com

The Dirty Dozen, with Kim Moritsugu

Kim Moritsugu is Open Book: Toronto's June 2014 writer-in-residence. Her most recent book is The Oakdale Dinner Club (Dundurn), which tells the story of a suburban mom who throws a dinner party with a very unusual (and racy!) motivation. She gets into the spirit of things today, tackling our Dirty Dozen interview, telling us about leaving the corporate world for the literary, the best kind of Broadway show and the homage to her sons that she sneaks into every book.

The Oakdale Dinner Club

By Kim Moritsugu

From Dundurn Press:

After Mary Ann's husband cheats on her, the suburban mom decides to have her own affair. She starts up a neighbourhood dinner club as a cover and invites three men she has earmarked as potential lovers. Along for the ride is her best friend, Alice, who has recently returned with her young daughter to Oakdale, the cozy bedroom community where the two women grew up and briefly shared a telepathic past.

Over good food and wine, new friendships develop, new dreams simmer, Mary Ann pursues her affair candidates, and Alice opens her heart and mind to ways out of her single-working-mother social rut. The stars align on the night the core dinner club members consume an aphrodisiac, go to a local dive bar, hit the dance floor, and rock their worlds.

Recent Writer In Residence Posts

A month in the life of the launching author

Today marks one month since May 31, the official publication date of my new novel The Oakdale Dinner Club, and one month since I started my residency here at Open Book Toronto.

Within the month of June, I:

- wrote and posted 16 blog posts (whew!), some instructional, some confessional, and some about what to eat, because food is important
- went to my first speaking engagement on behalf of the book, where I made jokes to a receptive audience and also sold some books
- held a successful book launch party, with shots and country line dancing, yeehaw

What to Eat While Reading: Savoury Stilton Pecan Shortbread

My novel The Oakdale Dinner Club is about two women who become friends in their senior year of high school after they hand in identical answer sheets for a math test and are accused of cheating. They didn’t cheat – not consciously – but one of the two, high all-round achiever Mary Ann Gray, thinks maybe she and alterna-hippie Alice Maeda may have inadvertently read each other’s minds when they took the test. So Mary Ann invites Alice over after school and conducts a telepathy experiment between bites of some savoury Stilton shortbreads that Mary Ann’s mother baked that afternoon.

Forget Cottage Country: 8 Reasons to Summer in the City of Toronto

School’s out and the Canada Day weekend is nigh, but that’s no reason to get out of town. Stay here, and enjoy these only-in-Toronto good things instead:

1. Toronto Island

Bike down to the ferry docks on a weekday morning, take the ferry over Hanlan’s Point, and ride the paved path to Ward’s Island. Enjoy the lake breezes and views along the way. Stop for a muffin and coffee at the Ward’s Island café, cycle around Algonquin Island and admire the Island cottages, then bike back to Hanlan’s to take the ferry back to the city. An idyllic hour and a half-long country-in-the-city experience.

2. The Moore Park Ravine system in midtown Toronto

ICYM these: Some interesting ish from around the net.

1) A fascinating piece by celebrated novelist/writer Karl Ove Knausgaard about the self-loathing that has driven his lifelong desire for fame:

http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes...

To Blog or Not to Blog, That is the Question

I think of Julie Powell’s 2002 blog The Julie/Julia Project as the original food blog, or at least the first blog I heard of that paired good writing with food. But Powell’s blog, about trying every recipe in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking over the course of a year, the blog that became a bestselling book and a major motion picture, was all words, no pictures. How 2002 was that?

Social Media Bare Minimums for Authors

Have a new book coming out? Don't want to self-promote? Too bad. You must do at least these few things if you want to get the book rolling:

Word on the Street Toronto Invites Readers to Join New Summer Book Club

Last night, I went to a literary party in the Brigantine Room at the Harbourfront Centre. It was a joint celebration of the anniversaries of the Word on the Street festival (this year’s festival will be the 25th) and of the International Festival of Authors at Harbourfront (this year’s will be it’s 40th) – the two festivals will be partnering in 2015.

At the party, games like poker, ping pong and Scrabble were played, I hobnobbed with some writers, and I met a baby named Felix, who could be a stand-in for baby Prince George, and who allowed me to carry him around for ten or fifteen minutes while his mother had a mini-break.

Kim’s Top Ten Writing Tips: How to Write Like a Pro

Do you want your (fiction) writing to look polished and professional when you submit it to editors and agents for consideration? Of course you do. So make sure your words are correctly spelled and your sentences are graceful and grammatically correct, and avoid these signs of the amateur writer:

1) Too many adverbs. Whenever possible, choose strong verbs instead of a weak verb that needs to be modified by an adverb. Instead of: he walked quickly, write: he ran.

Got Any Good Lit Jokes?

Several years ago, I spoke at a gala dinner at a writers’ festival in Thunder Bay. Picture a hotel ballroom filled with about a hundred people seated at tables for ten. I had tried to inject some humourous self-mocking bits into the speech when I wrote it, and my lines seemed to pay off when, a few minutes in, a lone woman in the audience started to laugh – loud and long, semi-hysterically, and contagiously. I was encouraged by her vocal positive reinforcement, and so was the rest of the room. I settled into a comic groove, became funnier, and the audience joined in with peals of laughter. At the end of the speech, I floated back to my seat, face flushed, buoyed by a large wave of enthusiastic applause.

Beyond Luminato: Upcoming Writerly Events

Much ado is being made of this year’s Luminato literary programming, which includes literary walking tours (for a fee) in three different Toronto locations, and a big literary picnic (for free) at Trinity Bellwoods Park, all happening (tomorrow) Sunday June 15th. (For more info, go to: http://luminatofestival.com/fe...)

But Luminato isn’t the only writerly game in town, not Sunday, and certainly not next week, when readers, writers, bloggers and lit culture enthusiasts alike will be checking out these worthy literary and literary-adjacent events:

Sunday June 15 – 11 a.m.
Heritage Toronto Walking Tour: The Mansions of Jarvis Street

The Art of the TV Show Recap

My first exposure to the 21st century art form known as the TV show recap came in 2003, on the ground-breaking website Television Without Pity (TWoP). Its motto: Save the Snark, Spoil the Network.

My show of choice that year was The O.C. I liked the show so much that I wanted to do more than just watch it; after an episode I wanted to hear what other people had to say about it. Since I worked at home, I had no office water cooler to gather around. So I went online and discovered TWoP. The fan forums could be amusing and illuminating – the level of viewer commentary tended towards intelligent snark, in keeping with the site’s sensibility – but the funny, well written, we-mock-because-we-love recaps of each episode were what brought me back to the site every week.

Something New: Where to eat now

A few weeks ago, the rockin’ and poppin’ newchoir I sing in backed up two of our soloists – triple threat performer Erin Tancock and Hello Canada! Editor-in-chief Alison Eastwood - singing the Nikki Yanofsky/Quincy Jones hit song Something New at our sold-out Koerner Hall concert.

Speaking of new things (how’s that for a smooth segue?), I’ve recently ventured into some new Toronto restaurants, and to my delight, found a few I want to return to.

When going out to eat, it’s all too easy to stake out a few favorite spots, become regulars there, and not try any place new. Especially when it seems like every other hotspot that opens is devoted to meat, offal, meat and meat. Served in tacos.

Comfort Food, Comfort Reading, Comfort Movie

My new novel The Oakdale Dinner Club is very food-centric – it’s about a group of suburbanites who get together once a month to eat good food, drink good wine, and do other wicked things.

One of the talking points for the novel – yes, like any trying-to-be-current author faking her way through a self-promotion campaign, I have talking points – is that I wrote it as an entertainment, a diversion, as “comfort food for the mind.”

So when I read that New York magazine critic Bilge Ebiri had called actor/writer/director Jon Favreau’s new movie Chef “a comfort movie about comfort food,” I had to go see it.

Shall We Launch, Or Keep on Moping? 8 Truths About Book Launches

Shall We Launch, or Keep on Moping? Eight Truths About Book Launches

1. You should have a book launch party and invite everyone you know. Even if this is not your first book. Even if you have to pay for it yourself, which you probably will. You should have a book launch party because otherwise you’re going to feel like your book is a tree that fell in the forest and didn’t make a sound.

2. Someone will say, “I’ve never been to a book launch before. What happens?” and make a disappointed face when you tell them all that happens is people buy books, you sign them and maybe say a few words. And that there will be a cash bar.

I'm So Hood: Toronto in Literature

The great and good Toronto Public Library recently introduced a cool new feature on their website.

Toronto in Literature: Book Lists by Neighbourhood gives info – with a convenient map – on published fiction in their collection that takes place in Toronto neighbourhoods. And woo-hoo! My mystery novel The Glenwood Treasure (published some years ago) is included on the list for books set in Rosedale.

A Day in the Life of a Launching Author: Then I Spot the Audience

Yesterday, I celebrated the first day of June and the first official day of my Open Book residency – hi y’all! – by appearing on the slate of a Globe and Mail/Ben McNally Books Authors' Brunch event at the King Edward Hotel.

Independent bookseller Ben McNally of the eponymous bookstore http://www.benmcnallybooks.com/ is a great friend to writers, publishers and readers alike, has a hilarious deadpan manner of speaking and an awesome white ponytail,

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.