Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Beverley Stone

Share |
Ten Questions with Beverley Stone

Beverley Stone grew up in outport Newfoundland before moving to Toronto to attend Osgoode Hall Law School. Her first novel, No Beautiful Shore, is published by Cormorant Books. Quill & Quire calls Stone's prose "vibrant" and "detailed and engaging." The launch for No Beautiful Shore is at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 3 at Ben McNally Books, 366 Bay Street, Toronto.

OB:

Tell us about your book, No Beautiful Shore.

BS:

No Beautiful Shore is a story about how you can never really leave home. Bride and Wanda are seventeen and it is the summer after they graduate from high school. They are planning to move to Toronto, to leave rural life behind them. They are girls trying to find their way in the world as women. It’s very easy to get caught up in other people’s plans when you are a girl – specifically boys who are planning a life in which you are a component. Boys take an interest in both of them, and things do not go as planned.

It is also a coming of age story – Bride finds out that adults are just as confused and afraid as she is, or more so. There is a subplot in this novel that centers on Bride’s mom, Janice who gets a second chance at love. Like all second chances, it is brutally hard. I made it especially tough for her by making the person who sucker-punches her in the heart another woman. She’s not prepared at all for that. I give her an opportunity to be brave, to be honest. Bride watches her try to deal with that opportunity, and is not very impressed by how she squanders it. From her mom’s behaviour, and from what happens to Wanda, Bride learns that she might not be able to connect with the people that she loves on a truthful level. She recognizes that people have barriers – to others and from themselves. And she realizes that she is going to take those limited, broken people with her, as her grandmother tells her, wherever she goes. There is no beautiful shore where she will be seamlessly connected with the people she loves, or where she can escape them.

OB:

How did you research your book?

BS:

The book is set in outport Newfoundland where I grew up so the culture and the geography was familiar to me. I did research the sinking of the Ocean Ranger by reading the Royal Commission Report.

OB:

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you wrote your book?

BS:

Not at all. My focus was on writing the story. I really didn’t imagine publishing it.

OB:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

BS:

I can write anywhere when I am motivated. At home, I have a study and write on a computer. However, I have written on the streetcar going to work when an idea took shape on the fly.

OB:

What was your first publication?

BS:

This is it. The only other thing that I have written is a short story called “The Vomit Pan,” which will be published in Upstairs at Duroc, Issue 9 (2008).

OB:

What are you reading right now?

BS:

Alissa York, Effigy
Jim Harrison, The Road Home

OB:

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

BS:

Michael Ondaatje, In the Skin of a Lion
Robertson Davies, What’s Bred in the Bone
Rohinton Mistry, A Fine Balance

For no reason other than because they are probably my favourites.

OB:

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a writer?

BS:

Figure out the theme of your story and all of your structural problems will disappear.

OB:

Describe the most memorable response you’ve received from a reader.

BS:

The book will not be out until April, so the thing that sticks in my mind is “we’d like to publish your book”, to paraphrase Marc Cote at Cormorant Books.

OB:

What is your next project?

BS:

I am working on a new novel about the non-relationship between a failed lawyer and a boxer who could never, ever have been a contender. Not sure what it’s about yet. I need to analyze it a lot more before I can talk about it in detail.

I also have a historical novel set at the time of Newfoundland settlement in my head, but right now, it’s just in my head. Actually, there are a bunch of characters walking around in this 18th century outport – kind of like a historical Second Life in my brain.

Photo by Aaron Schwartz.

Related item from our archives

JF Robitaille: Minor Dedications

Dundurn

Open Book App Ad