Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions, with Sally Clark

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Ten Questions, with Sally Clark

Sally Clark, author of Waiting for the Revolution (Cormorant Books), talks with Open Book about her ideal writing environment and what she's reading right now.

Open Book: Toronto:

Tell us about your latest book.

Sally Clark:

My novel, Waiting for the Revolution is about the sexual revolution in the 1970’s. We are all waiting for some sort of revolution but would we recognize it when it arrives? Waiting for the Revolution is a comic novel about the hopes, dreams and follies of those who wait.


OBT:

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

SC:

No, not really. I hope that anyone who has borne witness to the Baby Boomers’ demographic bulge like a rat in a snake’s belly through the digestive system of society would enjoy this book.



OBT:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

SC:

I usually create my ideal writing environment whenever I stay somewhere for any length of time. Peace and quiet is my main requirement. I like to write on a desk or a table by a window.



OBT:

What was your first publication?

SC:

My first publication was my play, Moo, which was published by Playwrights Canada Press in 1989.



OBT:

Describe a recent Canadian cultural experience that influenced your writing.

SC:

I can’t think of a recent experience. I lived in Dawson City and Whitehorse from 2000 to 2003. I loved the Yukon. I don’t know whether my experiences there influenced my writing but they certainly changed the way I viewed my life.



OBT:

If you had to choose 3 books as a ‘Welcome to Canada’ gift, what would those books be?

SC:

1. Margaret Laurence - The Stone Angel

2. Margaret Atwood - Cat’s Eye

3. Mordecai Richler - Barney’s Version

4. Paul Hiebert - Sarah Binks



OBT:

What are you reading right now?

SC:

Paul Theroux, A Dead Hand and William Styron, Set This House on Fire.



OBT:

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

SC:

Sit at your desk early in the morning and start writing whatever comes into your head. Some days will go better than others. Keep your work in a stack. Don’t re-read it until you have at least 50 pages.

If you’re not able to write anything after sitting there for at least an hour, then try it again the next day. Keep trying. If you’re still not able to write anything, then consider the fact that you might not be a writer. Go do something else with your life.



OBT:

What advice do you have for writers who are trying to get published?

SC:

Sign up for writing classes offered by a reputable institution- a university or college, a place where you have some assurance that the instructors are professional writers. Some universities offer courses in getting your work published. I took a “Getting Published” course at UBC taught by David Stephens and his advice was incredibly helpful to me. I also learned a great deal from the advice he gave to the other students in the class.



OBT:

What is your next project?

SC:

I’m writing another novel.


Sally Clark is the author of eight plays, including Moo and The Trial of Judith K., and has received a Chalmers Award (1990), two Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations (1989-90) and a Governor General’s Literary Award nomination (1991). In 1992, she was a Resident at the Canadian Film Centre where she wrote and directed her short film, Ten Ways to Abuse an Old Woman, which won the Special Prix du Jury at the Henri Langlois International short film festival in 1992. Sally currently resides in Vancouver, B.C.

For more information about Waiting for the Revolution please visit the Cormorant website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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