Friday, November 10, 2017

Review in Event Magazine

There's a thoughtful review of The Weather Inside in the latest issue of Event Magazine. It's very balanced and I feel lucky that Cathy Stonehouse took the time to consider my weird little book. I was kind of blown away with how bang-on it was. I read it tonight and I was like, um, whoa. She doesn't just get my book, she kind of gets me. *Gulp.*

It's not online, but here's a taste:

"Overall, Saso is a superb writer, excelling in secondary characterization and the evocation of life’s absurdity. She produces so many great scenes, dialogue exchanges and set pieces: Avery ambushing cycling weatherman Calvin Straight on the street; Steve the building manager cooking up Greek comfort food in Avery’s kitchen; Avery visiting her chill GP to discuss her alarming symptoms.... Yet her virtuosity is also a liability: I sometimes felt Saso was either seduced by her own prodigious talent for humour, or..."

To find out her other theory and more (she does take me to task for a few things) you'll have to download the issue. ;)  Thank you, Event and Cathy. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Kleenex shoes and FOUD

I have mixed feelings about this stage of my novel-in-progress. I can see the finish line and I’m loving it. I’ve never had more fun writing something. Ever. And I’ve written a lot of things. What I’m hating about this stage, though, is the fear of death that comes with it. 

I’ve felt this before. Specifically when I was wrapping up my first novel. I attributed it to First Novel-Itis. Because, duh!, it was my first novel and eccentricities were allowed! I was hoping it was a one-off. But no. It’s baaaaack. That feeling of being desperate to see something through to the end. For me, the day-to-day implications include washing my hands more, thinking about dying, riding a wave of non-functional sleep, thinking about dying. Oh! And a panic attack when a homeless guy wanders into my office, looks straight through me and says, softly, “Are you Emily?”

Do these symptoms sound like a ticket to OCD City? A pass to Paranoia Park? Probably, yes. But they will go away. They did last time. My first novel came out and I could breathe again. Sleep. Wash my hands less than a surgeon. My book made it! I made it! WE MADE IT! 

I think I understand this fear. After years of struggling, I’ve finally realized a dream. I don’t want to lose that; I want to keep living it and doing what I love: which is writing books. Also, it’s an ego thing, of course it is. Somewhere inside I must think that people will read this and like it and make me feel like a Certified Novelist Person. Add these psychological factors to the stress on my nervous system caused by the percussive electrocutions of chronic neurological pain, overzealous sitting, too much Nespresso, and blamo: a recipe for Fear Of Untimely Death (aka FOUD).

I’m not too worried. With some luck, my second book will come out and I’ll return to my normal dirty gross careless ways. And when it’s time for book number three, the cycle will begin again. You’ll find me barricaded in a Vegas hotel room with Kleenex boxes for shoes. But trust me, it’ll have been worth it.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Speed dating! But with books! (November 1, 2017)

On November 1 at 6pm, I’ll be guest reading at Daniel Griffin's event at Ben McNally’s (Toronto's most excellent, fun-loving, author-supporting bookstore). There will be a total of four writers at this event! Wow, right? Daniel, me, Rebecca Rosenblum and Mark Sampson. These three are exceptional writers, but they’re also very entertaining readers. They really put some muscle into it. Plus we’re just reading short sections, so it’ll be like speed dating! Maybe you’ll fall in love with a new novel, or maybe you’ll drink too much and make out with a book case. Either way, it’s a good story. I hope you can make it!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Come party* with me at IFOA!

Last year I was beside myself with glee (and reeling from a case of imposter's syndrome) when I got to participate in Toronto's International Festival of Authors (IFOA). Miraculously, they've invited me back. Maybe no one told them about my shenanigans in the minivan?

If you haven't yet experienced the IFOA, you must. The depth of talent from around the world, the level of conversation and insight, the beautiful books for sale, the opportunity to meet literary heroes (like that time I met her and him).... If you love to read, write, or both, this festival is for you.

But enough about you.

On October 24 at 8:00 pm, I'll be introducing Heather O'Neill as she takes the stage to talk about her new book The Lonely Hearts Hotel. Like most people with a pulse, I’m a fan of Heather's work, so I'm looking forward to seeing her speak and chat. Find the event details here.

If they let me back in the building, I'll be introducing another IFOA event on October 25 at 6:00 pm, this one a reading/roundtable with Michelle Berry, Immanuel Mifsud and Kathleen Winter. Get the DL here. I'm so intrigued by the theme for this one! Futile Fates: guilt, failure, hopelessness, the power of the human spirit and second chances. Hmm... maybe someone did tell them about the minivan.

As for other festival goodies that I recommend... where to start?

I'd like to write a book about men soon, so I'm definitely going to hit up Of Fathers and Sons. Dissecting the Villain sounds fantastic (Andrew Pyper is great), as does Walking Cities (writing about place is a challenge for me, so I'm hoping to learn something) and Writing an Informed Story (Claire Cameron's The Last Neanderthal is on my must-read list). Barbara Gowdy is a must-see! Her new novel is fabulous, and she's very funny on stage. Plus Jane Urquhart is interviewing her. And last but not least, if I could I would check out The Nature of Fear. The topic alone is a winner, and Grace O'Connell and Ania Szado are serious talents.

IFOA runs from October 19-29, so get your tickets soon. Lots of these events sell out, and for good reason.

*Oh, and in case it wasn't clear, by "party" I of course meant sit quietly and listen, and clap when prompted.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

That was... fun? Yes, yes it was.

After six months of full-time book writing, my money ran out and reality set in. But good news! I found a challenging new job that lights my brain up between the hours of eight a.m. and four o'clock! And I still have creative energy to burn on the weekends to write novel number two.

My six months of 24/7 book writing were, by and large, a success. Apart from some chronic pain resurgences, I managed to get about 50,000 words of the first draft done. And it's not crap. It's actually pretty not bad. If I keep going like this, I think I'll be done the book in a year. I've got some vague interest from an agent I hugely respect, which is nice because at least I know I'm not on the wrong track re: plot. But more importantly, I've been enjoying this story. Loving it, really. It's a strange world I've been spending my time in, and I'm excited to see what these characters blow-up, eat, flood, stab, build, desalinate, hunt, topple, alienate and f#ck next.

All in all, those six months were a huge success for my creative life, and I don't regret taking that time for myself at all. Even though it cost me money. Even though the pain was a bitch. Plus, book goals aside, it was time to move on from my old job. It was good to me, and I miss the people a lot. But it was a change I needed, both for my writing and my career... like the career that pays my bills.

Speaking of money, I got my first The Weather Inside royalty cheque a few months ago! I bought groceries with it! Like a couple boxes of cereal, okay, not caviar and asparagus water. But getting that cheque meant achieving a personal goal for my first novel, so I'm counting that as a win.

Friday, August 4, 2017

The Other Emily Saso strikes again.

I just got this email from LitMag:

Please note that the Emily Saso mentioned here is not me. As a matter of fact, LitMag recently rejected a story I submitted. (No hard feelings, LitMag!) I wrote about the Other Emily Saso on this blog before. She's hard to track down, and I never did manage to find an email address. I was hoping she'd get in touch, but perhaps she's immune to the tug of the self-Google?

You might think, "Gee, things sure could get confusing with two writers of literary fiction named Emily Saso on the planet!" And you'd be right! Weeks ago, I was approached by a NYC literary agent. He emailed me instead of the other me, and wondered if I (she) wanted to consider representation. This was an impressive agency, so I couldn't help myself. Here's what I told them:

Hi X, 
This is so funny. I am a novelist, but I didn't publish a story called "All the Bells."
I do know that there is another writer out there named Emily Saso who, I think, lives in NY state. I actually blogged about her here:
Because the universe is just bonkers like that.
Funnily enough X 2, I am at work on my second novel right now. I've even spoken to a few editors about it and they love the concept. And I don't currently have representation. Maybe it's fate that you emailed me instead? ;)
Anyways, best of luck finding your other Emily Saso! And if you ever want to see some of my stuff, let me know.
Emily Saso
(The Toronto one)

So yes, I am trying to take advantage of this situation because no one -- not me or even Other Me -- could make this $hit up. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

I have eight things to say about the #EMMY2017 nominations and then I'm going to drink my breakfast.

1. 24 out of 26 Emmy nominees for writing are men. 

I'll give you some time to process that.

Okay, ready? Let's continue.

2. If you think it's not systemic, here's an example direct from my personal experience. When the CBC passed on one of my TV pilots a few weeks ago, they said they already had a range of "female led comedy in development."

3. They weren't mean about it. In fact, they were very nice.

4. But they still implied -- via, you know, their words -- that they had enough tv shows written by women, with a female lead, thanks very much.

5. Not sure they'd ever use the term "male-led comedy" or even think twice about it. But ok...

6. I thought that was a funny reason to reject someone at first. Or at least an excuse for rejecting someone. I laughed about it. Out loud.

7. But then the Emmy noms came out. 

8. I'm not laughing anymore.