Spotlight on Canadian Author: Heather Grace Stewart

Heather Grace Stewart:

Thanks to writer Katherine Krige for featuring me on her beautiful blog, A Writer’s Take. It was a fun interview. Check it out here!

Originally posted on A Writer's Take:

Signed with a smile by the author herself Signed with a smile by the author herself – Heather Grace Stewart (Kanata, ON, March 2015)

Have you met Heather Grace Stewart? She is a Canadian poet, speaker, and author of the newly released novel Strangely, Incredibly Good. I have had the pleasure of getting to know her on Facebook and Twitter, and was recently delighted to win a copy of her new book. Yeah for me! It was a lovely Valentine’s present to receive and I flew through the pages. You can find my book review over at A New Day.

As Heather is such a warm individual, I thought I would take a chance and ask her if she would be willing to answer a few questions about her writing. I was thrilled when she graciously agreed to share a few thoughts with me and my readers.

Without further ado, I would love to introduce you…

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Thoughts from a train headed to Kingston (Ontario. Not Jamaica. Sigh.)

Talk about premature publication. That previous post was published accidentally, when my train lurched forward and my wrist hit a button. Seconds later WordPress informed me, “Congrats! You’ve published a post!” and I had to rush around the Net doing damage control on my post already posted to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr…

It proves my point a little though, doesn’t it? So I decided to keep the original post, which was meant to be longer, as is.

I was trying to talk about how rarely we allow ourselves time to do absolutely nothing; time that is ours and ours alone, where we aren’t obligated to be anywhere, doing anything.

I watched my daughter and her friend having a snowball fight in our yard yesterday, and it hit me: children have that freedom. (Later, the snowballs hit me, because I went outside and joined in!) Okay, children don’t always have that freedom, because sometimes they’re loaded down with homework, and activities, but in my home, our daughter rarely has to be anywhere except the dinner table when we call her.

I’ve been given that rare kind of day today: I’m headed to Kingston to speak at the Ban Righ Centre – but I’m speaking tomorrow – and on Saturday, I’m speaking at the Queen’s Media and Journalism Conference (I’m also doing a book signing in Kingston and one at Chapters Kanata – please check out my Upcoming Events listed here!)   The train just had a delay, and we sat on the tracks for about 10 minutes, and that’s when I decided to write a blog post. That delay was a gift. Besides, I had nowhere to be anyway.

When the train stopped and I stared out at the vast field of snow out my window, it hit me that I’m at my happiest when I have nowhere I have to be. Responsibilities really suck most of the time, don’t they? They’re a fact of life, however, it doesn’t mean we can’t set aside some time every few days where we don’t have to be anywhere, or do anything.

Stop yourself in your tracks, and just be. Give yourself a childlike day again. Just don’t forget to pay your Hydro bill…

Heather :) DSCN9901

P.S. If you are interested in seeing the visuals from my presentation “Career Magic,” below is the handout with the QR codes! You can use your phone or iPad QR scanner on the QR codes to access my presentations at Prezi.com. Tomorrow and Saturday, I’m hoping some people will Tweet out some of what I say (@hgracestewart) , but the visuals are there, and my presentation So You Want to Be An Author has also been made public. Enjoy!

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Thanks to my technical genius guy Bill Stewart for the great help creating the QR codes. :)

Nowhere You *Have* to Be

Do you have to be anywhere right now? If you do, why are you reading this? (although I’m flattered!) If you don’t, isn’t it delightful? No, think about it for a moment. How often, in our over-scheduled lives, do we have nowhere we have to be?

Strangely, Incredibly Good Book Tour!

I’m excited to announce my first book tour for Strangely, Incredibly Good, the ‘funny and touching’ Canadian novel, but first, a little bit of business to attend to: Recently, I’ve received a few reader questions about where to get print copies of Strangely, Incredibly Good. No, it is not yet available on Amazon in print format. So, here’s where you can find it:

Vancouver & Maple Ridge Readers: There are now more copies of Strangely, Incredibly Good on the shelves at Maple Ridge Black Bond Books – Haney Place Mall.

Kingston readers can grab a copy Friday, March 6th, 7-930 p.m. at Novel Idea on Princess St., when I’ll be reading and signing copies. There will be a copy or two on the shelves after the reading.

Ottawa-Kanata area readers: I’ll be at Chapters Kanata Centrum Sunday, March 8, from noon-4 p.m. I am very much looking forward to my homecoming, and hope to see some old friends! Chapters Kanata will stock a few copies after the reading, in case you can’t make it that day.

As always, ebook and print copies can be ordered through the Morning Rain Publishing website, and they’ll ship it directly to you. If you’d like signed copies, you can contact me below, or at my email, writer@hgrace.com.

I’m thrilled and excited to announce that I’ll be doing a two-city book tour on the weekend of Friday, March 6 to Sunday March 8th, which will include speaking at the Ban Righ Centre at Queen’s University, speaking at the Queen’s Media and Journalism conference, signing books at Novel Idea, and signing books at Chapters Kanata. It’s going to be a busy but, let’s hope, incredibly good weekend in Kingston and Kanata, Ontario, and I hope that I’ll get the chance to meet and chat with many of you.

If you think you can make one of the events, please check the event schedule for more information here: Upcoming Events

I’d like to ask you all again to review Strangely, Incredibly Good if you have five minutes. There haven’t been that many funny Canadian novels by women recently, so I’d like to think that this one could have a chance at standing out, if only more people knew about it! So please do share about it, either via word of mouth, or a review, or both! I’d appreciate that more than you’ll ever know.

As always, thanks for reading, and for all the encouragement. You guys brighten these cold and snowy days!

Heather

Here's hoping I'll get to meet new readers and reunite with more dear, old friends on this tour, as I did in BC with Deanna! (who took this selfie !)
Here’s hoping I’ll get to meet new readers and reunite with more dear, old friends on this tour, as I did in BC with Deanna! (who took this selfie !)

The Man With the 132 lb Scrotum? (WIP Excerpt )

“I have to stop thinking about him! This could torment me for life! Okay, tonight I will not think about men. No. More. Man. Thoughts.

I pour myself some wine, sit down on the couch, turn on the TV, and check out the guide. Let’s see. It looks like my choices are:  “Mormon Half Love” or “The Man With the 132 lb Scrotum.”

Seriously? This is my Saturday Night? There is not enough wine in this house for me to even contemplate watching these shows. And yet…this is definitely better than dating.

Oh, look, it gets better. Up later tonight on TLC, we have “The Girl With Half a Face”, “The Man Who Lost His Face,” “The Man with Half a Body,” and “The Man with the 200 lb Tumor.”

~Cat Glamour in Remarkably Great, the (Work-In-Progress ) sequel to Strangely, Incredibly Good

Actually if you’ve read this far, you’re actually really interested, so I’ll tell you the news: the draft manuscript is complete as of today! :) Now comes the grueling process of editing before I submit! I’m hoping this sequel will be out by the end of 2015, but it depends on many factors. Stay tuned!

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Work buddy Sam (15)

Give Yourself a Break!

Break SIG-1

How Bad Do You Want It?

If you are a writer, you’ve likely heard these suggestions often:

“Write every day.”

“Writers write.”

I’ve taken the NIKE Ad a little farther, and often say to myself and other writers, “Just Write It.”

Okay, in theory, these are excellent suggestions. If you want to be a writer, you have to actually put in the time and stay disciplined. But what if you’ve got a day job? What if you’re a single parent? What if you share living space with other noisy students, and have no where quiet to write?

Yup, it’s never easy, but if you want to write a book, you have to remove all the obstacles, make a plan that works for your particular situation, and then stick to that plan. If you have a day job, you’ll have to get up an hour earlier every day for a few months to write. Or possibly stay up later, if you’re a night owl. If you’re a single parent, come up with creative games to occupy your children for an hour or two every night. I’m not a single parent, but if I were, I’d raid the Dollar Store nearest me and create a special “Quiet Time Craft Bag.” I’d tell my kids to use the Quiet Time Bag so I can get my book done, and remind them it’s only for a few months, and you’ll make it up to them. I’d also rely a lot on the flickering babysitter and DVD movies. This is not the time to be Parent of the Year! Let that go for a while and allow yourself your dream of writing a book. You could create a special rewards system for when the kids give you a good, peaceful half hour. I suspect my books would take a lot longer to write if I were a single parent, and my solutions may not work well for someone whose kids demand a lot of attention. You know your kids and your situation best. If I had kids under five, I’d beg a family member or good friend to watch the kids a few times a week (and then I’d owe them big time).

Parenting and writing don’t often work well together, but you can always come up with a plan that works well for you for a while, and then modify that plan as you get deeper into your writing sessions. As for finding a quiet space in your shared apartment: libraries and cafés with headphones on (so no one speaks to you!) have worked well for me in the past. It’s not fun lugging your laptop to a library every night, but if the end result is your first novel, you may decide it’s more than worth the extra trouble.

There’s a country song performed by my favorite country singer Tim McGraw that goes, “How bad do you want it?” I sing it often. I think its theme is the key to writing and finishing a book. There are always obstacles to staying disciplined as a writer, but there are always ways to remove those obstacles – if only temporarily, for a few months – if you want the end result badly enough.

So, what are your obstacles? What might be your solutions? Could you implement those for a few weeks, just to give it a try?  Is your finished book worth it?

How bad do you want it?

L-R JM Lavallee, Heather Grace Stewart, Nancy Beattie, Jennifer Bogart - Morning Rain Publishing Authors who sat down and Wrote It!
L-R JM Lavallee, Heather Grace Stewart, Nancy Beattie, Jennifer Bogart – Morning Rain Publishing Authors who sat down and Wrote It!