Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I write about realistic characters confronting the moments and details that make up lives and identities.
I live in a small Canadian town, the Crowsnest Pass, in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. I live with my husband, three cats, and two dogs. I have a B.A. in English and a B.Ed. in English Language Arts Education, and spend most of her time teaching, prepping, marking, and extolling the virtues of Shakespeare. That's right, I'm a teacher, and that is where I spend most of my time and energy. But when I'm not doing that, I'm writing, and when I'm not doing that, I'm reading.
The Girl with the Empty Suitcase is my debut novel.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The Girl with the Empty Suitcase
I've always been fascinated by the moments that define us. Sometimes there are these big moments. We get lots of advance notice. Graduations, weddings, that kind of thing. But other times, the moments that actually matter the most are the ones that sneak up on us, that we have no idea of their significance until later, looking back. You might know what day you will get married, but you don't usually get advance notice of the day you meet your spouse, or your best friend.
I wanted to look at these moments through one woman, Danielle. The book acts as a window through which we can see her life.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I've heard that it is best to write a bit every day. I don't do that. I write in giant chunks, whenever I have a break from school. Between reading week, Easter break, and summer, I probably wrote and edited 75% of the book. I think that isn't very typical.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Oh my god, so many! Everything I've read has contributed to who I am. I'm a huge classic literature fan. I'm a total Shakespeare and Jane Austen nerd. I love the way they approached character. And anything I teach, especially, say, To Kill a Mockingbird, I love.
Margaret Atwood is also a huge influence. Even though we write different styles, the lens through which she looks at character and the world is just amazing. Plus she's just so awesome. I really look up to her.
And Stephen King. Again, not the same style or type of book, but the way he plays with words I love.
What are you working on now?
My second novel, as yet unnamed. It's a stand-alone, but there is a repeated character from my first novel. In that one, Danielle has a pretty complicated relationship with her mother. For this new one, I take an average day in the life of her mother, Sharon, before she was a mother. Sharon is a newlywed in the sixties and is torn between what she thought life would be like, and her reality. She struggles with all the things she wants. It's really fun to get wrapped up in the world of the early 60s.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Honestly, I do well locally, but need to expand the exposure and promotion to the world outside of that. I suppose social media in general.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Just do it! What are you waiting for?
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
If not now, when?
And, not exactly advice, but there are two quotations that I use to remind myself of things, what I'm doing and why.
One a friend gave me in a locket at my launch. It says "She believed she could, so she did."
And the other is from Winnie the Pooh. "You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
I think the biggest stumbling blocks are put there by ourselves. I'm working on that.
What are you reading now?
I generally have quite a few books on the go at once. At work, with my students, all my classes are working on Shakespeare. Right now that means Romeo and Juliet and King Lear. I'm reading The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss with my husband. We don't read it every night, just once in a while, so it's slow going with that one. Then I'm also on a Stephen King kick, finishing up It and I have the last Dark Tower book to go. I think next is To Capture What We Cannot Keep, by Beatrice Colin.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Marketing and enjoying The Girl with the Empty Suitcase, and then turning my attention to the new one, soon.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Ahhh! I hate this question, because I have so many! I think, probably, Pride and Prejudice. I'm not sure if it is my technical favourite, but I have read it and reread it the most. It's kind of like coming home every time, like that moment when you switch from heels and work clothes to slippers and fuzzy pajamas, and a cup of tea, snuggled on a couch. That's what Pride and Prejudice is.
Author Websites and Profiles
Krysta MacDonald Website