Category

The Little Washer of Sorrows

Bursting…

By | The Little Washer of Sorrows

I’m proud to announce that The Little Washer of Sorrows has made the long-list for the 2016 Sunburst Awards for the best in Canadian Fiction of the Fantastic.

http://www.sunburstaward.org/node/104

I’m crossing my fingers, but I’m also simply enjoying the feeling of being on this list: It’s nice to be in the running with such esteemed company as Margaret Atwood (The Heart Goes Last,) Andrew Pyper (The Damned,) Giller-winner André Alexis (Fifteen Dogs) and my personal fave: Heather O’Neill (Daydreams of Angels.) There’s a drumroll in my head that won’t stop until early July, when the shortlist is announced. I’m delighted TLWOS is being enjoyed by so many people (especially people who are judges for contests.)  If you haven’t read the book, order one from my publisher Thistledown Press, go to Dan at Armchair books (or your nearest indie bookstore), or on-line. Thanks for reading!

kfawcettsig

 

From Joyful Anticipation to Sweet Revenge

By | The Little Washer of Sorrows

FullSizeRender(1)

Joyful Anticipation is stopping by the Pemberton Library at 4:55 to see what The Little Washer of Sorrows looks like on the shelves of an actual public literature lending institution.

Relief is learning that the library closes at 6:00 on Tuesdays, not 5:00.

Slight Ego Crush is not finding my book on either the Staff Picks, New Releases, or Recommended Reading shelves.

Bummer is not even finding it in the “F” aisle.

Overreaction is heading to the Library Suggestions Box, and planning to stuff it full.

Thrill is going on the library computer and discovering that the book is unavailable because it is already signed out.

Double thrill is seeing that there’s a hold on it.

Optimism is leaving a with an armful of amazing new books so high I can rest my chin on the top one.

Pride is seeing my lovely daughter across the street at the skateboard park, enjoying a beautiful spring afternoon with her friends, just a few days before her twelfth birthday.

Suspicion is watching her duck behind one of the ramps with some punk in a helmet and baggy shorts when she sees me, and hearing her friends squeal with laughter and do the “We have no idea” shrug when I ask them what’s going on.

Sweet Revenge is turning wifi off tonight so we can have peaceful Family Reading Time together.

Road Trippin’ with TLWOS

By | The Little Washer of Sorrows

FullSizeRender

Phewf! I just returned home from a BC/Alberta book tour, promoting The Little Washer of Sorrows. Whistler, Pemberton, Nelson (x2), Fernie, Canmore, and Calgary—seven reading/signing events in seven days. Me, the dog, my fiddle, a box of books and bag of Brazilnuts. What a way to spend spring break.

Here are a few things I learned along the way:

1) You may think you can just wear the same outfit to every event because you’re in a new town every evening, so who’s gonna know? Then you remember social media and see yourself in the same green sweater over and over…

2) Traveling with a bouquet of black helium-filled balloons can get a bit squeaky.

3) There’s no easy way from the Vancouver airport (kids flew to grandparents) onto Highway One towards Hope. Even Siri gave up.

4) Independent bookstore owners are some of the kindest, most open-minded, optimistic, creative people on earth. Supportive of small publishers and local authors, they know what readers are looking for and they create beautiful spaces for mental exploration. Thanks to Dan (Armchair books), Samara (Otter Books), Patty (Polar Peek), Joy and Jocey (Cafe Books) and Patrick and Kendra (Pages on Kensington). You guys rawk.

5) Don’t try to eat guacamole and chips while driving through the mountain passes.

6) Listening to Stephen King’s “Doctor Sleep” audio book while driving may not be the best choice before checking into a hotel alone…

7) Bighorn sheep always seem to all face the same way when they’re eating. I don’t know why, but it’s very feng shui.

8) Seems every small town I pass through has a kick-ass juice bar.

9) If it all went tits-up, I could see myself moving to Creston to become a fruit-picker at an orchard.

10) It’s both delightful and stressful to sign books people purchase: there’s a pressure to be witty, original and personal on that signature page. Most of the time I can barely remember my own signature. I’m just so excited to be actually SIGNING A BOOK THAT SOMEONE’S GONNA READ!!!!!

11) You forget just how big the sky is until you drive through Longview, Alberta.

12) It’s hard not to be cynical hearing Alberta friends’ excitement over a pale and puny crocus poking through the brown grass when we’ve been cutting daffodils and tulips for over a month here in Pemberton. (Sorry, AB. But take heart: your gas will always be cheaper.)

12) Best part: hooking up with family, old friends from waaaaay back (hi Dani!) avid readers (hello Kathy’s book club!) bookish fiddlers (Virginia, Ani, Michael, Heather, Kerri etc from Fernie,) neighbours from decades ago (thanks Mr. and Mrs. Webster,) other authors (three cheers for Angie Abdou,) strangers who wander in (yay Urszula and Richard) and even a great Canadian indie sing-songwriter (I love Rae Spoon.) Thanks for all your support on this journey. I hope reading the stories in TLWOS makes your forget what else has to be done, even just for a little while.

kfawcettsig

 

Limbo

By | The Little Washer of Sorrows

Limbo is an interesting place to be.

You know it’s not going to last, yet there’s a beautiful motionless, timeless quality to being there. Like when the swing goes up, up, up so high, and your body is stretched out so far you can tip your head back and there’s nothing but blue sky and upside-down trees, and you hang there for a moment, suspended between flying and falling, until you sit up and the earth brings you whizzing breathlessly back.

I received my copies of The Little Washer of Sorrows from the publisher a few days ago.

My daughter filmed me at the post office, ripping open the box like a sugar-buzzed five-year-old on her birthday. I picked one up and inspected it, front and back. (Phewf, no typos on the cover!) I flipped it open. Fanned the pages close to my face, to smell them. Fanned the pages close to the post office worker’s face, so she could smell them too. Then my friend G came in, so I gave her a copy. I signed it (fun!!!!) and told her I hoped she enjoyed reading it.

That was four days ago.

And I haven’t heard back from her.

That’s the limbo I’m talking about. Between the time a dear reader opens the first page and the closes the cover for the final time, the author hangs in timeless, motionless limbo.

Or maybe it just feels that way because I’m such a newbie.

Writing is a slowly consumed art. It’s not like a painting, that you bite eagerly, taste immediately, chew and perhaps swish around in your mouth a little, and gulp down. Or a piece of music that you savour for a few wonderfully measured minutes. Even slow theatre or a long movie can be enjoyed between happy hour and dinner.

But a book—even a short one like mine—takes a long time to digest. Hours. Days. Weeks. It is usually consumed a few pages here, a few chapters or stories there. Personally, I’m a very slow reader; I enjoy the language of stories too much to rush. I like to hear each word in my head (sorry, Evelyn Wood). And, I’ve purchased great books that sit on my shelf for years before I crack their spines.

The Little Washer of Sorrows is just starting to make its way “out there.” Official release date is this March 31. Pre-orders are arriving in people’s mailboxes now. One Whistler bookstore has already started selling them, and the publisher has been vigorously sending books around for review purposes.

But as of today, I haven’t spoken to anyone who has actually READ the whole thing (except of course for my incredible proofers, editors, previewers etc.) It’s an interesting feeling, having a book that’s real (paper! ink!) and fresh (the Pemberton Library just catalogued their copy today!) yet, virtually unconsumed.

It’s “out there,” but only just. Reviews have yet to be written. The launches, readings, special events and book tour are around the corner. In this limbo, I see blue sky and upside down trees. Not a bad view from here.

A Tale of Stew, Stories and Shoes

By | About Katherine Fawcett, The Little Washer of Sorrows

Once upon a time there was a girl who wanted to become a writer. She wanted to write not simply to see her book on library shelves and to look herself up on the computer at Chapters, but because she wanted to reach people. She wanted to make them laugh, cry, and imagine. She wanted to challenge them, inspire them to stay up late reading just one more page, one more story. Maybe they’d stay up so late that they’d sleep in the next day, miss work. Then they’d get fired from a job they didn’t like, have a massive yard sale, travel to Mongolia and fall in love with a yak-herder. And live happily ever after.

Or maybe they’d recommend the book to a friend, the friend would pick up her own copy, plus a few more as gifts, and before you know it the girl has a bestseller on her hands. Suddenly she can buy herself all the shoes she’s ever wanted, but promises her family that the wealth and fame won’t change her on the inside.

The girl had no idea if any of this would happen. But she wanted to tell stories, and she was willing to take a chance.

So she chucked a bunch of words and ideas into a cooking pot and let it simmer. For many, many years, she’d wake up early in the morning and stay up late at night thinking of more words and ideas to chuck in. Every now and then, she’d pop open the lid, and a story would creep out. Sometimes it was good, sometimes it was ridiculous. Sometimes it was both. But if it stuck with her, she’d run spell-check on it, add some spices, drain off some fat, marinate it a little longer, and have it critiqued by her smart friends at Writer’s Group.

Eventually, some of these stories made it off the stove and into a book. The Little Washer of Sorrows is a collection of short fiction that is a slow-cooked labour of love.

And guess what: if you order a copy now, you’ll be reading it before the end of this month. You’ll be that much closer to Mongolia. And I’ll be that much closer to a new pair of shoes.

kfawcettsig

The Little Washer of Sorrows

Literary Stretch Marks

By | The Little Washer of Sorrows

You calculate your ovulation dates, you take your temperature, you have sex like a rhesus monkey, and one day, you drink just the right amount of Fireball, the stars line up, you raise your hips on a pillow and one of those million little sperm with enough protein and chutzpah reaches an egg, charms its way in, and finally…you’re pregnant.

With a cherished publishing contract!

The doctor says it’s a book of short stories.
Just what you’ve always wanted.
You are already thinking of names. Of cover images. Of readings in bookstores and library events. Of tea with Margaret Atwood. Play-dates with Neil Gaimon.

But Ma’am, there’s something slightly wrong with your baby.
What? How could that be? Let me see the ultrasound again!
I’m sorry, it’s already been sent to an editor.
Was that really necessary?
This is your first work of literary fiction, is that correct?
Er, yes.
We thought so. Yes. It is necessary. I won’t hurt a bit. Our editor is very good at what he does.

So you work with an editor. And the publisher was right: it doesn’t hurt. Well, it stings a little when the editor slices what you considered one of your best lines, corrects your careless punctuation, points out your over-use of “however”. But your editor is kind and assures you that the changes are minimal and the baby will still look like you.

Then there’s choosing a cover design. Putting the stories in just the right order. Final proofing. Gathering blurbs from other authors. Crafting birth announcements. It’s very exciting, but you find yourself overly sensitive to other people’s reviews. A so-so review in the Globe and Mail of a book you liked will set you off for days.

Your husband says he likes the changes that are happening. You see them as dark circles under your eyes and a more furrowed brow. No, he says. You’re literally glowing! You say you’re probably just absorbing too much light from the computer screen, and burst into tears.

Now, I’ve almost reached my due date (March 15th release) on what has been approximately a four-year gestation. I’m excited, scared, nervous. And bloated. I’m making arrangements for the launch (it’s going to be a near-home-birth) and our first road trip together (I’ll be taking the kid through southern BC and Alberta mid-April), and feeling rather hormonal.

At these final stages of development, I still have the opportunity to make minor tweaks to this unborn child before I set it free/let it loose/put it on amazon.com. But I wonder: is my baby really ready to hit the bookshelves on its own? To leave the realm of my imagination and be set on someone else’s nightstand? Am I okay with someone laying their own bookmark along my baby’s spine? I think I am…

My own children are now eleven and fifteen. I’ve been trying to tweak, edit and proof them for years, but they are…self-published. I know they will travel far, make people laugh, raise difficult questions and penetrate the hearts of those whose paths they cross.

I hope The Little Washer of Sorrows can do the same.

’Til the water breaks,

kfawcettsig