During 2006, I was enrolled in the Humber School of Creative Writing online program. The very best part of the eight months was that we were given access to the school’s student discussion board, and had the opportunity to “meet” and chat with our fellow classmates who were situated across Canada, with one – me – living in the Caribbean. Many of us were quite vocal on that board, in the days before Facebook and other social networking sites, and we discussed all manner of ideas and concerns, and sometimes even talked about our writing. By Sept. when the program came to an end, a group of us (and we were all women – there were a few men in the class but most chose not to take part in our online discussions, but that’s another story) decided to organize an email group, and we’ve remained in contact ever since. We’ve lost a few people along the way, and picked up some other emerging writers and one bookseller friend, but that core group has remained the same since 2006. We decided early on that we would not critique each others’ work, although some have offered to help privately with editing, etc. Mainly what we do is exchange information on writing and publishing, share advice and informative articles, and provide the best support system an emerging writer could ever want to have. These women are always there to cheer, to fume, to laugh, cry and commisserate, to suggest, and to help.
It was believed at the time that Darcie Hossack would be the first of our group to actually publish a book. This has turned out to be the case, and Mennonites Don’t Dance will be published in mid-Sept. But hot on her heels is Teri Vlassopoulos with her new book, Bats or Swallows, and Other Stories from Invisible Publishing, being released a month later. The two women sorted out time zone differences (something we’ve all become accustomed to over the years, although Darcie has always been last to arrive at every online party, living in BC and an hour behind Calgary), and managed to have a conversation in which they sort of interview each other. Read the entire un-interview, as they call it, either at Teri’s blog or Darcie’s.
Terrific job, you two! And a hearty congratulations on the two new books – ya done the group proud!