One evening last week, I was invited to join a small reception at Oliver & Bonacini’s on Front Street in Toronto where attendees had the opportunity to chat with authors Paula McLain and Elizabeth Hay. In town to promote their latest books, they sat down to enjoy some drinks & snacks while chatting with us.
Arriving a little late, I was surprised (and delighted!) to find out that my fellow blogger friends had been talking to the guests of honour about Paris Month, since Paula’s previous book was The Paris Wife (which I had the honour of interviewing her for Paris Month 2012). Her newest book is called Circling the Sun and tells the story of Beryl Markham, a young horse trainer & aviator from Britain living in Kenya. Inspired after reading Beryl’s book West with the Night, she laughed about how her brother in law had been reading it and recommended it to her. It sat on her table for almost a year before she got fed up with another book she was trying to work on (about Marie Curie). I asked her if she had gone to Kenya to get inspiration for the setting and she said that she actually only went earlier this year, when the first draft of the book had already been submitted. She felt that sometimes writers can be bogged down by so much research that they lose the feeling of the writing. (Paula’s instagram shares some gorgeous photos of her Kenyan trip).
I then had a chance to chat with Elizabeth about her new book, His Whole Life, which follows a family of an American father, a Canadian mother and their son as they travel from New York City up to Eastern Ontario. The tale hits a lot closer to home than what one may initially realize. Elizabeth shared that it’s inspired by her own life of being a Canadian mother with her American husband. The regret that she feels of not sharing the appreciation of Canadian culture more into her children’s lives is what sparked this story idea. In a way, it is a wish of what she would have done.
Thank you to Elizabeth Hay & Paula McLain, and the team at Penguin Random House Canada for a wonderful evening of bookish chats!
I, surprisingly, didn’t take too many photos this time around so I’ll share Shilpa’s wonderful picture of our two guests of honour!