Get to Know our "Thrill Her" Panelists

Register for the event on July 23 here.

Woman on the Edge
By Samantha Bailey

What’s the working title of your future memoir?
She Went for It.

What book did you read as a child that you remember fondly?
The Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson.

What is something you’ve always wanted to write about?
So many things. But I really love darkly humorous mysteries and suspense and would love to try that one day.

Which fictional character would you like to be friends with?
Bridget Jones. She’s hilarious.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
My agent told me that whether it’s my first book or my seventh, it never gets easier. It was early on in our revision process for Woman on the Edge, and it gave me a lot of perspective and a sense of calm.

Worst advice you’ve ever been given?
Back into that parking spot. You can do it. Spoiler: I couldn’t do it.

What’s next on your reading list?
I’m starting Confessions on the 7:45 by Lisa Unger, who is one of my favorite writers.

What sparked the idea for Woman on the Edge?
Six years ago, I was waiting for the subway on a narrow Toronto platform. I saw a woman holding her newborn, standing too close to the edge. She looked tired and frazzled, as I did when my own two kids were babies. I thought: “What if?” and like a lightning bolt, the premise for Woman on the Edge hit me. I scribbled it on an empty gum pack I found in my purse as the train pulled into the station. We got on, and the mother looked happy and content snuggling her baby, and I had an idea that would change my life.


The Swap
By Robyn Harding

What’s next on your reading list?
I have an advance copy of Liz Nugent’s upcoming novel LITTLE CRUELTIES on deck. I’m her biggest fan.

What do you struggle most with as a writer?
I feel very vulnerable when a book first goes out into the world. Even when it is well received, I’m so sensitive to criticism. Eventually, it fades away, thank goodness.  

What do you have the most fun with as a writer?
Writing! I really love the process. And I love the community of writers I have met over the years. I’m so excited to see them when we’re allowed to travel to conferences again.

Do you write with music in the background, or in silence?
Silence.

Does anyone keep you company while you write?
Sadly, I lost my writing companion at the end of February. My little dog, Ozzie, kept me company for 15 years. I dedicated THE SWAP to him.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Some aspiring writers take a lot of courses and workshops, and that knowledge can become prescriptive if you let it. I’ve done this myself. Education is great, but you need to listen to your inner storyteller.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
You have never “made it” in this business, so don’t even try. Just keep writing and enjoy the ride.

How many hours a day do you write?
About 5.

Do you believe in writer’s block? What do you do if you get stuck?
I don’t get writer’s block, but if the words aren’t coming easily, I will go for a walk or do some mindless chores. That usually gets my creativity flowing again.

What sparked the idea for The Swap?
I know a few people who are in open relationships, and I know it’s increasingly common, especially with younger people. I’m in a traditional marriage, so I was curious about it. I wondered . . . how would that work? Or, more appropriately, for the kinds of books I write, how would that not work. 

 


Hurry Home
By Roz Nay

What’s next on your reading list?
Necessary People by Anna Pitoniak

What do you struggle most with as a writer?
Wanting things to hurry up. I'm quite impatient, and have had to learn not to be - in life, generally, and definitely within an industry that moves as it wants to.

What do you have the most fun with as a writer?
Collaborating with other writers, bloggers and readers. There's so much banter to be had, and I love travelling and meeting the people who've read and found something in the book(s).

Do you write with music in the background, or in silence?
Definitely not music in the background. Silence, with the addition of two children in the house because of Covid.

Does anyone keep you company while you write?
My dog, Digger. He follows me wherever I go, and sits beside my feet when I'm typing.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Thinking success is a straight ascending line. It's a crazy spaghetti twirl, and for the most part, you have to grit it out. Staying power is everything. Also, comparing yourself to others is a nightmare: it's an early mistake to do this, and I've learned to stay in my lane and trust that I'm doing my best. That's really all there is.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Keep jotting things down in your travel diary 🙂 Through my twenties, I travelled all the time and was a little... (as my parents would tell you) short of direction. I just wanted to see things and have adventures. I didn't know I was a writer, but I constantly captured snippets of dialogue or images that had struck me in the day. I'm using all of that now - both characters and settings; so I'd tell my younger self not to stress, and that in fact everything that seemed to be a drift actually had a purpose.

How many hours a day do you write?
On writing days, of which I get two a week, I tend to write from 8am to about 1pm, then force myself to stop and go outside.

Do you believe in writer’s block? What do you do if you get stuck?
I haven't experienced it yet, but if I'm really stuck on a plot point or even a line, I'll take a shower and let hot water hammer on my head. It's astonishing: by the time I get out, I usually have the right sentence. Failing that, I take Digger for a walk or go talk to my children. Switching off and coming back later is like a refresh button - the problem seems to fix itself while I'm away.

What sparked the idea for Hurry Home?
My day job in child protection. The fact I have two sisters for whom I'd do anything. And a tragic event on my grandfather's farm in Scotland when I was 10...


Still Here
By Amy Stuart

What’s next on your reading list?
My TBR (to-be-read) pile is high these days, but at the top is The Subtweet by Vivek Shraya.

What do you struggle most with as a writer?
Time management, in every sense. Finding enough time to focus on writing, and then actually focusing when I do have the time!

What do you have the most fun with as a writer?
Inventing characters. I love writing dialogue and building scenes around people I’ve made up. When it works well, it’s the very best writing experience.

Do you write with music in the background, or in silence?
Silence? What’s that? But seriously… Silence is a rare gift for me these days with my kids at home. If the distractions are heavy, I’ll choose music. If things are actually quiet around me, I enjoy the silence. I also write outside as much as I can. Birds are a nice soundtrack.

Does anyone keep you company while you write?
My canine editor (aka our pet dog) Millie is often by my side.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Biting off more than you can chew (trying to write too much in a sitting, say) and focusing on the things they can’t control (like whether a book will be a bestseller). My advice always is to write often in manageable chunks and do it because you love it. The rest will happen as it happens.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
It never gets any easier, so don’t pin your hopes on that :).

How many hours a day do you write?
I’m lucky to get a solid hour these days. When I’m writing a first draft I don’t usually put a ton of time in every day, especially in periods like now where I have a book coming out and responsibilities around that. As I’m finishing a novel, there will be stretches where I’ll work 18 hours a day. That final editing push is all-in.

Do you believe in writer’s block? What do you do if you get stuck?
My high school gym teacher used to tell me, when I’d complain about running another lap, that I needed to learn the difference between I can’t do it and I won’t do it. Of course Writer’s Block is a thing, but there’s often a way around it. For me, that usually means moving on to something completely different for a while.

What sparked the idea for Still Here?
Still Here is the third book in a linked series, so the idea’s been around for a long time. But watching it evolve and play out differently than I thought it would has been a lot of fun.