Posts from — October 2014

Things I Learned About Myself Through Writing (x 2) 0

October 28, 2014

Other than food and books, we love a good list here at Fork & Fiction! And games. We’re always game for games. So here’s our crack at the Top Three Game under the theme of : What Writing Has Taught Us About Ourselves.



1. I’m a great starter. (But just an okay follow-through-er.) I get inspired and swept away easily, but the momentum to keep the story going tends to be the hardest part for me. I love being seduced by an idea (Or maybe the idea loves seducing me. How’s that for turning it around?), but as with all love stories, eventually the passion fades and the work begins. Luckily, I don’t seem to have the same problem with actual relationships. Right, DH?

2. I like being alone. Of course I enjoy the company of others, but I’m perfectly fine being alone too. As a writer, I think you have to be okay with that. Maybe I should also say I enjoy being alone in the company of my characters, because we’re not really alone when we’re writing, are we? Unless I’m struggling to write a really tough section–then yes, I feel really, really alone. When I’m working on a book, my ideal situation would be to get away from my family, friends and distractions (and hopefully bring really good food with me) and hole up somewhere to just write. I don’t really even miss people when I’m in the zone. Maybe don’t tell my kids that.

3. I need to read. This might sound obvious, but the thing is, reading has become crucial for my writing output, not just for recreation or research. Reading is my writing fuel. When I get a chance to read and savour a book, I get inspired and all these new ideas or half-borrowed thoughts flood my brain. And when I don’t read, I feel less fertile, less balanced.


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1. All of Ria’s top three. See above. That was easy. Now…off to make cake. 

1. Okay, let’s get truthful. I am a thief. Or, perhaps, a magpie. Before becoming one I assumed writers were required to be 100% original with their ideas before they put fingers to keyboard or pen to paper. It proved to be a paralyzing assumption and probably why I came to this party so late. No-one is 100% original, in my opinion. How can we be? We’re all shaped and influenced; “no man is an island” and all that. Our ideas, my ideas, are all begged, borrowed, observed, stolen, snatched from dreams. Pieces of truth, pieces of fantasy, something you heard someone say all gets woven together, like the magpie’s nest, hopefully with some twinkly, little treasures in amongst the dried grass and twigs and dirt.

2. I avoid conflict on paper too. I don’t like arguments and disharmony  and befuddlement in real life and when I have to write them (they have to be written, life and books need them, it’s just the way) I put it off. I don’t like putting my protagonists into danger, hurting them or making them confused. I often write beginnings and endings and then get grumpy and lose momentum in the middle. I don’t wanna break her heart! I just don’t wanna! But I’m learning; I’m getting better, I’m starting to understand the inevitability and importance of it. First noble truth of the Buddha.

3. I’m a romantic. I knew this already of course, ’cause I’m an annoying swoon-y kinda gal. I was dying, just dying, for Anne to marry Gilbert. I fell for the line / sermon / universal truth, seemingly everywhere, that if I found the right person, my soul mate, I’d be filled up from the inside and never need for anything again. I would find my Gilbert. Everything would be perfect and whole. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the idea and I still really love my guy (bless his tolerant soul). My manuscripts are positively strewn with love stories. But, what I didn’t expect was to fall so in love with a job. With this writing thing. It’s not easy, it is a lot like a marriage. Exhausting, frustrating, challenging, stretching. But I am so in love. It’s family. I can’t imagine life without it. Swoon, swoon.



In: Books & Reading, From Hannah, From Ria, Writing

Sweet Little Something 0

October 25, 2014

Wishing you and yours a wonderful weekend and offering a little something from our week. A moment to treasure, an image to remember (something to serve as haiku-inspiration? Go on!) Feel free to leave your comments, a link to your own Sweet Little Something image  or a haiku; we love to hear from you. H & R x

From Hannah: 

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 From Ria:


In: From Hannah, From Ria, Seasonal, Sweet Little Something

Chocolate + Rosemary 2

October 21, 2014

They say rosemary is for remembrance. Shakespeare’s Ophelia did at least. They even say it improves your memory and one of my favourite authors wrote about planting it by the garden gate so, at our house, it most definitely is. In fact we have it in such abundance the local bees have our joint permanently loaded into their internal GPS. Seriously, we have So Much Rosemary. It’s a bit insane.




In order to utilize our herbaceous bounty I dot the delicate, purple flowers on top of cakes and finely chop long curling sprigs of it for meat and roast vegetables. I snip stalks off and plunk them into small glass bottles just to have around the house or dotted down the middle of a table and B1, our eldest, munches on it raw?! (That’s taking it too far for me personally). Still, I’m a rosemary-seeking missile when I read cookbooks and if a recipe calls for rosemary it’s probably going to get a run in our kitchen. You can already guess, I’ll bet, just how thrilled I was to spot rosemary in Marian Keyes‘ cookbook, Saved by Cake. A recipe that requires rosemary? A sweet recipe with rosemary? I’m in. Hastily getting out the bowls and measuring cups…


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In: Books & Reading, Food, From Hannah, Includes a recipe!

Sweet Little Something 4

October 18, 2014

Happy Sweet Little Something!  We have an extra reason to celebrate this week: Ria’s novel, The Opposite of Geek, has been shortlisted for the White Pine Award! Join us in a raucous HUZZAH! And have yourself a piece of cake while you’re at it…

Have a great weekend!

From Hannah:


From Ria:


In: Food, From Hannah, From Ria, Sweet Little Something

Scones and a Time Machine 6

October 12, 2014


Okay: we’re going to pretend you and I are in my kitchen (I cleaned especially for your visit!) and I’m making raspberry scones. We’re going to have warm scones and tea and a good old chin-wag, but first, you’re on a stool by the fridge, and I’m wielding my pastry knife, trying not to get my new shirt (don’t you love it?) floury. We’re talking about—you guessed it—food and writing. And since the food is right in front of us, transforming into something delicious, it’s only natural to talk about the other half of that perfect pairing…


So, I’ve been a kidlit author for quite a few years now. I love it. I’ve explored writing lots of genres for kids—Young Adult, Middle Grade, picture books, illustrated story books, poetry. I want to do more of this, always more. But I didn’t start out this way. I was once a young writing student who wrote for adults. It’s kind of odd for me to think about that. I’ve been in kidlit world for so long and with such intensity that I’ve completely given up my for-adult writing. Until now.

One thing I haven’t tried writing for kids or teens: short stories. Not because I don’t want to, but because I’ve been pretty busy with the other genres jostling for space in my head. But I did write short stories for adults when I was starting out, and I loved them. It’s just been a (long) while.


So, the reason I bring all this up is because I recently took a look in one of my old writing files and found some stories from those bygone years. And man, was it fascinating. And a little strange. Because in several ways, that was a different person’s writing. In age, stage of life and geography, a different person, but also in attitude and aesthetic. I was single (or at any rate, not married), debt-free (today: hello, mortgage) and on a creative high made that much higher by school and classmates and assignments.

Looking at this old work is like a peek back in time. Isn’t that the great thing about the written word, after all? It’s a record, whether an account of a Roman battle or a journal entry from my grade five diary. These stories aren’t just stories. They are a record of my development as a writer. They tell me about myself at a particular moment in my life. One I sometimes forget about these days.



So in a way, delving into that old file of stories is like finding buried treasure. More than that, it’s a chance to get some of that old mojo back. Because I’ve kind of forgotten how I used to write. Perspectives change over time. Energy wanes or transforms. Styles develop. Things sometimes need to be remembered. And from this, maybe something new can happen. As a keener student, it felt a lot like Dr. Seuss said: “Oh the places you’ll go.” Now I’m at a place where I can ask, “Where have I been so far?” Answering that with evidence from my past writing is a great way of fertilizing my current work. It’s coming full-circle. It’s the past me helping the present me, just like my classmates did in workshops all those years ago.


And it makes me want to be that past me, at least a little bit (she was pretty fun). I’ve decided to open up the short story file again. To look around and see what I can do not for kids. There’s nothing like a big chunk of time to give a writer perspective on their work.

Okay, enough of my blathering. Tell me your news. And let’s eat these while they’re still warm.





In: From Ria, Writing