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Lee Kvern on The Matter of Sylvie

About your book:

Photo of Lee KvernWhat do you think readers will find most notable about this book?

My hope (always!) as a writer is that people will connect in some emotional way with the character, the story, the book. This book in particular, I hope for: laughing, crying, empathy, and in the end, that the reader will have gained a new perspective on raising a severely challenged child, the joys, the worries, the challenges, the hidden gems of such children.

Have you acquired any good anecdotes surrounding this book?

Thus far, the book has: won a heart, (my neighbour’s), made my police officer niece cry/laugh/miss my mother, her grandmother who passed away several months ago, caused my Arkansas sister to facebook me at 3:00 a.m. in the morning, after staying up to read the book in one long, several–times-heated bath, that she loved it. Who am I to argue with hearts, love, and missing? I am quietly humbled by the familial response I’ve had so far. We’ll see what readers think when the book launches in Calgary/Edmonton/Vancouver/Victoria shortly. September–November 2010

Did researching and writing this book teach you anything or influence your thinking in any way?

In a capital word: Yes. I spent a solid week up at the Michener Centre in Red Deer where my challenged sister lives. And while I had always gone there prior to see her, the insight that I gained that week was enormous.

I was privileged to have access to all of Michener, a good portion of which is now either closed and/or being used for other purposes, which served to fill in those shady areas of my childhood memories. But more importantly, I got to see my adult sister in her element along with the other wonderful women she lives with.

The biggest realization was that her life, which I’d previously viewed as tragic, is not all that different from mine. She likes to go over to the canteen every day with her loonie and buy brown pop. I like brown coffee. She likes to sit and watch people, for hours, sometimes. Ditto for me. She likes to draw. Same here. She needs her afternoon seclusion in her purple bedroom. I crave afternoon seclusion but don’t often get it. She’s a luxuriously slow eater who enjoys both food and good company, a given with most people. I loved seeing that while life offers many ways to skin the cat, hers was neither better, nor worse but had those universal elements common to every living being.

What would you most like readers to tell others about this book?

That the book connected with you in some small way, and that others should also read it in the bathtub.

Can you suggest one question readers might find interesting to discuss, concerning you, your writing in general, or this book?

How did you feel reading it, and did you feel differently after?

The Matter of Sylvie by Lee KvernHow can readers help you promote this book?

Facebook, Twitter the nation, tell the guy/gal that works at the gas station, call Heather, Oprah, alert your reader friends to BookClubBuddy.com

Check out my website: www.leekvern.com

About You

Why do you write?

Big Question. I write to disseminate the sometimes-heartbreaking world around me. I write to understand the heartbreak, the dark, the ironic, the funny in order (always) to find the sun, even if it’s weak or murky or seemingly nonexistent. I write because I’m enormously interested in people and what makes them/us/me tick. I write because nothing else gives me the sense of life more than the fictional examination of life itself.

What is your greatest strength as a writer?

That I might be able to make you cry/laugh/think, and with luck, do all three in one story.

What quality do you most value in yourself?

Empathy, seeing both sides of people and issues, wanting to understand the things I don’t.

In addition to writing, what else are you passionate about?

Kids, people, sports, huskies.

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?

The obvious answer would be writing books, telling stories, but my children continue on a regular basis to astonish me in ways, big and small. I like to think I’ve had a part in that.

Is there any new or established author whom you feel deserves more attention, and what is it that strikes you about his or her work?

Roberta Rees. Her work is deep and wonderful and poetic. She makes her readers feel, which is not an easy task. She is Alberta’s answer to Michael Ondaatje and deserves to be more widely read. She’s also won the CBC Literary Award, not once but twice. Amazing writer! Check her out.


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Posted by Pearl on Aug 28 2010. Filed under Author Interviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.
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1 Comment for “Lee Kvern on The Matter of Sylvie”

  1. [...] is shortlisted for the George Bugnet Fiction Award. Read more about The Matter of Sylvie. Read an INTERVIEW with Lee Kvern about The Matter of [...]

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