My second novel is in the works—spurred on by fellow writers and readers!

At a time when publishers of newspapers and books struggle to survive, it is incredibly encouraging to attend an event that brings together people who love the printed word and encourages and celebrates writers and their supporters.

I had the great fortune this summer to be invited to the 22nd annual Lakefield Literary Festival held at Lakefield College School near Peterborough.

In commemoration of Margaret Laurence, Catharine Parr Traill, Susanna Moodie and the local community’s ongoing literary heritage, the Festival showcases Canadian authors and promotes the joy of reading and writing among children and adults.

As the recent author of a first novel, I was proud to participate in this event that over the years has attracted large audiences and Canada’s best known and most celebrated authors as well as featuring sessions for kids, fiction and non-fiction writing classes and Young Writers Awards.

For me, it was terrific meeting other authors and I was encouraged and inspired by readers who loyally support Canadian authors and attend festivals like Lakefield’s to buy books and meet the people who write and publish them.

These days it seems that hardly a month goes by without another newspaper announcing massive layoffs—or, in some cases the closing of their operations altogether. For someone who spent much of her life as a journalist and enjoyed every minute of those exciting and fun-filled times, it is heart breaking to see so many writers losing their jobs and so many communities losing the benefits of good local newspapers.

At Lakefield I was reminded that book publishing in particular has always been a challenge but there are still writers who stubbornly hang in there and eventually get their works published through one creative process or another. And there are still publishers able to survive in a tough and changing market and readers who appreciate what we write.

The three-day Lakefield Literary Festival was jam-packed with events on and around the historic school campus and included author signings following all events. (Thank you to all those who purchased copies of my novel Laughed Till They Cried and patiently lined up to chat and have their books signed.) I was a member of a panel with fellow authors Bill Richardson (The First Little Bastard to Call Me Gramps) and Bill Conall (The Promised Land) at the Sunday afternoon wrap-up session. Hosted by Drew Hayden Taylor, a successful author and playwright, our session was called Leave Laughing and that’s how we left our large audience after reading from the books we have authored, discussion and response to questions from the floor.

I haven’t laughed that hard for that long in quite a while. My fellow panelists are very talented and funny guys and the audience obviously shared our crazy sense of humour.

I came away from Lakefield proud to be included in such august company and committed to navigating my way through the publication of a second novel, which will feature some of the same quirky type of characters that readers liked in Laughed Till They cried. I completed a manuscript this past spring, it is now in the editing process, and I hope to have some good news about its publication in the coming months.

Keep posted. And keep reading.

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