Friday, 13 September 2019

From Canada: Eileen Schuh

I am running a season of talking to, Award Winning, authors from different parts of the world. My lovely guests will talk about their country, their books and a little about themselves too. Today, I have an author and, someone I am proud to call a friend, who I have known for several years. Please welcome, Eileen Schuh from Canada.

I’m so excited to have been invited to sit beside Pauline’s pool. Not only because that means I get to talk about my books, and my country...and myself...but because we Canadians are on the cusp of winter. Therefore, lounging in the sun beside a pool is an opportunity I cannot decline.

Pauline told me she’s honouring Canadian writers on her blog this September and I thank her. There are a lot of us writers here in the Great White North and many of us have an affinity with British writers (and other things British like princesses, tea and the ‘u’ in colour and neighbour).

Canada is known for its successful celebration of diversity. We welcome ideas, foods and yes, even, words from cultures around the world. Plus we have some of our own words, like toque and kayak and sic.

An artist tends to see the world, well maybe not ‘differently’ but certainly more intensely than most. I notice this when I compare my vacation photos to others in my travel group. My companions will have grand mountain scenes with a group of us smiling tourists in the foreground and I’ll have a ten photos of a dew drop on a wild lupine.

This artistic perspective has served me well in my novel-writing. Most of my stories take place in Canada, in my particular province—Alberta. Whereas my friends and relations might not initially find their homeland an exciting locale to read about, when I put strong, poetic words to the everyday sights, sounds and smells of their world, they suddenly find beauty in what they’ve always taken for granted.

They can feel at home when “Katrina looked past the parking lot to the brilliant autumn colours. This used to be her favourite time of the year with the fire of the foliage under the mellow glow of a sun riding low on the horizon, the honking of geese flying white against the azure sky.” [THETRAZ].
Additionally, for those unfamiliar with my prairie home my use of powerful words can portray my everyday world as an exotic location. “Katrina drank in the astounding beauty of the Alberta September. Across the river, gold leaves glittered behind the red berry bushes lining the bank. Interspersed in the dazzle of fall colours were the spruce trees, stretching their deep green toward the rich, late-afternoon sun. The air was thick with the pungent scent of autumn. Fallen leaves, some mottled and some striped, crunched beneath her feet.” [FATAL ERROR]

Although my ongoing BackTracker Series [THE TRAZ, FATAL ERROR, FIREWALLS and OPERATION BACKTRACKER] is set in Canada, to expand my horizons I include a healthy dose of my southern American neighbour in my SciFi flicks, DISPASSIONATE LIES and SCHRÖDINGER'S CAT (this helps appease my American publisher, too!)

In SHADOW RIDERS, a crime novel running parallel to my BackTracker series, a good portion of the story happens in South Korea, a country I visited and found immensely and intensely vibrant.

I’m going to have to towel off now, don my parka and toque and go back to Alberta’s prairies and boreal forests and write about this amazing sapphire pool of Pauline’s, lapping at my toes as I laze thinly and youthfully, bronzing my alabaster skin beneath the warm rays of a tropical sun...

Or something like that.

One more thing before I go, Congratulations to Pauline on her new release, THE BIRTHDAY CARD. A great summer read...or autumn read. Even a winter read if the snow happens to come early this year.

The BackTracker Series

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Unknown said...

What a beautiful interview.
I really enjoyed reading it and learning things I didn't know about Canada.

Gilli Allan said...

As another artist-writer, I particularly enjoy your evocation of landscape, Eileen. And that it is naturally placed within the narrative, and the experience of the character, rather than just 'plonked'in. The wide open spaces and sparse population is hard for someone from England to envisage.
You're very lucky. xx

Pauline Barclay said...

Thank you, Unknown for stopping by.

Pauline Barclay said...

Hello Gilli, thank you. And, yes, I agree with you on the wide open spaces and sparse population. Have a fabulous day. xxx

Eileen Schuh: said...

Thank you, unknown and Gilli for visiting and taking the time to comment. And a big thank you to Pauline for hosting me. I definitely live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. The wide open spaces and things like resident bears may scare those in the cities, but I feel safer on my wildlife trails than on the congested, noisy sidewalks of the city...although both places are fascinating.