Today we talk with Sharon Ramsay Curtis who is the author and illustrator of EDWARD COVERED and GLADIOLA SLEEPS IN, two lovely picture books for young children. She is also a watercolour artist, potter and gardener. Sharon says, “as a human being I seem to be the most at ease when I am making, doing, and/or creating. I love that creating seems to keep my brain sharp and being in the presence of other creative persons seems to inspire me to venture further along my own creative path. I love useful things and my pottery, while decorative, is always functional and ergonomically designed. I am inspired by growing things, change, words and their meanings, colours, lines, and patterns. These are elements, which show up in my work most frequently. I create because creating is the conduit by which I am able to most understand the world and myself.”
This week, we talk with Mark Macmillan. Mark is a published author, award-winning newspaper editor, reporter and communications specialist. During the course of his career he has conducted province-wide advertising campaigns in print, radio, newspaper, digital, online and electronic billboards. He has also produced a dozen TV commercials. A full-time husband, father and grandfather, Mark is an avid angler, amateur chef, long-time Commissioner of a National Football League pool, home-grown hot sauce maker and avid book, art, comics and walking stick collector as well as a music lover and major league Toronto Blue Jays fan. He and his wife live in picturesque Quinte West, Ontario. His recently launched book, The Rankin Street Raiders, or Tom Sawyer times five, chronicles the exploits of young boys and their misadventures in a combined spirit of friendship and glee when times were simpler and the world was their pirating playground.
Meet Kathryn Corbett who with her husband Dan took over Lighthouse Books in Brighton in 2016. The store had been a fixture in town for almost 20 years. Kathryn grew up near Toronto but then lived and taught in Thunder Bay. Much of Kathryn’s teaching career there and then here in Northumberland was as an elementary Teacher Librarian. Kathryn has been a book lover since childhood, which led her to major in English Literature at the University of Toronto. While at university Kathryn worked part time at 3 different WH Smith bookstores in the GTA. As a mom and now a grandmother, Kathryn enjoys seeing first hand which children’s books have the most appeal but good murder mysteries, historical fiction and enlightening nonfiction are also favourite topics of conversation amongst her reading family. Besides reading, Kathryn has enjoyed traveling and makes visits to libraries and bookstores wherever she goes.
This week we talk to Jane Kelly. Jane grew up in Ottawa and graduated from Carleton University with a degree in Psychology before leaving for Toronto where she met her husband, John. They moved to Northumberland over 30 years ago where she and her husband still live on the 100-acre farm where she raised her two children. Since then, she’s had her fingers in a lot of pies but is always happiest when she’s building something—whether it’s a magazine or a log cabin on her property. In 2001, she started Watershed Magazine, now celebrating its 20th anniversary with the current Summer edition.
Erin Silver has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her work has appeared in everything from The Washington Post and The Globe and Mail to Harper’s Bazaar and Good Housekeeping, among many other North American magazines, newspapers and blogs. Her first book, Just Watch Me, is a middle grade novel about social media, video games and divorce. It won the bronze medal in the Uncommon Quest Writing Competition and a publishing contract with Common Deer Press. Her picture book, What Kids Did: Stories of Kindness and Invention in the Time of COVID-19 is about the ways kids around the world helped others during the pandemic. The book was highly recommended on two separate book lists from Mabel’s Fables bookstore. Erin has several other children’s books being published through 2023. She has a postgraduate journalism degree from Ryerson University and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from King’s College.
Today we talk with Mandy Robinson, Cobourg’s Town Crier since 2015. A published photographer, poet, and author, she plays piano and has acted with the Northumberland Players and sometimes sung opera. She is the mother of three daughters and has an eleven year old grandson. Mandy has been a professional public speaker for many years and is the recipient of the Provincial Award for Leading Women Building Communities for her work empowering women to find their voice and step into their power of freedom. Mandy has increased her writing and performing of poetry recently and is currently working on her own book about her life, Freedom My Final Frontier. She is also slated to launch her first book of Poetry called Catalyst shortly.
Jennifer Bogart is a writer, with three adult novels and a number of mid-grade and YA books to her credit. She has also been a publisher and editor at Morning Rain Publications and is now the owner of Let’s Talk Books, Cobourg’s wonderful independent book store, recently featured in a Globe and Mail article and now celebrating its fifth year in business. She frequently hosts writers, whose books she admires and arranges very successful readings for them, as well as organizing a number of book clubs at the store for readers of different genres. She tells us about running a bookstore in pandemic times and what her customers have been reading.
Today we talk with Paddy Scott. Paddy was born and raised in Trenton, Ontario, the fictionalized version of which provides the setting for his novel, The Union of Smokers. His fiction has appeared in magazines across Canada, has been nominated for Canadian Magazine Awards and The Journey Prize as well as being a finalist for an Alberta Magazine Award, and long-listed several times for the CBC fiction and poetry prizes. The Union of Smokers, published by Invisible Publishing, was one of 49th Shelf’s books of the year for 2020 and long-listed for the Stephen Leacock Medal.
This week we talk to Ronald Mackay. Since Ron put aside technical and academic writing in favour of more personal and creative writing, in 2011, he has published four memoirs, written a dozen plays only a very few of which have been produced, and written lots of short stories of which some 20 have appeared in anthologies. While Ronald was surprised at losing some friends during this career switch, he was compensated by new friendships from unexpected quarters. Ronald has been forced to revise the commercial aims that propelled him towards creative writing a decade ago and to come to terms with the concrete realities of the nature of publishing in the 21st Century.
Meet J.D. Carpenter. David grew up in Toronto, earned degrees at York and Queen’s, taught high school English for 25 years and ran a Special Education program for 14 of those years. He publishes under the name J D Carpenter and began his writing career as a poet, later switching to fiction, primarily murder mysteries: The Devil in Me (McClelland & Stewart, 2001); Bright’s Kill (Dundurn Press, 2005); 74 Miles Away (Dundurn Press, 2006); Twelve Trees (Dundurn Press, 2008) and The County Murders (Cressy Lakeside Books, 2016). A second Joe Horn mystery, The Lake Pirates was published by Cressy Lakeside Books in 2020. Now David has returned to writing poetry as well as planning a major revision to a Campbell Young mystery which he put aside several years ago. So, though he told us that his biography hadn’t altered except in that he had grown two years older since he was last our guest, it seems there’s plenty to add to it. Today he tells us about his recent work and current projects