Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Book Lovers Ball Interview Series, with Susanna Kearsley

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Susanna Kearsley

This Thursday, February 7, 2013, more than 60 Canadian authors will gather at the Royal York Hotel for the Book Lover's Ball, a fantastic fundraiser for the Toronto Public Library Foundation.

Today we speak with Susanna Kearsley, whose twelfth book, The Firebird (Simon & Schuster Canada), will be published in April 2013 and has already been released in the UK.

Stay tuned this week for more interviews with guest authors from the Book Lover's Ball.

Open Book:

Is this your first time attending the Book Lover's Ball? If so, to what aspect of the event are you most looking forward? If you've attended before, what is one of your favourite memories from the event?

Susanna Kearsley:

Last year I came to the Book Lover's Ball as a last-minute substitute, so the whole thing was a bit of a whirlwind, with no proper time to prepare. But I really enjoyed all the glamour and glitz, and the sight of my writer friends wearing tuxedos and ball gowns (we’re usually much more informal). This year, I’m looking forward to revisiting the energy and fun of being in a room where everyone is celebrating books.


This year the ball features book-inspired entertainment. Tell us a bit about your most recent book.


My latest novel, The Firebird, has just come out in the UK and will be published into Canada by Simon & Schuster in April. It’s a book with a twin-stranded storyline, whose modern-day heroine, in trying to trace the history of a simple carving offered to her gallery, is drawn into the tangled intrigue of the Jacobite and Russian courts in the treacherous years of the early 18th century.


What will you be wearing to the gala?


I haven’t decided, yet, what I’ll be wearing. I can’t hope to compete with the truly glamorous gowns of some of the attendees, so I’ll likely play it safe and aim for elegance by choosing something simple. Maybe.


This event raises funds for the Toronto Library System, the busiest urban library system in the world. With what Canadian writer, living or dead, would you most like to spend an afternoon in the library? What might you ask him or her?


If I could use the Toronto Public Library as a time machine, I’d love to sit down for a few hours with Thomas B. Costain, whose novels once sold in the millions, hitting the number one spot on the New York Times bestseller list three times in the 1940s and 50s. Like me, he was born in Brantford, Ontario, and like me, he enjoyed crafting historical fiction from fact, even using, in his book Below the Salt, the same time-slip structure I use in my own novels. We tend to forget, here in Canada, that our literary past also includes great writers of popular fiction, and having an afternoon in the library to talk with and learn from one of the greatest would be, in my view, a rare privilege.

As a former museum curator, Susanna Kearsley brings her own passion for research and travel to her novels, weaving modern-day and historical intrigue. She won the prestigious Catherine Cookson Fiction Award for her novel Mariana, the 2010 Romantic Times Book Reviews Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Historical Fiction novel for The Winter Sea, was shortlisted for a 2012 RITA Award for The Rose Garden, and was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel from the Canadian Crime Writer’s Association for Every Secret Thing. She lives outside Toronto, Canada.

For more information about The Firebird please visit the Simon & Schuster Canada website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

For more information about the Book Lover's Ball, please visit their website.

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