Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

A Dream Come True

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A Dream Come True

On a recent Friday morning, my publisher Robert Morgan of BookLand Press and I had the good fortune to pay a visit to Webcom Inc. to watch my book Taking the Ice roll off the line. I cannot tell you what a thrill it was and have the good people there to thank for the amazing tour.

Lauren, BookLand’s account representative was our first point of contact and she brought in and introduced us to Beth Craig, the Marketing Manager and Ken the man in charge of making everything work on the plant floor. I know it isn’t the norm for ‘regular people’ to get the chance to see how it all works and I am grateful for the exception. We got a chance to see how it all happens from the huge rolls of paper to the screens upon which the words are imprinted and to the HUGE machinery that prints the words onto the paper; makes the paper into sections of books; cuts the paper to size; creates books and finally glues the cover onto the book. I had no idea the amount of work and the checks and balances along the way that go into the process. Then there were the amazing people along the way as part of WebCom’s staff who did everything from monitor the machinery to taking the completed books and putting them into boxes.

So very interesting and with each step all I could think about was the year in my life that it took to come to this point. There is nothing about the process of writing this book that I would have changed and getting to see it come to fruition with my own eyes made it real. Moments along the way popped into my head as I watched the books roll along the conveyor belt. I remembered my first exchange with Robert when I couldn’t quite believe my good fortune at having someone contact me to write a book! I stood there re-living the late night phone call I had with Toller Cranston where I thought I was going to be re-booking my appointment with him after 2 failed attempts and he started talking. I quickly changed gears and put him on speaker phone, turned on the recorder and started typing not wanting to lose the chance at the ease and intimacy with which we were speaking. Then there was the time I spoke with Jamie Sale about her experience after the pairs’ event at the Salt Lake Olympics in 2002 and how damn mad she was at the time. Kurt Browning shared his unique use for toe picks when he was young and Barbara Ann Scott talked about duty and honour for your country. What an honour for me to be the voice in the rink as the PA announcer for figure skating in Vancouver at the Olympics and to recall my own experience of digging my nails into my hand so as not to have my own voice break when Joannie Rochette skated so soon after losing her mother and then hearing and writing about coach Manon Perron’s experience from just across the rink at the same time. I spoke to all of them and tried to relay their view of themselves for the reader.

I got the chance to write the book that I wanted to read and Webcom gave me the chance to see it realized. I am truly grateful.

If you want to know more – visit the website I created for the book: www.takingtheice.com

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Pj Kwong

Pj Kwong is a figure skating expert and writer currently working for CBC Sports. Her first book, Taking the Ice: Success Stories from the World of Canadian Figure Skating (BookLand Press), will be in stores in September 2010.

Go to Pj Kwong’s Author Page