Thursday 7 June 2018

Golden Oak Awards Today! Here's what I'm going to say...

With THE BOOTLEGGER'S GODDAUGHTER shortlisted for the OLA Golden Oak Award, I've been asked to give a short talk at the award ceremony.  Here's what I'm saying:

I thought you might want to know how books happen.

Anyone who has read The Goddaughter books knows they are comedies.  But you may not know that I got my start writing standup.  I wrote for comedians, and I also had a newspaper humour column.

About ten years ago, Orca Book Publishers wanted to add comedy to their Rapid Reads line.  All the books they had at the time were pretty serious.  So they asked if I’d write a comedy series for them.

The Goddaughter series is about a mob goddaughter who doesn’t want to be one.  But her mob family can’t do anything right, so she’s always dragged back in to clean up the mess. 

It’s a perfect series for me to write, because although I’m not a mob goddaughter, my family had family that was in the mob.  Plus, I lived close to Hamilton.  I could set the books in Hamilton, which is a fun and quirky place.

Now, writing books is a lonely job.  You basically sit alone at a desk for hundreds of hours.  And when your book comes out, it’s sort of quiet.  It’s not like you’re at a play, and people applaud at the end of it.

So feedback from readers is SO important.  When The Goddaughter came out, I got in touch with the Hamilton Literacy Council.  Asked if they wanted to be involved in the launch.  They said yes, and seven books later, I’m happy to call many of their students my friends.

So when I asked what they wanted me to write next, they said, “We want a romantic comedy!”  My publisher listened.  And Worst Date Ever came out this fall.

I guess what I’m saying is, we really do listen to you.  My goal in writing these books is to make reading fun.  For *you*.

And so, The Bootlegger’s Goddaughter is shortlisted today.  I’m so very grateful.  But you know what I’m even more grateful for?  At the launch of this book, a man came up to me and said, “If it weren’t for the Goddaughter books, I wouldn’t be able to read now.”

I can’t tell you what that meant to me.  It's made all the difference.  Please, please, if you really like a book, let the author know.  It goes two ways.   

You have the power to make a difference to her.


  1. As usual, you hit the nail on the head. Feedback is so important to an author. Reviews (ones written by real people, not trolls) are so important. Not only do they tell us what's working, it tells other readers and helps them find us.

  2. So true, Alison. Sometimes the black dog hits, and a single reader can make all the difference to an author. One person to say, your book meant something to me. That's all it takes!