In From Scratch, Cookie is about to lose her job at the local bakery. She dreams of owning her own bakery but doesn’t think she has the skills or money to do it. Most of all, she doesn’t have the self-confidence. When she takes a course at the local college, she finds she has much more going for her than she imagined. With the help of her community, she figures out how to make sure no one has to go without her famous doily cookies for long!
What planning and research did you do for you book?
I pulled largely from my own experience starting my own business, though in my case I teach writing. Baking is one of my hobbies, however, and I often write about food in my literary novels.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?
My own mentor, Jack Hodgins, advised me to focus on process, on craft, rather than on the end result, publication. Too often apprentice writers jump into publication too soon, before they, or their book, is ready. Learning craft in a peer-critique workshop, or with a mentor, is the best way to learn craft. Then it’s practice, practice, practice.
What’s in your to-be-read pile? What makes you want to read those books?
I have the great pleasure of working with many emerging writers on their projects. These are my favorite books to read as I get to watch the stories develop.
What’s your favorite movie that was adapted from a book or short story?
I have a very personal story here. My novel, The Cure for Death by Lightning, was recently adapted for the stage and produced by Western Canada Theatre. It was a strange and wonderful experience to see my own characters coming to life on the stage. I cried through the whole play!
What’s your favorite city you’ve lived in?
Victoria, BC, is my favorite city. I went here to study writing at UVic and I continue to think of it as “my” city. But I choose to live rural, in the Shuswap in BC and on Manitoulin Island in Ontario, where I host retreats for writers in the summer.
From Scratch is available now!
By the age of eighteen, Gail Anderson-Dargatz knew she wanted to write about women in rural settings. Today, Gail is a bestselling author. A Recipe for Bees and The Cure for Death by Lightning were finalists for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. She also teaches other authors how to write fiction. Gail divides her time between the Shuswap region of British Columbia and Manitoulin Island in Ontario. For more information, visit gailanderson-dargatz.ca.