Posted in Book Stuff, Writing Life

Blue Skies Again

Sunshine! Thank God I did not awake to the pitter patter of rain. I am probably the only person in Toronto who was glad glad glad when yesterday’s rain turned to snow. I was late meeting a friend for coffee and ran in the snow in my sneakers and the snow gods were with me, for I didn’t slip.

The reason I was late is that I’d completely forgotten. And I’d forgotten because I was working on materials for my wonderful publicist, Sharon Klein. She sent me examples of bios and genesis stories, which inspired and instructed me. Would you like to see my new bio, hot off the press?

Here it is:

Lilian Nattel’s oldest friend remembers her telling stories when she was five years old, but she didn’t decide to be a writer until she was ten. That was when she discovered not all authors were dead. Her life took detours, as life will. In her twenties, she despaired of ever being a real writer, because she was too tired at the end of a boring work day to write at all. Instead, she put boredom to good use and became a chartered accountant. As her own boss, she had a small consulting practice and wrote part-time in a garret, albeit a dry and relatively warm one. During that time, she signed up twice in a private (but written) contract with herself to see what she could accomplish in the next few years in return for a lot of penny pinching to buy herself time.

Alone in her garret, Lilian had no idea that there was anything like a literary scout. So she was shocked to find out that the manuscript of her first novel, The River Midnight, had been leaked to German scouts. As a result of the buzz (which she thought had something to do with bees), The River Midnight sold across North America, the UK and Europe in a matter of weeks, just in time for her wedding, thus enabling the purchase of her garret and the house around it.

The River Midnight was a prize-winning, national best-seller. Now that she’d learned the secret of success, Lilian knew that writing her next book would be easy, fast and make piles of money, and that as a new mom of two perfect children, she would spin stories, change diapers, and in her spare time learn to speak Chinese. She did change diapers, many of them, she learned one phrase in Chinese, and took to her bed with the flu for a month while deciding whether she ought to give up writing altogether. Instead she got up and slowly wrote The Singing Fire, which garnered much critical acclaim and the assurance that she had avoided the second novel curse: “Toronto’s Lilian Nattel proves her debut was no fluke” (Nancy Wigston).

Now that her kids were toilet trained, life was obviously too undemanding, for she decided to embark in a new direction and write the most challenging book of her career. As a true optimist and slow learner, she again expected it to be fast and easy. The writing gods had a good laugh. Eight years and ten drafts later, Web of Angels was done. And Lilian doesn’t care if the next one is easy or not because in the end the gods gave her a gift: Web of Angels is an important book and she was privileged with the writing of it.

I’ll post the genesis when it’s finalized!



Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

5 thoughts on “Blue Skies Again

  1. No, you aren’t the only one. The other Toronto blogger who was upset with the rain was happy about the snow:
    “The rain here has given way to snow, and while that’s the absolute death of autumn, I find it infinitely more cheerful. Snow you can at least brush off, or shovel up, or look at. …. Snow makes me want to go for long walks in the evening so I can look at it sparkle. Snow at its very least, is pretty.” November 30

    I like the bio. It’s fun to read and you work in all the names of your books without it being just a list. I’m looking forward to reading the genesis story, partly because I don’t know quite what that would be.


  2. Thanks so much everyone! And now individually…

    Julia, I’ll have to check out yarn harlot. I’d love to start knitting again. And sewing. I’m even starting to want to acquire another old sewing machine. Uh oh.

    Litlove, I’m so glad. I was surprised that this wasn’t any harder than it was. The genesis, however, is another story.

    Jean, that’s exactly what I want–just the truth. I sent off the genesis to my publicist but it didn’t have that ring. It was all true but not true to me, to my tone so to speak. So I asked her to scratch it and am re-writing.

    Becca, maybe it’s a little bit of practise toward someday writing a longer piece.

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