An award-winning author regaled some Rossland students this week with tales of flight and fancy.
Erin Bow, a former physicist and an award-winning YA author from Kitchener, Ont., is the guest writer-in-residence at Rossland Summit School (RSS) this week. Bow started her residency off with a reading in the RSS gym on Monday morning. She has written six books — two books of poetry for adults and four YA novels — and read an excerpt from her first novel, Plain Kate, to the RSS students. Bow also gave the kids lots of time to ask her questions.
Bow was asked how long it takes her to write a book, and revealed that it took six years to write Plain Kate, whereas her most recent novel, The Swan Riders, took a little under two years. “The secret to writing a novel is to put words on a page,” she said, comparing writing a novel to learning to do a five-kilometer run.
Bow was also asked, “When you kill off a character do you cry or do you laugh maniacally?” and admitted to the former.
Asked which of her books she was most proud of, Bow said, “This is like choosing between your kids,” but ultimately answered, “The book I like the most is the one I’m working on right now, that I can’t tell you anything about.”
She also told the kids about the time she was almost arrested while doing research. Bow had contacted a nurse to ask about where someone would need to be injected with morphine to overdose, and then followed up with a question about how to forcibly inject someone with morphine, but had not told the nurse she was a writer doing research for a book. After Bow didn’t receive a reply, she realized her mistake and shared her author website with the nurse, who it turns out had filed a police report.
When asked about her favourite character that she’s written, Bow couldn’t choose a character, but said, “In my last set of books, [The Scorpion Rules and The Swan Riders], my hero is for the first time really embarrassingly close to a self-portrait.”
Bow’s residency is part of the Vancouver Writers Fest Writer-in-Residence program. While at RSS she will provide five days of writing workshops for a Grade 6 and 7 class that will result in a completed project, give a reading at J.L. Crowe Secondary School, present a workshop for teachers, and participate in a reading by her students at the Rossland Public Library on Friday, 6:30-7:30 p.m.