Yesterday's post featured my review of a debut novel - Spin by Catherine McKenzie. A five star read I thoroughly enjoyed. The book (in a very quick nutshell) is about a journalist who goes to rehab to spy on a celebrity. Given that Catherine is a lawyer by profession, I was curious as to how she came to write Spin. Here's what she had to say...
"What Does a Lawyer Know About Rehab?
I’m a lawyer. And when I tell most people I know that I’ve written a book, they often assume I’m talking about a law text. I can see them imagining some dry, dense book with a black hardcover. No, I say, it’s not about the law. It’s a novel. The head of the person I’m telling cocks to the side. Oh, really? What’s it about? Again, I can read their mind. She thinks she’s the next John Grisham. I tell them the five-second version of the plot. It’s about a journalist who follows a celebrity into rehab. (For some reason I often reverse the words “journalist” and “celebrity”, which makes no sense, of course.) Oh, they say. Really? It’s a comedy, I say. You know, fun. Now their eyes shift nervously. They lean a little closer, lower their voice. Have you … been to rehab?
I know why people react this way. Write what you know, right? That’s what everyone always says. And maybe that’s what I should’ve done. But … I had this idea. I mean, why hasn’t a journalist ever followed a celebrity into rehab? Imagine what they could learn! OK, OK, I know that spying on someone on rehab is morally reprehensible, but that wouldn’t stop most of us from reading all about it on people.com, right?
So, I had a concept that I thought would make a good book. But all I knew about rehab was what I’d read in A Million Little Pieces. And while I’m not one of those people who thinks any less of the book (or James Frey) for taking some liberties with the truth (in fact, it’s one of my favourite books of all time), I knew I needed something more. That’s where Wikipedia came in. Just kidding! I did some real research, I swear. But once I’d done that, I let my imagination work. What kind of woman would take such an assignment? Would she be changed by the experience? And how was I going to get a relatively normal guy in there with her, anyway? A million little choices, that’s what writing’s all about.
And you know what? It’s kind of freeing not writing about what you do. If (when) I write about lawyers, I feel like I have to get all the details right. And who cares, really, what lawyers do all day? So that’s right, friends. There are no lawyers in my book. OK, there might be one. Or two. And a judge. Crap. But they’re mostly minor characters. Turns out it’s hard to write a whole book without any lawyers in it. Who knew?
But, in case you were still wondering, no, I haven’t been to rehab. Not in the real world, anyway. Hope that doesn’t affect your enjoyment of Spin. It certainly didn’t hurt mine."
Thanks Catherine! It certainly didn't detract from mine either!
If you'd like to own a copy of Spin - here's your chance - simply comment to be entered. Sorry folks - this one is limited to Canadian addresses only. An extra entry for reposting/retweeting. Ends Saturday Feb 20th 6 pm EST. Good luck and check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.