A warm welcome to you, Donna and thank you for spending time with us today. Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing?
I was a high school drop-out, traveled around the country wearing beads and head bands for several years, had a “love-child,” married and then had another. A family tragedy sent me back to Newfoundland and it was then, during a horrible illness of my own, that I started back to schoo. A divorce and a university degree later, I started writing.
How did you get started as a fiction-writer?
I met this eccentric, knowledgeable a woman who prompted me to start writing, arguing it’s one’s duty to bring tragedy to the realm of myth. To give it meaning and a place of honour. The tragedies I’d suffered took me to that place where pain can be felt as holy. And holy can be felt as sublime. I picked up the pen and was instantly addicted. I've been writing every single solitary day since. And I wouldn't recommend it to anybody for it imprisons you for life.
What can you tell us about The Fortunate Brother without giving too much away?
The Fortunate Brother is the story of Kyle who is mourning the loss of his elder brother. He is caught between a mother who is attempting to sweep her house of grief, and a father who drinks to dull his pain. The family’s trauma is escalated when a local bully is murdered and his blood is found on Kyle’s doorstep.
What do you consider to be the strongest elements of the book?
The dichotomy between despair and hope. Between judgement and understanding. The hero, Kyle wrestles with all of those concepts as he works through his grief and anger re the death of his brother, his mother’s illness, and the involvement of both savory and unsavory characters from the community that are impinging on his life.
How do you plan your writing, are you a plotter, or a see where it goes kind of writer?
I sit in the muck and struggle for firm footing, day after day, minute after minute. Everything comes in a big smudge and nothing is ever defined. So, yeah, the later…no plotter here.
What do you hope that readers will take away from the story?
A sense of, ‘Wow, that was great. I want to go there.’
What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?
Having a reader approach me, holding my book in one hand, and his other covering his heart and tears in his eyes. And I knew that he suffered grief and our hearts connected. May God bless all of us.
Out of all the books you've written, do you have a favourite?
Yes. The one you are about to read…..eh eh….okay, now I’m being clever. Why, this one, of course. Ok, ok…..it’s….well….To quote someone: Every artists feels their greatest work is ‘just about to happen.’ That’s why we live so uncomplainingly in the discomfort of poverty….hope that each one will be greater still!!
About the Author
Donna Morrissey is the award winning author of five novels. |She grew up in The Beaches, a small fishing outport in Newfoundland, and now lives in Halifax, Canada.
Follow on Twitter #thefortunatebrother
**The Fortunate Brother is published today**
20 April 2017
What's it all about...
The Fortunate Brother is a dark, atmospheric and compelling novel about the aftermath of a murder in a claustrophobic rural community in Newfoundland. When a body is found in the lake suspicion falls on the troubled Now family. As the mystery unfolds other, far deeper, secrets are revealed.
What did I think about the book...
This dark, and somewhat brooding story, is set in a small coastal community in Newfoundland and focuses on the petty indifference of a small town at odds with itself. Sylvanus Now, his wife, Addie and son, Kyle, have had their share of family tragedy which has left an indelible mark, not just in the relationships between themselves, but also in the way the community reacts to their misfortune.
Told through considerate dialogue, a story emerges of a brutal sort of truth, which lays bare the thoughts and feelings of a family in complete disarray. When tragedy, once again, strikes at the heart of the Now family, they each deal with the fall out in their own inimitable style.
Considerately written, The Fortunate Brother is one of those stories which make you want to take your time over reading. It is the third book in a trilogy which started with Sylvanus Now and continued in What They Wanted, and whilst it possible to read and enjoy The Fortunate Brother as a standalone book, I do think that it is better to have read the series from the start in order to have a more rounded view of the Now family, of their past tragedies, and also of their place in this small town environment.
Whilst this is not a fast action, all guns blazing sort of story, there is no doubt that the book works well, both as a character driven drama, and also as an emotionally complex human story, which looks at the complicated layers between grief and loss, misfortune and tragedy, and which then brings the whole together in a story of hope over adversity.
Best Read with ...Line caught fish and a mug of sweet tea.
My thanks to Becca at Canongate for her help facilitating this interview
and for sending my review copy of The Fortunate Brother.
|Canongate20 April 2017|