I’m getting ready to pack up my winter office in Mexico and return to Canada. This entails going through piles of papers, journals stacked up, bills.

Instead of attending to that last stack, I’m quickly posting here from a page I tore off from  Bookmarks Magazine (Nov/Dec 2011: note the year!), regarding an interview with Jeffrey Eugenides.

Question from Bookmarks: What is the most challenging—and rewarding—aspect of writing?

Eugenides: The hardest thing is getting it right. And the most rewarding thing. What I mean it, there’s only one task when writing a book: to seize the reader’s attention and hold it as long as you can. To do that, you have to make your story both compelling and credible, you have to sand down the rough edges … 

Getting it right is so hard, and takes so many drafts. I’m pleased to say that finally The Next Novel not only went off (to be copy-edited), but it has a tentative publication date (March 18, 2014) and a title:


It has also has been sent out to writers for quotes if they like it. I am absolutely thrilled that so far three have sent in glowing — glowing! — blurbs. 


I not the sort of writer who ever thinks I’ve gotten it “right,” so I’m relieved, I confess, that writers I very much respect have been so swept away.

Frankly, it makes me teary!