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April 19, 2012

Selling Gurjinder Basran`s Book One Book at a Time

My coffee table (with no room for coffee)

I`m loathe to admit this but yesterday I was in Wal-Mart in Surrey. What’s next? Will you be moving into a trailer park soon, you ask?  I was buying printer paper and office-related stuff and came upon a long aisle of books. 

I was standing there staring at all the books when a young mother with a toddler asked me if I’d read anything good lately. “Well,” I said, staring at all the romance and thrillers, “not really any of these.” And, just as I was saying that the name on a book cover caught my attention:  Gurjinder Basran.  She wrote, Everything Was Good-Bye, winner of the Ethel Wilson Prize almost a year ago. She’s a 2006 grad from SFU Writers Studio, giving all those of us who have come after something to aspire to.

 “I’ve heard this is pretty good,” I said to the young mom.  “I read it and I liked it but it just depends on your taste and what you’re looking for.” “It’s written by someone who lives right here in Surrey.” As I said that  I didn’t even know if that part was actually true.  “It’s about this modern Punjabi woman struggling between two cultures”  and right then I made a mental note to myself to make sure I never market my own books, should I ever write one. But, for whatever reason my description was enough. She said she thought she’d like something like that and she perused the description on the back. I didn’t expect her to be so easily convinced but I was pleased that she went for it.

So, Gurjinder Basran, you can thank me personally for selling one of your books, in  Wal-Mart, in Surrey.

It’s been a week of really great TWS-related events. TimothyTaylor, most known for his novel, Stanley Park, delivered a jam-packed, informative and entertaining lecture last Saturday at our class. I was so impressed that I decided that I had to buy his latest book, The Blue Light Project, rather than just wait for the long line of holds that would surely be in place at the library.

Then, Steven Galloway who wrote The Cellist of Sarajevo, which has sold 1 million copies worldwide,  came by to read to our class from a new book he’s working on focused on magicians and Houdini.  He’s in the middle of writing it but he sat in front of our small group and read about 10 to 15 minutes of what he’s been working on. He also kept the night interesting with entertaining insights about book publishing, his comical views of touring in foreign countries when the only thing you recognize about your book is your name on the cover and of course, his writing process.  Afterwards, we all went to Steamworks for a drink.  Tonight, I’m off to Vancouver Public Library for the Arthur Ellis Crime Writers Awards and discussion about Canadian crime writing.  

And, just in case you think I’m just sitting around listening to other real writers who have made it big and not doing any writing myself, I would like to state, for the record, that this has been an extremely productive week for me. I continue to have Salt Spring characters and events as a theme and something new seems to be arising as well from my two previous vacations in New Mexico as the backdrop for the beginnings of a murder mystery. 

It`s all enough to keep me happy for, shall we say, an hour or two.

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