Finishing Flying with Amelia wasn’t a priority for Nelson writer Anne DeGrace, but with a push from her publisher she wrapped up the book and is now receiving rave reviews.
“I hadn’t actually planned to complete this book. It was a back burner kind of book. I was chipping away at it over time, but it wasn’t part of my overall agenda,” said DeGrace.
Flying with Amelia tells the story of a family as they travel across Canada through some of the significant historical events of the country’s history.
Candace Fertile, who teaches English at Camosun College in Victoria, wrote in her Globe and Mail review that “It’s not often that a book makes me late for drinks with a friend… And then I had to mop the tears off my face.”
“It always makes me happy if I write something that makes someone laugh or someone cry or someone feel that kind of connectedness to the narrative and the characters,” said DeGrace in response to the review.”
“When you’re writing fiction, that’s what you want to do, you want to move somebody, at least that’s what I want to do. She teaches writing at Camosun College so obviously she knows her literature, she reads a lot. So for her to respond like that it means that what I do is working.”
Like most writers, reviews from book critics are always a bit daunting but DeGrace said she has be “delighted” by the response to Flying with Amelia.
“It’s not that it’s a greater validation than when someone stops you on the street and says ‘I really loved your book,’ that’s validation itself, but there’s just something about a national newspaper that’s thrilling,” she said.
Fertile reviewed DeGrace’s first novel Treading Water, and even though the review was critical, DeGrace said it was very fair and good.
“It was a positive review. People tend to be very gentle first books of writers. It was a critical review so there were a few things in it but overall it was a good review, but this one was over the top great,” she said.