On the Shores of Darkness There is Light is the first (but definitely not the last) Cordelia Strube novel that I have read. It is a raw depiction of a family struggling with health problems, finances and relationships. The first narrator, Harriet, lives in the shadow of her hydrocephalic brother and strives for attention from her separated parents. Harriet is a unique girl, with hard edges, living with minimal supervision.
Cordelia is known for her strong dialogue. She spends a lot of time listening to conversations – on the subway, at the mall and keeps her ears open for tense cell phone conversations. This helps to provide inspiration for her realistic dialogue. Strube is true to her art and her prose leaves readers thinking about the characters, long after the book is back on the shelf.
I recently enjoyed meeting Cordelia at the Grimsby Author Series event. After the event, Cordelia shared her time in answering these Novel Questions. The answers provide more insight into the author and her writing and I know that readers will enjoy learning more about Cordelia Strube.
What is your favourite childhood book? Why?
C: The Diary of Anne Frank, a narrative told through the eyes of a wise, unforgettable child that altered the way the world looked at the Nazi atrocities of the Second World War.
S: This is a novel that all young adults should read. I still remember the first time that I read it -, the disbelief and the feeling in the pit of my stomach worrying that the family would be discovered. It was my first introduction to the plight of Jewish families in WWII.
Did you always want to be a writer?
C.S: No. If someone had told me by the time I was forty I’d have written many plays and several novels, I would have thought they were confusing me with someone else. Long before I started writing novels I queued up to photo-copy my plays at the copy shop, often behind academics with 300 page manuscripts, and thought, “That person’s written an ENTIRE book! How did she/he do that?”
Where is your favourite place to write?
C.S: Home, looking out at my garden.
What work are you most proud of?
C.S: I’m proud of all my novels, and don’t have a favourite. Writing a novel requires massive faith in what you have to say and your ability to say it. You have to be a little crazy, or deluded, to do it.
What is the last book that you read and why would you recommend it… or not?
C.S: I just read Romeo Dallaire’s memoir, Waiting For First Light, about his struggle with PTSD. His courage in revealing his frailty astounds and inspires. It’s a book everyone should read to better understand soldier PTSD, and to be reminded that in war, everyone loses.
S: This memoir is on my TBR pile so watch for a review in the near future!
Thank you very much Cordelia for taking time to answer my Novel Questions and share your insights with readers!