I have not read any of Newfoundland author, Wayne Johnston’s, work. After hearing his speak as part of the Grimsby Author Series in September, I clearly have something to look forward to! Although this was my first time meeting him, this was his 4th visit to the Grimsby. He was described by Ken Boichuk, in one of his rich introductions, as an author who is “prodigiously talented” and captures the “hardscrabble eastern anchor of Canada” with his books set in Newfoundland.
First Snow, Last light is the end of the trilogy which began with The Colony of Unrequited Dreams (which is also on my bookshelf – now signed)! To get to this this book, I will need to start at the beginning to understand the epic mystery of a the Vatcher family. First Snow Last light focuses on 14 year old Ned who arrived home from school to discover that his parents had vanished.
My favourite part of hearing authors speak is when they share details about their writing process. Johnston described his as “eccentric”. He laughed that he has vowed to stop staying up all night to write, to get on a into normal schedule before his book tours start since he struggles with early morning appearances. He laughed that he is a “terrible, hunt and peck typist“, that he likes to write in longhand (sometimes not even being able to read his own writing) and usually does his typing on Fridays. He described some of the challenges using the voice to type software Dragon and the “dragonisms” that come with the software misunderstandings his speech.
He was asked about the titles and revealed that he never uses a working title, has no idea of what he will call his book at the beginning and that it is a “daunting process to come up with a title that does the book justice”. For this book, he had written 73 possible titles and while he could only choose one, might save others for a book in the future. He used the analogy of a baseball player who hits it out of the park, saying that with titles you also need to practice a lot first. He describes First Snow, Last Light as an “apt” title since Ned knows a snow storm is coming and discovers that “life as he knows it is over and a new one is going to begin”.
I look forward to delving into this trilogy and learning more about the Vatcher family. Have any of our readers enjoyed his books? Feel free to comment below and share your thoughts!