Kobo Writing Life Director Mark Lefebvre interviews Terry Fallis, multi-award winning author of The Best Laid Plans, The High Road  and Up and Down.  Mark and Terry talk about:

  • How they met when Mark was a bookseller at McMaster University’s bookstore, and Terry, a former McMaster student self-published The Best Laid Plans in 2007.
  • Mark’s comparison of Terry’s writing to John Irving
  • How Terry applied his knowledge of politics and engineering to create the characters of Daniel and Angus (the main characters from The Best Laid Plans and The High Road)
  • Terry’s original nativity when venturing into the realm of self-publishing back in 2006/2007
  • How Terry used podcasting to gain a worldwide audience for The Best Laid Plans and was the first Canadian to follow in the footsteps of such podcasting pioneers as Scott Sigler
  • Mark’s original reluctance as a bricks and mortar bookseller to carryThe Best Laid Plans or even read this satirical novel of Canadian politics, but how, after a single page, Terry’s prose won him over


    Mark Lefebvre presenting Terry Fallis with the CBA Libris Author of the Year Award  for 2013

  • How, feeling “up” from the McMaster Bookstore launch event led to Fallis deciding to submit The Best Laid Plans to the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour  (which Terry won and which led to his book deal with McClelland and Stewart)
  • How Terry is thrilled to have BeverlySlopen as his agent and Douglas Gibson as his editor & publisher
  • Winning November 2010’s CBC Canada Reads for the Essential Canadian Novel of the Decade
  • The importance of local community bookstores and the great relationships that Terry has forged with so many amazing Canadian bookstores (Canadian Booksellers Association honoured Terry with the CBC Libris Author of the Year Award in 2013
  • CBC’s creation of The Best Laid Plans miniseries (and having lunch with the fictional Angus McClintock in Ottawa during filming) –  (which will begin airing January 2014)
  • Terry’s use of humour and heartfelt moments in The Best Laid Plans and The High Road
  • Terry’s membership in the “Write What You Know” club – and how he takes advantage of that by writing about things he already knows a lot about (public relations, politics, etc) rather than spending more time doing research
  • How Terry’s latest novel Up & Down seemed to almost predict the incredible manner by which Commander Chris Hadfield captured the hearts and minds of people who again became interested in the space program.
  • A bit of insight into Terry’s forthcoming (spring 2014) novel No Relation – about a writer with the unfortunate name of Ernest Hemingway (although spelled differently) who is trying to leave the family business to pursue a writing career
  • How Terry manages to write novels while working full-time
  • The importance of writing detailed outlines (each outline approximately 65 page long) and how, when you know that much about the story the efficiency of getting the manuscript completed in about 4 months
  • How, despite the detailed outlining, how at least half of the comedic moments and humour comes to Terry during the actual writing process
  • Terry’s creative/musical family and the dinnertime family tradition which included the goal of trying to tell a story that would make his stone-faced father laugh
  • The importance of being true to one’s own writing and one’s own personality
  • How there are likely some fine manuscripts sitting in publisher slush piles right now and the opportunities authors have to creating bold new opportunities (and how Terry is living proof that, with the right combination of skill, the proper degree of tenacity and a mixture of luck, the magic can happen)

Terry signing the author wall at Kobo’s home office

For this episode’s side-bar note, Mark reflects back on Terry’s journey into publishing and how he and authors like Scott Sigler used podcasting as a way to help find an audience for his novel.  Mark mentions the website Podiobooks.com and using programs such as GarageBand (MAC) or Audacity for creating the audio files.


Mark Lefebvre and Terry Fallis at Kobo’s home office in Toronto


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