Crow has just been announced as the first of five books chosen for the Nova Scotia Public Libraries' Stay Home and Read Atlantic program! To celebrate, we're taking a short break from Poetry Month to look back on this round up of all things Crow by our very own Amy Spurway.
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Just over twelve months. That’s how long my debut novel, Crow, has officially been out in the world. I have to remind myself of that periodically by saying it out loud or looking at my calendar to confirm. There’s a warped sense of time and space that seems to come with launching a book. On one hand, those eight months feel like an eternity, because so much has happened. On the other hand, those eight months feel like they flew by in the blink of an eye because . . . well, so much has happened.
From glowing reviews in the Literary Review of Canada, the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, and the Winnipeg Free Press, to being picked as a featured book for the inaugural Briny Books online boutique bookstore, and as the novel at the heart of the September Sweet Reads box, Crow has been on an exciting journey. And of course, at the heart of that journey are the events.
A few weeks before the official publication date, I had the honour of being invited to take part in the Lorenzo Reading Series, hosted by UNB Saint John, at the Saint John Free Public Library on Saint Patrick’s Day. The audience asked great questions, bought plenty of books, and I can’t help but believe that that event gave me — and Crow — a little extra luck that would follow us everywhere we went from that point on. Then came the hometown launches. I’ve had the privilege of living in five great places over the years: Cape Breton, Fredericton, Toronto, Halifax, and Dartmouth.
The Cape Breton launch, held at the Ross Ferry firehall just down the road from where I grew up, was quite the scene. Over 150 people made their way down 14 kilometres of bumpy rural road to attend, and in under ten minutes, the 75 copies of Crow I’d brought with me had sold out. I can still hear my mother clicking her tongue and saying, “I told you to bring more books!” Luckily, the staff at Indigo Spirit in the Mayflower Mall in Sydney, and at the Herring Choker Deli outside of Baddeck, where I’ve also done lovely signing and reading events, are great at keeping Crow in stock, and at helping it fly off the shelf.
The Halifax launch took place at the Central Library, where fifty-some people turned out, and another fifty-some folks showed up at the Wooden Monkey Dartmouth for another launch party a few nights later. Thanks to Mike and the staff at our phenomenal local independent bookstore, Bookmark 2, there were enough books to go around, and no one who wanted a copy or two or three went home disappointed. Click here to read more about Spurway's time in Halifax featured in the campus newspaper at Kings University.
My next stop was Fredericton, and it was beyond delightful to launch Crow in conjunction with the Odd Sundays reading series, at the Tipsy Muse. Fredericton has a vibrant and exciting creative community like no other, and when it comes to literary events, Odd Sundays, the Tipsy Muse, and Westminster Books are a trio that can’t be beat.
Then, I took a little jaunt to Kingston for an event at Novel Idea, then to Guelph to read at The Bookshelf before heading to Toronto for a launch at Ben McNally Books on Queen St. West, not far from my old neighbourhood. These events gave me the chance to see old friends and meet new fans of my work, not to mention spend time in some captivating bookstores.
Before kicking off what would be immortalized in t-shirt form as the Super Duper Atlantic Canada Book Tour in the summer, I took part in a multi-author signing event at the Indigo Spirit store at the Sunnyside Mall in Bedford and read at the Frye Festival in Moncton, where Tidewater Books helped more copies of Crow find good homes with eager festival goers. Then, it was Super Duper Tour time! I had the thrill of reading and meeting people in some downright stunning spots around Nova Scotia, including LaHave River Books (with the added bonus of Andra’s poppyseed cake), the Box of Delights in Wolfville, Mad Hatter Books (and their gorgeous new wine bar!) in Annapolis Royal, and Another Story in Greenwood. I was also proud to be among seventeen Nova Scotia authors featured at the second annual Spirit of Litera-Sea event put on by Coles Yarmouth.
August is a beautiful time to visit PEI, and the annual March of the Crows that takes place as part of Art in the Open was the perfect tie-in to a reading at Bookmark PEI, whose gorgeous Crow-themed window was truly something to crow about. And just before they closed for the season, I got to spend an afternoon with the lively, lovely, angel-from-above-ly Sheree Fitch, signing books at her Mabel Murple’s Bookshop and Dreamery in River John.
Then, all of a sudden, it was Fall festival season! After a little visit to Queen Books in Toronto en route to the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival, it was back to Halifax for Word on The Street and a signing at Coles Scotia Square, followed by Word Feast in Fredericton, and the Lunenburg Lit Festival, where every copy of Crow that Lexicon Books had in stock sold at intermission. As I write this, I’m wrapping up another stint in Toronto, after a couple of events at the Toronto International Festival of Authors, including Goose Lane’s 65th Anniversary party! Next, I’m gearing up for an event called FEIS, put on by the Port Hawkesbury Literacy Council in support of local literacy programs, a signing at Tidewater Books in Sackville, NB, and a signing at Chapters Dartmouth.
Plus, there’s a few other fun things in the works for 2020, but I can’t spill the beans on those just yet.
Between launches, signings, festivals, book club visits, and other events, it’s tough to tally up exactly how many times I’ve held the same, well-loved copy of Crow in my hands, and introduced readers to the smart-mouthed heart and humour of Stacey ‘Crow’ Fortune. But it is easy to recall the dizzying joy of having the kindest, most enthusiastic audiences an author could ever dream of, and the deep gratitude I feel for the small army of incredible people who’ve helped Crow take flight. What. A. Time. (AS)