St. John’s writer says first novel just kind of happened

Diane
Diane Crocker
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Claire Wilkshire to read from ‘Maxine’ at Writers at Woody Point festival

St. John's writer Claire Wilkshire will be reading from her first novel "Maxine" at the Writers at Woody Point festival this weekend.

Claire Wilkshire never set out to write a novel.

“No way, that seemed way to intimidating,” she said from her home in St. John’s on Tuesday.

Her first novel “Maxine,” published by Breakwater Books in March 2013, started out as just a story that grew into a longer story and then a long, long story and then a novella.

“And then I just kept going,” said the editor, teacher, translator and writer.

“Maxine,” is a story about Maxine Carter, a 30-something communications officer on leave to write a novel, and her reluctant relationship with the people across the road, in particular the nine-year-old boy, Kyle.

Wilkshire said she would never write that way again, but “that was how that one happened to work.”

She studied French and English in university and taught at Memorial University in St. John’s for 15 years before leaving to become a freelancer, working on all the things that are of interest to her.

She has edited reports for the Offshore Helicopter Safety Inquiry and the Commission of Inquiry into Hormone Receptor Testing and has translated medical documents and compensation claims. She’s also written stories, book reviews and articles that have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies.

Still transitioning from the type of writing and editing she was most familiar with did pose some challenges.

“I’m quite uptight about the picky sort of details,” she said with a laugh. “I’m pretty good at editing that part of it. But actually the whole other part, like structure and plot and all those thing, those are not things that I have to deal with in work.”

Occasionally, she has looked at and commented on the manuscripts of others, but said it’s different when it’s your own.

Wilkshire will read from “Maxine” during a Writers at Woody Point event at Galliott Studios on Thursday at 9:30 a.m.

Writers at Woody Point, a literary festival with a touch of the music, kicked off its 10th season Tuesday at the Woody Point Heritage Centre with a concert featuring Gord Downie with Josh Finlayson. Organized and presented by Friends of Writers at Woody Point, the festival runs until Sunday.

Wilkshire will also read on Friday at St. Pat’s at 8 p.m. during an event that will also feature a reading by Lisa Moore and music by Cajun Country Revival.

It’s Wilkshire’s first time at the festival, and she’s excited to get there because of all the great things she’s heard about the event. She’s particularly looking forward to hearing what people think of her book.

Wilkshire is currently working on her second novel — when she can find the time — and is venturing into the young adult genre with it.

Weblink:  www.writersatwoodypoint.com

Organizations: Commission of Inquiry, Galliott Studios, Woody Point Heritage Centre

Geographic location: Woody Point

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