Tag Archives: Norway

WANA Friday: Your Favourite Place

Welcome to another edition of WANA Friday, where bloggers respond to a common topic — briefly, so you can go blog-hopping and read everyone’s answers.

In this installment, the question for the participating bloggers is:

What’s your favourite place in the whole world? Why?

Full disclosure — I was the one who came up with this question. And to be honest, I didn’t think answering it would be so hard. I’ve been struggling with it all week.

I’ve been lucky enough to travel a fair bit. But the more places I travel, the more places I find to love. And trying to rate them against each other is like comparing spaceships to tall ships. How do I compare an entire mountain range or two (the Canadian Rockies, the Himalayas) to a city (London, Copenhagen, Vancouver) or even a building, no matter how breathtaking (the Taj Mahal; any of the forts in Rajasthan, India; the great cathedral in Trondheim, Norway)?

Some places felt like home (the Norwegian fjords, western Ireland, the Canadian prairies where I really did grow up); others felt very foreign but no less wondrous (the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia, the Annapurna Sanctuary in Nepal). People make a difference too — I have fond memories of road-tripping with friends in the Canadian Maritimes, writing at cottages on Ontario lakes with my writers’ group, getting lost in the English Cotswolds with my significant other, hiking the Rockies with my family.

For now, here’s my answer:

Picture a fjord in Norway — not Geiranger, but that will do for an image. At the end of the fjord is a little steep-sided valley surrounded by mountains so close that in the depths of winter, the sun does not rise far enough to cast its light down into the valley. The valley is home to a little village on the fjord, and farms raising dairy cattle and sheep. In summer the livestock is taken up to a higher valley to graze in the meadows, a centuries-old tradition.

Many of the inhabitants are my kin, great-aunts and their descendents. Though they are related to me through my mother’s side, they remind me strongly of my father’s family running a farm on the Canadian prairie. They are gentle and reserved, but quick to laugh at themselves, and with a quiet pride, self-sufficiency and resilience.

The moment I saw the valley, I knew, and meeting my relatives only confirmed: I had come home.

That’s just one story of many. I look forward to sharing some of those other stories and places with you….

Other WANA Friday participants this week (check back later for more!):

  • Julie Farrar shares 5 reasons why she chose her home-away-from-home
  • Ellen Gregory struggles with the answer, as I did, and comes up with a unique response
  • Kim Griffin channels Dorothy and remembers the place where she grew up
  • Cora Ramos found her chosen place so inspiring, she wrote a novel about it, Dance the Dream Awake (out now — congratulations, Cora!)

Your turn! What’s your favourite place in the whole world?


Announcement and Three Things I Love About Norway

First of all, I am thrilled to announce that Turtleduck Press, the indie co-op press I’m a part of, is opening to new members as of today. We’re looking for novel submissions from science fiction and fantasy writers. I’ll be talking more about this on Monday, but in the meantime, to learn more, check out the announcement at Turtleduck Press!

Second, a bit of trivia for you. Norway is my ancestral home — three of my grandparents were born there — and I was lucky enough to visit in 2001.

This Friday is the Seventeenth of May, the Norwegian equivalent of Independence Day or Canada Day. It originally commemorated the signing of the Norwegian constitution in 1814, although Norway didn’t achieve independence (from its union with Sweden) until nearly a century later, in 1905.

As a holiday, the Seventeenth of May, or Syttende Mai in Norwegian, has become a day to celebrate the country, mainly with flags and children’s parades and the singing of the anthem — “Ja, vi elsker dette landet”, or “Yes, We Love This Country”.

So in honour of Syttende Mai, here are three things I love about Norway:

Continue reading

One Lovely Blog Award: Seven Facts About Me

One Lovely Blog AwardToday’s post comes to you courtesy of Ellen Gregory, who tagged me for a blog badge, the One Lovely Blog Award. The rules of the game require giving seven facts about yourself. So here, in no particular order, are seven things I haven’t shared here before (but will probably talk more about later!).

1. I’m 100% Norwegian. I was born in Canada, as were my parents, but three of my grandparents were born in Norway. The fourth was born in North Dakota to Norwegian immigrant parents.

Continue reading

Norway: A Murderer’s Trial and a Royal Wedding

Norwegians parading in national costume before the palace in Oslo

Norwegians celebrating in front of the royal palace in Oslo. Photo by Morten Johnsen

The seventeenth of May is the equivalent of Independence Day in Norway. The country has been in the news recently because of the trial of Anders Breivik, the mass murderer who shot up a youth camp. But on the eve of Syttende Mai, there are other things I would like to remember about my ancestral home. Continue reading

My Grandmother’s Legacy

My grandmother, my mother’s mother, was one of the strongest women I have known.

Born into a working-class family in Norway, she lost her father to drowning at a young age. After her mother remarried, the family emigrated to the Canadian prairies, into conditions just as harsh as the ones they had left behind. She didn’t speak a word of English when she arrived, and only had a Grade 8 education when she left school. Norwegianisms used to creep into her language now and again: “I hope you are keeping well,” she would say, and “Uff-da” instead of “Oh dear”.

She was working as a housemaid to Vancouver’s grand families when she met the man she would marry. Continue reading

Tag, Who’s Next?

Via Turtleduck Press author KD Sarge, here’s a meme that looked like fun.

So the way it works: answer the questions, come up with eleven of my own, and tag more people to keep the game going. Sort of a chain letter but better.

Here we go…

1.) Of your characters, who would you most like to have as a real-life friend?

Kitty from the historical paranormal novel. She’s smart and bookish and clever-tongued, and she’s not afraid to buck tradition.

Of the stories you can actually read, I’d have to pick Taqulittuq from my short story in Winter’s Night. Facing grief and fear, she digs deep to find courage.

2.) Which would you not want to be around anywhere but in the pages of a book?

Sefu, a villain from my fantasy series. He’s frighteningly stoic and self-possessed, and worse, he’s smarter than my heroine and outmaneuvers her without even trying.

3.) When a song bowls you over and you have to hear it again and again, what is probably the reason? (Great voice, real emotion, clever lyrics, et cetera)

It’s all about the voice. I’ll fall in love with voices even when I can’t understand the words. Case in point: the Corsican a cappella group Barbara Furtuna. Swoon.

4.) Of everywhere you’ve been, where was your favorite place to be? (Home is a perfectly acceptable answer!)

A little valley in Norway at the end of a steep-walled fjord, with the valley rising steeply up to mountain peaks on both sides. I’ll have to write about my travels in future posts, assuming there’s interest.

5.) Where do you want most to go?

Um…besides everywhere? Nepal, India, Greece, Italy, the Arctic…yeah.

6.) What is the meaning of life? (okay, okay–YOUR life.) What do you think your life is about?

Making the world a little bit better. One of the ways I do that (or try, at least) is through writing. If I can inspire, or give courage, or comfort, or move a reader, I’ve succeeded. Then I try to do it again. 😉

7.) What’s the best thing about what you do for a living?

I get to work with words. It’s not writing fiction, but editing non-fiction. There’s something very satisfying about solving a thorny puzzle and making something clearer for the reader’s benefit.

8.) What do you do when you need inspiration?

Depends. If I’m stuck on a particular plot point, I’ll write endless brainstorming notes. If I’m feeling uninspired generally, I’ll either set a timer and stare at the file until the timer goes off, or else fill up the creative well by going elsewhere (a book, Pinterest, my knitting, whatever).

9.) When you need some time for you, where do you go?

This is a bit sad, but usually the Internet. I’ve also found solo walks to be good for the soul.

10.) Plotter or pantser?

I’m a plotser. I like to leave plenty of room to explore, but I plan out character backstories and the broad structure of the acts. (Acts are the most brilliant invention ever, by the way. Except maybe a recent discovery via Jennifer Crusie: scene sequences.)

11.) To close with a (fairly) easy one–talk about a book. Any book. :)

Wait, that was supposed to be the easy one? This is getting long, so I’ll just refer you to my nostalgia post about Madeleine L’Engle instead. Ha.


There! Hope you enjoyed that and learned something about me. For another writer’s answers to the same questions, see fellow Turtleduck Press author Kit Campbell’s blog.

To pass on the meme, I shall tag Kat Anthony and and K.A. Levingston. Because I’m a nice person, there’s no pressure to complete the meme! If you’re not Kat or K.A. but you’d like to do the meme anyway, leave a comment and I’ll add a link to your responses.

And now my questions:

1. Where do you get your ideas from? 😛

2. If you have some terrible old stories that will never see the light of day, which one do you still have a soft spot for?

3. Where in the world would you live if you could live anywhere?

4. Where would you love to visit, but not live?

5. What’s the most awe-inspiring moment you’ve had (that you’re willing to share)?

6. Who’s your captain — Kirk, Picard, Captain Jack from Torchwood, Jack Sparrow, Malcolm Reynolds, other?

7. Which author’s universe would you love to write in if you could?

8.What was your gateway drug into your genre of choice?

9. What’s your favourite hobby, creative or otherwise, when you’re not writing?

10. Are you a morning person or an evening person?

11. What was the most memorable meal you’ve ever had?