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Author: Carrie Snyder
Where did you grow up?
Short answer: Canada, Germany, the United States, and Nicaragua.
Long answer: I was born in Hamilton, Ont.; my dad was doing his doctorate at McMaster. When I was three, we lived in West Germany for a year, then moved back to my great-grandmother’s former house in Kitchener, Ont., until Dad found work at a college in a small Ohio town. We lived there until I was nine, when we moved to Managua, Nicaragua, where my parents worked as peace activists for 14 months, an experience I fictionalized in my previous book, The Juliet Stories.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I wanted to be a writer almost immediately after becoming a reader. I loved words! I loved stories! I would bring chapter books to kindergarten, as the classroom selection was limited to picture books. At age seven, I discovered to my great upset that the youngest published author was a four-year-old poet (thank you, Guinness Book of World Records). It was already too late for me to be a record-breaking prodigy! In all seriousness, becoming a writer was something I worked toward from childhood onward, with focus, determination, and the belief that I could pull it off.
Why did this particular book demand to be written?
Two reasons: one, the voice of Aganetha Smart called out strongly to exist; two, Girl Runner brings to life a forgotten struggle for equality in Canada’s history.
What is your favourite book of all time?
Can’t. Answer. Question. Too. Hard.
OK. If I were stranded on a desert island, I’d choose Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. It’s fat enough, and full of fun and adventure, tears, wrong turns, and lively characters who would distract me from the plight of having to choose only one favourite book, ever.
What's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten?
I don’t seem to retain brisk-and-pithy-advice. I keep no inspirational quotes on sticky notes beside the mirror, and instinctively distrust the short and the sweet. Life’s too long, deep, broad, and complicated to be helped along by a pat answer. (This may explain why I write novels.) That said, I still refer back to advice given by my Grade 6 teacher, who taught us the KISS rule, and it really does apply to everything: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
What is your hidden talent?
Listening with all my heart. (Oh boy, that sounds cheesy. Scratch that.) Optionally: Writing and singing songs on the piano. Or: Baking bread. Or: Successfully evangelizing friends to join early morning exercise classes with me. Or: Playing the ukulele. Or: Having funny conversations with children.
Who do you admire most?
My kids. They brave the world every day with open minds, curiosity, and an enormous capacity to learn. Actually, my husband, too. He’s just like them.
What song do you sing when nobody's listening?
Johnny Cash, “Ring of Fire.”
Carrie Snyder, Girl Runner, $30.