Guest Titan: Elle Wild, Award-winning novelist.
Tea of choice: Vancouver’s Steam Tea House.
What we cover: “Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” —Samuel Beckett
I have known Elle Wild for the better part of the last two decades. She and I were ad copy writers together in Vancouver. And what I most admired about Elle, was that she always had a side project on the go. She always had a screenplay underway, a radio show to produce, or a treatment she was drafting. At a time in my own life when I desperately wanted to be living a more creative life on my own terms, which is one of the pitfalls of a career in advertising – for as fun and exciting as the work can be, at the end of the day, it’s a business and you are working for your client — Elle felt light years ahead of me.
I have been so proud to sit back and watch her blossom into this incredibly well-respected figure in our nation’s literarti scene and this past fall with the release of her debut novel Strange Things Done, a title inspired by the opening lines of the Robert Service poem The Creation of Sam McGee, I was one of the stoked attendees at the book’s launch. In the days since, Strange Things Done has gone on to be a #1 best seller on Amazon in Canada, for its genre – which, if you know Elle, is all about “noir”.
The afternoon she and I chatted, she was on her way to a glamorous event to witness the unveiling of the nominees for the prestigious Arthur Ellis Awards, and sure enough, Strange Things Done was indeed shortlisted, and she will find out on May 25th at a ceremony in Toronto if her book is the winner of Best New Novel. Ironically, and a little bit of background, in 2015, Strange Things Done won the Arthur Ellis Award in the category of Best Unpublished Crime Novel. Well, now, it’s published and it’s out there doing its thing, and it was nominated again.
Ours is a conversation less about the specifics of the book, although we certainly do cover that, and I assure you, it’s a page-turner and a nail-biter, and all those other things we say about books we just can’t put down, but more than that, ours is conversation about what it requires to take a creative risk. To leave a career trajectory behind and to throw caution to the wind, and to head to Canada’s north to write a crime novel. Writing a book is the ultimate metaphor to tackling any big goal – much in the same way that running a marathon serves as a symbol to life’s big undertakings. So whether you have artistic longings, or athletic longings or entrepreneurial longings, this is a conversation that is universal in nature.
here are strange things done, in the midnight sun,
By the men who moil for gold.
The Arctic trails have their secret tales,
That would make your blood run cold.
Robert Service’s The Creation of Sam McGee
How you can learn more: strangethingsdone.ca