Writing in Canada … with Eileen Schuh, author

PART 2:  

I asked Eileen about her books…

I have a journalism background but am now into writing novels.  My multi-book BackTracker Series starts with THE TRAZ in 1986 and follows the characters lives through several decades.  I’m also the author of SCHRÖDINGER’S CAT, an adult SciFi novella.  Although THE TRAZ was my debut novel (it appeared first as an ebook), THE CAT is special because it was my first publishing contract. It’s an ego booster when someone thinks they can make money on your book.

Where do you live? Give us a picture of your home. 

I live in the northern boreal forests of Alberta Canada. There are lots of deciduous trees, some spruce, many ponds, hills and lakes, and a few rivers.  There are also open expanses of cattle and grain farms. There is abundant wildlife—deer, moose, elk, coyotes, and bears to name just a few of the larger inhabitants of the wilderness surrounding me. 

Generally, everything just looks white from November until sometime in March. This past year, however, we didn’t get snow until January. Winter sports such as snowmobiling, skating, curling, hockey, snow-boarding, and ice-fishing are very popular. I have trails through the forest right outside my door on which I cross-country ski. In summer, people go fishing or play on the many lakes with their boats and seadoos. In the fall, hunting is popular.

What about your road to publication? The usual rocky-road?

I first self-published THE TRAZ as an ebook and then as a paperback. My book marketing coach encouraged me to self-publish in conjunction with the release of Schrodinger’s Cat by WolfSinger Publications.  Having more than one book out is a great sales tactic—if people read one of your books and like it, they are likely to buy others you have written. I spent a lot of money editing THE TRAZ, buying the cover, formatting the manuscript for uploading, creating a video promo, etc.  I quit smoking around this time and used the money I saved to do this. I wanted THE TRAZ to showcase my abilities—and perhaps attract an agent or publisher.

As I was readying FATAL ATTRACTION (the sequel to THE TRAZ ) for publication, I was approached by an Edmonton, Alberta publisher.  Imajin Books bought the e-rights to THE TRAZ and released a second edition with a new cover and a few minor changes.  They then released a School Edition of THE TRAZ in both e- and print formats.  They also bought e- and print rights to FATAL ATTRACTION—so, my plan worked!

It’s much easier and cheaper to have a publisher than to self-publish…but then, you don’t have total control over your book and you have to share your profits. To me, though, it’s worth it. I now have more time to write and I have a partner (my publisher) helping me sell and promote my work. 

Was getting published in Canada as challenging as everywhere else? 

Although the Canadian and provincial governments support the literary arts, these funds usually go to non-fiction,  literary-style fiction, and poetry. There is also quite a lively short-story market. Trade novels, though, are a difficult sell—many Canadian novelists end up with American or British publishers.

I’m very lucky that my publisher is on the cutting-edge of cyberspace marketing. Canada has a small population, so accessing the international readership market has huge potential. The future of ebooks is also bright and Imajin Books is well-positioned to tap into that expanding market.

I’m writing a series at the moment – fun, but oh boy, what a challenge! How do you work on your series?

 The BackTracker Series was written during a low and lonely time in my life.  The characters appeared to me and dictated their stories. They were my company…into the wee hours of many mornings. I did not know that their stories would end up being a series…each time I finished a book, I thought their stories had ended. Then, they’d start talking to me again and a sequel would begin. Unfortunately, they did not dictate their stories in proper grammatical form and didn’t follow the rules of story-telling. In their defence, neither they nor I had publication on our minds at that time. When my daughter encouraged me to try to get published, I had a lot of polishing to do. It took me longer to get THE TRAZ publishable than it took me to write the entire 7-book series!

My life is no longer low and lonely. I’m fulfilling my life-long dream. 

What does the future hold for you, Eileen?

The next big event will be the release of FATAL ATTRACTION this fall.  Then…I have all those other books in The BackTracker Series to polish and publish. I have two novels for middle-grade kids drafted. I’m hoping to have one of those ready for submission this fall. It’s one I based on my childhood and wrote for my own kids and grandbabies…so it’s important to me.

I’m also working on another adult SciFi novella. Not sure when that one will be ready! I tell people that writing and publishing is such a slow process that my futuristic novels are historical novels by the time they make it into print!

That’s all, folks! (Now where did I get that from?)

Thank you, Eileen for an interesting and honest account of your writing life. Wishing you all the best for the future with your writing, and I look forward to appearing on your blog too – always wanted to go to Canada! 🙂

REMEMBER! Check out Eileen’s ebook on Amazon – free for three days! U.S. time.  

And comment on the blogs involved on her blog tour for the chance of winning her competition. 



13 thoughts on “Writing in Canada … with Eileen Schuh, author

  1. Newfoundland is an island surrounded by several smaller island communities, leaving the province, and the communtiies within that province, quite isolated. At least up until the last couple of high-tech decades brought bridges and communication networks. This may have allowed the people to retain a closer connection to their cultural and language roots. My son-in-law is from Newfoundland and I recognize many of the phrases, customs, and even food dishes as being similar to the British heritage my Mother passed down to me.


  2. Could be right, Eileen. Lots of Irish settled up in north Queensland (my family were O’Neill) but then again so did the Italians and lots of other nations – I think it’s a being out in the country thing – people who don’t leave near big cities so have a more laid-back way of life, maybe? 🙂


  3. I can hear you talking in my head, Jessie, and your speech sounds a lot like what one hears in Newfoundland. Perhaps Cumbrians, Queenlanders, and Canadians share a common ancestry? You think? lol


  4. Nope, not just Canadian’s say eh. We do. “We” being Cumbrian’s in the north of England. Except ours sounds different because we pronounce our “e” like you do an egg, not like hay. So if you take away the double g from egg, that is how we say it..lol.

    Eileen, I hope your life remains “no longer low and lonely and that you fulfil your life-long dreams” a thousand times over.


  5. Thank you so much, Sarah. We have been facebook buddies for a long time. I’ve always treasured your support and encouragement. I look forward to celebrating our successes together over the coming years.


  6. So excited for you, Eileen. I will always remember finding each other on Facebook when you were but a writer (and mom, and wife and grammy) and now I see you becoming you!

    All the best with all you write and who you become.


  7. That’s probably right, Eileen. North Queenslanders get laughed at sometimes by our southern cousins in Australia about the ‘eh’. I now live in Brisbane (southern Queensland) but I’m aloud to smile at the way I once probably spoke. Many Aussies are known for their laconic way of speaking. 🙂


  8. I thought only Canadians said, eh. But, you guys do, too? I think it is our polite way of letting people know we are done talking and it is now their turn…that we’re inviting them to express their opinions, eh?


  9. Some parts of Alberta are under snow today, yes. Here in St. Paul snow has been falling off and on but it melted when it hit the ground. April and May snowfalls are quite common in my neck of the woods. Like they say…our summer is 2 months of poor sledding….


  10. You didn’t have snow in January, but Alberta has snow now, don’t they? Or does it come and go? Gees, can you tell I’m Canadian – talking about the weather? I’ll be saying “eh” next! Good luck on your world tour, Eileen.


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