When Iain Lawrence finished high school, he knew that he wanted to be a writer. He started with short stories and bits of non fiction but had very little success. He worked at different jobs that didn't last very long: logging in Ontario; fishing for salmon off the west coast; picking daffodils at Easter; inflating balloons and setting up skittles at a traveling carnival; clearing streams in the Rockies; fighting forest fires on Vancouver Island. Then he studied journalism in Vancouver and went to work at the small-town papers of northern B.C.
He stuck with these papers for ten years, learning a lot about writing: how to do it quickly without fretting over every phrase; how deadlines could be inspiring; how to tell a story in as few words as possible. He moved from job to job and ended up on the coast again, at the Prince Rupert Daily News.
In Prince Rupert he began to write fiction again. He joined a writer's group and met a woman called Kristin Miller, who had written a book about quilting and lived in Salt Lakes. Because Lawrence admired Kristin's lifestyle more than his own, he moved to Salt Lakes, quit his newspaper job and became a fish farmer instead.
Jane Jordan Browne, Kristen Miller's agent, urged Lawrence to write stories for younger readers. Ten years later, she sold his first one The Wreckers. He has been writing consistently ever since.
Iain Lawrence's website
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An Interview With Iain Lawrence
When did you
develop an interest in writing? Did your teachers recognize your talent and
My grade three teacher told my parents that I would grow up to be a writer. In later years, in junior high and high school, creative writing class was my favorite part of school. I remember being praised but not encouraged. I was a very shy child, so it was intensely embarrassing if my stories were chosen to be read aloud, and excruciating if I had to read them myself.
In grade eleven or twelve, I volunteered to be a school correspondent for the neighborhood newspaper. But my first published story was so changed from the version I submitted that I never wrote another one. When I graduated from high school, though, I hoped to be a writer.
Tell us about your process. Some writers say that their best writing comes out of revising and editing, while others prefer the spontaneity of their first version. How do you work?
I love writing but don't care much for rewriting. Once I've told a story I tend to lose interest in it and want only to go on to the next one.
I used to start a novel knowing nothing of what would happen. I just began at the first page, ...
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