I’m from Ontario, Canada, where I live in a village of about 600 people, but I work in the heart of Toronto (although right now I’m working from home due to the pandemic). I have the best of both worlds, really–the contrast of a quiet country existence with the excitement of the big city. I’ve lived in small towns most of my life and I find I think more creatively when I’m home, although I do miss being downtown, especially because of the insane variety of restaurants. I haven’t been out to a restaurant for almost a year and I miss that too, although luckily we have a local pub that does excellent takeout!
What is the greatest thing about the place you call home?
Canada itself is a wonderful place to live and I feel very fortunate to have been born here. We have a lot of freedoms but also accept our social responsibilities to each other, especially in terms of universal health care and education. The only thing I don’t love about Canada is the weather–here in Southern Ontario, as I write this, it’s -14 degrees Celsius (around 7 degrees Fahrenheit, I think, but I don’t know Fahrenheit that well–let’s just say it’s dang cold!) and we have 6 inches of snow. But in 3 months, there could be a heat wave–it’s ridiculous. In terms of my actual home, it’s a big old Victorian house built in 1906, with high ceilings, quiet spaces, and lots of room for a family all working and going to school remotely. We have an acre of property, with huge trees, ponds, and flower gardens–it’s like living in a park. It’s peaceful but it keeps us busy!
What turns you on creatively?
Because I write in several different genres (YA novels, thrillers, dark and twisty short stories, humorous essays on my personal blog), I find inspiration in a lot of places depending on what I’m working on in the moment. I like to take an idea and think “what if?” That “what if” usually ends up being something spooky and dark if it’s a novel or a short story, or something randomly absurd if it’s my blog. For example, my new novel The Seventh Devil was inspired by passing a pick-up truck pulling a trailer as I was driving into the city–I thought “What if they’re on their way to exorcise a demon?” and I ended up with an entire novel. Also, I’ve always been a vivid dreamer and I get a lot of inspiration from my dreams; in fact, my last novel The Dome was inspired by a dream that I had about two teenagers being chased by something in an abandoned apartment building.
What is your favorite word, and can you use it in a poetic sentence?
My first favourite word is ethereal and my second is engine. Here’s a poem I just wrote about my daughter that incorporates both:
Mercurial, ethereal changeling child Your heart an engine I could never replace Joy in struggle, laughing and wild I wish I lived with half your grace.
What is your pet peeve?
People who have no empathy for others. Intolerance. When my husband moves my stuff around.
What defines Suzanne Craig-Whytock?
Humour, love, and kindness. Most people will know me best from my humour blog where I try to incorporate all those things. I’m also very family-oriented and have strong relationships with my immediate and extended family, either blood relations or those people who have become my family through humour, love, and kindness. I love to laugh and I love seeing people become their most authentic selves.
Suzanne Craig-Whytock is a Canadian novelist. Her shorter pieces of writing have been featured in Slippage Lit, X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, Women Writers Women('s) Books, The Sirens Call, Elephants Never, and is upcoming in Moria Literary Magazine. She was a nominee for Spillwords 2019 Publication of the Year (non-poetic).