Caroline is an Ottawa-based author and has written some award winning stories.
Here is my Q & A with her.
A Little Bookish (ALB): What kind of research did you do for this novel?
Caroline Pignat (CP):
I spent several months researching the Empress of Ireland. Before writing this story, I knew nothing about the ship or the people involved. I read survivor accounts from newspapers articles (why Wyatt Steele’s character is in the story) and crew interviews, I also read non-fiction sources such as The Forgotten Empress by David Zeni and Fourteen Minutes by James Croall, and had the amazing opportunity of researching at the Archives at the Museum of History where I reviewed some fascinating artifacts -- such as a journal recovered in the wreckage. That was where I got the idea for Jim’s story to be through journal entries.
Another fascinating source was the diary of Titanic survivor Violet Jessop, a woman who served as a stewardess. That was a huge part of Ellie's experiences.
ALB: What did you find the most interesting thing while writing this book?
CP: The fact that such a huge event in Canadian history was seemingly lost really intrigued me and as I learned more about the ship, the sinking, and the stories of the people aboard, the more excited I became about sharing it.
ALB: What are some of your favorite novels?
CP: I love any novel that draws me in and makes me forget to analyze it as I read. That’s the sign of a great writer, in my opinion. I loved The Book Thief, The Fault in our Stars, The Book of Negroes. Overall, I really enjoy character driven historical fiction, particularly Philippa Gregory and Diana Gabaldon.
ALB: What is your greatest piece if advice for future writers?
CP: Trust your voice. You have something to say that no one else can say. No one has written the story only YOU can write.... and if you don’t write it, no one will. So keep at it. Keep learning the craft. And keep writing.
ALB: What are a few of your bookish pet peeves?
CP: Ha! Great question. Where do I begin?! :)
I only use Moleskine notebooks for journaling. And those plain black spiral ones for brainstorming. (Reading makes me write.)
I jot in novel margins -- but can’t read a book where someone else has scribbled or highlighted. Even in university, I paid full price to have a clean copy.
I never write in red pen -- it feels angry... and screams: wrong!
I highlight in bright yellow as I read/research because I can’t remember anything. And bright yellow makes me happy. :)
And I am very particular about my shelves. I have one of those IKEA cube type shelves FULL of books. Each square cubby has a particular reason -- usually related to the book I’m writing, the books I’ve read and can’t part with, the books I’ve bought and need to read, and the books I use for research. When my husband *thoughtfully* reorganized my books by height -- I freaked...... Don't. Touch. The books.
Thank you so much for stopping by my blog today! Happy Reading!