One of the amazing experiences associated with publishing a book is seeing how far it reaches, not just in its print format, but in conversation.
A few thank yous are in order when it comes to those who continue to discuss Always Brave, Sometimes Kind and share their thoughts with their audiences:
Thank you to Glass Bookshop for the podcast shout out!
And thank you to CBC Edmonton AM with Mark Connolly for chatting with me about Always Brave, Sometimes Kind. I couldn’t be more grateful for the lovely welcomes from Mark and his team behind the scenes. Other than brief cameos on my hometown AM’s Hurtin or Flirtin’ show (Slave Lakers know what I’m talking about) this was my first radio interview and I was delighted to speak a little about the process of writing Always Brave, Sometimes Kind.
If you are an interested in having me speak with your community about Always Brave, Sometimes Kind — whether that’s with a book club, or if you work at your local radio station — feel free to get in touch! I am always open to chatting about the process of writing, be that generally or specific to ABSK, or about the novel itself.
Set in the cities and rural reaches of Alberta, Katie Bickell’s debut novel is told in a series of stories that span the years from 1990 to 2016, through cycles of boom and bust in the oil fields, government budget cuts and workers rights policies, the rising opioid crisis, and the intersecting lives of people whose communities sometimes stretch farther than they know.
We meet a teenage runaway who goes into labour at West Edmonton Mall, a doctor managing hospital overflow in a time of healthcare cutbacks, a broke dad making extra pay through a phone sex line, a young musician who dreams of fame beyond the reserve, and a dedicated hockey mom grappling with sense of self when she’s no longer needed―or welcome―at the rink.
Always Brave, Sometimes Kind captures a network of friends, caregivers, in-laws, and near misses, with each character’s life coming into greater focus as we learn more about the people around them. Tracing alliances and betrayals from different perspectives over decades, Bickell writes an ode to home and community that is both warm and gritty, well-defined and utterly complicated.