›› Susan Sanford Blades

My debut novel, Fake It So Real, was ­conceived around the same time I moved to Fernwood nine years ago and I think this is no coincidence. How could I not be inspired to create in this land of painted hydro poles; this place where a man is lauded simply for blowing bubbles? I arrived here a single mother with three young boys. I spent what spare time I had writing at the Cornerstone with my friend Garth, a poet who could agonize for hours over a single word. Garth taught me the importance of diction, drip coffee, and adjacency to electrical outlets. Some days, I’d wake up early to score a booth at the Parsonage and drip breakfast sandwich juice over my keyboard as I attempted to get one good paragraph down before work. Nine years later, these bits of writing have come together as a whole—a community of words, if you will.

My book is about a girl who meets a guy in a punk band at the OAP Hall in Victoria in 1983. They have two accidental ­daughters, and six years later, he plays a show in Vancouver and decides not to cross the ocean back home. My book is about how this girl and her daughters become women, how they learn to love and to trust—or not. My writing has been affectionately labelled Domestic Antithesis, Crust Fiction, or Scuzz Rearing. I call it punk-rock Alice Munro. What it’s really about is how we perform the impossible task of living our best lives without ­hurting those we love.

Sometimes, we have to fake it a bit.

Fake It So Real (Nightwood, 2020) can be found at Munro’s Books or Bolen Books in Victoria. For more info, visit ­susansanfordblades.com.