Com­ing home to launch book

PCVS grad Kerry Clare’s first novel Mitzi Bytes is be­ing pub­lished by Harper Collins, with March 18 launch at Hunter Street Books

The Peterborough Examiner - - NEWS - JOELLE KO­VACH EX­AM­INER STAFF WRITER JKo­vach@post­media.com

A writer who grew up in Peter­bor­ough and now lives in Toronto is com­ing to launch her de­but novel at Hunter Street Books next month.

Kerry Clare will be launch­ing her book Mitzi Bytes on Satur­day, March 18.

The book goes on sale four days ear­lier in stores.

Clare says she’s a fan of Hunter Street Books, owned by nov­el­ist Michelle Berry.

“It’s a won­der­ful place – I’m so ex­cited to come there,” she said over the phone from Toronto.

Mitzi Bytes, pub­lished by Harper Collins, is also hav­ing a Toronto launch a few days ear­lier.

Every­one’s wel­come to the home­town launch, which Clare said was ar­ranged es­pe­cially for her par­ents (who live in Peter­bor­ough).

The novel fea­tures a par­tic­u­larly well-drawn woman char­ac­ter who is a mother, a writer and a se­cret blog­ger. It’s a first novel for Clare, 37. “I’m re­ally proud of it – I love it so much,” she said.

Mitzi Bytes is about Sarah Lundy, a mom who has been se­cretly writ­ing a blog for years – since be­fore she was mar­ried.

Al­though it started out as the chron­i­cle of her ad­ven­tur­ous dat­ing life, the blog later be­came a place for Sarah – aka Mitzi to record funny ob­ser­va­tions about her hus­band and all her friends (un­be­knownst to them, of course).

When Sarah’s cover is blown and her near­est and dear­est find out their foibles have been pub­lished on­line, she has a lot of ex­plain­ing to do.

Al­though the story turns on the blog and the re­vealed iden­tity of its writer, it also paints a true-to-life por­trait of Sarah’s con­tented home life with her lov­ing hus­band and kids.

Clare, whose daugh­ters are aged eight and four, said she finds books tend to ei­ther fo­cus on the bliss of hav­ing young chil­dren or on the night­mar­ish qual­ity of fam­ily life.

“I wanted to show it’s a lit­tle bit of both,” she said. “Liv­ing with kids is in­cred­i­bly an­noy­ing – but there’s a magic in it, right? This is an ode to that.”

Clare wrote the novel over a sin­gle sum­mer, when her youngest daugh­ter was a baby.

She wrote 1,000 words a day while the baby napped and the older daugh­ter (age four at the time) watched the mu­si­cal ‘Annie’ on TV in an end­less loop.

“She was ob­sessed with Annie that sum­mer,” Clare said.

Clare grew up in Peter­bor­ough and at­tended the arts pro­gram at the now-de­funct Peter­bor­ough Col­le­giate high school on McDon­nel St.

She moved to Toronto in 1998 to at­tend Univer­sity of Toronto.

She earned her mas­ter’s de­gree in cre­ative writ­ing in 2007; her mas­ter’s the­sis, a novel, was never pub­lished.

“My the­sis pro­ject was not as good as a book has to be,” she said. “But it was a useful fail­ure.”

Clare says as­pir­ing nov­el­ists of­ten worry that their first books will never be pub­lished – and this one wasn’t. But it wasn’t heart­break­ing for her.

“Once you learn that fail­ure is not a big deal, you can keep try­ing things – and later suc­ceed,” she said. When the in­spi­ra­tion for Mitzi

Bytes struck, Clare said she carved out a cou­ple of hours daily for her­self to write, over a sum­mer – and got her man­u­script writ­ten.

She said she was tremen­dously in­spired to write, that sum­mer – and she doesn’t take that in­spi­ra­tion for granted.

“It feels like it was a gift,” she said. “I feel very lucky.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Kerry Clare, a Toronto au­thor who grew up in Peter­bor­ough, is launch­ing her novel Mitzi Bytes at Hunter Street Books on March 18.

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