Published in North Toronto Post. [June 2007]
The rolling stone
Ersatz rocker turns travelling author
Student: Claire Cameron
Graduated: Northern Secondary School, 1991
Best Subject: English
Worst Subject: Math
Current Job: Author
Claire Cameron's debut novel, The Line Painter, has received a great deal of praise, but that hasn't stopped the neophyte author from promoting her book in some unlikely places.
You can find her visiting Husky truck stops to sign and sell her books to truckers who stop there. Although unorthodox, Cameron has found it to be surpisingly successful.
"Truckers spend a lot of time driving alone, and they like to sit around and chat," explains Cameron. It doesn't hurt that the author and truck drivers share a nomadic spirit that is captured in The Line Painter.
Cameron has come a long way from her high school days at Northern Secondary School.
There she c ould be found doing silly things like appearing in embarrassing skits. "I was dressed in gold disco pants in front of the school," she says.
Although Cameron showed confidence in her skills in high school, she found that she wanted to leave the city to explore the world. It was during a cross-Canada trip that the seeds of her debut novel were planted.
"I bought a van after high school, and I was driving across Canada. During my trip, I was stuck behind a line painter, and I was just watching him go," Cameron explains. "The image just stuck in my head."
After graduating from Queen's University, Cameron has scratched her travelling itch.
"I tree planted in Hearst where I met a lot of people that the characters are loosely based on," she says. From there, Cameron worked for a publishing company in San Francisco that would send her to London, England. It was in London that her life quickly accelerated.
She started writing songs, hoping to fulfill her rock star dreams. Sadly, it didn't take long for her to realize she wasn't all that good. So she put down the mic and picked up her pen.
"I only planned to live in London for two years," she says. "But I ended up staying for seven. When I started writing The Line Painter, I was writing about a place that I really missed. I was feeling homesick at the time and that definitely affected the book."
Back in her hometown, Cameron finds that she's more appreciative of Toronto than when she left.
"Growing up, I took living here for granted," she says. "After travelling, I appreciate how multicultural Toronto is and how much there is to do."
Cameron recently launched her book at the Gladstone Hotel. Surprisingly, it was the culmination of two dreams. "There was another author [Sean Dixon] having an event downstairs," she says. "He was playing the banjo, and I snuck down to join. We sang "Not Ready to Make Nice" by the Dixie Chicks, and it was the first time I sang into the mic."
Of course, Cameron hasn't quite ditched her plans to start working on a second novel to live the rock star life. She says diplomatically, "Being a good writer is knowing what you're not good at. It's about editing yourself."
Link to copy of article is here.