Teaching high school in a small town is not always easy, and running off those last fifteen pounds of baby fat in purple spandex leggings when every cinnamon bun knows your name… well, that ain’t easy either! Cosy LeFevre is happily divorced, happily romancing the Man of her Dreams, and not so happily trying to avoid her mother’s bi-polar hysterics. It’s a good life in a small town, with laughter and cinnamon buns and good friends. But when tragedy strikes, La Coste High School becomes the focus of a senseless crime, and the community reels as they try to come to terms with the unexpected. There are secrets under the surface of every story, and sometimes the guilty parties are not what they appear. Both gripping and hilarious, Cosy LeFevre’s story will leave you grinning on the edge of your seat. “That Thing That Happened” placed third in the WFNS Atlantic Writing Competition in 2011.
The Thing That Happened by Libby Broadbent is a wonderfully written story about the life of Cosy, a high school teacher with relationship issues. Cosy’s life parallels one of her students, Tarl, who also has relationship issues. We see the lives of these two characters intertwine—the teacher and the troubled teen.
The support characters are wonderful as well, especially Parker. Ms. Broadbent makes your heart break for Cosy, Tarl, Parker, and Linda (Tarl’s mother). She does a wonderful job of bringing these characters to life.
The story feels so real and yet so tragic. It is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. This is a wonderful piece of writing. This author made me laugh, then cry, and then made me reflect on my own life. My hat is off to Libby Broadbent. I look forward to future work by Ms. Broadbent.
Meet the Author
Libby Broadbent writes with a weiner dog snuggled under her shirt, looking out over a beautiful river on the South Shore of Nova Scotia, with a glass of wine on one side and pictures of her four spawn on the other. Her real job is attempting to convince hordes of teenagers to put away their cell phones in order to revel in the delights of Shakespeare, and Atwood, and the glories of the Thesis Statement. She enjoys limited success at this endeavor, but remains ever hopeful. The first draft of That Thing That Happened was written during National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) in 2011, and went on to place third in the WFNS Atlantic Writing Competition. It has recently been endorsed by Compulsion Reads. Her second novel, Indefinitely Idled will be available this spring. You can follow her blog at www.libbybroadbent.com
Libby was kind enough to give me an interview.
I would like to welcome Libby Broadbent and thank her for taking the time to give me this interview. We will be finding out about her and her book That Thing That Happened.
Before we begin the interview Libby, can you tell us a little about yourself and your novel?
I am a high school English teacher and a mother to four darling children who have all flown from the nest. Thank God. Just kidding, I adore them, but while I was in charge of hockey and swimming and horses and boyfriend drama and what is that smell, and you are not wearing that to school young lady, and no you cannot get a tattoo, and is that a cigarette, and I know what that word means and if I ever hear you say it again I’ll… and you failed which exam, and you’re grounded… I just didn’t have time to write. Now I do, so I try to embarrass them at every turn. They love it. I live in Nova Scotia, on a river that runs to the sea. I see bald eagles and seals almost every day. You should come visit. It’s beautiful here!
Now on to the interview.
- When did you start writing?
I started writing when I was a kid and Mrs. Varma asked my grade six class to tell her what we wanted to be when we grew up. A writer. I remember a story about a frog that was rewarded with a sticker. I’m big on stickers.
- What/who inspired you to write?
The one main thing that catapulted me into seriously crafting a novel was Nanowrimo. National Novel Writing Month. 50,000 words in thirty days. It’s brilliant! I wrote the first draft of “That Thing That Happened” in the month of November, clicked ‘save’ on November 30th and posted it on December 4th to the Writer’s Federation Atlantic Writing Competition, where it placed third. I do Nanowrimo every year, as well as Nanocamp in the summer. It is an incredible incentive to just get past the inner editor and pour those words out.
- Who has been the most supportive?
The Man of my Dreams. His name is Phil, and he turns my crank, lets me drive his four wheeler and feeds me wild game drenched in peppercorn gravy. My spawn, who read all my work and love me even when I write about sex. They get quite disturbed when I write about sex. I have to reassure them that it’s all heresay, kids. Just making it up. Mumma never does those things. They are delicate flowers, my spawn. And my friends. I have wonderful, patient, kind friends who read my stuff and say things like “I don’t get it”, and then I go back and fix it until they do.
- What writers inspired you and what about their work do you most like?
Ann Patchett: Bel Canto. Anne Michaels: Fugitive Pieces. Barbara Kingsolver:Prodigal Summer. Neil Gaiman: American Gods. Love them. Want to be them. Fall into their books and disappear for hours at a time.
- What is your favorite piece of writing by them? See above
- Have you collaborated or plan to collaborate in the future? No.
- What future projects do you have in store?
SO excited! I have a novel I hope to release in April called “Indefinitely Idled”. It’s a story about a man who loses his job when the paper mill where he has worked for 23 years, closes. His wife leaves him. His daughter is in angst. And a lesbian comes to town. I’m really excited about this one, because it’s weird and different and I love the lesbian character who is suffering from a broken heart with a quirky sarcasm and despair that is heart wrenching. I think it is anyway.
I also have a third novel, “Lily’s Valley”, which is coming out in September. It’s also weird, with a teenage character who speaks from the top of her head and is funny and endearing.
- Are you currently working on a project?
Camp Nanowrimo, baby! In April! What’s it gonna be about? Well… things are going to happen, someone’s mother will most likely die, there will be a character named Gentry, and someone will have sex… which I will write with no personal experience of the act, kids. Don’t worry. It’s ok.
- What is your favorite poem from your own work and why?
Here it is. I love this one, with a totally misplaced affection since it is most likely drivel, but I am inordinately proud of using the word “fardel”. There is an excerpt of it in “That Thing That Happened.”
If Hamlet Was a Runner
To run, or not to run, that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler in the belly to put
the chips and dip of outrageous snacking,
or to squeeze into the spandex and lycra
and by sweating, nullify them. To run, to sweat –
a lot – and by a sweat to say not just a little,
but the copious amount the out of shape is heir to.
‘Tis fitness, for which we devoutly wish.
To jog – to run –
to run – perchance to sprint: aye, there’s the rub,
the A535 for what aches may come
when we have torn ligaments and stress fractured soles,
must give us pause. There’s the pain that makes the gain
for this mortal coil.
For who could bear the blisters,
the craving for a Big Mac, the desire for a Kit Kat,
the pangs of hunger, the desire to watch Oprah,
the spurns of excuses we make which mock us?
Who would fardels bear… wait a minute… what the %$^&’s a fardel?
To grunt and sweat under a tank top,
but for that dread of middle aged spread,
the broadening, the widening,
the sagging that puzzles the will,
that makes us wonder, where went our youth?
Thus age doth make lazybones of us all,
and thus the desire for KFC after midnight
adds pounds to our weary frame and so we RUN
in the name of fitness… but soft… the calories burn,
and every chip we ate is remembered.
For the lighter questions
- Do have any writing quirks? I write with my weiner dog snuggled under my shirt. He loves it there. It’s quite cold here in Nova Scotia sometimes, and the weiner is wee. He curls up on my lap and is my muse. Unfortunately, he has breath that will melt the skin off your face, but not all muses are ethereal and beautific. Some of them poop on the floor. Whatever works, right?
- Do you snack while you write? I never stop snacking. I’m snacking right now. I probably will later too. There’s nothing like a good snack to inspire a writer to Great Acts of Dubious Metaphor: “The cracker was parchment in her mouth and she was forced to take a sip of wine, its robust tang writing a love song across her tongue.” See? Dubious.
- Do have a special place that you prefer to write? Want a picture of my desk? I write in front of a huge window looking out over the river. It’s very icy and cold out there today, which is why the weens is looking at me with very sad eyes wondering why I took him out from under my sweater. “Vy?” he asks. He’s German. Daschund. Weiner Schnitzel. Look it up. “Vy ist you takink picture ven ist freezink? Und vere ist mine schnack? I am vantink mine schanck. Bratwurst, if you please. Danke.
13. Do have certain amount of time that you have set aside to write each day? I write every day from 5am to 6:30am, when I have to jump in the shower in order to be at work for 7am. I teach hordes of teenagers the difference between then and than. I also confiscate cell phones and erase impressively detailed drawings of penises off of desks. I love teaching. Sometimes. I write other times too, but those early hours are my favorite.
14. Do you listen to music when you write? If so what type of music (genre and/or songs)? No, I can’t handle distraction. Which is why I couldn’t write while the spawn still lived at home. Did I mention how much I love my spawnsies? Immaculate conception, every one.
15. Anything other interesting information that you would like to add.
Thank you so much for hosting me. I struggle with the marketing that is the necessity of the self-published author, and since I have barely managed to figure out texting, it is especially kind of you to have me on your blog. I texted my daughter the other day, intending to say “That’s neat”, but I messed up.
Daughter: “I worked on a cool project today.”
Me: “That’s meat.”
There was a pause of several minutes. I waited, fingers hovering over the tiny keys, eager to impart even more maternal encouragement to my darling progeny.
Daughter: “Yes. Yes, mom, it is very meat.”
I could feel her eyes rolling through cyber space. My spawn are very sarcastic. But I must say, it is very, VERY meat being interviewed about my writing. Thanks! Now please, everyone rush out and buy my book so I can feed the weiner his bratwurst and buy him his very own sweater! Or leiderhosen. Or something.
Amazon link for That Thing That Happened: http://www.amazon.com/That-Thing-Happened-ebook/dp/B008NXABY6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1362662392&sr=8-2&keywords=libby+broadbent