Heather O’Neill

If you get a chance to listen to Heather O’Neill read from her novels GO. She is as fun and entertaining as her books. A week ago I attended the launch of her book The Girl Who Was Saturday Night in a packed theater.

 In the interview, after she read excerpts from her book, she said that she always starts her novels with the characters. She gives them negative attributes and then makes them lovable.

Once I have the characters I put them in a situation that’s going to make them react.


It was seven years ago that she published her award-winning Lullabies For Little Criminals. When asked by the interviewer Laurel Sprengelmeyer (Little Scream) why it took her so long to write this novel, O’Neill stated various reasons. One, was that she was also working on a collection of short stories.  She also spoke about how she likes to write with a lot of metaphors.

If you do that on one page you elevate your writing and so you have to elevate it on the other page.


 “O’Neill wrote “Lullabies” while busy raising her young daughter, on scraps of paper and the backs of receipts — “a huge grocery bag of a novel, covered literally in dog prints,” she says. The novel’s success came as such a surprise to her that she felt almost as though she was competing with it when writing The Girl Who Was Saturday Night.

“It feels a little bit like (Lullabies) doesn’t belong to me in the same way. It just has its own identity. That’s probably why I was feeling competitive with it a little bit,” she says. “It seems like it kind of walked off and went into the world. It’s like, ‘Thanks. I spent a long time on you and now you’re just abandoning me here and I’m stuck working on another novel. Have fun!”

– See more at: http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/entertainment/horoscopes/heather-o-neill-finds-independence-in-the-girl-who-was-saturday-night-1.1057431#sthash.4rR0Tqrb.dpuf


HEATHER O’ NEILL’s first novel, Lullabies for Little Criminals, earned accolades around the world, including being named winner of Canada Reads 2007 and the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction, and being a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and the Orange Prize. She is a regular contributor to CBC Books, CBC Radio, National Public Radio, The New York Times MagazineThe Gazette (Montreal) and The Walrus. She was born in Montreal, where she currently lives.  Harper Collins Canada


Excerpt From Timing Makes It Difficult To Ignore

Everything is such a mystery to me these days. I am middle-aged and there is so much I don’t understand. I read this sentence from Heather O’Neill’s lullabies for little criminals: The moon was out already and looked like a melting bit of ice in a glass of water. A few big snowflakes started falling here and there, all slowly, like spiders on their invisible webs coming down. Or this one: Jules was able to smoke in slow motion when he was stoned. The smoke came out of his mouth like ribbons being pulled  off a present.

How does this happen? How does a mind think up such fresh images? To read someone is to plunge into another mind and realize how different we all are yet so much the same.  

The next day, I miss-type November 100 rather than 10 and think this is what I want. I want the impossible. I do not want the reality of my sister’s  death to sink in. Not yet. I need to hang on to her  a little bit longer. At a time when I need a pair of arms around me I interpret X’s appearance into my life as more than what it is. But it isn’t and I realize that I need, I want someone who cares for me truly. When I finally decide that X is not the man I need in my life grief for Diana returns and I understand the meaning of X’s presence. He was there as a balm to my wound. Mind and heart. Fascinating pieces of equipment.

Here’s an interview with Heather O’Neill http://www.quillandquire.com/authors/profile.cfm?article_id=7521