A Perfect Book

Since its release in early 2015, Connie Gault's novel, A Beauty, has been receiving rave reviews. The Toronto Star calls it a "simple perfect book," and The Globe and Mail calls Gault "terrifyingly perspicacious" and "wickedly funny," a writer with "that rare talent that makes every character important."

The novel, the creation of which was supported by an Independent Artists Grant from the Saskatchewan Arts Board, draws on two memories from Gault's childhood. "The kernel of the story is my own fascination, since the time I was a girl, with my grandfather, who deserted his family during the depression," she says. The second is the story of the town her grandparents lived in, Gilroy, which completely disappeared once the railroad moved. "You can't find any trace of it now. In fact, it was gone when I was a child," she notes. "These childhood fascinations really work for writers."

When she was in the writing groove with A Beauty, Gault worked six to seven hours per day. "When get into a book, I often sit down with a pencil and notebook. I might ask myself questions about the main character: Why don't people know who she is? Why is she so mysterious? Then I'll try to answer them myself, and pretty soon, I'm writing a scene."

A Beauty took Gault six years to write and another two to edit and publish. It can be difficult for writers keep the momentum going during that long process, but Gault says, "It's hard to explain, but you want this world to exist, and so all your energy goes into creating this novel. You don't really think about time passing or selling your novel or anyone reading it. You just think about it as a thing that needs to exist, and however long it takes, it takes."

Gault is the author of three books of fiction. Her previous novel, Euphoria, for which she was also awarded a grant from the Saskatchewan Arts Board, was short-listed for the Commonwealth Prize for Best Book (Canada and the Caribbean), the Saskatchewan Book of the Year and the High Plains Fiction Award, and won the Saskatchewan Book Award for Fiction.