Wisdom of the Ages: Bestselling Author Amy Stuart on Her New Novel, ‘Still Here’
Amy Stuart's latest novel, 'Still Here,' completes her bestselling detective series. Photo: Courtesy Simon & Schuster Canada
Following the bestselling success of her previous novels — Still Mine and Still Water — Canadian scribe Amy Stuart is back with the final book in her detective trilogy, Still Here.
The series, as Stuart notes, “follows Clare O’Dey as she runs from her own past and searches for missing women.” In Still Here, O’Dey, a private investigator, must search for both a colleague, and his wife, who’ve gone missing, while uncovering dark secrets and shady pasts along the way.
“When I started the first book (Still Mine), I knew it would take me more than one book to tell Clare’s story. Still Here is the culmination of all that hard work,” the Toronto-born writer adds. “My goal in writing is always to create characters that the reader roots for. I hope readers find that connection to Clare.”
Stuart, whose work in the past was shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Best First Novel Award and won the 2011 Writers’ Union of Canada Short Fiction Competition, may be finished her trilogy, but she’s still keeping busy. Aside from writing, she works as a public speaker and founded the online writing resource site Writerscape. And when it comes to aspiring writers in their 40s, 50s, 60s and up who hope to pen their first novel, her advice is simple.
“Just start writing. It really is as simple as that, even if the act of sitting down to start is hard,” she says. “In fact, I started Writerscape, an online community for hopeful writers, in large part because that’s the question I am most often asked.”
Read on for Stuart’s answers to Zoomer’s Wisdom of the Ages questionnaire.
Wisdom of the Ages Questions
What advice do you wish you’d given your 25-year-old self?
To worry less. In fact, I’d give that advice to every version of myself up until now, including the me from this morning!
What advice would you give your 80-year-old self?
Don’t focus on regrets. Life has been very good to you. Focus on gratitude and paying it forward.
What do you know for sure?
That being a positive force in the world requires focus and commitment.
What have you learned?
That it’s okay to say no to taking on more when you feel overwhelmed.
What will you never learn?
That Sour Cream and Onion chips aren’t good for me!
Best piece of advice?
Keep things manageable. Making small but regular commitments of time and energy to the things that matter will be more sustainable in the long run.
Did it work?
Still working on it. I give this advice a lot and am learning to apply it to my own life too.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by people who advocate for marginalized communities and work to make change in our world.
The moment that changed everything?
Personally, when my kids were born. Professionally, when I got my first book deal in 2014.
Happiness is …
I’m happiest when I’m with my husband, our three kids and our dog out in nature. Swimming or hiking together, laughing. When I’m lucky enough to experience those moments, I often stop to take it all in and remind myself to be grateful.
Still Here is available in stores and online July 7.