The Chat

To my great surprise, my recent book “Bee Time: Lessons From the Hive” has won the 2015 Governor-General’s Literary Award for Nonfiction ( It’s been a huge thrill, almost on par with the day my daughter was born, or that first life-changing conversation with Lori at a sculpture artist’s show opening, a chat that has extended into a lifelong dialogue.

And it’s the gift that keeps on giving; pretty much every day since the 28 October announcement has brought some interesting invitation or idea across my cyber-desk. Opportunities to lecture or read at bookstores, invitations to do workshops, quirky thoughts on the telapathetic powers of bees, catch-up notes from long-lost friends, information about fascinating projects being done by artists to draw attention to the plight of bees (see, for example, and much more has filled my inbox.

And there’s been the occasional insult. My favorite so far is that I was a “too smart by half nitwit.” Not bad, although not quite up to the professor who called me a “nincompoop” early in my career.

But I really knew I’d arrived in the literary stratosphere when an editor contacted me about doing one of those interviews that newspapers publish with authors, assuming that we’re interesting and knowledgeable. You know the ones: there’s a nice picture of the author, followed by a series of bolded questions that provide we authors with the opportunity to show off our erudition, but usually come off with us seeming to be crabby and ill-tempered.

I was a bit concerned when I received the request, because the questions can often be hard to answer. Things like “Which of your favorite authors writes the best sentences?” Or “So what are you reading now?” I dread that particular question in radio or live interviews since, although I read constantly, my mind invariably goes blank when asked about what I’m reading or to recommend a great book.

But to my surprise I enjoyed my cyber-chat with Trevor Corkum of the online outlet 49th Shelf. He had read the book, had some insightful questions, and even his query about “writers who have influenced me” wasn’t painful as I had some time to think rather than having to answer on the spot.

Hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did. You can find it at