Kerry Clare on Blogging, Privacy, and Her New Novel Mitzi Bytes

From October 20—22, 2017, the Stratford Writers Festival will take over Stratford, Ontario, as some of Canada’s top literary and creative talents come together for this unique three-day festival. With the festival rapidly approaching, we caught up with attending author Kerry Clare to ask her a few questions about blogging, privacy, her latest projects, and why literary festivals are important to the Canadian artistic community.

To hear more from Kerry, click here to purchase tickets to her upcoming Stratford Writers Festival panel Satire, Struggle, and the Female Experience with Scaachi Koul.

How much of Kerry Clare is in the character Mitzi Bytes a.k.a. Sarah Lundy? 

In some ways, she’s the person I aspire to be—brave and bold, unconcerned with being likeable. Her blog in her early twenties was much more interesting than mine was. We are both prone to social gaffes, and that, at least, always makes for great blog fodder. A lot of her preoccupations are my own, but (sadly) her income bracket is not. We both have two delightful daughters, and very excellent husbands, but I am luckier than she is in this respect because mine is emotionally available. And one more definite thing we both do have in common is the experience of having had our hair catch on fire at karaoke.

At the end of Mitzi Bytes, the reader may ask themselves, “Does everything need to be shared?” In your opinion, has our “share everything” culture harmed our need for privacy? 

No, but I would say that because I plaster my life all over the internet and I’ve been writing about my innermost feelings on my blog for years and years. For me, the experience of my life online has been positive—I’ve made wonderful friends, made remarkable connections, been able to touch people with my stories, and have been deeply affected by those of others. I think a spirit of openness and generosity makes the internet a better place, and deepens its connections to the actual world—because it’s all the same world, really. And this is something Sarah realizes by the end of the novel, that you can’t separate the two, or fit yourself neatly into compartments. Life is messy, and it’s okay if our online selves reflect that. (But then this raises further questions the novel touches on too, namely, “Does everything have to be a performance?” This kind of self-consciousness can be paralyzing. I’m of two minds about it all, and I’m mostly okay with that…)

Why do you feel it’s important to meet readers at events such as the Stratford Writers Festival?

A book doesn’t properly exist until it finds its way into the hands of a reader, who brings to it their own background, experiences, and context, transforming the book into something altogether new. And as an author, that’s a wondrous thing to behold. Festivals like the Stratford Writers Festival give me a chance to see this in action. I also relish any opportunity to be in the company of people who love books as much as I do.

What is your favourite part about attending writers festivals or literary events?

It’s not a very literary answer, but I’ve loved the opportunity to get to know different city and towns since my book came out—and visit their bookshops! I also enjoy the fascinating conversations that transpire on panels whose authors’ books connect in interesting or surprising ways. Literary festival programmers are very good at conjuring magic…

Are you working on any projects right now?

I am beginning the third draft of a novel called Asking for a Friend. At the moment I mostly hate it, but look forward to getting deep into the rewrites and digging and the process of discovery that is my favourite part of writing a book. I write for the same reason I read a book: to find out what happens next.


To hear more, don’t miss Kerry’s panel entitled Satire, Struggle, and the Female Experience on Saturday, October 21, at 4:30 pm at the Stratford Writers Festival. See you there!

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Do you think our “share everything” culture has harmed our need for privacy?