By Book Me
Sponsored by Nimbus Publishing.
Book MeAug 22, 2023
What Comes Echoing Back - Leo McKay Jr.
Author Leo McKay Jr. joins Lindsay to discuss What Comes Echoing Back, his poignant new coming-of-age novel, 10 years in the making. He shares how his experiences as a teacher and father helped him to feel at home writing about teens; how he crafted a tender friendship between protagonists, Sam and Robot, amidst balancing their respective traumas; how social media impacts young people; and the mystic quality of reverb and how echoes can bring waves of pain and joy, in both music and life.
Summer Reads Recommendations
The dog days are NOT over. They are here. They are hot. And they are humid. So, it's only fitting Lindsay and Amanda bring you some summer lit recs straight from their own TBR lists. Both mood readers, they've got an eclectic mix of thrillers, beach (or deck) reads, non-fiction, and naturally, some East Coast must-reads including a charming fish-out-of-water story set in Cape Breton; a heart-wrenching drama following the experiences of two women, an IVF mixup and the one daughter they are both fighting for; and a coming-of-age novel about two teen outcasts who bond amidst echoes of past trauma. Get ready to add to the pile!
The Remembering - Susan Sinnott
When memory is gone, what is left behind? Award winning author, Susan Sinnott, joins us from her home in Newfoundland to chat about her recent novel, The Remembering. The book—which Lindsay gives five enthusiastic stars—follows three generations of Newfoundland women as they navigate the triumphs and difficulties of life and explores how memory—in its many forms—impacts our lives. Susan shares a bit about her writing process and how she creates "mountains of backstory" for her characters, why she chose to explore themes of dementia and memory, what types of books she thinks her characters would read and more.
About The Remembering:
Some memories are treasured, re-read like a favourite book. Some are traumatic and won’t stay buried. But memories can be unreliable, can fade and mutate. They affect our actions and choices.
Memories of a happy marriage comfort Liz through widowhood, while flashbacks to a devastating sexual assault overwhelm her youngest daughter, Eve. Her middle daughter, Carlie, is building a new life in another country but longing for home is pulling her back, while Ginny, the eldest, takes on everyone?s problems as her own. Eve’s daughter, Rosie, remembers nothing of her absent father and yearns to track him down against her family’s wishes.
Then Liz is diagnosed with dementia, and the family’s resilience is tested as the matriarch begins to falter. If life is all memory, what is left when it’s gone?
Memory is at the core of all these women’s lives: elusive, intrusive, helpful or misleading. What’s revealed is a story about the struggle to maintain a sense of family, home, and self, amidst all life can throw at you.
Editor Book Recommendations - Backlist
Nimbus Publishing's Managing Editor, Whitney Moran, is back with a brand new list of expert book recs. And this time, it's all about the backlist. An ode to the beautiful books that become buried in "best of" lists and TBR piles once the shiny new thing emerges on scene, Whitney shares some of her favourite backlist titles from Vagrant Press (Nimbus' adult fiction imprint) and their mainstream comps to help you discover the must read books you may have missed the first time 'round.
Some There are Fearless - Becca Babcock
Becca Babcock joins Lindsay to give a behind the scenes glimpse into her writing process and the inspirations behind her compelling and timely new novel, Some There are Fearless.
Hear how she drew inspiration from her own experiences coming-of-age in military driven Cold Lake, how she works to craft deeply human characters and immersive settings, and her approach to writing engineering in a way that makes it appealing to all readers. Plus, Lindsay and Becca dive into many of the novel's themes including the complexities of motherhood and its parallels to working with nuclear energy—volatility, managing risk, mitigating disaster, the obsessive need for control and inevitably, powerlessness.
About Some There are Fearless:
Jessica Manchaky’s life has been shaped by the threat of nuclear disaster. She’s a child when she hears news of the Chernobyl nuclear accident, and the disappearance of Ukrainian relatives, growing up on a northern Alberta military base during the Cold War. From that moment on, all she wants is to keep danger at bay.
But living in a household with a domineering and volatile mother and a rebellious older brother in isolated Cold Lake, Alberta, Jessica never feels fully safe. When she comes of age, she leaves her suffocating small town for Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she meets her future husband and eventually becomes a nuclear engineer in charge of risk assessment and management at nuclear power plants. But even as she shields the world from nuclear disaster, she is constantly facing personal tragedies—like a strained marriage, a misogynistic workplace, and severe postpartum anxiety—that she never quite manages to predict. When her young daughter is afflicted with a mysterious and potentially deadly illness, Jessica must learn to accept that not all risk can be managed.
Beginning with the threat of the Cold War and the ripple effects of the Chernobyl nuclear accident, and punctuated by other disasters both natural and manmade, Some There Are Fearless is an intimate and vulnerable exploration of the thin line between control and chaos from the author of the “terrific debut” (Globe and Mail) One Who Has Been Here Before.
Best KidLit Recommendations
Lindsay and Amanda (Book Me's Producer) dive into one of their favourite topics, children's books. They chat about the types of books that shaped them as children and the best local picture books to add to your library today. Plus Lindsay shares her tips on how to cultivate a bookworm providing real steps you can take to instill a love of reading within the littles in your life. AND our favourite correspondent, Nina, gives a young person's perspective on what makes a great book.
Jack Scrine - HALIfolks: The Faces and Stories of Halifax
Journalist and Photographer, Jack Scrine, joins Lindsay remotely to chat about his book HALIfolks: The Faces and Stories of Halifax, a compilation of stories and images from his popular blog/social media project of the same name. He shares his inspiration for the project, his tactics for approaching strangers and helping them to open up, the responsibility of being entrusted with people's intimate stories, and how those stories evolve over time.
In the early 2010s, Australian Jack Scrine found himself in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with plenty of travel experience but little more than a camera to his name. As he wandered the city, he started to capture images that documented the eclectic, the unusual, and the everyday lives of the people around him. A fan of Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, Scrine realized there were similar stories of love and loss, happiness and sadness, friends and enemies, and embarrassments and triumphs all around him—and Halifolks was born, first as a blog, then as a Facebook page, and now, for the first time, as a book.
Featuring 150 captivating colour images of Haligonians, both famous and obscure, Halifolks: The Faces and Stories of Halifax highlights stories that cut to the heart with truth, simplicity, and honesty. It’s not every day we are confronted with questions like: When were you happiest? What is your greatest struggle? What is your biggest regret? The answers can be tragic, uplifting, and even funny—but ultimately, they are always healing.
Editor Book Recommendations
Whitney Moran, Managing Editor of Nimbus Publishing and Vagrant Press, joins Lindsay to give a peak behind the editing scenes and share a whole host of expert book recommendations. Hear her break down some of her favourite recent reads and the comparable East Coast CanLit books you don't want to sleep on. From social outcasts and renaissance Italy to non self help books that nevertheless help the self, this one is chockablock with editor approved TBR gems, including some last season books you may have missed and forthcoming releases to preorder now.
Jo Treggiari - Heartbreak Homes
Lindsay is joined by multi-award nominated, bestselling author, Jo Treggiari, to discuss her exciting new YA thriller, Heartbreak Homes. Jo breaks down multi-perspective writing, character development that feels 'close to truth', crafting a satisfying mystery, the importance of giving Queer characters a happy ending—and more.
A gripping locked-door YA murder mystery narrated from the perspectives of three teens—each with their own motivations, Heartbreak Homes is about what compels us to kill - and the true face of justice.
Jennifer Britton - If You Could be Anything
Author, musician and teacher, Jennifer Britton, sits down with Lindsay to chat about her lyrical lullaby book, If You Could be Anything, illustrated by Briana Corr Scott. Jen talks about the process of creating the book, a career high moment with Stuart McLean, the value of kidlit, and that East Coast pull that whispers, “home.” Plus, hear the lullaby version of the book AND another special appearance from Lindsay’s daughter, Nina, who may or may not be vying for her mom’s gig.
If You Could be Anything is a lyrical lullaby from educator and musician Jen Britton, with illustrations by celebrated artist Briana Corr Scott (Mermaid Lullaby, Wildflower) asks young readers, If you could be anything, what would you be? Responses run the gamut from lupins to sea glass to a lighthouse shining bright to the pull of the tides, celebrating the abundant natural and cultural landscapes of the East Coast. With gentle, rhyming text and dreamy oil illustrations, If You Could Be Anything is the perfect story to send little ones off to dreamland, and older ones off on new adventures.
Tara Thorne - Low Road Forever
In this week’s episode, Lindsay's ex-work wife (settlement pending) and multi-hyphenate of the Halifax arts scene, Tara Thorne, stops by to chat about her debut book of essays, Low Road Forever. Giggles and tangents abound as they riff on essay topics both pop culture and personal. A League of Their Own, Hollywood juicing conspiracy theories, making a lesbian vigilante revenge film, going from fired to inspired—it’s all in there.
CW: Adult Language.
A self-proclaimed “gay feminist harpy since before it was cool,” Tara Thorne is situated somewhere between the sharp-eyed urban commentary of Nora Ephron and ribald cultural analysis of Lindy West. In her debut book of essays, the Halifax-based filmmaker, arts critic, and recovering journalist gives readers her unvarnished take on the films and music that made her a feminist, how the #MeToo reckoning led her to write a misandrist vigilante film, what it’s like being the only woman in a band, and the snarky tweet that made her lose her position as CBC Radio’s arts and culture columnist. Alongside are musings on coming out later in life, remaining resolutely child-free, and why she’s decided to step back from being professional to the point of erasure: after two decades, it’s time to take the low road.
With the cranky forthrightness of Fran Lebowitz in, Pretend It’s a City, Thorne’s voice is both self-assured and deeply self-effacing as she exposes the light haze of misogyny that hangs over us all to find what’s funny, what’s true, and what needs to be said.
Katherine Alexandra Harvey - Quiet Time
Katherine Alexandra Harvey shares the process of creating her piercing debut novel, Quiet Time, a project six years in the making. She touches on the importance of dichotomous characters, the lure of folklore, and what it was like to draw from her own journey of pain and self discovery—creating and healing in tandem—and inevitably, to let it all go.
“Quiet Time” is an unchronological coming-of-age story detailing the main character, Grace's, journey to find her voice after a lifetime of being silenced. Told through vivid and mesmerizing vignettes—cut-jagged with themes of addiction, mental illness, the supernatural, and obsessive relationships—it is her story of resilience, bravery, and redemption.
Tracy & Martina - It's Tracy & Martina, Hun.
What do Mr. Solids, arson, a dog futon, a cloven hoofed woman and bingo have in common? The Cape Breton Kardashians, Tracy and Martina, of course. The dynamic duo popped by the studio, on their way to the legion, to chat about their new book, It's Tracy & Martina, Hun. And all it took was a magnum of strawberry wine! Hold on tight, these two bar stars get into everything from the treasures—and etiquette—of heavy garbage day, how to hack Halloween, Cape Breton tourist attractions that are literal fire, how to parent the right way, and more.
Meet Tracy and Martina—two Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, gals who love a cig, a drink, and a healthy dose of drama—not necessarily in that order. Their mission: to introduce you to life as they know it on “the Island”: from meat darts and shootin’ the drag to their comprehensive Cape Breton Food Guide (where funeral sandwiches and double-doubles play featuring roles). Featuring full-colour “ads” and dozens of photos and graphics (including their exclusive Heavy Garbage Crossword), "It’s Tracy & Martina, Hun: A Guide to Cape Breton Livin'" is a treat for mainlanders and Capers alike.
Don Oliver - A Matter of Equality
The Honourable Don Oliver, former Canadian Senator, lawyer, outspoken social activist, farmer, musician, chef, author, teacher—and the list goes on—joins Lindsay to discuss his autobiography, A Matter of Equality. Don shares his wisdom and some stories from the book including his experiences growing up in the only Black family in Wolfville, Nova Scotia in the 1940s and 50s; the greatness encoded in his DNA; his love of cooking and how he uses it to give back; his unique perspective as a Black man working within the system to fight for equality in Canada; and his hopes for the country's future.
Donald Oliver has dedicated his life to rooting out the systemic racism that has stalled the growth of Canada’s Black citizens – his work a testament to the truth that Black Lives Matter. Now, through dozens of black and white and colour images, and thorough intimate, personal reflections, A Matter of Equality: The Life's Work of Senator Don Oliver examines the legacy of the first man, and the second Canadian, to bring the Black experience directly to the upper house.
Lana Shupe - The Lonely Little Lighthouse
A lovely little chat about The Lonely Little Lighthouse, a heartwarming and thought provoking new picture book from author Lana Shupe. In this episode, Lindsay and Lana connect on their shared love of lighthouses, the importance of preservation, the power of community and the limitless potential of children. PLUS Lindsay's five-year-old daughter, Nina, makes a special appearance to share her own thoughts on the book—and brighten your day!
Based on the true story of Nova Scotia’s Sandy Point Lighthouse, The Lonely Little Lighthouse follows the inspiring journey of a neglected lighthouse and the small coastal community that rallies to save her. Featuring a history of lighthouses from construction through to current preservation efforts and vibrant artwork from Maritime artist Marla Lesage, this penetrating picture book makes a beautiful addition to any shelf.
Nicola Davison - Decoding Dot Grey
Award winning author and photographer, Nicola Davison, joins Lindsay to chat about her beautiful new novel Decoding Dot Grey. They touch on everything from writing quirky and unique characters—including those with wings and tails—to challenging themes, the importance of morse code in the story and more. A great read—and listen—for anyone who is growing, or grown, and finding their place in the world.
A heartfelt coming-of-age story set in an animal shelter and featuring the most-motley of crews—human and otherwise—”Decoding Dot Grey” is a tender and delightful new novel from award winning author of “In the Wake,” Nicola Davison.
Joanne Gallant - Womb in the shape of a Heart
Lindsay sits down with Joanne Gallant to discuss her award-winning memoir, A Womb in the Shape of a Heart. The result, a raw, real, and resonant conversation between two women who, though each with their own unique journeys, are bonded in the shared experience of womanhood. Diving into the topics of miscarriage, motherhood, societal expectations, grief, shame, the power of laying bare your pain—and so much more. An important conversation—to have, to hear, and to share.
An intimate memoir from bold and brilliant new voice, Joanne Gallant, A Womb in the Shape of a Heart is the immersive story of her journey through miscarriage and motherhood, holding space for the complicated paradoxes of grief and gratitude, of life and death, and the impenetrable depths of a mother’s love.
Nancy Regan - From Showing Off to Showing Up: An Imposter's Journey From Perfect to Present
Do you ever question yourself despite your accomplishments? Feel like an imposter? Well, you're in good company.
In this contemplative episode, TV & Journalism powerhouse, Nancy Regan, sits down with Lindsay to chat about her forthcoming release From Showing Off to Showing Up: An Imposter's Journey From Perfect to Present, sharing her wisdom on everything from imposter syndrome and perfectionism to embodied emotions and the practice of presence.
From the former host of Live at 5 and featuring soulful lessons from her conversations with the likes of Oprah and Elizabeth Gilbert, 'From Showing Off to Showing Up' is an intimate memoir and guide to overcoming impostor syndrome, stage fright, perfectionism, and embracing our most authentic selves.
Michelle Wamboldt - Birth Road
Lindsay chats with Michelle Wamboldt, author of Birth Road, about bringing an idea to fruition; recreating the magic of historical Truro, Nova Scotia; and the woman who inspired it all.
Birth Road is an evocative work of historical fiction that travels from rural Nova Scotia to Boston and back again. Told in startling vignettes and with bold, impeccable prose, it's a story of love, lost innocence, and the secrets that so often haunt small places.
Season 8, Episode 10
Long before the phrase "gig economy" was invented, Clary Croft was living it. For more than half a century (and counting) he's made his living in music, theatre, clothing design, writing, and by sharing the archival treasures of Helen Creighton's collection of traditional songs.
He told Costas Halavrezos how a charmed childhood in Sherbrooke, Nova Scotia paved the way for his multi-faceted career.
Birds of a feather flock together, but what happens when an exotic parrot decides to hang out with capelin-gobbling puffins?
Lori Doody's fanciful tale for preschoolers lets Pete the Parrot illustrate the choice between trying to fit in and accepting your true self. She tells Costas Halavrezos how her childhood and her children influenced this charming book.
Season 8, Episode 8 Marjorie Simmins
When Marjorie Simmins set out to write about the legendary horse Somebeachsomewhere, she didn't know she'd meet so many people who'd been smitten by his calm nature, charisma, and ferocious ability to win the most prestigious races in Canada and the U.S.
She told Costas Halavrezos about the deep personal bonds they built with the beautiful bay stallion, and how "Beach" put Truro, Nova Scotia on the international harness racing map.
Season 8, Episode 7
As Wendy Hebb is about to turn 60, she decides to open a sex shop in Lunenburg. Her husband Paul, who's retiring from fishing, is shocked. What will people think and say?
We find out exactly, as Jane Doucet lets us eavesdrop on conversations and explore the relationships of the town's citizens. She tells Costas Halavrezos how she uses humour to explore personal issues that couples often don't have the courage to discuss.
Publishing Date: July 2021 - Pre-order now from your local bookseller, Indigo or Amazon.
Season 8, Episode 6
Anyone who reads "The Last Time I Saw Her" will never again make a generalization about "teenagers". Alexandra Harrington's distinctive characters both support and clash with one another after a car accident in their small community. But was it an accident?
Alexandra tells Costas Halavrezos who inspired the sleuthing in her bold coming-of-age novel.
Season 8, Episode 5.
Readers don't just like to read books; they like to read about books: the latest from favourite authors, profiles of up-and-comers, essays, reviews, and new titles that touch on everything from local history and outdoor life to cooking.
Atlantic Books Today (sponsored by the Atlantic Publishers' Marketing Association) satisfies all those interests.
Costas Halavrezos spoke with managing editor Chris Benjamin about the ways the new issue highlights a growing diversity of voices in the four Atlantic Provinces, and how our writers make the two-way connections between our region and the world.
Season 8, Episode 4
Marilla Cuthbert isn't the most likable character in the "Anne of Green Gables" books. Readers may have wondered what made her such a cold and disapproving person.
In her novel, "Marilla Before Anne", Louise Michalos answers that question by introducing us to a teenaged Marilla - a high-spirited, passionate young woman in early 19th century Prince Edward Island - and tells Costas Halavrezos how she perseveres through a gauntlet of misfortunes with her dignity intact.
You'll also learn how Louise tackled writing as a second career after retirement.
Season 8, Episode 3.
The forest is where things burrow and slither and nest, where lichens with little red hats stand on mossy logs, and perfume-sweet wildflowers grow beside neighbours that stink.
At a time when it's never been so important to get outside, writer/illustrator Sarah Grindler's "Forest Magic: A Guidebook for LIttle Woodland Explorers" will introduce children, parents, and grandparents to the lively world that's close as your nearest park or backyard.
She tells Costas Halavrezos how childhood experiences prepared her to create this book.
S8 E2 Becca Babcock
Season 8, Episode 2
Emma Weaver has personal motives for choosing her M.A. thesis topic. She divides her time between poring over mute archival records and trying to find members of the notorious Gaugin family who'll talk to her. They were rounded up by authorities at their remote settlement in the 1990s, and Emma needs to interview people who were there to discover what happened after they were dispersed to the justice system and foster homes.
Becca Babcock's début novel, "One Who Has Been Here Before" traces Emma's life-changing encounters with people who'd lost everything but who ultimately help her deal with her own conflicts, underlining the importance - and difficulties - of developing a genuine empathy for others.
The release date is April 20. Contact your local independent bookstore to preorder your copy today.
S8 E1 Charis Cotter
Season 8, Episode 1.
A phantom crew rows eternally through the Atlantic fog.
A light moves from room to room in an abandoned house.
A dark presence pins you to your bed at night.
Charis Cotter's "Screech: Ghost Stories from Old Newfoundland" will not only give you goosebumps, but also insights into daily (and nightly) life in rural homes where the dead play surprising roles.
She told Costas Halavrezos how schoolchildren helped her track down Newfoundland's most enduring spooky tales.
S7 E9 Lesley Choyce
Season 7, Episode 9
Socrates was famously quoted as saying, "The unexamined life is not worth living".
Lesley Choyce believes that regular examination of his life is worth writing about, especially as aging challenges his ideals, illusions, and sense of priorities. He spoke with Costas Halavrezos about the insights, joys, and absurdities he's noted on approaching 70.
S7 E8 Rev. Dr. Joyce Ross
"It's Our Time" is a book that grew out of a public slur against African Nova Scotians who live in a cluster of communities known as The Preston Township.
That insult made Rev. Dr. Joyce Ross resolve to publicise the deeper story of resilient Black men and women who fled slavery and wars in the U.S. and Jamaica, and then overcame more obstacles in their new country.
While Wanda Taylor researched and wrote the book, she suggested that host Costas Halavrezos interview the inspiration for the book - Rev. Dr. Ross.
Note: A few weeks after this interview was recorded, the Premier of Nova Scotia made an announcement regarding an issue raised by Dr. Ross. Premier Iain Rankin announced the allocation of an additional $3 million to help speed up the awarding of land titles in Preston Township and other historically African Nova Scotian communities through the Land Titles Initiative, which began in 2017. The process is designed to help residents finally acquire clear title to their land at no charge.
Premier Rankin said this funding is intended to help address a “legacy of systemic racism”
S7 E7 Heather Stemp
They say you should never meet your heroes because they'll disappoint you (or leave you tongue-tied).
Heather Stemp learned that her Aunt Ginny actually met the world-famous aviator Amelia Earhart when she landed in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland in the 1930s. From that single fact, Heather has created a series of books blending history and fiction. She told Costas Halavrezos about the journey of a girl inspired by meeting her idol to persevere in a world that's hostile to women taking on non-traditional jobs.
S7 E6 Lynn Davies
Season 7, Episode 6
"Headfirst is the most delicious way to go down a tree".
That's typical of the intriguing clues in "So Imagine Me: Nature Riddles in Poetry" by Lynn Davies. The answers (and some misleading clues) are embedded in Chrissie Park-MacNeil's colourful illustrations for each poem. Lynn tells host Costas Halavrezos how everything from her love of nature to growing up in her parents' bookstore informed her latest offering for children - one which will open eyes and imaginations to natural wonders.
S7 E5 Taylor Widrig
Nearly every coastal nation has folkloric beings who are part human, part sea creature. In "The Mermaid Handbook", Taylor Widrig brings us profiles of mermaids and other mer-people from around the world (including Minnow, the Mi'kmaq mermaid).
But she also tells host Costas Halavrezos how young people can adopt the "mermaid way of life" - everything from how to treat the environment with respect, to using dulse, kelp, and sea lettuce in our cooking.
S7 E4 Jan Coates
Season 7, Episode 4
In our hyper-connected world, what could be more exotic than a hermit - a person deliberately disengaged from people and technology?
When Danny and his friend Ben discover one living in the forest near town, it sets in motion the discovery of a different way of life, family secrets, and information that leads to a dramatic turnaround in the community.
Costas Halavrezos interviews Jan Coates about why she chose the intriguing figure of a hermit to play a central role in her latest book for middle-grade readers.
S7 E3 Stephen Kimber
Season 7, Episode 3
Eli Cooper has worked himself into a deep, middle-aged rut.
A night editor at a newspaper, he has no life partner, and lives in the family home with his father, whose dementia is worsening. Then in one day, he loses both his job and his father.
When Eli's successful sister books him on a trip to Cuba to escape these twin jolts, he becomes entranced by Mariela, a young tour guide. Given the very different cultures and the age gap, what blossoms may or may not be love. But as Stephen Kimber tells host Costas Halavrezos, it takes both characters through a series of revelations that redefine them and lead the reader to appreciate the bittersweet complexities of the human heart.
S7 E2 Jeffrey Domm
Season 7, Episode 2
Do we really need wise-cracking giraffes in skirts to grab the attention of a child?
Jeffrey Domm's story of ravens and wolves inventing "Wild Pond Hockey" in their natural habitat, along with his vivid photo-realism illustrations, combine to create a book that will become a favourite - and have kids taking a new look at creatures in the great outdoors.
S7 E1 Kate Inglis
Season 7, Episode 1
You can't please everyone. That's what three frog musicians discover when they pedal into the woods to play an impromptu concert for their furred and feathered friends. The grouse, though, can't stand the racket or the animals who like it! Then, a terrible storm provides an opportunity for a change of heart.
Kate Inglis's "A Great Big Night" is a delightful parable about performers and their audiences finding each other. Josée Bisaillon's joyful and witty illustrations complete a book that will be loved by readers and young listeners alike.
S6 E9 Ernest J. Dick
Season 6, Episode 9.
Would you like an insider's view of how radio, TV, and the movies evolved in the 20th century? Then follow the career of Austin Willis.
Starting with theatre and early radio in Halifax, he moved to Toronto as a staff announcer with CBC Radio (just in time to announce the start of World War II). Soon, Austin was hosting Victory Bond shows with visiting Hollywood stars. With live TV on the horizon, he moved to London and polished his acting skills in long-running West End shows. In the 1950s, Austin appeared in dozens of groundbreaking CBC Television dramas, series, and variety shows. When he moved to Hollywood to concentrate on a film career, he worked alongside everyone from Orson Welles and Bob Hope to Clint Eastwood. Back in Canada in the 70s, he became the urbane host of CTV's popular quiz show, "This Is The Law".
After retiring to Dartmouth, Austin graciously agreed to share stories from those decades. Archivist Ern Dick has transcribed the interviews - a rich and often hilarious trove of anecdotes from behind the scenes that convey the achievements (and misadventures) of an extraordinary Canadian performer.
S6 E8 Carol Bruneau
Season 6, Episode 8 Carol Bruneau
Maud Lewis enjoys nearly mythological status in Canada. With no formal training, she created some of the most recognizable images in 20th-century Canadian art. But her gnomic appearance and few recorded words leave us with more questions than answers.
Carol Bruneau has dared to write in Maud's voice and describe a life of obstacles: the shame of having a child out of wedlock, crippling rheumatoid arthritis, a mean-spirited husband - any one of which could have made her achievements impossible. But in Bruneau's "Brighten the Corner Where You Are", we meet a canny survivor sustained by her drive to create a world of joyful images despite her impoverished rural existence.
Hear Carol Bruneau's conversation with Costas Halavrezos about how she gained the confidence to give voice to the mysteries surrounding Maud Lewis.
S6 E7 Mark Blagrave
Season 6, Episode 7
By the end of "The Dirty Thirties", Saint John, New Brunswick was reeling from The Great Depression, and the world was inching closer to another war. But a fascinating group of painters, writers, and artisans who'd traveled and studied abroad found inspiration in this unlikely time and place to create great art.
Mark Blagrave sets his latest novel, "Lay Figures", in those anxious days, when the sparks of creation, argument, and romantic intrigue lit the artists' studios.
Mark spoke with Costas Halavrezos about the characters and his lifelong love affair with Saint John.
S6 E6 Brenda Jones
Season 6, Episode 6
After decades in Montreal, Brenda Jones returned to PEI to retire. She learned how important the landscape of her youth was to her well-being.
In "Medicinal Herbs of Eastern Canada: A Pictorial Manual", the award-winning illustrator of children's books turns her attention and artistic skills to wild plants - the nearly-lost knowledge about their healing properties, and the caution that some deserve.
She tells Costas Halavrezos about the science and traditional lore surrounding some of our region's most familiar plants.
S6 E5 Donald J. Savoie
Season 6, Episode 5
If you aspire to be something - say, an entrepreneur - it's good to study people who excel at it. Donald Savoie's latest book, "Thanks For The Business", introduces us to the region's most conspicuously successful entrepreneurs - K.C. Irving and his son Arthur, the driving forces behind the growth of Irving Oil.
As Atlantic Canada's most authoritative observer of economic development, Dr. Savoie talks with Costas Halavrezos about how the Irvings' relentless attention to detail, new opportunities, and customer service, as well as their refusal to recoil from the challenges of larger competitors and federal policies which favour Central Canada, can be a template for how to succeed in a region which so many label as "disadvantaged".
They also discuss the existential challenge faced by a petrochemical company in the era of dramatic evidence of climate change.
S6 E4 Elizabeth F. Hill
Season 6, Episode 4
No matter how much you think you know about Canada, you'll find brand new gems of knowledge in Elizabeth F. Hill's, "All 'Bout Canada: A Compendium of Canadiana" (with art by Alex MacAskill).
It's a book for all seasons that will sharpen your appreciation of Canadian characters, places, incidents, achievements, wildlife, inventions, and historical facts - not to mention quizzes, a crossword, and a verse to launch each chapter.
Elizabeth will also coach host Costas Halavrezos on ten different ways of using "eh".
S6 E3 Joanne Schwartz
Season 6, Episode 3
Real life can deliver more danger, action, courage, heroes, and villains than a thousand online games.
Award-winning author Joanne Schwartz's "Fight On!" covers a brief era in Cape Breton's history which provides all those elements for young readers. It was a 25-year period when matters of life and death mobilized men, women, and children to battle for the right to work in safe conditions and earn enough to stave off poverty.
She spoke with Costas Halavrezos about the events and the people who engaged in life and death struggles against corporate interests, government, and even the courts to reform the coal and steel industries.
S6 E2 Andrea Gunraj
Season 6, Episode 2
The dynamics between two siblings who are close in age can be wonderful.
But such natural developments as the arrival of puberty and the first steps towards independence from the family can break the bond between the elder and a younger child. A sense of betrayal of that bond can lead to issues which last for decades.
In her interview with Costas Halavrezos, novelist Andrea Gunraj, author of "The Lost Sister", explains how she put together two women of different ages (13 and 60) and backgrounds to gain insight into how betrayals had changed their lives.
S6 E1 Joan Dawson
Season 6, Episode 1
What's the best way to tell people the history of a place? Through the lives of prominent citizens? Battles for control? Its economic ups and downs?
Joan Dawson's approach grants us an instantly relatable point of entry. "Nova Scotia's Historic Harbours: The Seaports that Shaped the Province" leads us around a coastline brimming with stories, from the earliest Mi'kmaq activities to the often violent struggles between Europeans for those most desirable locations to build communities.
S5 E9 Deborah Hemming
Season 5, Episode 9.
Winnie has enjoyed an idyllic childhood in the Annapolis Valley, cycling around country roads and tubing down the Gaspereau River with her three best friends, who happen to be boys. But in a pivotal summer, Caleb, a newcomer from Vancouver, inserts himself into the group and undermines every vestige of their innocence.
As Winnie comes to understand his amoral manipulations, a battle for hearts and minds escalates into events that shatter lives and livelihoods in Nova Scotia's wine country.
S5 E8 Laura Best
Season 5, Episode 8
After 15 years in a psychiatric hospital, Elizabeth has been pronounced "well" and released to a group home.
With no memory of what led to her institutionalisation, she sets out to find the significance of names and words in her notebook.
Through first-person accounts by Elizabeth and her family, Laura Best has crafted a gripping novel describing the disintegration and eventual healing of a mind and relationships - before and after events in the early 1960s.
Costas Halavrezos interviews Laura about the challenge of creating Elizabeth's changing mental landscapes.
S5 E7 Andre Fenton
Season 5, Episode 7
An idyllic childhood with her mum and grandparents in Yarmouth.
A sudden, one-way relocation to Halifax with her mother. For Annaka, the 10-year gap fills her with longing and questions. But an equally sudden return for her grandfather's funeral provides a chance to seek answers - with the help of two friends: her old pal Tia and an imaginary person named Clay.
In "Annaka", Andre Fenton has written what might be the first African-Nova Scotian fantasy book, filled with empathy, wisdom, and adventure.