The Miramichi Reader

Bill Arnott’s Showcase Interviews: Patricia Sandberg

Let’s meet award-winning author Patricia Sandberg, a tireless member of the Canadian Authors Association, which is where we met, at a boisterous Vancouver get-together.

Q. Please tell us about yourself.

A. I grew up on the banks of Lake Athabasca, at a mine producing uranium for the Cold War. Residents said, “it was the best place they ever lived.” After leaving my legal career, I gave the long-closed town new life in my nonfiction book Sun Dogs and Yellowcake: Gunnar Mines, A Canadian Story which happily won some awards. I write short stories and nonfiction pieces as well.

Q. (Hometowns certainly have stories, but few share them so eloquently as Sun Dogs and Yellowcake.) What do you feel you’re best known for?

A. I have no idea – I should ask somebody! Instead I’ll share something I’m happy about: the above photo of our front yard which we converted to garden last fall.

Q. (It looks beautiful!) And what brought you here?

A. A series of accidents, good ones and bad, and a few sound choices along the way. The folks and my loving family who’ve given me lots of support. I’ve been open to challenges and opportunities and love to work.

Q. (The hard work shows.) With that in mind, who’s a role model to you?

A. The people I look up to most stand up against wrongdoing like Cindy Blacklock or are kind and wise leaders like Bonnie Henry.

Q. (Well said.) On a simpler note, what’s your favourite book, album, movie, and food dish?

A. I’m going to give you examples, so I don’t have to commit:

Recent book: Skin House because it’s a funny, sad and uplifting story about people in trouble.

Album: The Best of Fleetwood Mac because that way you get all the greats. And danceable Latin music.

Movie: Pulp Fiction and They Shall Not Grow Old.

Food dish: Toss-up between Hawkins cheezies and peanut butter which is hard when you are vegetarian and want to be healthy.

Q. (Ah Hawkins, a Canadian classic!) PB and cheezies aside, please tell us what you’re currently working on.

A. Continuing with my passion for history, a novel set in Canada during World War I. It’s about women, and since women’s stories have been mere footnotes in history, I’m excited to be telling this one.

Q. (Which sounds like a great project.) And what’s your advice to others?

A. If you want to write, just start. It helps if you are passionate about your topic and are a nerdy person who likes to sit behind a desk. Enjoy the process, and so you’re not disappointed going forward, assume you won’t make any money.

Q. (Like the story I wrote about a childhood friend, who then asked, “Are we gonna get rich off this?” to which I laughed. And laughed.) Now for our Quirky Question. Make a choice: Daniel Radcliffe or Daniel Craig?

A. Since I don’t know who Daniel Radcliffe is, I’m forced to choose the other Daniel. 😊

Excellent! So I’ll just skip my Harry Potter questions. (Sound of paper being slowly crumpled and tossed to a waste basket. And missing.)

Patricia, thank you again for a great interview. Find Patricia’s Sun Dogs and Yellowcake here, and follow this award-winning author on Twitter @PSand100, or her website, PatriciaSandberg.com.

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