Q & A with Sally Barnes

Tell me a little about Laughed Till They Cried.
Laughed Till They Cried traces the generation of women who grew up in post World War 11 prosperity and small town Ontario security, reaped the benefits of the feminist revolution and government pensions and health care benefits and grew old regretting that governments had run out of money and future generations would pay a high price for their grandparents’ easy ride. The novel focuses on 12 women who originally band together for a good cause and then stick together for a rollercoaster of life experiences that leaves them laughing until old age steps in and ruins everything. Readers say they were captured by the quirky characters and laughed and cried in equal measure at what happens to them.

The book takes place in a town called Fippen. Why did you choose this as the setting?
Fippen, a fictional small town near Kingston in Eastern Ontario, which provides a host of interesting characters and historical references to the country’s first Prime Minister and others. The location was chosen because of the author’s familiarity with the area, as well as its proximity to other places and events that enhanced the narrative.

Where do you like to write?
My home office

What is your birthstone?
Diamond

What is your  sign?
Aries

What do you think was the most significant world event the year you were born?
The ongoing Second World War…Anne Frank and her family were discovered in their hiding place and imprisoned about the time of my birth.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Food/wine

What is your favourite journey?
My most memorable trip was to South Africa. It is the one place to which I would love to return. I loved the extreme isolation of our safari lodge, the silence and immensity of the world around me – something I have not experienced before or since.

What talent would you most like to have?
Pianist

If you could come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
A young person living in London during The Blitz or in the U.S. at the time of the Civil Rights Movement—when the times demanded the best of people, when the courageous rose to the occasion and leaders like Churchill and King were there to lead the charge against savagery and hatred.

If you were to host a private dinner party for writers from the past, who would you invite to your table?
Shakespeare, Orwell, Huxley, Leacock, Hemingway and Munro.

If you were to host a private dinner party for your mentors in life other than writers, who would you invite to your table?
Residents of a small community who found time to help a kid reach her dream of becoming a newspaper reporter— family, teachers, local newspaper editor, lifetime friends.

What is your motto?
Hang in there!

Why did the chicken cross the road?
It was willing to take a chance that there was something better on the other side.

Coffee or tea?
Coffee in the morning—tea in the afternoon.

Favourite cuisine?
Italian

Favourite comfort food?
Warm bread/butter

Least favourite colour?
Black

If you could patent one device what would it be?
Something to make technology simple—a simple computer, a simple remote control, etc.

List five cities or towns in Canada that are on your list to visit one day:
The far north ( I’ve seen most of the rest of the country!)