Category Archives: News

A Reviewer’s Take on Poplar Lake

Poplar Lake - NON 2018 edition

Poet and scholar Bill Robertson recently reviewed Poplar Lake for the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, a PostMedia newspaper.

Robertson describes Poplar Lake (the novel) as ambitious in scope, and Poplar Lake (the town) as an archetype of prairie settlements. He places the book squarely in its contemporary context. “After years of living in the shadow of an edifice called Canadian Literature, in which its many settler novels featured no First Nations people, as if the land was simply empty and hard-working immigrants were given a stake in it by a beneficent government, writers such as Thompson have woken to a new day. In the light of the Truth and Reconciliation hearings, these writers want to include First Nations people in their narrative, and Thompson does.”

He goes on to say: “Thompson’s got everything here to make a great Canadian novel, and he goes a long way to writing just that.”

Robertson has criticisms of Poplar Lake, particularly on its narrative style (mea culpa – my call entirely, and I own it proudly), but said in summary of it: “I enjoyed reading the book, and it kept me with it.”

About Poplar Lake:

Poplar Lake’s publisher NON describes the book as “a darkly satiric novel about families and relationships and the day-to-day lies that sustain them, a tragicomedy rich with yearning, heartbreak, and love.”  Terry Fallis, two-time winner of Canada’s Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, has said of it, “In Poplar Lake, Ron Thompson has written a captivating story, rich with humour and heart. I didn’t want it to end.”

Poplar Lake is available on-line and in select bookstores, Chapters-Indigo, and McNally Robinson locations. See Poplar Lake’s publisher page here. Bill Robertson’s full review in the Star-Phoenix can be found here.

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New Year Update

pl - screenshot, skorean aladin website

This screenshot is from Aladin, an e-commerce retailer in South Korea. No, it is not announcing a Korean edition of Poplar Lake, just promoting the original North American one, which retails to residents of Seoul for just 27,050 won — but wait! (it says) Act now, and receive an 18% discount!…

Plus ça change, when it comes to marketing. In all seriousness, I was surprised to experience on a personal level the global reach of digital commerce. I know virtual distribution in the ROK won’t move many (if any) books. Publisher NON relies on more traditional distribution methods and markets and an actual physical presence in bookstores. Poplar Lake is in the Chapters/Indigo chain in Canada, for example, although not in every outlet. It’s difficult to get shelf space for the books of small presses and little-known authors. All you need, people tell me helpfully, is an endorsement from Oprah. Alas, that hasn’t yet happened, and until it does you’ll have to ask your bookseller to order Poplar Lake in if it’s not in stock. On the Not-Quite-Oprah front, we are anticipating a fresh newspaper review shortly — I will post a link to it when it emerges. Until then, every mention of Poplar Lake anywhere helps spread the word. You can help by rating, reviewing or commenting on the book on Amazon, Goodreads, other book-oriented sites, Facebook, Twitter, other social media, or your own blog. Most importantly, tell your friends, your relatives, your neighbours, your colleagues, your book-club pals, what you think of it.

I have not posted here for ages because I’m busy writing again. I’m in the throes of revising a story I wrote more than a decade ago. It’s an historical tale set in the Pacific northwest in the late eighteenth century, when European mariners first came into contact with the indigenous inhabitants of what is now British Columbia.  Until 2018 I had not looked at the manuscript for several years (my agent was circulating it, unsuccessfully, while I was working on what became A Person of Letters and Poplar Lake), and when I took it up again I decided to take a completely different approach. I’ve reframed the story, changed the perspective, chosen a different narrative voice, rethought the characters. It’s a complete rewrite. I’ll have more to say on the project in a future post.

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About Poplar Lake:  Publisher NON calls the novel “a darkly satiric novel about families and relationships and the day-to-day lies that sustain them, a tragicomedy rich with yearning, heartbreak, and love.”  Terry Fallis, two-time winner of Canada’s Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, has said of it, “In Poplar Lake, Ron Thompson has written a captivating story, rich with humour and heart. I didn’t want it to end.”  See Poplar Lake’s publisher page here.

The Roll-Out Country-Wide

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It’s been interesting for me to watch the roll-out of Poplar Lake across the country since its release. Take Indigo. In Week 1, copies were available in a few Indigo/Chapters outlets in Toronto and Ottawa. In Week 2 it reached Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg and Montreal. In Week 3, it’s also in Regina and Edmonton. Volumes are tight, and it’s always hard to get display space, but I’m pleased to see coast to coast distribution thanks to the efforts of the Literary Press Group and Canadian Manga, NON’s distributors.  Poplar Lake has already been added to library collections in several cities—spot it above at a branch in Toronto.

Last week the ebook version became available on Amazon, Indigo, and Barnes & Noble.

Publisher NON calls Poplar Lake “a darkly satiric novel about families and relationships and the day-to-day lies that sustain them, a tragicomedy rich with yearning, heartbreak, and love.”  Terry Fallis, two-time winner of Canada’s Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, has said of it, “In Poplar Lake, Ron Thompson has written a captivating story, rich with humour and heart. I didn’t want it to end.”

See Poplar Lake’s publisher page here.

Photos from the Poplar Lake Launch Party

Here are some photos from the fantastic Poplar Lake launch party this past Wednesday at the Pilot in Toronto. Was very pleased to have a full house and bask in the energy of so many wonderful friends. Thanks again to everyone who came for your enthusiasm and support, and especially to John Macmillan, for masterly performing as host and MC, and to Jacquie Maund and Kaitlin Thompson, for superbly welcoming and hosting guests as they arrived and over the course of the evening.

Thanks also to Michelle and the fine team at the Stealth Lounge, and to the blues duo of Robert Davis and Fraser Melvin who played the crowd home. Thank you to everyone who sent me photos – what you see here is the product of many cameras. And thanks to Chris Needham and Now or Never (NON) Publishing, for their generous support for the launch and their continuing hard work.

Poplar Lake is available in book stores (ask for it if it’s not on-shelf) and online from Amazon and Indigo. See it’s publisher page here.  Terry Fallis, two-time winner of Canada’s Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, has said of it, “In Poplar Lake, Ron Thompson has written a captivating story, rich with humour and heart. I didn’t want it to end.”

Now that Poplar Lake is out, it’s fingers crossed for reviews and reader reaction. I’ll post here and on my Facebook Author Page as I receive news and feedback. Do please review it yourself on Goodreads, Amazon, your own blog, or in graffiti on the subway.

Once again – thank you all for your support. I am humbled by it.

 

Poplar Lake Launch Party Postscript

Launch - countdownWednesday night was the Launch Party for Poplar Lake. Here’s me looking nervous before everybody arrived. There was a great turnout (+100) and it was great fun, MC’d by my good friend, that inimitable Joycean, John Macmillan. Thank you to everyone who came out to help me celebrate, and to those who sent well-wishes. I very much appreciate your support and kindness in welcoming Poplar Lake into the world.

I’ve been very busy since the launch so bear with me. I will post photos and an update in the coming days.

Poplar Lake was released officially on October 15. It’s available in bookstores like McNally Robinson in Winnipeg and Saskatoon, Fanfare in Stratford, Coles in Yorkton, Book City (Bloor West) and Another Story in Toronto, and various national Chapters/Indigo outlets. My publisher NON and its distributor are working hard on visibility. If it’s not in your store, please ask when it’s arriving. The book is also available on-line in paper and e-format, on Amazon (.ca and .com), and Indigo.

Launch Party to Feature the Blues!

I’m happy to announce that blues artists Robert Davis and Fraser Melvin will perform at the Poplar Lake launch party on Wednesday, October 17 at the Pilot Tavern in Toronto. Robert and Fraser are fixtures on the city’s blues scene.  They’ve recently collaborated on Robert’s Cuban Blues CD which is slated for release in November.

Robert and Fraser are fantastic musicians and I’m honoured they’ve agreed to grace the evening.  If you would like to attend, you are most welcome. The space is filling so reserve a spot – message me on my Facebook Author Page with your email and I will send you a direct Evite.

Event details as follows: 

The Stealth Lounge, 2nd Floor, The Pilot TavernPoplar Lake - NON 2018 edition
22 Cumberland Street, Toronto ON M4W 1J5

  • Drinks and Mingle to the Blues 7:00 pm
  • Welcoming Comments 8:15 or :30-ish
  • The Robert Davis Fraser Melvin Duo will perform a special set after the formal welcome
  • Cash bar and food service will be available all evening.
  • Copies of Poplar Lake will be available for purchase ($21 with GST; cash or cheque only please).

Poplar Lake is a stand-alone prequel to my 2015 novel, A Person of Letters.  Terry Fallis, two-time winner of Canada’s Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, has said of it, “In Poplar Lake, Ron Thompson has written a captivating story, rich with humour and heart. I didn’t want it to end.”

 

October 17 Launch Party!

Book Launch, Pilot Stealth Lounge 1

The Poplar Lake launch party is set for Wednesday, October 17 at Yorkville’s venerable Pilot Tavern in Toronto.  Venue and event details as follows: 

The Stealth Lounge, 2nd Floor, The Pilot TavernPoplar Lake - NON 2018 edition
22 Cumberland Street, Toronto ON M4W 1J5

  • Drinks and Mingle 7:00 pm
  • Welcoming Comments 8:30 pm
  • Cash bar and food service will be available all evening.
  • Copies of Poplar Lake will be available for purchase ($21 with GST, cash only).

If you would like to attend, you are most welcome. Please message me on my Facebook Author Page with your email and I will send you a direct Evite.

Poplar Lake is a stand-alone prequel to my 2015 novel, A Person of Letters.  Terry Fallis, two-time winner of Canada’s Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, has said of it, “In Poplar Lake, Ron Thompson has written a captivating story, rich with humour and heart. I didn’t want it to end.”