Thursday, October 11, 2018

Shades of White

Author's comments on work.

Q: What is this book about?

A: “Shades of White” is a collection of three short stories braided together to create a series of snapshots from history alongside contemporary issues.  It is a commentary on the messages that make us up as individuals; from the influences of fairy tales to feminist theory. Tracing three generations of Canadian housewives through the pioneer days, the war years, the sexual revolution, to the 21st century; It is a love story of loss and longing. 

Q: What would you say the message of this book is?

A: The message is that first love is a beautiful magical thing that doesn’t last. But it sometimes shines a light on lasting love. Lasting love is not so magical. It is often dull and hard; but with years of polishing, it becomes just as beautiful. 

Q: What were you thinking as you wrote this book?

A: I was thinking about how things resurface in tides over and over, in our lives and in others. It is a message to young women that the drama we experience in our lives is not unique, but has been experienced before and will be again. This book looks at that through the issues surrounding love and marriage in my life, my mother’s life and my grandmother’s life; leaving it with my daughters to make informed decisions in this regard - not being ruled by the passion of the heart.  

Q: Who is your intended audience and how do you address them? 

A: My daughters are my intended audience.  I have woven in the cultural and historical elements of these women's lives to punctuate the turning of time in reference to the three waves of feminism to give my children a sense of their own heritage within a historical context. 

Q: What genre does this book belong to?

A: I'm not sure there is one. This work is more of a literary art piece than a novel. The style is a portrait of our time. People multi-task now. Therefore, this story does not flow in the traditional way. It is choppy. It is written in sections. This is intentional, I think it reflects who we are. We hear a lot, “No one reads these days. They have a short attention span. They want everything easy and short.” Like snippets. People don’t take in information in order. They jump around.  Shades of White moves from the traditional to the contemporary, in style. Rose’s story is chronologically in order and fleshed out appropriately, but Diana’s story gets shorter and more like snapshots, creating an image like a collage.

Q: Would you say this is a Canadian story?

A: I would, it traces our ancestors from across the sea, to the family farm on the prairie, to life on the west coast. It illustrates the lives of women from the age of clearly defined roles, the sexual revolution, to blurring the gender roles. It reflects the three waves of feminism from women getting the vote, to equal pay in the workforce to equality between the sexes in this country. The protagonist being, not an activist, but rather a product of her environment. 

Nicole Smith

Visual artist and art teacher
Content may not be used without permission from the artist at

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