News and Interviews

June 2021 Writer-in-Residence & Star Debut Novelist Samantha Garner on Skydiving, Kirtles, & Her Spy Passport

In a world where the gift of prophecy can turn you into a second class citizen, Freya loses everything when she has a dream foretelling her mother's death. Not only does she lose her mother when the premonition comes true, she is also forced into hiding to avoid persecution for her abilities. It's a set up equal parts chilling and compelling as readers begin The Quiet is Loud (Invisible Publishing) by Samantha Garner. 

A powerful debut novel, The Quiet is Loud is Garner's triumphant entry to the literary world. Her ability to mix genre elements, thoughtful exploration of mixed-raced identity, tight plotting, and elegant, rich prose marks her as a special talent, and we're incredibly excited to announce that she will be joining Open Book for the month of June 2021 as our writer-in-residence. Garner will post original pieces on our WIR page throughout the month, so stay tuned.

And you can get to know her here today before the month even begins: Garner has gamely taken on our Dirty Dozen challenge, where we ask writers to share twelve unexpected facts about themselves. She tells us about the very first book she ever wrote (at age six!), why she would love to rock a farthingale, and why a dramatic skydiving experience didn't work out to be as therapeutic as she'd planned. 

The Dirty Dozen with Samantha Garner

  1. The first "book" I ever wrote was an eight-page tome at the age of six. It was about a girl who secretly kept a litter of kittens under her bed and was called Just The Five Of Us.
  2. I grew up going on long weekend road trips with my family, and even today I crave long drives to look around at the world and see what’s going on.
  3. My favourite food seems to change monthly and whenever someone asks me what it is, my answer takes ten minutes and usually starts with, "First of all, I’m Filipino…"
  4. As a kid I started a lending library with my friends in my class, checkout cards and all.
  5. I love medieval and Victorian history, especially stories about the lives of everyday people.
  6. Related to the above, my biggest life goal is to one day wear a historically-accurate 16th-century outfit, even for just a few minutes. I want it all: kirtle, farthingale, French hood, weird undergarments, everything.
  7. I’m quite a clumsy person but somehow am able to successfully balance stacks of things while carrying them. Still, my loved ones make big scared eyes when I clear a table with four stacked plates supporting four stacked glasses and say, "It’s fine!"
  8. I can’t swim and have somehow convinced myself I’ll meet my end when someone playfully pushes me into a pool like they do in movies but probably never do in real life.
  9. I have dual Canadian and Finnish citizenship and two passports, which makes me feel a bit like a spy sometimes.
  10. In an attempt to cure my fear of heights, I once went skydiving. I fractured my hip upon landing. Not only did it not cure my fear of heights, but it gave me a fear of flying for a little while.
  11. The year after that, I moved from Toronto to Calgary on a Greyhound bus, which took 52 hours in total. I was prone to grand gestures at that point in my life.
  12. One of my middle names is legally and accidentally just “S.”


Samantha Garner's short fiction and poetry have appeared in Broken Pencil, Sundog Lit, Kiss Machine, The Fiddlehead, Storychord, WhiskeyPaper and The Quarantine Review. She lives and writes in Mississauga.

Buy the Book

The Quiet is Loud

The perfect marriage of literary and speculative fiction for readers of Kazuo Ishiguro and NK Jemisin.

When Freya Tanangco was ten, she dreamed of her mother’s death days before it happened. Freya’s life since has been spent in hiding: from the troubled literary legacy created by her author father, and from the scrutiny of a society that is hostile to vekers—people who, like her, have enhanced mental abilities.

When her prophetic dreams take a dangerous turn, Freya finds herself increasingly forced to sacrifice her own anonymity—and the fragile safety that comes with it—in order to protect those around her.

Interwoven with themes of Filipino Canadian and mixed-race identity, fantastical elements from Norse and Filipino mythology, and tarot card symbolism, The Quiet Is Loud is an intergenerational tale about the consequences of secrets and what happens when we refuse to let others tell our stories for us.