News and Interviews

Novelist Brenda Brooks on Smoking Like Woolf, Setting Fire to Her Publisher's House, & the Inevitability of Mom Wisdom

Brenda Brooks

In Brenda Brooks' new novel Honey (ECW Press), it's been six long years since the titular Honey disappeared from Nicole's life. When her vanished best friend returns unexpectedly, Nicole is forced to confront how little her own life has changed in that time, even as she finds herself drawn into the strange new world Honey has brought home with her to their tiny northern town. 

A story of longing, obsession, and loyalty, Honey is a darkly exciting new tale from Brooks, whose first novel, Gotta Find Me an Angel, was nominated for the First Novel Award. 

We're excited to welcome Brenda to Open Book today as she takes on our Dirty Dozen challenge, where we ask authors to share 12 unexpected facts about themselves.

Get to know a vibrant and deeply creative voice in CanLit as she tells us about the (enviable!) nickname her mother gave her as a kid, how a modernist icon's smoking habits rubbed off on her secondhand, and why her first publisher was a most forgiving individual. And be sure to add the secrets and twists of Honey to your reading list this fall.

The Dirty Dozen with Brenda Brooks

1. When I was a child I felt sorry for my parents at Christmas because Santa’s gifts to them seemed boring in comparison to the other gifts under the tree. My mother said that one day I’d realize how giving is more gratifying than receiving. Embarrassed for her, I turned back to my Kit Carson six shooters and genuine leather holster.

2. I’m getting accustomed to wine that’s beyond my means.

3. As a toddler my mother called me "Spike" until my father insisted they start using my given name. Dammit. Spike Brooks would have looked great on my book! And the movie poster! And the celebrity cologne!

4. I’m a really good shot.

5. I failed grade nine three times in two provinces: Ontario and Quebec. But in Quebec I learned how to drive a Ski-Doo.

6. I smoked a pipe for about six months when I was in high school. This was because my creative writing teacher smoked one, and she smoked a pipe because Virginia Woolf smoked one. And so it was written.

7. I work for an upholstery shop that took its name from a David Lynch film.

8. I somehow burned down a publisher’s house during a house-sit. The same press published my first poetry book.

9. I once took revenge on someone as follows: when they cruelly dumped me I feigned understanding and composure. The force of will required was fuelled by my belief that by being as charming and breezy as possible I could draw them back in and then refuse their advances. It sort of worked.

10. I once killed a tarantula with a gardening trowel. A rubber tarantula, turns out. But who knew?

11. If I hadn’t been a writer, I could have had a chip truck.

12. My mother was right about everything, even Christmas.


Brenda Brooks has published two poetry collections and a novel, Gotta Find Me an Angel, a finalist for the First Novel Award. She lives on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia.

Buy the Book


How far would you go for love?

When 24-year-old Nicole Hewett’s beloved childhood friend, Honey, returns to their small northern town after an unexplained six-year absence, Nicole realizes how her life had stalled without her. But the prodigal returns with troubling secrets, and before long Nicole is drawn into a high-stakes game. Honey is a thrilling, sensuous modern noir novel with a classic refrain: nothing is more dangerous than love.