How did you come to write Bird on a Wire?
I was driving to the airport before dawn in late February of 2020 when I heard a story on the radio about a lottery. For some reason, the statement “When Jonathan won the lottery, he through all his problems were over” came into my head. I have no idea why I thought of the name Jonathan. When I got to the airport, I wrote this sentence down as a new document on my laptop, and even took a photo of the moment because I thought it was memorable. On the flight, to Austin, Texas, I wrote a couple more paragraphs, and then put it to one side while I planned out the storyline.
That was the last trip I made out of Canada before Covid hit. Before then, I’d travelled frequently, two or three trips a month, but suddenly the pandemic dried up half of my work. This gave me the time to write a complete novel, which I called, “When Jonathan won the lottery.” I sent it to my agent and she hated it but didn’t really give me a reason, other than telling me to “show, not tell,” which apparently is a common fault of journalists. So I gave it to a few other people to read and they all said they enjoyed it but it should be grittier. So I threw out almost the entire premise, made sure to show, not tell, and made it grittier – much grittier.