About Me

Jill MacLean

Whenever I meet someone new, instead of chatting about the weather or a mutual acquaintance, I want to ask, “What do you feel passionate about?” because no matter what the answer, it’s bound to be more interesting than 30% chance of showers.

So what are my passions?

In these days of lol, btw and fyi, I feel strongly about the power of words and the importance of finding the right one. I remember watching a herring gull settle itself on top of a lamppost in a playground, how it shuttled its wings: that inner thrill for shuttle.

The power of story. A good story, well told, can touch our emotions, expand (one hopes) our empathy, our breadth and depth as humans on a fragmented planet. It can take us to places where we aren’t comfortable. Further to that, I love being lost in the story I’m trying to tell, characters alive in my head as I imagine setting and scene – when I’m between books, I miss this sense of immersion.

Canoeing. To paddle into the sunrise on Boot Lake, solo in my Mad River Malecite, mist rising, no wind, each island surrounded by a perfect, upside-down world.

Family and friends. They’re of the essence.

Reading. A penalty of working on my own manuscript is that I can’t read fiction. Non-fiction, yes, and poetry. By the time I hand the story to an editor, I’m desperate to immerse myself in someone else’s novel.

Travel. To cool places. I don’t mean trendy, I mean literally cool. I’ve been lucky enough to visit northern Baffin Island, Resolute Bay, Devon Island and Ellesmere. Ice floes on a beach in August – give me that any day over a rainforest’s heat and humidity. Europe – I haven’t seen enough of Europe. Can one ever see enough of Europe?

Gardening. I look after a large perennial garden near my apartment building that I call the Dumpster Garden, where I get to converse with the residents because everyone has to take out the garbage. I start in spring with a plan. Weeds spring up. Orange flowers bloom next to magenta. Plants self-seed in unexpected places (you can’t possibly forget forget-me-nots, they won’t let you). And I go along for the ride. Could this be a metaphor for writing?