*Record Scratch*

*Freeze Frame* It's shortlisted for what?

Yup, that's me. (Okay, that’s three time Olympian Rosey Edeh and my book.) You're probably wondering how I ended up in this situation—and to be honest, I don't know myself.

I have been sitting on this for a while now, and now I can finally say it—

The Midnight Bargain is a finalist in the 2021 Canada Reads Competition. Hold on, I have to read that again. I what? It's what? Did you say Canada Reads, what

W h a t

No, it's real. It's really happening. 

Okay to explain: back in 2002 when I was working as a cashier in a gas station across the street from one of Calgary's favorite pubs, the radio that broadcast inside and outside the station was CBC Radio One, which at the time was mostly talk programs. I think it was supposed to create a psychologically hostile environment for teenagers or something. Anyway. It was the season of sunshine and poplar pollen, and I had become deeply invested in a debate between

  • The lead singer of the Barenaked Ladies

  • Canada's first and only woman Prime Minister

  • A remarkable Canadian SF novelist who would go on to become an SFWA Grand Master

  • A novelist who would go on to receive the Order of Canada, and 

  • The woman who brought Anne of Green Gables to life on Canadian television.

What was this extraordinary collection of people debating? Why, about what book all of Canada should come together and read that year. I know. That's the most Canadian thing you have ever heard. Shush. I was invested. It was only a few days, but I was on shift for all of them. I was team Handmaid's Tale, but the victor was In the Skin of a Lion, and I managed to find a copy and satisfy my curiosity. It was a big deal.

I've been fond of Canada Reads ever since.

And I still cannot believe I'm going to be part of it.

If you're in Canada, a special trade paperback edition of The Midnight Bargain (complete with an absolutely fetching medal proclaiming it a Canada Reads 2021 finalist) will be available in bookstores across the nation.