Donna Morrissey compares writing as a job to going to the gym.
“It is tedious, monotonous hard work, but there’s nothing like the satisfaction,” Morrissey said as she met with a group of book club members at the community room of the New Glasgow library last week to talk about what her own writing career and the job of writer-in-residence.
Morrissey applied to be the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library writer-in-residence because she wanted something to supplement her writing income that was related to the field and within hours of receiving her application, Steve MacLean was on the phone with her to try to get a deal in place.
“I feel like I walked into paradise,” she says.
Serving as writer-in-residence has kept her in her passion and allowed her to share what she’s learned over the years, she said.
Writing itself came later in life for Morrissey, who describes herself as a high school drop out. (Although she went back to school and graduated from Memorial University with a social work degree.)
“I was no Margaret Atwood,” she says.
She began penning her thoughts and playing with metaphors when she was around 40 and perhaps to the chagrin of career wordsmiths, she found almost immediate success at it.
“When I started writing it happened very quickly for me,” she said.
She won awards for three of her novels: Kit’s Law, Downhill Chance and Sylvanus Now.
Her latest book The Deception of Livvy Higgs, is based on an old neighbour friend from Newfoundland who lived in solitude with a house of cats.
After moving to Nova Scotia, Morrissey sent the woman a copy of a picture she took of her. The woman called and told her that she couldn’t understand for the life of her why she had sent a picture of an old woman, until with tears she realized it was herself.
Morrissey captures that same self-realization with the character of Livvy who is based on that same neighbour.
Morrissey will continue to offer workshops with local writers until February.