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Deborah Willis Books In Order

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Publication Order of DeborahWillis Standalone Novels

Girlfriend on Mars (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Vanishing and Other Stories (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Dark and Other Love Stories (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon

Deborah Willis is a Canadian literary fiction author who was born and brought up in Calgary. She made her debut with the publishing of the short story collection “Vanishing and Other Stories,” which was published in 2009.
In the year of its publication, it was named the Best Book of the Year by NPR and the Globe and Mail and made the Governor General Award’s shortlist.

She published her second collection of short stories “The Dark and Other Love Stories” in 2017 under Hamish Hamilton. For her work, she has won many awards over the years including the Georges Bugnet Award.
Her fiction has also been featured in the likes of “Zoetrope,” “The Walrus,” “Lucky Peach,” The Virginia Quarterly,” and “The Iowa Review.”

To get to where she is, she has been a writer-in-residence at several places including the MacEwan University writer-in-residence program, the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program, and the Joy Kogawa House.
Deborah Willis published her debut long-form fiction work “Girlfriend on Mars” in 2023. After working for Munor Books in Victoria British Columbia for several years, she moved to the Calgary-based Freehand Books in the same capacity.

It was while Deborah Willis was employed as a bookseller in Victoria that she got signed to Penguin. When she published “Vanishing and Other Stories,” it was favorably compared to Alice Munro’s works.
While she has now become quite a successful fiction author, producing her first novel was a labor-intensive process. Willis had to do a lot of research, particularly on subjects related to Mars and space travel.
Some of the works she had to read included “The Sirens of Mars” by Sarah Stewart Johnson, which has to be one of the most detailed accounts to find life on Mars ever written.

She had been so eager to release the work but once she got her child everything changed. Deborah had promised herself that she would finish her novel before her kid was bone and was almost done.
She was thinking that she needed just three days and hoping the child would be late when she began feeling weird.

Once she came back from giving birth, the ambition to get published was gone as she found herself in a very different place. She slowed down a lot and it would take several more years before she would publish it.

After publishing her novel, she was lost on what to do next and in fact, was unsure if she should go back to short stories or pen another long-form novel.
But Deborah Willis is lucky in that she is married to Kim Demeanor, the former poet laureate and singer-songwriter from Calgary. She also thought she needed to take some time off to take care of her kid who she had no desire of putting in child care.
Writing actively fell away from her, even though she never stopped taking notes with hopes of one day going back to writing. All being said she is one of the best literary fiction voices to emerge out of Canada in recent times.

“Girlfriend on Mars” by Deborah Willis is a thrilling work of fiction that tells the story of Amber Kiven. She has just been invited to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and will get the chance to move to Mars if she wins the “MarsNow” competition.
She is competing alongside twenty-three reality TV contestants from across the globe including an assortment of wannabe influencers, science nerds, an endearing Canadian, and a handsome Israeli soldier.

To be won are two seats on the inaugural human-led journey to Mars funded by Geoff Task. In the meantime, Kevin who has been her boyfriend for more than a dozen years arose from his slumber when Amber left him.

She leaves behind not only a boyfriend but a promising hydroponic Marijuana business. While he is tending to the plants in his basement apartment in Vancouver, he tunes in to the reality show and discovers why Amber is so determined to leave the planet.
It is an incredibly audacious debut novel that is at once an exploration of humanity’s greatest quest longing and enduring cliche in love and also a satirical indictment of our pursuit for wealth and fame in the middle of an environmental crisis.

Deborah Willis’ novel “The Dark and Other Love Stories” is one of the most compelling and emotional collections of short stories you could ever read.

These are stories that focus on characters reminiscing, losing, and experiencing love. It is love between children and parents, love between friends, and romantic love that grows into something secure and tangible.
A fascinating theme in the stories is the feeling that humans are trapped. There is a feeling that if they could escape and go out into the wild, maybe they could stumble on what they need.
It is important to note that this wild is not universal as each character has their own conception of it.

For Jess and Andrea from the short story “The Dark,” it is all about getting out of their dank camp cabin to to exploring in the darkness outside.
From Last One to Leave, Havril only wishes to run away into the forest while in Girlfriend on Mars, all Amber wants is to leave the planet.

Characters such as Kevin who brings Marijuana inside in an attempt to bring in the wilderness often end up disappointed.

They are very interesting stories that will keep you engrossed and echo in your mind long after closing the last page.

Deborah Willis’ work “Vanishing and Other Stories” is another brilliant collection with some interesting components of human relationships.

In this work, every story is about some sort of absence such as a childhood loss, a missing father, a lover parted, or a dead wife.

This is a moving and beautiful work and each story sucks you into some type of time warp with a lot of substance, length, and depth.

While seemingly simple, they come with a lot of nuance even as they involve ordinary people, teenagers, and small family universes of men and women you meet every day.

The common aspect of all these stories is the trauma of a change, the loss, and the absence. The stories assert that human beings develop some incredible survival strategies in the face of happenings such as separation, or bereavement.
The author combines this with rigorous, dry, and essential prose in addition to exceptional skills in inserting time jumps and unique narrative voices, you get some incredible stories that will have engrossed from the first page to the last.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Deborah Willis

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