musings from Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington ... home of The Write Spot

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

The Write Spot: Annelies Pool

Welcome to the fourteenth edition of The Write Spot, a bi-weekly author series spotlighting the many and varied places where writers write. 

My guest this week is Annelies Pool, a writer and editor in love with the stories, people and landscape of the Canadian North.

Born in The Netherlands, Annelies immigrated to Canada with her family at a young age and grew up in southern Ontario. She says she stumbled into a writing career when she arrived in Hay River, Northwest Territories, at the tail end of a cross-Canada hitchhiking journey.

With all her worldly possessions in a knapsack on her back, twenty-something Annelies was broke and in need of a job. This materialized as soon as the publisher of a community weekly newspaper, the Hay River Tapwe, found out she could type — all the qualifications necessary to be a reporter.

Annelies fell in love with writing about the North and never made it back to the road. She became well known as a northern journalist and freelance writer, serving as editor for a number of publications, including the Northern News Services newspaper chain in Yellowknife, and the inflight magazine, above&beyond, Canada’s Arctic Journal. She has published stories, columns and editorials in more than 30 periodicals and anthologies, and is a member of The Writer's Union of Canada.

A warm welcome, Annelies. Please tell us about your Write Spot.

I have an official study with a computer and all the other necessary accoutrements but I think of my writing space as free-floating. I like to work on my laptop all over the house but mostly in the living room with my feet up, looking out the window.

In the summer when the mosquitoes are not too bad, I may also write on the front porch or the back deck. This is all so I can pretend that I’m not really working but just goofing around on the computer. I have a strong inner critic and when it is particularly active, writing can be fraught with angst. If I can fool myself into thinking I’m not officially WRITING, the words flow better. Of course, this only works because I live in a quiet house with only one other person: my husband, Bill, with whom I like to spend many hours in companionable silence while I goof around on the computer.

Other than your computer or laptop, what's the one thing you couldn't be without in your Write Spot?

A window through which I can see at least one tree and a place nearby to walk in the woods. Let me explain:

Up until a few years ago, Bill and I lived in off-grid in a cabin in the woods at Prelude Lake, about 30 km outside of Yellowknife. Over the years, the wilderness that surrounded us became part of my writing life (many of the stories in my first book Iceberg Tea are about our life at Prelude). I only had to look out the window at the trees, rocks or passing wildlife to soothe my sensitive (over-sensitive?) writer's soul. After 22 years, we moved into Yellowknife because we no longer wanted to do the work required to live at Prelude (like drilling through four feet of ice at forty below to pump water). I have brought the spirit of the wilderness with me in my heart and whenever I look out and see a tree, I am reminded and inspired.  When I am stuck or writer's angst strikes me, I go for a walk in the woods and this is often where the right words find me. In fact, I think of the woods as part of my writing spot.

Annelies in the woods with her dog, Princess.

What are you working on now?

I have just completed my first novel, Free Love, the story of 30-year-old Marissa as she struggles to recover from alcoholism in Yellowknife. I have been working on this book on and off for ten years and I am thrilled to now be able to hold the finished product in my hand. But another novel beckons. I am about 60 pages into a book with the working title of All I Wanted was to Write a Love Story, which explores different versions of reality. I haven’t looked at it for a long time but I'm starting to hear it call . . .

Where can readers find out more about you and your books?

Readers can visit me online at and connect on social media at:

Twitter:    @AnneliesPool

Free Love by Annelies Pool is available now in paperback and as an ebook.

In the dead cold of a northern Canadian winter, 30-year-old Marissa finds herself in a detox centre, every bone in her body yearning for a drink. The only thing worse than drinking would be to return to the lonely hell of alcoholism. Free Love takes us into the heart of the recovery community in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, as Marissa struggles to find hope in a town that loves to party, where temptation and the beauty and danger of the northern wilderness are never far away.

Download an excerpt and order direct from the author or purchase Free Love at:

About The Write Spot:
I've always been fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes. Whether it's backstage photos from my favourite play, a peek into the kitchen where a chef is working her culinary magic, or simply a glimpse through an uncurtained window into a stranger's private world, there's an undeniable thrill of discovery, a sense of secrets shared. It's no surprise, then, that I'm immensely curious about where other writers do their work. I've blogged about it before in this post about my own 'write spot' and so enjoyed the comments, I was inspired to launch a regular feature here at stillpoint. Watch for The Write Spot every other Wednesday and join me as I discover the many and varied places where writers write.

stillpoint is the blog of Canadian author Cheryl Cooke Harrington

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At 11:01 pm, Blogger Heidi said...

Wow, I really admire her for drilling into ice in the freezing cold even once!

At 12:38 pm, Anonymous Susan McNicoll said...

I love the idea of your free-floating writing space Annelies. Although I have one that I use more than any other I do move around too. I also think the idea of just goofing around on the computer instead of "writing" is a brilliant way to forestall writer's block. Although I think the north is very beautiful I think it is a harsh life in many ways. I admire you for having lived off-grid for so long.

At 10:09 am, Blogger Joanne Guidoccio said...

Hi Annelies, I'm fascinated by your journey - geographically and as an author. Having grown up in Northern Ontario, I enjoy cold, crisp days, but I don't know how I would fare at more norther latitudes.


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