Tuesday, April 24, 2007 @ 01:00
It's the kind of place where you can buy a hot plate of bacon and eggs any time of day or night, any day of the week.
You can also be guaranteed they'll never run out of strong, steaming hot coffee – regular coffee that's poured from a glass pot, not that milky latte stuff some places pass off as coffee.
And it's decidedly not the kind of place you'd expect to find an author, selling copies of her novel to readers.
But there sat Claire Cameron at the Husky Truck Stop off the QEW in Niagara-on-the-Lake Monday afternoon.
The Toronto-born author wanted to give truckers taking a break at the roadside diner a different reason than an all-day breakfast to keep their eyes open.
Just inside the front door of the truck stop's restaurant – beneath a window advertising "Daily Homestyle Specials" – Cameron sat at a little table with copies of her first novel, The Line Painter, ready to be signed.
Because some of the suspense story's action takes place at a Husky station in the northern Ontario town of Hearst, Cameron and her publicist thought it made sense to promote the book at other Husky stops.
After her signing in Niagara Monday, Cameron will make similar appearances at Husky locations in Mississauga today and Pickering Wednesday.
"As a writer starting out, I think you just try to spread your book as widely as you can," said Cameron, 34. "Every book that's out there, you have a better chance of people speaking about it."
The Line Painter, published this month by Harper Collins Canada Ltd., tells the story of a woman who flees her life in Toronto. Her car breaks down in the dead of night on a deserted stretch of highway between Hearst – where Cameron previously worked summers planting trees – and Kapuskasing.
The story centres on the relationship that develops between the woman and the highway line painter who rescues her from the side of the road.
"It's kind of a road trip tale with a twist," Cameron said.
Cameron said she first fell for the symbolism of painting crisp highway lines when she was stuck behind a painting truck on a cross-Canada drive.
She initially tried to use the imagery in a song, but it fell flat. "I'm not very good at guitar and I'm a terrible singer, so I had a terrible song about a line painter," she said.
But she couldn't shake the image.
Four years after she began writing a story about a line painter, her first novel is on the shelves of bookstores.
"I'm better at typing than I am at the guitar so it worked out," Cameron said.
And so did her truck stop book signing.
Trucker Joe Goicoechea pulled over at the York Road Husky in Niagara-on-the-Lake to get out of the rain Monday and left with a signed copy of Cameron's novel in his hands.
"I can sit in the hot tub at home and read it," he said as he left the restaurant.
Staff at the truck stop were pleased to help out with the book promotion, said Tracy Palleschi, a manager at the location. "We wanted to show the different sides there are to us," she said.