Soper-Cook, JoAnne (M.)
SOPER-COOK, JoAnne (M.)
Born in Hant's Harbour, Newfoundland, Canada; married Paul Cook. Education: Memorial University of Newfoundland, B.A. (honors), 1998, M.A., 2003.
Agent—c/o Breakwater Books, P.O. Box 2188, 100 Water St., St. Johns, Newfoundland A1C 6E6, Canada.
Writer and editor. Highland College, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, instructor in technical writing and business communications, for two years; Memorial University, St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, peer tutor at the Writing Centre, 1995-98 and 2001, substitute English professor, 2001, program coordinator and writing instructor for the Summer Bridging Program, 2002; Jesperson Publishing, managing editor/editor-in-chief, 1997-99; Themestream Publications, leader of writing workshops, 1999-2000. Actor in play A Breath of Spring, 1994; actor, director, and writer of play The Dark Night of the Soul, 1995; led theater workshops for Phoenix Theatre Group, 1995, and Performing Arts Group. Advisor to Newfoundland and Labrador Publishers Association, 1998-99; Canada Council, jury member (writing and publishing section), 2001.
Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association (treasurer, 1998, secretary, 1999).
(And director) The Dark Night of the Soul (play), produced in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, 1995.
Walking the Messiah (novel), Breakwater Books (St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada), 1999.
The Wide World Dreaming (novel), Breakwater Books (St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada), 2000.
A Cold-blooded Scoundrel (novel), Moonlit Books (Auckland, New Zealand), 2001.
Waterborne (novel), Goose Lane Editions (Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada), 2002.
Writer of editorials for Robinson-Blackmore Newspaper Group, 1987; contributor of poems, short stories, and nonfiction to periodicals, including Newfoundland Lifestyle Magazine, TickleAce, Carbonear Compass, Muse, Rant, Waxing and Waning, and Essays in Canadian Writing; frequent book reviewer for Essays in Canadian Writing. Work featured in anthologies, including Genger Evocations, Memorial University, 1995; Rhapsody on Leroux, 1998; and Land, Sea and Time, Breakwater Books, 2001. Also author of unproduced, unpublished stage plays Full Moon and Samhain and The Dead Man's Clothes.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
The Paragon of Animals: An Inspector Devlin Mystery, for Moonlit Books; Hauling down the Moon; The Summer People.
Canadian writer JoAnne Soper-Cook's works cover a wide range of themes. Her first novel, Walking the Messiah, is about a woman named Moriah who is suffering from multiple personality disorder. The title of the book refers to one of Moriah's personalities, a masculine entity that speaks Aramaic—the language spoken in Palestine two thousand years ago—and claims to be Jesus. Moriah has murdered her father and is incarcerated in a mental institution. During Moriah's confinement, the story of her troubled childhood is told by her various personalities, each in the first person, culminating in an explanation of what drove her to kill her father. The result can be difficult to follow, a reviewer commented in Books in Canada: "Time is supple and disorienting; the voices blend and merge with each other."
Soper-Cook's next novel, The Wide World Dreaming, delves into the realm of historical fiction, telling the story of Napoleon, emperor of France during the early nineteenth century, from his own perspective. The book A Cold-blooded Scoundrel is a murder mystery based on the historical serial killer Jack the Ripper, told from the point of view of a British inspector named Phillip Devlin. The gruesome nature of the murders and the suspense that Devlin may be targeted as a victim is balanced by the book's humorous cast of characters.
Waterborne, like Walking the Messiah, is the story of an adult woman who is still tortured by a horrendous childhood and the mysteries of her family. The main protagonist is Stella Maris Goulding, a reclusive author who lives in Elsinore, an isolated fishing village in Newfoundland, Canada. The other voices present in this novel are those of Stella's mother—a woman with a secret that could expose why she has hated her only child—and grandmother, a wise and comforting Scottish woman. "Soper-Cook moves effortlessly from one voice to the next," Elizabeth Mitchell commented in Quill and Quire, and "the women and their intricately entwined lives are deftly realized."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Books in Canada, October, 1999, review of Walking the Messiah, p. 36.
Globe and Mail, July 13, 2002, Dannette Dooley, review of Waterborne.
Quill and Quire, August, 2002, Elizabeth Mitchell, review of Waterborne.
Breakwater Books,http://www.breakwater.nf.net/ (February 7, 2000), "JoAnne Soper-Cook."
JoAnne Soper-Cook Home Page,http://www.geocities.com/magdalene_the_harlot (October 27, 2003).*