Keeping the Peace is Colette Maitland’s debut collection of short fiction, and yet it found a home on the long list for the 2013 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. This isn’t surprising given that Colette Maitland has been perfecting the art of the short story, a form she turned to when her youngest son started kindergarten, for nearly two decades.

Colette honed her work in The Antigonish Review, DescantRoom of One’s Own, The Prairie JournalThe Fiddlehead, and frequently in The New Quarterly.

“I never consider a draft to be complete until I’ve read the piece out loud. It’s amazing what I can catch when I hear the words coming back through my ears, rather than reading them silently – bits of dialogue that I thought were brilliant in my head may sound forced or untrue.”

She admits discovers who her characters are when they start conversing with each other on the page. “Often, I’ll let them blather on – I can always come back later and cut out the boring bits,” she said in an interview with Open Book: Ontario.

“Colette Maitland writes like a dream, with a touch that’s compellingly subtle – almost deceptively so, since in these stories, danger lurks around every corner, and trouble is resolved in the most surprising and unsentimental ways. By the end I felt I’d experienced a literary sleight-of-hand. I had to double-check that I was reading a debut collection and not the latest in a series of Maitland’s wise and lovely books,” said Charlotte Gill, author of Eating Dirt and a Kingston WritersFest alumnus.

Colette grew up in a military family; each of her siblings was born in a different city. She landed in Kingston, Ontario at the age of four. Today, she lives in Gananoque with her husband, Al, and has four children of her own.

Colette’s second collection of stories, about life on a military base, is scheduled for publication in 2014.