Writing

An interview with local author (and NVCL staff member) Michael Kerr

MK-InternetPhoto CroppedTell us about your book, The Nervous Prince and Other Stories.

Well, my book is a collection of short stories, each of which is a modern retelling of a classic fairy tale. I’ve played with point of view – Rapunzel becomes the hairdresser’s story for example – and give lots of allusions to modern considerations such as having Hansel and Gretel search out carbohydrate treats in the forest because their caregiver has put them on a Paleo diet. You might think these kind of twists would go over children’s heads, but that’s partly the point; parents often have to read stories to their children over and over, and I thought the adults should get some amusement out of the deal as well. Besides, children are surprisingly sophisticated in some ways, and often understand more than we adults give them credit for. So they are children’s stories, but geared to an adult audience as well. I think you can tell when you read my book, that I had a great deal of fun writing the stories.

41Q+Z8fVfsLWhy do you write?

There’s something really satisfying about working on a story and having it come together. It’s time-consuming, of course, and I don’t have a lot of time… But as I said, it I get a lot of pleasure out of it. I also really enjoy being part of a writing community and sharing things I’ve been working on. It’s great to see other writers’ works in-progress too and see how they have solved issues and dilemmas with the craft. Plus (at least if people read my work) I get to be part of the cultural conversation we’re all having as we march through life.

hardyDescribe your first ever piece of writing.

I wrote some poems when I was very young, and then in primary school I decided to write a mystery. I think it was grade 2 or 3. I had been reading Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, and was certain I could pull off something exciting like that. I wrote in one of those saddle-stitched scribblers. I don’t remember the plot, but the bad guys were caught in the end.

boyindressI’ve read your book. What should I read next?

That’s a tough one. If you’re a younger reader (or parent who wants something with a bit of depth to the fun) I’d suggest David Walliams’ The Boy in the Dress, or Mr. Stink. Another ‘children’s’ book I read recently – one that I just loved – is The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. I don’t think I can say enough about how great the Bradley book is. If you’re looking for an adult book that is light and amusing (but with a real human touch) you might like something by Alexander McCall Smith –  The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series, or The 44 Scotland Street books.

couplandWhat local authors do you love?\

Douglas Coupland is pretty great. And at the North Shore Writers’ Festival, I discovered a new local writer, Alexander Boldizar, who has a rare talent. I haven’t finished his book, The Ugly, yet, but he has a real gift.

suitableWhat is the best book you’ve read so far this year?

Hands down, it’s A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. I reread it this year and it is just so amazing. When I finished, I carried around those characters for days. It’s a 1,500 page novel, and I found myself thinking it was just too short. Thankfully, Seth has written a sequel of sorts, A Suitable Girl, which is supposed to be released next year. I can’t wait.

Where can fans find you?

I’m a Goodreads author, so I have an author page there. I’m also on LinkedIn. But I’m afraid I’m not terribly active in the social media sphere (I don’t think I could market my way out of a wet paper bag). Twitter would work, I suppose – I’m @NVCLMichael

Thanks, Michael!

If you are a published local author who would like to be interviewed for The Top Shelf, please be in touch!  Email me at plesku@cnv.org

-Patricia

 

Calling All Writers… it’s NaNoWriMo!

nonawrimo

Apparently everyone has a book in them. But can you write that 50,000 word book in one month? That’s the NaNoWriMo challenge.  Need some help and/or inspiration? We’ve got you covered!

passionfornarrativeA Passion for Narrative, by Jack Hodgins

Canadian writer and teacher Jack Hodgins offers advice, examples, and exercises to help you develop your narrative skills – both writing it, and reading it.

From Where You Dream, by Robert Olen fromwhereyoudreamButler

Butler is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, and this title is a series of lectures that capture his approach to writing, which he teaches in his creative writing class – also known as “Literary Boot Camp,” due to its (and Butler’s) intensity. His method is very prescribed, and some have described it as a bit dogmatic, but his advice has nevertheless been invaluable to many aspiring writers.

writingadviceUltimate Guide to Writing Advice, by signature-reads.com

Or, if those titles are a little too weighty for the approaching end-of-the-month deadline, try the Ultimate Guide to Writing Advice. It’s a free 23-page eBook from Signature Reads, featuring tips on creating an effective writing routine, banishing writers’ block, and insights from 12 award-winning authors.

Looking for help writing a specific genre? Try one of these:

writing

Writing Mysteries, by Margaret Lucke

Writing Romance, by Vanessa Grant

Writing Science Fiction & Fantasy, by Crawford Killian

Writing Historical Fiction, by Rhona Martin

Or, check out our Lynda.com resource for professional video tutorials to help you write, produce, and publish your book! Lynda.com has thousands of video courses and tutorials on a wide variety of creative, business, and technical topics, taught by industry professionals (who are also awesome teachers!). Lynda.com is accessible for free, from home, with your library card (to North Van City residents only though!).

Log in to Lynda.com through nvcl.ca first, and then try one of thlynda_blog_badgeese courses:

 

And what are you going to do after you’ve finished your 50,000-word masterpiece? Get some help navigating the publishing and self-publishing worlds:

selfpublishbootcamp     writingebook     publish    publishamazon    perfectbound

 

 

Also, if you just need some quiet, dedicated writing time during NaNoWriMo, there are even local write-ins you can attend. The closest one to us here on the North Shore is our friends over at Vancouver Public Library Central Branch – check out the sessions they’re hosting here.

Good luck, and happy writing!
Kat