Until today, almost all of my blog entries have been links to my podcast, Get Lit. Today’s is no exception – I hope you enjoy the interview with Emma Richler!
I can’t post something Richler-related, however, without looking back on the influence the Richler family has had on my career as a writer. Wait, can you call it a career when you’ve been doing it all your life but have only published one novel? Is “vocation” better? Anyway. I’ve already mentioned – back in my first blog post – that Mordecai Richler was a huge influence on me as a child. My first long-form story was, technically speaking, Jacob Two-Two Meets The Hooded Fang fan fiction. It wasn’t until years later that I learned this Richler fellow penned some fantastic books for adults as well.
The second Richler to have an effect on me was Mordecai’s son, Daniel. As an avid New Music watcher, I was a big fan of Daniel Richler (that interview with Lou Reed! Or that one with the Jesus and Mary Chain!). So I eagerly picked up a copy of 1991’s Kicking Tomorrow, read a few pages…and put it down. I just wasn’t into it.
A lesson for readers: if you’re not feeling something, put the book down, but give it another chance later. Here’s why. In 1994, I left to tour North America (selling merch for a ska band!) I threw a few unread novels into my bag for the long drive across the continent. At some point in the 56-hour drive to Fresno, CA, I started to read Kicking Tomorrow again.
At another point on the journey – the stretch between San Diego a recently-rattled-by-earthquake Los Angeles – I put the book down, this time having finished it. Then I picked up a pen and a pad of paper and began to write. It was like nothing I’d ever written before. There was no wish-fulfillment action-adventure in the book. Instead, it was a look into loneliness, a highly autobiographical description of the wayward drift I felt in my 20s (and, it should be noted, a celebration of the unexpected joys). I finished the first draft, by hand, in five weeks. The book eventually came to be called Stumbling. It remains unpublished (for now?) but that’s not important. The point is, Mordecai got me writing, and Daniel got me writing on a new level.
So enjoy this interview with Emma!