Hi folks! Still away, so let’s get right to it. This week we have author Melanie Hobson, a former Hamiltonian living in the U.S. Her novel Summer Cannibals is a great read for anyone, but my #HamOnt folks will appreciate the fact that it takes place right here in town. Enjoy the interview, buy the book 😀
A few weeks ago I took to the Hivemind (read: Facebook) to ask peoples’ advice on how I should proceed on writing the new novel (which I now have under the working title “River, Diverted” but I dunno…”Diverted” is a weird word and the comma is possibly pretentious)(River is my main character, BTW). Everyone and their dogs agreed, write all of the words and sort it out later. I grudgingly agree – “grudgingly” because it means a rough draft could be years in the making.
Structure is a difficult thing. Unless you’re starting at A and going to B, with little backstory, it’s easy to get bogged down. My story takes place in the present but the past is a huge element of the plot, to the point where it is almost a separate timeline – but this was a surefire way to end up with a 1,000 page (read: unpublishable) novel.
Enter this here radio show/podcast. I read about a book a week in order to stay on top of interviews, and recently I read This Side of Sad (Goose Lane) by Karen Smythe. It’s a book with no present tense to speak of, and no traditional plot to speak of…and it works incredibly well. The narrator remembers her past in short sections, paragraphs a half-page long or less, presented in an order that seems random but, of course, was probably painstakingly assembled (I’ll find out when I interview her). Her structure may have cracked this story open for me, giving me a way to illuminate important moments without dedicating entire chapters to them.
The takeaway is, writers – keep reading!
Two guests today. First up, Chris Pannell, a Hamilton writer who is part of the LitLive committee. We discuss LitLive, a long-standing reading series in Hamilton (and I’ll be making my LitLive debut this coming Sunday, Oct 1, so if you’re around, come on by! 7:30 pm at the Staircase Theatre.
Hey folks! I probably have some writerly musings…but what I do not have is time. So let’s get to the main event!
Today GET LIT features David Baillie. We got to hang out over pints and talk about the old days here in Hamilton, and we continue that conversation on today’s show as we talk about his latest novel released in 2015, What We Salvage, which Baillie describes loosely as “Holden Caulfield, but from the wrong side of the tracks, coming of age in A Clockwork Orange.” Sounds about right to me. Hope you enjoy the show.
Hey folks! Today’s episode of Get Lit is all about grit LIT – Hamilton’s Readers & Writers Festival. There is an amazing line-up of talent doing readings, panels, workshops, etc., and if you’re in the Hamilton area you should check this out! Listen to our interview with Executive Director Jennifer Gillies and learn more.
Of course, this is my blog and my show, so I’d be ridiculous if I didn’t promote my own event. I’ll be reading on Sunday, April 9 at 1 pm, along with two other fantastic Hamilton writers, Paul Benedetti and Marnie Woodrow who was a guest on Get Lit E11. Tickets are available here. I’ll be reading from The Captain of Kinnoull Hill in a terrible Scottish accent!
Today’s episode features an interview with Mark Osbaldeston, author of the book Unbuilt Hamilton. It’s part of a series – the first parts being Unbuilt Toronto 1 and Unbuilt Toronto 2. Yes, they seem fairly specific to geography, but I believe anyone, in any city, can appreciate the follies and foibles of generations before; anyone can ponder the what ifs of their own hometowns.
Some of the things in this book are hard for me to fathom, and it’s almost a relief knowing that these ideas never came to pass. For example, I remember just how excited I was about the idea of there being a monorail-like elevated train in town. It seemed like a great idea – when I was a kid – and it wasn’t until I read this book that I started to see how it would never have worked. (If you’re from Hamilton, no, I’m not going to start a discussion about the current LRT plan. Let’s leave the screaming and shouting to Facebook).
Things are heating up around here. I’m finally starting to flow on my new novel, and eventually – I promise – I’m going to write more actual blogs about writing. In the meantime, enjoy this week’s show.
Finally, Get Lit is available at jamietennant.ca!
In case you have no idea what that means, an introduction. In November 2016 – on my 47th birthday, for some reason – I started Get Lit, a weekly 30-minute literary program on 93.3 CFMU FM (Hamilton, ON) and online on Soundcloud. We feature authors, booksellers, publishers, poets – anyone related to books and literature.
I’ll post the show here on a weekly basis, and try to upload some past episodes as well. This episode features GritLit’s Jennifer Gillies and author Marnie Woodrow. Marnie’s exceptional book Heyday won the Hamilton Literary Award for fiction in 2016.