Back with Part Two of the conversation with Alana Wilcox from Coach House, Jennifer Lambert from HarperCollins, and Barbara Berson from the Helen Heller Agency (See the previous post for more details!)
That’s not really the title of it, but hey, it’s better than just putting “Episode 18.”
My dear friend and fellow author Sherri Vanderveen (look her up, read her books!) has many friends in the Canadian publishing business. Through her contacts, Get Lit was able to set up a round-table discussion between myself and three fantastic individuals – Alana Wilcox from Coach House, Jennifer Lambert from HarperCollins, and Barbara Berson from the Helen Heller Agency.
Coach House has a fascinating space. If you weren’t aware, they actually print their own publications in-house. Alana gave us a tour through the printing presses new and old, and it was amazing; if I’d been thinking, I would have filmed the whole thing for you. I did not, but here’s a great Quill and Quire piece that shows you the exterior and some of the space inside. We sat in the coffee room and chatted for about forty-five minutes. It’s such a fantastic room, accessible via narrow wooden steps that clonk and creak in the background of the interview (an audio detail I love, by the way), lined by hundreds of books.
The conversation is enlightening. These are people in different positions in the business – an indie publisher, an international publisher, and a literary agent/freelance editor. They each have different yet dovetailing perspectives on the state of publishing in Canada, on what they’re looking for in a book, and on what writers should and should not do when trying to get published.
Enjoy, and come back next week for part two!
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.
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!
Hi folks! Today’s episode features some Hamilton lit news and an interview with poet Julie Cameron Gray, whose latest collection is the fabulous Lady Crawford, out with Palimpsest Press. Hope you dig it.
Hey folks! This week we chat about Hamilton bookseller Bryan Prince. We then have a feature interview with Emily Robbins, whose debut novel A Word for Love is out via Riverhead / Penguin Random House. Hope you enjoy!
Yeah, don’t click on that. It’s just an image.
With many thanks to the good folks at Palimpsest Press, The Captain of Kinnoull Hill is finally avalable as an ebook! I screencapped Amazon so, you know, I could have an image of some kind with this post…but you can buy it in all ebook formats in most of your favourite ebook sellin’ places. Thanks for your patience.
Speaking of buying books…this week’s episode of Get Lit features an interview with Scott Dagostino, manager at Glad Day Bookstore in Toronto. Glad Day is the world’s oldest LGBT bookstore. Scott’s a thoughtful and well-spoken fellow, and I really enjoyed this interview. Hope you do as well!
Happy Thursday! Time for another edition of Get Lit. Shanthi Sekaran is a Berkeley author whose latest, Lucky Boy, came out with Putnam/Penguin Canada. I enjoyed this book immensely, I hope you do as well.
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.
Welcome to my blog at jamietennant.ca
This is the first blog I’ve written for my own website.
That’s boring as hell.
What’s hilarious is in the photograph. This is the first long-form story I ever wrote. Inspired by Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang, I did what any budding storyteller would do. I shamelessly ripped off the great Mordechai Richler, stole his characters, and then, always one to live vicariously through fiction, turned his characters into me and my friends. I figured he wouldn’t mind.
I found this recently, as I was searching for a long-lost manuscript about demons from other dimensions (as one does). Written on a plastic portable typewriter in my parents’ kitchen at the age of about 10, it reminded me that inside, I’d always known I would be a novelist. Adult life wasn’t proving it – from the ages of about 25 to 35, in fact, I wrote tens of thousands of words but nary a clause of fiction. Now, rounding that last bend to middle age, I’m published and have caught the bug again. It began with this 4,000 word riff on Intrepid Shapiro and Fearless O’Toole.
This blog will be about…well, tons of things, I’m sure. I’m a music nerd, a father, a husband, a pop culture geek, an author, a community radio program director…it might get unwieldy here. It might go off on tangents. I will be posting episodes of my soon-to-air radio/podcast, Get Lit, as well as some short videos, if I can stomach looking at my own face during the editing process.
Hopefully, you’ll come see it.