Have there been any authors who have influenced your work? If so, who?
I like to think that no one author was a direct influence on my work in that my style is uniquely my own. However, there have been authors that inspired me to write. The great masters like William Shakespeare are a true inspiration. Fringe authors like Samuel Beckett are also an inspiration.
Out of all the characters you’ve written, who is your favorite? Why?
I will answer that question like when an actor is asked to name their favourite role they played. A common actor response to that question is, “The next one!” I say the same in that the next character that I write will be my favorite. As a side note, I have grown to really like Toddy the Tomcat because he is indeed a “cool cat” that “dreams of rat flavored ice cream.” Toddy is my pet character!
Are there any types of scenes you find more difficult to write? Which ones and why.
From a technical point of view, I would say that I do not find any scenes difficult to write. From an emotional point of view, I would say that emotional charged scenes are the most taxing on me. I mean scenes like deep love poetry or scenes where a character is experiencing emotional upheaval. My emotional investment pays off in one sense in that those scenes can be emotionally cathartic and therapeutic.
What would you say the most rewarding part of being an author is?
Shakespeare’s King Lear said, “Nothing comes from nothing.” As a writer, you are in essence, creating something out of nothing. It is the act of creativity that is so rewarding in its self. It fulfills a deep desire to create, to make something out of nothing. It is a basic human artistic need. Being able to constantly fulfill that need is the most rewarding part of being an author. Of course, it is also rewarding when other people like your work!
What advice do you have for authors just starting out in their journey?
Be constantly writing! Be constantly submitting your work! Be constantly trying to get published! Never give up your quest! Never get discouraged by “rejection!” Rejection is only a reflection of one person’s or one committee’s opinion of your work! There is somebody out there to illuminate your creation! Believe in yourself!
Constantly try new genres of writing. Constantly be reading different genres of writing. Keep growing as a person! An interesting person makes for an interesting writer!
Do you have a writing ritual? If so, please explain.
Yes, I do. Rituals are very important in daily life. Whenever we have to do something important we either engage in a formal ritual or an informal ritual. Of course writing is very important in my life therefore, I have a writing ritual. My writing ritual has changed over the years due to different factors such a pre-computer writing ritual and post computer writing ritual. I will explain my present day writing ritual.
First of all, I schedule my “writing time” for days when I will have a large chunk of time to write. I give my pet rooster the morning off and like to wake up naturally on a writing day! Early morning is my ideal time to write when my brain in still in a “alpha wave” state! It is also the quietest time of day in my household. I turn on the computer and get my coffee and glass of ice water. I go through “ordinary” things like checking email first. Then I refer to my writing “notes” whether they be written down or swirling around in my head. I then go into the physical and mental part of writing. I usually “edit” as I am writing. I can easily spend hours writing, pausing only for short breaks for coffee refills! I then let my writing “simmer” for hours or overnight just like cooking a great tomato sauce! Then, back at it another day!
Was being an author something you always wanted to do?
Yes, it was! I have been always been fascinated with words. Even at a pre-school age I used to speak to my “imaginary friend” in a language that I invented! It was perfectly normal for me at the time!
As I went to school, I became in love with reading! I studied English literature at university and became a Drama and English teacher. Of course, I had to do my own writing! Some of us could “teach and do” contrary to the old cliché about teachers! I am a published author now and fulfilled a long standing desire to be an author!
If you could have a conversation with any one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
It would definitely have to be William Shakespeare! I am sure we would have a long and fascinating conversation! I would want to ask him all sorts of literary questions and also ask him for literary advice. Since Shakespeare was also an actor and I am also an actor, we could discuss acting at great lengths. I would love to hear his witticisms and “jokes!” It would be a rollicking good time!
Would you care to provide an excerpt from one of your books as a sample of your work?
Yes, I will leave you with a poem from my children’s book: “Toddy the Tomcat and Other Tales.” It is the title poem: “Toddy the Tomcat.” The book is available from amazon.ca in many international languages and also as an audiobook from audible.com. My video about the book and my reading of the poem can be viewed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ONLSjALskAs
Thank you for an enjoyable interview! You asked excellent questions!
Toddy the Tomcat
Toddy the tomcat
Ate a big, fat rat
He had nine lives
And many wives
He was a proud father
But he did not bother
To stay home and play
With the kittens all day
When it became night
He would disappear from sight
Toddy liked to roam
Far from his home
In search of female cats
And big, fat rats
To keep him frisky and content
On a night well spent
Toddy was so happy
When he’d take a nappy
And he would pleasantly dream
Of rat flavoured ice cream