Sunday, October 23, 2011

About A Boy

It's been a helluva busy weekend. It started with signing books at the Christmas at The Glacier craft festival last week--the highlight was meeting a lovely woman from New York who bought Moonlight Sketches to read on the plane. It was a great example of what I enjoy about the publishing industry--it truly is all the great people I get the opportunity to meet.
I also taught a youth workshop Saturday afternoon at The Lantern as part of the Writers' Alliance (WANL) annual AGM weekend. The young writers I worked with were simply amazing, and I wish them all the best of luck in their efforts to get their work published. I've heard (and they've told me) that they enjoyed it, but I particulary appreciated an email I received today from the mother of one participant telling me how much her son "loved" the workshop--especially nice because he supposedly finds it hard to get interested in very much--he may have found his calling this weekend and, for me, that's as exciting as it gets. It's a lot of work to put one of these things together (especially since I hadn't done one like this before), and such comments make it all worthwhile for me.

The highlight of the week for me, however, had to be the official announcment of my forthcoming new publication: my novel, entitled Finton Moon, will be published in Spring 2012 by Killick Press. Those of you who know me and/or have been following this blog for the past year or so realize that Finton Moon won the Percy Janes First Novel Award, adjudicated by the venerable Kenneth J. Harvey back in 2001. In the ten years since then, I've not only substantially revised that novel several times, written four other manuscripts (including Moonlight Sketches) and completed a six-year doctoral program (including a 350-page thesis on ghosts in North American literature), but in the past four years have also completely rewritten Finton Moon so that it is a brand new story.

That's a tale that will be completely told someday, I'm sure--probably many times as I launch the new novel and start answering the questions about how it got to publication. But I am so proud of this novel and so completely happy with it--and I can hardly believe that after an entire decade, it will finally find a home on the shelves of bookstores and readers. Once the editors' revisions are completed over the next few months, and Finton Moon wends its way across the country and into readers' hands, I can finally breathe and stop working on a project that has taken up a large portion of the past decade and a considerable part of the past four years. I mention this because I know some people will wonder how I was able to publish another book so quickly (within a year!) after the first one appeared. The fact is, I've never stopped working on Finton Moon, even during the year and a half it took to get Moonlight Sketches out after I'd signed the publishing contract.

This new book has come to symbolize, for me, every hope and dream I've ever had for my writing career. It's already won an award and opened some doors for me, but I started work on it so long ago that, if I'd stopped to think about it, it must surely have seemed like a fool's journey to anyone who was watching me labour away at it. But I took the advice of some high-powered literary agents and one esteemed editor in New Brunswick, and turned it into the story it was always meant to be. I recently submitted the finished manuscript to Killick, the same press that published my first book and have so beautifully nurtured it and breathed life into my fledgling career, and they quickly agreed to publish it.

It's about a boy with unique abilities, but none so special as that which allows him to persevere in a world in which he doesn't belong. It's the story of a boy named Finton Moon.

Monday, October 10, 2011

What Kind of Writer Are You?

If you are, or you know, an aspiring writer, aged 14-17, living in the greater St. John's/Mount Pearl/CBS region, here's something you might be nterested in. I'm teaching a 1.5 hour workshop about how to find your writing voice. If you're interested--or know someone who might benefit from this workshop, just get in touch with me ( and I can give you the registration information. There's a very brief form to fill out, but the workship is FREE.

The information, as it appears in the WANL (Writers' Alliance of NL) newsletter, appears below.

Saturday, October 22, 2:30 – 4:00 PM, for youth aged 14-17: ‘What Kind of Writer Are You?’ A Workshop on finding your voice with Gerard Collins

From Bram Stoker to Stephanie Meyer, from J.R.R. Tolkien to J.K. Rowling, successful authors find an audience because their voice is unique. Whether you’re writing a short story or novel, or even a blog, essay or Facebook status, it’s important to know your own voice. As a beginning writer, you are searching for what to say and how to say it in a way that suits who you are and the kind of writer you want to be. Through interactive discussion and brief writing exercises, this workshop will help you in the crucial first steps of telling your story.

Gerard Collins is the author of Moonlight Sketches, a short story collection. Besides winning several
arts and letters awards, he has been shortlisted for the Cuffer Prize and published in journals and anthologies such as Zeugma, Storyteller and Hard Ol’ Spot. He has recently served as an adjudicator for the NL Book Awards and the Writers Federation of New Brunswick short story competition. A lecturer in English literature at MUN, as well as a former high school teacher, Gerard has won the Percy Janes First Novel Award for Finton Moon, which will be published in Spring 2012.