Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Fridge is Open: That's How the Light Gets Out.

One of our very best book bloggers is back and branching out to YouTube. In espisode #1 she takes on Dave Grohl, Patrick DeWitt, Emma Donnaghue, E.L. James (!) and my very own Finton Moon. I'm a little taken aback by her appraisal, but you can decide for yourself whether or not you agree with her:

Regardless, if you love books of all genres, you might consider following The Book Fridge with poet Kerri Cull. Very entertaining and often surprising in her choices. Not your usual book blog, as there is nothing that is predictable and it's totally honest, and it feels like she's your friend just chatting with you.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Book signing news

I'm doing a rare Friday afternoon bookstore appearance tomorrow, Friday, October 12 when I'll be signing purchased copies of Finton Moon and Moonlight Sketches from 1-3 p.m at Chapters on Kenmount Road. This is my first signing since midsummer and and so far the only one scheduled for St. John's this fall. So if you've been meaning to get a signed copy for yourself or someone else, now's the time.

My section of the bookstore.
Moonlight Sketches was my first book, a short story collection that won the 2012 Ches Crosbie Barristers/NL Book Award for Fiction. My new novel, Finton Moon is garnering rave reviews and has won the Percy Janes First Novel Award.

Drop by for a chat or to get a book for the weekend.


(P.S. In Woodstock, New Brunswick next Saturday, October 20, I'll be one of two featured guest authors at WordsFall, the autumn literary event for the Writers' Federation of New Brunswick. Books will be available for purchase and signing. More details to come.)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Twin Peaks

Exactly six years ago this week, I defended my Ph.D. thesis and, while tattooing the title "Dr." to my buttocks and simultaneously cementing my henceforth inescapable place in the hallowed, hollowed halls of academia, my personal quest for fire had only just begun. Like Frodo Baggins upon dropping the ring into the fires of Mount Doom, no sooner had I defended the dissertation (that really needed no defending at all, in my humble opinion-- entitled "The Postmodern Spirit: The Postmodernization of the Ghost Figure in Twentieth-Century North American Fictions") than the future lay bare before my red-tinged, sorrowful eyes. I still somehow had to make my way home along a treacherous path, nursing a grievous wound.

On Thanksgiving Monday, I had met my venerable thesis supervisor at a downtown coffee shop and discussed the what-might-be and the how-to-be sorts of questions, then I went home to ponder the defensible that was to occur the next day at 1 p.m. As far as inquisitions go, it wasn't bad. Everyone assured me they all wanted the best for me. There were plenty of pep talks, hugs and handshakes. Then I sat before the jury, gave my statement about how ghosts in literature have changed in 100 years of literary representation, and then, after a secret meeting, they each shook my hand and welcomed me to the club. There was a beer afterwards, with a few people, including a couple of friends, and then I was set free. Two days later, in a rush unlike many they've ever seen in the office of graduate studies, I had an ill-fitting cap and gown of the doctoral variety shoved into my arms and shunted off to the arts and culture centre where I walked across the stage, genuflected in front of John Crosbie, took my diploma and virtually ran out the door (after the ceremony, of course).

Minutes later, my wife and I were scurrying across the leaf-laden, concrete landscape of Memorial University, giddy as children, anxious to celebrate, but even more anxious to be moving on.

Still clad in my red gown and clutching my degree in my left hand, I made one proclamation as if to the soothing, warm wind: "That's one big mountain climbed. But there's a bigger one ahead." She knew what I meant: if I didn't publish a novel, after years of working towards that goal, none of the other achievements would amount to anything for me. We'd always known it. After six long years of courses and dissertation writing, not to mention constant stress while teaching nearly every semester and writing besides, suddenly all I wanted was to write fiction and publish. Nothing else mattered.

The very next day, my writing career began again in earnest. After six years of being deferred -- although I did take one semester off in 2005 to write a so-far-unpublished novel called 'Maelstrom,' about a Poe-ish sort of character who finds himself in a 20th C American grad school (no publisher has ever seen it) -- the elusive dream of becoming a published author took hold of my soul once more. I swore on the steps of the Science Building that day, October 8, 2006, that the next mountain I conquered would be to publish a book.

I could never have guessed that within six years -- the exact number of years it took to do a Ph.D. -- I would have two books (a short story collection and a novel) published, with a near novella-length story also contracted for publication next March. Even if I had, by some chance, dreamed of that reality, I definitely could not have foreseen the rest of it, including winning an award this year that has opened up any number of doors for me. More important, I felt a little bit more like I, perhaps, belonged in the pantheon of writers currently published and maybe could afford to glance with a more justified longing at those who have come before me.

Even now I perpetually feel like the underdog, constantly with the hunger to prove myself to no one else BUT myself. No matter how many more lines I fill in on my writing CV, I suspect that feeling will always persist. And perhaps, that's a necesary feeling for me, to keep the creative fires burning.

Mountain high
But just for fun this morning, on this auspicious anniversary, I took a picture at the local Chapters where I happen to be scheduled to do a book signing this coming Friday afternoon. My wife calls it "The Gerard Collins section." I call it a tangible reminder that I'm about as stubborn as they come.

The next mountain has already been laid out before me. And while some may scoff, I swear that even being nominated for the richest literary prizes in the land do not appear nearly so daunting as the twin peaks that lay before me on October 6th, 2006, the day before I won the battle that allowed me to stop being at war with myself.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend! May you all have as much to be thankful for as I do.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Now available!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Facebook Fan Page

For anyone who's interested, I've added a Facebook author page

To click "like" on the page will keep you up to date on any news or info related to my writing career, including book signings, reviews, public appearances, and, in the event of a natural disaster, awards.

I've come to realize, and acknowledge, that sometimes a person just wants the news without the responsibility of being a Facebook friend. This might particularly apply to readers, colleagues, acquaintances and both former and present students.

Of course, you're always welcome to join my Facebook friends list as well where I post a lot more often and am a lot more chatty and exuberant.

On my FB author page, expect the occasional update.

I wasn't certain, of course, how well this new venture would work out, but within twenty seconds of going live, the page already had its first dozen members. Thanks, everyone -- both Facebook friends and others, who have signed on.

So come on over, if it be your will. And feel free to share this link to anyone you wish.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Pitch and Plug: It's not just the Blue Jays' bullpen quandary

Salty Ink

The young and saucy Salty Ink book blog (curated by the young and saucy Chad Pelley, author of the critically acclaimed novel Away From Everywhere) posted this feature a few days ago in which I manage to articulate something half insane about my first novel Finton Moon, and something totally sane about Riel Nason's novel The Town That Drowned.

Have a look by clicking here.