Interview with ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ Author Christine W.

Edmonton: Unbound’ contains fourteen stories by twelve members of the Edmonton Writers’ Group.

They are unified only by the common theme of their current hometown, Edmonton, AB. Ranging from simple domestic interactions, to futuristic sci-fi adventures, to deep psychological introspections, these stories take a look at Edmonton from viewpoints as different as the writers themselves. This anthology is a love letter to our hometown, and demonstrates our incredibly varied approaches to literature, and to life.

As a gesture of our gratitude, all proceeds from the sales of this book will be donated to the Edmonton Public Library, which has been gracious enough to host our humble group at the Capilano branch for over a decade and a half.

Click the Image to buy ‘Edmonton: Unbound

To celebrate this release, we have an interview with one of the ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ authors, Christine W.

1. Emily and Forest were up against a tight deadline when disaster struck. Has this ever happened to you and what did you do?

Christine W.: There was a comically tragic moment when I was making a couple of lemon meringue pies for a charity bake sale later the same day. The pies take two to three hours to set after the meringue is cooked and are pretty much liquid when they go into the fridge. The first one made it safely onto a shelf in the fridge; the second pie leapt out of my hands and landed head first on the floor. Fortunately I had enough ingredients to make a third pie and barely made it to the bake sale in time to drop off two, mostly set, pies.

2. What is your favorite public art work?

Christine W.: In general I’m a fan of older architecture and more modern bridges. Edmonton’s new bridge is rather impressive as is the Pantheon in Rome. There is no need to pick a favourite.

3. If you had to explain the meaning behind the Talus Dome to tourists, what would it be?

Christine W.: Well, the city has a poetic description of the Dome relating to the landscape and whatnot. I think it is a pile of shiny metal balls expertly positioned to reflect light in an amusing way. Whether good or bad, people talk about it and it is a memorable feature of Edmonton. Our city used to be known mainly for a mall. Being remembered for having a pile of space poop as art is more fun.

4. If Emily and Forest made you a cake, what would you want on it and why?

Christine W.: This is awkward. I don’t like cake. Icing is good though.

5. Your job of attempting to improve conditions of society sounds really worthwhile. What are the proudest moments you would like to share with the readers?

Christine W.: I’m a scientist by training and basically figure things out for a living. Working to better understand supports required for individuals diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum disorder has been and continues to be a particular passion for me.

Christine W.’s story, “Space Poop”, is featured in ‘Edmonton: Unbound’, which you can purchase now on Amazon.

-Brad OH Inc.

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Interview with ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ Author Simon MacKintosh

On January 20th, at 10:00am, the authors of ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ will be at the 1975 111st. YMCA selling and signing copies of our new anthology. ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ contains fourteen stories by twelve local authors, unified only by the common theme of their current hometown, Edmonton, AB.

Ranging from simple domestic interactions, to futuristic sci-fi adventures, to deep psychological introspections, these stories take a look at Edmonton from viewpoints as different as the writers themselves. This anthology is a love letter to our hometown, and demonstrates our incredibly varied approaches to literature, and to life.

As a gesture of our gratitude, all proceeds from the sales of this book will be donated to the Edmonton Public Library, which has been gracious enough to host our humble group at the Capilano branch for over a decade and a half.

Click the Image to buy ‘Edmonton: Unbound

To celebrate this release, we have an interview with one of the ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ authors, Simon MacKintosh.

  1. I read an earlier draft of your “Uncle Charlie’s Tiger Hunt.” What kinds of things did you do when revising the story?

Simon MacKintosh: Mostly, I tried to tighten up the humour. There are several things that can make a story funny. One is a sequence of events, all commonplace but ridiculous (like sliding down a hill unable to control yourself), that build towards a hilarious climax. I tried for that because the story started as an attempt to do that. Other elements of humour are ordinary things made ridiculous by an unlikely context, or the relationships between people. I worked on those as well.

Apart from that I just polished up the language a bit. My initial copy of anything is little more than a poorly expressed idea. It takes multiple passes of editing to get it to a point where I am near satisfied. I am never completely satisfied.

  1. What do you like about writing humour versus writing science fiction?

Simon MacKintosh: Humour creeps into my science fiction as well. After all, humour is part of life and any story is, in the end, about life. I just thought that if I tried to write a science fiction story without any science, what would be left would be humour. I really have no preference.

  1. Who are your favourite humour writers?

Simon MacKintosh: Tom Sharpe. Filthy, but hilarious. Spike Milligan, his book ‘Puckoon’ includes a textbook example of a sequence of escalating ridiculous events, when a group of people escape from a lunatic asylum during the night in the middle of winter.

And of course Douglas Adams.

  1. What is your science fiction novel about?

Simon MacKintosh: A guy invents a time machine and starts to go back and fore in time, as one does with a time machine. But then his time machine is wrecked and he is stuck on a future Earth where society is slowly decaying. So he escapes into outer space and travels the galaxy before discovering that galactic civilization too is coming to an end. So he goes home, only to realize … but I won’t spoil he story by telling.

  1. What does your own lawn look like in the summer?

Simon MacKintosh: In order to keep Bylaw Enforcement from my door, I will refrain from answering that question.

Simon MacKintosh’s story, “Uncle Charlie’s Tiger Hunt”, is featured in ‘Edmonton: Unbound’, which you can purchase now on Amazon.

Remember to come by to get your copy at 10:00am on January 20th, at the 1975 111st. YMCA!

-Brad OH Inc.

Interview with ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ Author Brian Clark

Today, the Edmonton Writers’ Group will be in the Presentation Room of the Enterprise Square EPL Branch in downtown Edmonton from 1:00pm-5:00pm, selling and singing copies of our new anthology, ‘Edmonton: Unbound’.

Edmonton: Unbound’ contains fourteen stories by twelve local authors, unified only by the common theme of their current hometown, Edmonton, AB. Ranging from simple domestic interactions, to futuristic sci-fi adventures, to deep psychological introspections, these stories take a look at Edmonton from viewpoints as different as the writers themselves. This anthology is a love letter to our hometown, and demonstrates our incredibly varied approaches to literature, and to life.

As a gesture of our gratitude, all proceeds from the sales of this book will be donated to the Edmonton Public Library, which has been gracious enough to host our humble group at the Capilano branch for over a decade and a half.

Click the Image to buy ‘Edmonton: Unbound

To celebrate this release, we have an interview with one of the ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ authors, Brian Clark.

  1. What was your initial inspiration for the stories you included in this anthology, and how have they changed from their original conception?

Brian Clark: ‘Hunting Harley’ started almost 4 years ago with the words “dart player chic” I found scrolling through my file of ideas, tips & phrases that resonate.  It seemed to me that the phrase belonged in a romance so I started to write the “Jean” character as a girlfriend for the dart player guy.  The story evolved into a sort of soap opera structure weaving a romance, a crime and motor cycle workshop.  I floated the piece before members of the Edmonton Writers’ Group and it became clear that the story was too busy to be fully coherent.  The result was that I dropped the romance element, brought forward the crime story and used the workshop as a location where the characters interacted.

‘The Letter’ was written specifically for the Edmonton: Unbound project and came to me pretty much fully formed.  I had used the main character before in an unpublished story so she seemed like an old friend.  The full first draft was written in a single 75 minute sitting.  In a subsequent session, I added a couple of paragraphs near the middle and worked on the last paragraph.  A third outing added the historical research and all I had left to do was the line editing.

  1. What events in your background led you to want to write?

Brian Clark: Early in my working life, I wrote letters for a living but those were always under the tight editorial control of others.  When I retired, I developed an urge to say what I think.  I wrote for the newsletter of a non profit organisation for a while, but again the editorial guidelines felt restricting.  Thus I ended up writing fluffy fiction with, I hope, an underbelly of gentle social comment.

  1. What difficulties did you encounter while writing these stories, other than finding the time to do it?

Brian Clark: This is an easy question.  By a long way, my biggest challenge is always getting my work into the format needed by the editors.  On a couple of occasions, I was thankful for the computer assistance of my daughter.

  1. How are your life experiences / career / hobbies reflected in your stories?

Brian Clark: Being older, the people in my life, my friends tend to also be seniors so I think that contributes to my attraction to mature characters.  All my adult life I have listened to Bruce Springsteen and I love the way he writes tight characters and stories and leaves the listener to draw their own conclusions about the underlying social conditions.  I aspire to do something similar.

After my workout at the YMCA, I usually hang out in the locker room and drink coffee with other retirees.  I enjoy hearing their stories about their lives and frustrations.  I am sure some those help provide colour to my stories.

  1. Are you a writer who plots out all the different angles, or are you more free-form. Why do you think you write this way?

Brian Clark: I am fairly disciplined when writing characters and I am becoming more so when describing settings.  With plots, I take a much more free-form approach.  I have around a dozen part written stories and perhaps as many as a hundred orphan paragraphs that may or may not end up in a finished work.

Why I write this way is a more difficult question.  When I was a child I wanted to eat my dessert first because that’s what I enjoyed the most.  With writing, I am able to indulge myself and write the bits that come easily to me.  I take the view that every first draft, every fragment is perfect because its only purpose is to exist.  Once I have something written down I can and do change it or ignore it.

Brian Clark’s stories, “The Letter” and “Hunting Harley”, are featured in ‘Edmonton: Unbound’, which you can purchase now on Amazon.

-Brad OH Inc.

Interview with ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ Author Howard Gibbins

Today, the Edmonton Writers’ Group is proud to announce that authors of our current anthology, ‘Edmonton: Unbound’, will be hosting our official book launch and signing event next Sunday, January 7th, from 1:00pm-5:00pm, in the Program Room of the Enterprise Square Branch of the Edmonton Public Library. Come on down for a chance to meet the authors, pick up a copy, and get it signed!

Edmonton: Unbound’ contains fourteen stories by twelve local authors, unified only by the common theme of their current hometown, Edmonton, AB.

Ranging from simple domestic interactions, to futuristic sci-fi adventures, to deep psychological introspections, these stories take a look at Edmonton from viewpoints as different as the writers themselves. This anthology is a love letter to our hometown, and demonstrates our incredibly varied approaches to literature, and to life.

As a gesture of our gratitude, all proceeds from the sales of this book will be donated to the Edmonton Public Library, which has been gracious enough to host our humble group at the Capilano branch for over a decade and a half.

Click the Image to buy ‘Edmonton: Unbound

To celebrate this release, we have an interview with one of the ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ authors, Howard Gibbins.

1. You have been with the Edmonton Writers Group for many years. How has the Edmonton Writers Group helped you as a writer?

Howard Gibbins: Being a member of the group has helped me to focus on my writing, as well as share ideas with other members such as developing a plot, characterization (i.e., what makes a memorable character). I’ve also found that the experiences of the various members has given me ideas for things to research when writing some of my work.

2. What was your greatest challenge in writing each of the two stories in the anthology?

Howard Gibbins: “A Night to Remember” developed out of a writing challenge, and in its first iteration was pretty poor to say the least. I then began working on rather large novel, and found out that I had to either explain way to much in the novel itself, or I could use this story with just a bit of rewriting to explain a lot of the backstory. As for “Tools of the Trade”, I work in the palaeontology department at the University of Alberta, and the tools mentioned in the story are actually in our collection. When I first saw them, I got the idea for the story and it quickly developed into the final product. Not to give too much away, I guess the biggest challenge to this would be the setting of the house as it had to have certain physical characteristics which meant I had to sour Google Maps® to find a suitable location.

3. You include time travel in your stories. What is it about time travel that interests you and makes you want to write about it?

Howard Gibbins: Actual time travel is actually only featured in “A Night to Remember” but I guess what interests me is that there are numerous hypothesis dealing with temporal travel, but virtually the only one you ever hear about is a linear progression which is what is dealt with in the “Grandfather paradox” i.e., if you go back in time and kill your grandfather, how do you get born? I’m well aware that time travel isn’t possible with our current understanding of physics, but then again the other stories in this world all revolve around a scientist who has discovered/developed a new physics. In “Tools of the Trade” the main character visits an alternate in a dream-like state, so this is kind of cheating on the time travel idea, but hopefully it works for the reader.

4. Which writers do you admire, and why?

Howard Gibbins: I read a lot of books. As far as fiction writers are concerned Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov were some of the first ones that I read when I was young. This was followed by James P. Hogan, Robert Sawyer and Chris Bunch. These are all Science Fiction writers but I try and add an element of mystery into my writing as well so authors such as Agatha Christie, Sue Grafton, and other have also influenced me. As for non-fiction, I tend to read authors that have a science background themselves as they are aware that research is required to be able to write science books.

5. What part of writing do you like the most? What part of writing do you like the least?

Howard Gibbins: The part I like the best is seeing the story develop, especially when it takes off on a tangent, and I have to try and figure out how to explain what happened (assuming I keep it in – and I usually do). As for what I like the least, I guess that would have to be all the self-promotion that one has to do now-a-days to get your stories out there.

Howard Gibbins’ stories, “A Night to Remember” and “Tools of the Trade”, are featured in ‘Edmonton: Unbound’, which you can purchase now on Amazon.

Have a Happy New Year, and remember to come on down to the Enterprise Square Branch of the EPL to get your copy, and meet the authors on Jan. 7th, from 1:00pm-5:00pm!

-Brad OH Inc.

Interview with ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ Author A. Merlyn

The Edmonton Writers’ Group’s new anthology, ‘Edmonton: Unbound’, contains fourteen stories by twelve local authors, unified only by the common theme of their current hometown, Edmonton, AB.

Ranging from simple domestic interactions, to futuristic sci-fi adventures, to deep psychological introspections, these stories take a look at Edmonton from viewpoints as different as the writers themselves. This anthology is a love letter to our hometown, and demonstrates our incredibly varied approaches to literature, and to life.

As a gesture of our gratitude, all proceeds from the sales of this book will be donated to the Edmonton Public Library, which has been gracious enough to host our humble group at the Capilano branch for over a decade and a half.

Click the Image to buy ‘Edmonton: Unbound’

To celebrate this release, we have an interview with one of the ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ authors, A. Merlyn.

1. Your story features Edmonton’s ‘Talus Dome’. Why did you decide to write about the Talus Dome?

Merlyn: It is one of the most well known and indeed most controversial pieces of public art in Edmonton. It also had some very unique properties that I felt a story was just waiting to exploit, namely a large number of reflective surfaces as well as a hefty reputation.

2. Why do you think your protagonist Ant has lost his way in life?

Merlyn: Ant is a young man, and I think a lot of young people (older ones too) have a difficult time figuring out the path they should take in life. I don’t think he is so much lost as changing and temporarily waylaid. Following through on a dream is difficult, and we all get discouraged. I have three mostly adult children and all of them have gone through and continue to go through periods of change, and time when they don’t know what their future will hold or how to get there.

3. How different is the story in its current form from its first draft?

Merlyn: This is one story that stayed very close to the same from the first draft to finish. It was always about choices and changes. The biggest change was that in my original idea the dome has something to do with Fairies. In fact Ant’s last name is Teg, short for Tylwyth Teg, the Welsh name for Fairies.

4. Your story uses fantasy elements in a story that is mostly realist. Why do you like to use fantasy elements in your fiction?

Merlyn: I tend to believe that the world is not quite as realistic and concrete as we seem to think it is. I find that there are a lot of things in life that are just a little bit on the fantastic side. I don’t believe that things like what happens in this story really happens, but it might, might it not?

5. What is your favourite piece of public art in Edmonton? Why?

Merlyn: Probably my favourite piece of public art in city is the Talus Dome. I like the look of it and It always seems to me to be a very personal piece of art, one that is neither easily defined nor easily, forgotten.

Merlyn’s story, “Myriad”, is featured in ‘Edmonton: Unbound’, which you can purchase now on Amazon.

The authors of ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ will be selling copies and doing signings in person at the Enterprise Square Branch of the EPL on January 7th, starting at 1:00pm. Come on down to meet the authors, and get your copy!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,

-Brad OH Inc.

Interview with ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ Author Vivian Zenari

The Edmonton Writers’ Group’s new anthology, ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ contains fourteen stories by twelve local authors, unified only by the common theme of their current hometown, Edmonton, AB.

Ranging from simple domestic interactions, to futuristic sci-fi adventures, to deep psychological introspections, these stories take a look at Edmonton from viewpoints as different as the writers themselves. This anthology is a love letter to our hometown, and demonstrates our incredibly varied approaches to literature, and to life.

As a gesture of our gratitude, all proceeds from the sales of this book will be donated to the Edmonton Public Library, which has been gracious enough to host our humble group at the Capilano branch for over a decade and a half.

Click the Image to buy ‘Edmonton: Unbound’

To celebrate this release, we have an interview with one of the ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ authors, Vivian Zenari.

1. There are plenty of weird and wonderful things that happen but the why remains a mystery. Has anything weird/wonderful that has ever happened to you that made you stretch your head and wonder why?

Vivian Zenari: My entire life makes me scratch my head, I must admit.

2. Roy was adamant about not leaving the lot. Is there a place that you are very attached to? Why?

Vivian Zenari: I am not much attached to any location, I have to admit. I am more of the “grass is greener on the other side of the hill” person. For example, I want to live in Venice, Italy, but apparently it is a terrible place to live. The locals are leaving in droves. Yet I want to live there. Go figure.

3. Your story contains some very supernatural or spiritual elements. Do you believe in spirits?

Vivian Zenari: I do not believe in the supernatural at all. I guess for me the supernatural elements in my stories are metaphorical.

4. Roy was not very approachable to certain people but seemed to have a heart of gold, willing to help others down on their luck. Is there someone you can think of like this in real life?

Vivian Zenari: One of my heroes is William Lloyd Garrison, an American anti-slavery advocate in the mid-nineteenth century. As well, certain dogs can be selfless.

5. You certainly have a lot of experience with writing. At what point did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Vivian Zenari: Since I was a little girl I have been writing. I have always been afraid of writing, though. I am a fearful person who lacks confidence. Writing is a perfectly unsuitable occupation for such a person, and I have tried to steer my way away from it during different stages of my life. Right now I am steering towards it. At this stage of my life I have nothing to lose. My son is almost grown, the pets seem able to get along without me, and my husband is chugging along without much need for my intervention. Vivian Zenari’s story, “The Lot”, is featured in ‘Edmonton: Unbound’, which you can purchase now on Amazon.

-Brad OH Inc.

Interview with ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ Author Hai Doan

Today, the Edmonton Writers’ Group is happy to announce that ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ is now available on Amazon.ca.

Edmonton: Unbound’ contains fourteen stories by twelve local authors, unified only by the common theme of their current hometown, Edmonton, AB. Ranging from simple domestic interactions, to futuristic sci-fi adventures, to deep psychological introspections, these stories take a look at Edmonton from viewpoints as different as the writers themselves. This anthology is a love letter to our hometown, and demonstrates our incredibly varied approaches to literature, and to life.

As a gesture of our gratitude, all proceeds from the sales of this book will be donated to the Edmonton Public Library, which has been gracious enough to host our humble group at the Capilano branch for over a decade and a half.

Click the Image to buy ‘Edmonton: Unbound

To celebrate this release, we have an interview with one of the ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ authors, Hai Doan.

1. What was your initial inspiration for the story you included in this anthology, and how the story changed from its original conception?

Hai Doan: My goal was to write a story that was based in Edmonton and since I love riding on the LRT, it seemed natural that I would include our transit system. Plenty of people take the LRT, all from different walks of life, so I wanted to share a story from a viewpoint of one of those passengers. I enjoy light hearted comedies so it is surprising that the plot ended up being rather dark but the ideas flowed well and I just went with it.

2. What events in your background led you to want to write?

Hai Doan: When I was a child, I loved to take books out of the library and read them (and I still do). Two of my favorite authors were Roald Dahl and Gordon Korman. I especially enjoyed the books from the “McDonald Hall” series; I found the stories to be hilarious! This made me want to become an author too because then I could try to make people laugh as well.

3. What difficulties did you encounter while writing this story, other than finding the time to do it?

Hai Doan: I think the most difficult thing was probably getting started and putting some writing on the paper (or computer screen to be more accurate). Once I got started, the writing became easier. For this short story, I didn’t plan the plot out as much as I normally do and just wrote down the ideas as they came to me.

4. Are you writer that plots out all the different angles, or are you more free-form. Why do you think you write this way?

Hai Doan: I tend to plan out my stories. Actually, I would say I plan so much that I often don’t complete the story! I like to jot down notes about the plot, daydreaming about what could happen next but I have a hard time putting all these ideas into a completed work. I remember starting a fantasy genre story and I had all the main points of the plot figured out; I even had drawn maps of the world I had built. I never finished the story though. I think this could be due to the fact that I find world building and plot creation so much fun and actually writing the story can be “hard work”. I think I should take the advice of some authors and just write since the first draft is never perfect anyways.

5. What is your typical response to “writers’ block”?

Hai Doan: My response to “writers’ block” is similar to my approach for working on homework assignments. If I find myself wracking my brain for a long time with no success then I would temporary stop working on the task; I would either take a break or work on something else. I find that allowing my mind to focus on something else for awhile that once I do return to the original task that sometimes I somehow “magically” have an epiphany which makes the solution very clear.

Hai Doan’s story, “LRT Ride”, is featured in ‘Edmonton: Unbound’, which you can purchase now on Amazon.ca.

-Brad OH Inc.