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.

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“Edmonton: Unbound- Another Anthology by Edmonton Writers”

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Here at Brad OH Inc., we are thrilled to announce the impending release of another anthology by the Edmonton Writers’ Group. Like our previous anthology, ‘Between the Shelves’, ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ features stories from twelve different local writers, this time unified by the theme of their hometown, Edmonton, AB.

Through fourteen short stories, these writers take us to places as wildly different as the writers themselves. Further, all profits from ‘Edmonton: Unbound’ will be donated to support the Edmonton Public Library (EPL), who have been gracious enough to house our humble group for over a decade and a half.

Once again, the book will be available through Amazon as both a paperback and an e-book, and will be sold by contributing members of the Edmonton Writers’ Group at live signings and events—to be announced soon.

So, stay tuned to us here at Brad OH Inc. for all the information you need. The final proofs are currently in our hands, so the full release will be upon us soon. We hope you enjoy reading this book as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it!

-Brad OH Inc.

‘Between the Shelves’ Kindle Version Available and Brian Clark Interview

cropped-cropped-blogbanner13.jpgToday, we’re happy to announce that the Brad OH Inc. and Hal J. Friesen edited Anthology ‘Between the Shelves: A Tribute to Libraries by Edmonton Writers’ is now available in both Kindle ($2.99) and Paperback ($12.50) copies at Amazon.com. All proceeds are to be donated to the Edmonton Public Library System.

BetweenTheShelvesCoverTo celebrate, we have an interview with Author Brian Clark, who appears in ‘Between the Shelves’.

This interview was conducted by Hal J. Friesen in anticipation of the anthology’s release:

Brian Clark first opened his eyes to the midsummer sun in the year the TV remote and Silly Putty made their debuts. Despite these distractions, he soon formed a lifelong affinity with libraries. It is now his pleasure to contribute to this collection of short stories. Over the years, he honed his storytelling skills by preparing letters for politicians. More recently, the newsletter of the Millwoods Seniors Activity Centre has published a number of his articles, where the opinions expressed are his own.

  1. How has your experience working with politicians impacted your writing?

BC: It taught me to avoid getting emotionally attached to the words I’ve written as they were always changed in some way.  I think this prepared me to embrace both self-editing and that of others.  I practiced writing in a way which gave the politician ‘plausible deniability’ if things didn’t turn out as expected, but could also be seen as a triumph if policies were popular.  With practice, hints and half-truths became stock devices.

  1. Is Becca (protagonist in the story) based on anyone in your life? 

BC: My daughter had a job at a library for a couple of years so that gave me an insight into the duties of a Page. She would sometimes tell me stories about children being left in library while a parent went to shop in the mall, forgetting the children. My daughter also maintains friendships with a couple of the other former Pages. In this story, I tried to work with stereotypes of a teenager, her parents and her boss and let that tell me how they respond to the circumstances they found themselves in.

  1. You often use music and lyrics as inspiration for your work. Can you describe the role that music plays in your writing and why it’s so important to you? 

BC: One of my skills, I think, is to mono-task so I don’t use background music. Music is either on or off. When it is on, I try to really listen to the piece.  Sometimes it’s just a mood I pick up on, at others it’s a few words from a verse. I don’t feel obliged to stick to the songwriter’s perceived intentions preferring instead to use the work as a diving board from which to launch my own thoughts. One of the roles of the arts in general is to look at life and distort it a little. For me, music is a reservoir of these refracted images.

  1. What is your educational background, and how do you think that has shaped you as a writer?  

BC: I left school a couple of weeks before my 16th birthday, but 18 years later I had accumulated the paper qualifications, maturity and money to go to University.  I left with some great memories and a degree in Cultural Studies.  I learned to research my work and to write to a deadline, but perhaps most important of all, I developed a curiosity.  In the last couple of years, I have completed 15 to 20 MOOCs [Massively Open Online Courses], including several on the history of rock ‘n’ roll. Life itself has been just as important as structured learning. I have lived on 4 Continents, although only briefly in Asia, collecting life lessons along the way. Jobs have included, hotdog vendor, Santa photographer and courier, most memorably delivering flowers on Valentines Day.  These experiences serve as a bank from which to withdraw both incidents and characters.

  1. Who has inspired you as a writer? 

BC: It sounds mushy, but my wife, Leny, and my daughter, Brenna have edited my life for longer than I can remember. They have not only given me the freedom to pursue whatever is in the air, but also encouraged me to do so. At the same time, they have gently curbed my excesses and prevented self-inflicted disasters. Their presence in my life remains inspiring.

Brian Clark’s story “The Turning of a Page” is featured in ‘Between the Shelves’, which you can purchase now on Amazon.

-Brad OH Inc.

“Between the Shelves: A Tribute to Libraries by Edmonton Writers”

cropped-cropped-blogbanner13.jpgToday, we’re happy to announce the impending release of a new anthology edited by Brad OH Inc. and Hal J. Friesen, ‘Between the Shelves: A Tribute to Libraries by Edmonton Writers’. This anthology, like our former release ‘Don’t Chew on the Sharp End of the Pencil’, is a collection of stories by writers from the ‘Edmonton Writer’s Group’, including one by Brad OH Inc.

BetweenTheShelvesCoverThe theme of this collection is our shared appreciation of libraries and all they offer to readers in Edmonton and beyond. The anthology will be available on March 14th via CreateSpace in both digital ($2.99) and hard copy ($12.50) versions. All proceeds will be donated to the Edmonton Public Library System.

Stay tuned to Brad OH Inc. for future updates on this release, as well as details on how to order your own copy!

-Brad Oates