Thursday, August 14, 2014

Justin Cronin/ Emma Donoghue/ D.W. Wilson

This is on my

Aug. 4 Justin Cronin: I cut out this National Post article “Gonna Get you Sucker” by Josh Visser on Oct. 18, 2012.  He writes about Justin Cronin who wrote a The Passage vampire trilogy.  Here are some excerpts:

The hype machine had rattled into fifth gear long before The Passage’s 2010 release, securing Cronin a US$3.75-million advance and another million-plus for the movie rights.

“The circumstances that produced [The Passage] were so unusual and quite startling to me that I really felt I just stumbled into this treasure,” Cronin says over the phone from his home in Houston, Tex.

Two years after hitting the literary jackpot, Cronin is back this month with The Twelve, the highly anticipated middle book in his sprawling trilogy, and he seems at ease with his new career as an über-successful novelist.
“My life hasn’t changed that much, I’ve got my friends, I’ve got my family, I live in my house and I work all day and I work alone,” Cronin says with a laugh. “Then every couple years they let me off the leash and I go out into the world.”

The Twelve will be familiar in structure and language to fans of The Passage. Cronin still maintains a Joss Whedon-like pleasure in killing off beloved characters, while jumping between so many genres that his book should be shelved under “all of the above.”

Like its predecessor, The Twelve has a split narrative, one taking place in “Year Zero,” the near-future in which the vampire apocalypse is taking place, and the other 100 years later, when humans have been hunted to near-extinction.
But Cronin says he trusts his readers aren’t looking to be spoon-fed easy thrills and chills.

“I feel like it is OK to ask the reader to stretch a little bit, I don’t want to write a completely easy book,” he says, before admitting he’s aware he’s now writing for an audience that’s as hungry as his books’ limb-ripping virals. “I used to just have readers, and now I have readers who are also fans. You want to do right by these people.”

Cronin sounds thoroughly comfortable with the additional obligations of being a successful 21st-century author — from having a social media presence to listening to his readers’ expectations and any nagging questions they may have.

“Readers really are in touch with you in ways that in the past were simply not possible, and that’s fantastic,” he says. “The abstraction of the reader has become actual people that I am in contact with in some way.”
While he says he’s still in the stage of writing that consists of “six months wandering around the house in my bathcoat muttering,” Cronin is careful to add he’s long known how the trilogy will conclude.

“I think I’ll grieve at the end,” he says. “I don’t like to stand on the pier and watch the ship of my characters sail away.”

My opinion: It sounds like a really interesting trilogy and story.  I like to know about the author and how he writes.

Emma Donoghue: I cut out this National Post article “Write what you imagine” by Mike Doherty on Oct. 18, 2012.  It’s about Emma Donoghue.  Here are some excerpts:

As the 33rd International Festival of Authors opens Thursday night at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre, crowds will be treated to the spectacle of writers unleashed from their desks and let loose into the wild. They’ll be reading, conversing onstage and sometimes even partying — but having chosen to spend much of their lives in their own heads in the company of imaginary people, few of them are truly gregarious.

Thank goodness, then, for Emma Donoghue. “I’m an unusual writer,” she offers, in between bites of a hamburger and fries at a Distillery District restaurant on a visit to Toronto. “I’m very extroverted and I’ve no objection to meeting people.” The London, Ont.-based author has been much in demand since her novel Room, about a five-year-old who has been raised in a shed by his kidnapped mother, hit bestseller lists and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2010.

It also manages to flout three traditional pieces of writing advice: Write what you know; find your own voice; and forget short stories — collections don’t sell.

Donoghue dismisses the first of these as “a stupid slogan. … Not many people have lived more than one novel, so I think there should be a wholesale change of policy — it should be, ‘Write what you can dare to imagine.’ ”

She’s particularly drawn to bizarre, even disturbing incidents, though she claims to be “so cheerful I’m practically facile. My partner, Chris” — a professor for whom she moved to Canada in 1998 — “tells me [it’s] not just brain chemistry: I get it all out in my work. … Clearly I’m getting to use my talent for cruel wit in the books, and therefore I don’t have to do it at the dinner table.”

“I love it when somebody says to me, ‘Oh, it turns out I’ve read three of your books, but I didn’t know they were all you!’ For a moment, I always think, ‘Don’t you look at the name on the cover?’ but then I think, ‘This is great, because that person had the experience of plunging into different lives.’ ”

My opinion: I have seen that book Room in the bookstore.  It sounds like a really good book, but I feel like I’m going to be really depressed when I read it.

D.W. Wilson: I cut out this National Post article “How I Got Here” by D.W. Wilson about his first collection of short stories Once You Break a Knuckle on Jun. 4, 2011.  I looked it up on the internet, but I can’t find the article.  There are a lot of other articles about him.

In the one I read, it says that Penguin Canada had won the bid for the first of his two books, Once You Break a Knuckle and the novel Ballistics.  It was in Oct. when he got the call from his agent, and he freaked out about the news.  He specifically said: “’Holy S—t.”

“I’d recently polished off a Master’s degree in creative writing at the University of East Anglia, in Norwich, embarked on a Phd (in creative writing; I’m a tad tunnel-visioned) and attempted –and failed- to find a place in London.

“But with great insouciance comes great responsibility; directionlessness, it turns out, is freedom’s cruel bedfellow (and Success the hemlock of Art?)”

“I lacked a clear goal; I’d never dreamed to see print before the age of 30 (I’ll be 26 when the collection lands, in September), and not with a publishing house like Penguin.”

“I’ll say this: It’s an odd sensation to come so close to finishing a project I’ve worked on for more than a quarter of my life. 

I suppose it’s like waiting for exam results, or something so simple as deciding to ask a girl on a date. That pulse of fear and dread and excitement that doesn’t haunt every waking hour but sometimes make your heart thump in what would otherwise be a moment of reflection.”

“…I didn’t know what would happen next, that I was leaving a place where I’d grown comfortable.  And maybe that makes sense: maybe to move forward on a book is to simultaneously move away from it, it to acknowledge that it has to go somewhere you’re not quite comfortable with but could, luck willing, one day become so.”

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