This week it's the turn of Andrew Snook, author of Remy's Dilemma to answer my questions, as usual some more insightful than others!
We'll be getting to the bottom of Canadian humour, crime writing and creating a zen-like area of calm to write in, or at least tidy it more often than you would other rooms of the house.
When did you first realise you could write and at what point during the writing of your first book did you realise that you in fact couldn't?!
I've always loved to write, but I'd say the first time I realized I could write was after I wrote my first short novella more than 10 years ago, Wasted Days, and boy was I wrong! That's not to say the entire novella was terrible – it had some great ideas that I pulled from it to create Remy's Dilemma – but I rushed it into people's hands without editors, proofreaders, and, to be honest, I wasn't a very strong writer at the time. It wasn't until I dusted it off it to give it another read in 2010, while working as a reporter for local newspapers, that I realized how poor my writing was back then.
Upon first discovery of my poor writing I was mortified, but these days I consider it a good sign when I dislike aspects of my writing from years before. It makes me feel like I'm evolving as a writer.
Remy's Dilemma is ostensibly a farce, in the traditional sense of the word. Was that the intention, or in the act of writing humour did you find yourself leaning there?
I think that's just my natural writing style. I'm a silly person – cartoon-like at times, I'm told – and I love creating ridiculous writing. I'm not a serious person by nature and it shows. When people ask what the purpose of my writing is, my answer is always to make you laugh out loud at inappropriate moments. For example, if you read Remy's Dilemma in a library's "Quiet Section" and it made you laugh so hard you accidentally cracked a loud fart, then I would feel my book had served its purpose.
Canada and its stereotypes play a huge part in Remy's Dilemma, was it simply a case of 'write what you know' or were you keen to inform and educate others on Canada's foibles?
I love Canada, Canadians, and all our little Canadian-isms that help shape who we are as a people. I hope to eventually explore every nook and cranny of my country. I specifically added the Canadian-isms because I love them and I believe other Canadians enjoy reading about them as well. I wanted this book and the entire series to be written for Canadians to enjoy. That's not to say I don't want other readers to enjoy it as well, it's just hard to find fun books full of Canadian culture, and I thought it would be a fun aspect to add to the series.
Remy has a list of things to do before he dies, do you have a list and if so what's on it?
Nope. To be honest, I'm not much of a planner. If it wasn't for my wife, I probably would have ended up a full-time wanderer, spending my days coasting from one town to the next. As far as things to do before I die, my priorities are making sure my family are taken care of, and to continue writing fun fiction until I'm in the grave. And once I'm in the grave, feel free to "Weekend at Bernie's" me for book signings, I think that would be a gas! (Look up the movie and watch it, you'll be glad you did).
The police investigation sub-plot in Remy's Dilemma is much more serious in tone, are you a frustrated crime thriller novelist at heart?!
It's funny you'd mention that. I've tried writing and reading all sorts of different genres to see what I enjoy, and I almost always end up enjoying humour and crime books the most. I typically bounce between crime thrillers and humour when I read in my spare time. My two favourite authors are Christopher Moore and Michael Connelly. Who knows, maybe I'll write a thriller one day...
Remy seems to bumble through life and rely on luck more so than cunning or guile. Is it more difficult to write an antihero as opposed to the traditional alpha-male?
Not at all, I think it's a fun way to write a character. To be honest, I feel like I truly understand Remy in some ways. I spent the first 20-plus years of my life fairly oblivious to my outside surroundings, and dumb luck was definitely a factor in getting me through them in one piece.
As far as being the "big dog in the yard" goes, it's hard to look like the alpha-male when you run like Luigi from Super Mario Bros. (ask my former softball team, they'll confirm), but you can definitely make people laugh! I wouldn't consider myself a beta-male but I also wouldn’t consider myself an alpha. I'm somewhere in between, like an "alpha-beta" soup - see what I did there?! Mmm, soup...
What are you working on now and when can we expect to get our hands on it?
I'm currently working on Book II of the Remy Delemme story. In an ideal world I would have the book ready for stores by the end of 2016, but I'd settle for the first complete draft. Between raising two kids, spending time with the Mrs, my full-time job and taking care of the house, finding time to write can be a challenge.
Where do you do most of your work, what does your office or creative space look like?
My office is typically the most organized place in the house. I have trouble concentrating when it's messy. That said, I probably do more of my writing when I'm on the road. I travel across Canada as part of my job, and typically use my downtime when I'm on the road to write. The television rarely gets turned on when I'm at a hotel. But my favourite place to write is on the train. Something about riding the rails just fuels my creativity...
Finally if you could invite 3 authors to a dinner party, living or dead, who would they be and what would you serve?
As much as I would like to sit down and chat with Christopher Moore and Michael Connelly, I would probably choose Hunter S. Thompson, Ernest Hemingway and William Shakespeare. I'd serve booze, sit back, and watch what transpires...