Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Beverley Stone

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Beverley

June 10, 2008 -

OB:

What was your first publication and where was it published?

BS:

No Beautiful Shore is my first novel (Toronto: Cormorant Books Inc., 2008). The only other piece of fiction that I have written is a short story called “The Vomit Pan,” which is in Upstairs at Duroc, Issue 9 (2008).

I wrote an environmental poem once when I was twelve. I think there is some trophy at home in my old room and the poem may have been published somewhere. God willing, no copies remain.

OB:

Describe a recent Canadian cultural experience that influenced your writing.

BS:

I’m not sure that this experience is either recent or cultural. It is economic and has been going on for some time. I go home to outport Newfoundland about once a year, and I am always struck by how silent the place is now. There are almost no children anymore. I think that many rural places are emptying out in Canada. No Beautiful Shore is set in that framework – in a community that is slowly hemorrhaging its inhabitants.

OB:

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Canada” gift, what would those books be?

BS:

Michael Ondaatje, In the Skin of a Lion
Robertson Davies, What’s Bred in the Bone
Rohinton Mistry, A Fine Balance

For no reason other than because they are probably my favourites.

OB:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

BS:

I can write anywhere when I am motivated. At home, I have a study and write on a computer. However, I have written on the streetcar going to work when an idea took shape on the fly.

OB:

William Faulkner was once asked what book he wished he had written; he chose Moby Dick (with Winnie the Pooh as a close second). Is there a book that you wish you had written?

BS:

I wish I’d written Faulkner’s The Hamlet.

OB:

Is there a book that you think you should have read by now but haven’t?

BS:

Ulysses. I have tried about 5 times but always give up around page 50. It’s too smart for me.

OB:

What are you reading right now?

BS:

Right now I am thinking about a new story of which I have a very bad first draft. This makes me not want to read great books, as I just get resentful and irritated. I’m not reading a lot of fiction right now, so I am reading literary criticism. I periodically get in a frame of mind to read biographies of writers or analysis of their work. I just bought a bunch of stuff, including reviews of the work of Jim Harrison, Cormac McCarthy and Don DeLilo This will make me hungry to go back and re-read some of these writers.

OB:

Do you have a specific readership in mind when you write?

BS:

Not at all. My focus is on writing the story, not who might read it.

OB:

What’s your next project?

BS:

I am working on a new novel about a failed lawyer and a boxer who could never, ever have been a contender. Not sure what it’s about yet. I need to develop it a lot more before I can talk about it in detail.

OB:

Do you have any advice for writers who are trying to get published?

BS:

Find people who believe in your story, but be prepared to meet lots of people who will not.

You are just the writer. In order to be a published writer, you need an agent, a publisher, an editor, a publicist and a whole bunch of readers who are willing to give you their time.

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