Mayank Bhatt discusses how his novel, Belief, is very relevant today on the topic of immigration and settlement in Canada in our Five Questions series. He also talks about the standout moments in publishing his debut novel and what he’s reading.
Bhatt will be participating in IFOA Weekly’s ‘What’s Life Got To Do With It?’ panel discussion on Wednesday, March 7th at 7:30 pm.
Michael Mirolla discusses writers who’ve influenced him and why he enjoys writing short stories in our Five Questions series. Mirolla will be launching his new short story collection, The Photographer in Search of Death, on Tuesday, January 30th at 6:30 pm with fellow Exile Editions author Martha Bátiz (Plaza Requiem).
IFOA: In a recent interview with Christine Cowley, you referred to the collection as speculative fiction. Tell us a bit about how The Photographer In Search of Death fits the description?
Michael Mirolla: I see “speculative fiction” as a description that encompasses a number of fictions (magical realism, surrealism, meta-fiction, science fiction). What they have in common is the idea that they are creating worlds rather than simply inhabiting them. Thus we get “what ifs” rather than “whats”.
They are also fictions of ideas rather than simply interactions between humans. To me, the best of these are those that can combine ideas with human interactions. That is, thoughts with a heart. I hope that, in a small way, The Photographer works towards achieving that aim and thus can fit under the speculative fiction umbrella.
Kevin Hardcastle discusses subverting the idea of poor communities in his work and what (and who) influences him in our Five Questions series. Hardcastle will be participating in IFOA Weekly’s ‘What’s Life Got To Do With It?’ panel discussion on Wednesday, March 7th at 7:30 pm.
IFOA: You’ve written short stories in the past. What was it like completing your first novel and then having that published?
Kevin Hardcastle: It happened kind of backwards, because I’d actually written the novel before most of the stories that I published, those that ended up in my collection, Debris. I kept rewriting and working on the novel while I was improving my skills with my short story work, and eventually got it to where it is now. In those rewrites, I tried to use all of the tools I’d sharpened while writing short fiction, and bring them to bear on the novel.
There is a difference in the way that novels are received though, and the attention they’re likely to get, and I’ve noticed that as I’ve gone through the process. It’s not on the NYT bestseller list, by any means, but the reach of a novel is plainly longer, for the most part. And, as a result, the work you have to do to support the book is much more involved.
Debut author Emma Dibdin shares her thoughts on suspense writing and more in our Five Questions Interview about her new novel The Room By The Lake. Dibdin will take the stage at our next IFOA Weekly event with fellow suspense writer Becky Masterman on Wednesday, November 15, 7:30 pm. at Harbourfront Centre. Andrew Pyper, Author of The Demonologist, will moderate the conversation.
IFOA: What can you tell us about The Room By The Lake?
Emma Dibdin: The Room By The Lake is about a young English woman, Caitlin, who’s just out of university and on the verge of a breakdown. Desperate to escape after years of being a caretaker to unstable parents, she spontaneously books a flight to New York, which feels like a place she can become truly lost. Once there, she falls hard for Jake, a charming and slightly damaged former soldier who whisks her away to meet his family at their idyllic lakeside house upstate. But his family isn’t what it seems.
We asked Becky Masterman five questions (and a bonus!) about what inspired A Twist of the Knife, how she got into writing crime novels, and how she approaches suspense. Masterman will be at an IFOA Weekly event with Emma Dibdin on Wednesday, November 15th. Andrew Pyper, Author of The Demonologist, will moderate the conversation.
IFOA: What inspired the story for A Twist of the Knife?
Becky Masterman: My agent Helen Heller, who is based in Toronto, told me of a Canadian case that had haunted her for many years about two children being taken from their home and their bodies never found. That began to haunt me too. What if, I thought, you were convicted of killing your children but were innocent? Waiting on death row wondering if they’re somehow still alive and you can’t get to them and help them?