ENTERTAINMENT: The Guest List talks with author Richard Scrimger

Blog Post Oct 10, 2012

Richard Scrimger is the award-winning author of more than 15 books for children and adults.

Scrimger’s books have appeared on lists such as ALA’s Kid's Pick and ALA’s Notable, and his middle-school novel The Nose from Jupiter won the Mr. Christie Award. His books have been translated into Dutch, French, German, Thai, Korean, Portuguese, Slovenian, Italian and Polish. The father of four children, he has written humorous pieces about his family life for publications such as the Globe and Mail and Chatelaine.

I’m most excited about his newest book, Ink Me, which is part of Seven (the series). Published by Orca Book Publishers, Seven is one of the coolest series I’ve ever heard of.

Premise: When David McLean, beloved grandfather and avid adventurer, dies at the age of 92, he leaves a very unusual will outlining seven tasks he has set for his seven grandsons. Watch the trailer.

Seven authors (including Eric Walters, Ted Staunton and more) have written one of the seven grandsons’ adventures, and all the stories are all interconnected.

They take place at roughly the same time, which means they can be read in any order. All were released on the same day earlier this month – it’s never been done before in the Canadian publishing world.

The series and the authors will be at the International Festival of Authors Friday, Oct. 26 at Harbourfront Centre. There will also be a public book launch at Ben McNally Bookstore (366 Bay St., 12th floor) Oct. 26 from 6 to 8 p.m.

GL: Can you share how you came to be a part of Seven (the series)? Why should people read the series?

RS: Last year, Eric Walters called me up in the lull between finishing a book, performing CPR on twins and swimming Lake Superior (that Eric – a busy guy). “I want seven great Canadian writers.” he said. “We’re going to write linked novels – a grandfather with seven grandsons sends them on seven adventures. All the books will be launched on the same day – a first in Canadian publishing!”

He was excited even for Eric, which is like Eeyore being extra doleful. I let him persuade me to join the team. The series sounded genuinely interesting. “There are no rules,” he said. “You write your kind of book. I want different voices. Are you with me, Richard? All for one, and all for fun!” (He didn’t really say that last part – I made it up).

So now the series is ready to go and it really is an amazing collection. There’s adventure, humour, tragedy, mystery, history – even a little weirdness. We want to encourage boys to read, but girls will like the books, too. Each is a stand-alone, but it’s fascinating the way they interconnect.

GL: Your character, Bunny’s, mission from his grandfather is to get a tattoo. What made you land on this storyline?

RS: Well, on my chest I have this amazing tattoo of a galleon in full sail. There’s a crocodile swimming underneath with a bleeding heart in its jaws, and a mermaid, and then sun is going down in the distance. The whole thing took days to do. Four colour. Kind of epic…

OK, fine. So actually my son has that tattoo – not quite so elaborate but pretty impressive nonetheless. I got a text from him while he was getting it done. I was in front of a school at the time. The text said: Pain. So much pain.

I am intrigued at the way tattoos have gone from counterculture to mainstream – like long hair in the 1960s and ’70s – and yet the tattoo is so much more individual than a hairstyle, and more of a commitment. I wanted my hero to deal with the idea of commitment, and to find a way to belong to a group that was not his family.

GL: Bunny is the younger brother of Spencer, the lead character in Ted Staunton’s Jump Cut. How challenging was it to ensure these stories complemented each other and were consistent in detail? Would you take part in a multi-author series again?

RS: Ted’s a good friend and we spent a long, loud evening working out our family dynamics (Scotch may have been involved). When we wrote our stories, we ended up borrowing plotlines from each other, and the books dovetail even though they tell individual stories (Ted’s is hilarious).

There were some tricky moments, because the two brothers actually speak on the phone and text each other and we had to get the dialogue right. I recall the series editor, Sarah Harvey, using some pretty tough language and counting her gray hairs.  

And I vividly recall the look of horror on Ted’s face when I told him his finished story ended a day too soon for mine. “What do you mean?” he said. “I’m writing the big scene in my story,” I said, “And it takes place on the Monday. I need you to add a day somewhere.” I won’t write what he said back, but he went to work and found a brilliant solution to the problem (Scotch may have been involved), and he admits now that his story is better for the extra day.

Would I work with another author again? Sure – as long as the editor works as hard as Sarah did, and there’s plenty to drink.

 

GL: You teach at the Humber College School for Writers. What’s the best part about your job, and what do you hope each student walks away with by the end of the semester?

RS: Like I say at the beginning of term: I cannot make you good. Only you can make you good. What I can do is make you better.

I’m not an all-knowing academic lecturing from a distance. I’m more like an old-time boxing trainer, wearing a flashy suit and smoking a big cigar, leaning over the ropes to tell my fighter to keep the hands up the next round, to jab harder.

When I read a story at the end of term and realize how much better it is than the story from six months ago – that’s a great feeling. The student and I have finished a long journey together. And when that student goes on to get published, as hundreds of Humber grads have, well, that’s like your kid bringing home a report card full of A-pluses.

GL: If you weren’t an author, what would you be doing?

RS: Being an artist of any kind is not all that you are – but it’s a large part. If I did not get paid to write I would do whatever it was I did to pay the rent – waiting tables, selling encyclopedias, going to board meetings, handing out parking tickets (ugh) – and keep writing any way. It’s kind of like a religion. You may not go to church, but you don’t stop believing.

-----

More than 12 years ago, Debra Goldblatt-Sadowski launched rock-it promotions, a full-service public relations firm. She has had the opportunity to work with Helen Mirren, James Brown and more, while rock-it promotions clients include the Drake Hotel and Fashion Design Council of Canada, among others. Visit www.rockitpromo.com, www.onthefourthfloor.com or at @rockitpromo

ENTERTAINMENT: The Guest List talks with author Richard Scrimger

Blog Post Oct 10, 2012

Richard Scrimger is the award-winning author of more than 15 books for children and adults.

Scrimger’s books have appeared on lists such as ALA’s Kid's Pick and ALA’s Notable, and his middle-school novel The Nose from Jupiter won the Mr. Christie Award. His books have been translated into Dutch, French, German, Thai, Korean, Portuguese, Slovenian, Italian and Polish. The father of four children, he has written humorous pieces about his family life for publications such as the Globe and Mail and Chatelaine.

I’m most excited about his newest book, Ink Me, which is part of Seven (the series). Published by Orca Book Publishers, Seven is one of the coolest series I’ve ever heard of.

Premise: When David McLean, beloved grandfather and avid adventurer, dies at the age of 92, he leaves a very unusual will outlining seven tasks he has set for his seven grandsons. Watch the trailer.

Seven authors (including Eric Walters, Ted Staunton and more) have written one of the seven grandsons’ adventures, and all the stories are all interconnected.

They take place at roughly the same time, which means they can be read in any order. All were released on the same day earlier this month – it’s never been done before in the Canadian publishing world.

The series and the authors will be at the International Festival of Authors Friday, Oct. 26 at Harbourfront Centre. There will also be a public book launch at Ben McNally Bookstore (366 Bay St., 12th floor) Oct. 26 from 6 to 8 p.m.

GL: Can you share how you came to be a part of Seven (the series)? Why should people read the series?

RS: Last year, Eric Walters called me up in the lull between finishing a book, performing CPR on twins and swimming Lake Superior (that Eric – a busy guy). “I want seven great Canadian writers.” he said. “We’re going to write linked novels – a grandfather with seven grandsons sends them on seven adventures. All the books will be launched on the same day – a first in Canadian publishing!”

He was excited even for Eric, which is like Eeyore being extra doleful. I let him persuade me to join the team. The series sounded genuinely interesting. “There are no rules,” he said. “You write your kind of book. I want different voices. Are you with me, Richard? All for one, and all for fun!” (He didn’t really say that last part – I made it up).

So now the series is ready to go and it really is an amazing collection. There’s adventure, humour, tragedy, mystery, history – even a little weirdness. We want to encourage boys to read, but girls will like the books, too. Each is a stand-alone, but it’s fascinating the way they interconnect.

GL: Your character, Bunny’s, mission from his grandfather is to get a tattoo. What made you land on this storyline?

RS: Well, on my chest I have this amazing tattoo of a galleon in full sail. There’s a crocodile swimming underneath with a bleeding heart in its jaws, and a mermaid, and then sun is going down in the distance. The whole thing took days to do. Four colour. Kind of epic…

OK, fine. So actually my son has that tattoo – not quite so elaborate but pretty impressive nonetheless. I got a text from him while he was getting it done. I was in front of a school at the time. The text said: Pain. So much pain.

I am intrigued at the way tattoos have gone from counterculture to mainstream – like long hair in the 1960s and ’70s – and yet the tattoo is so much more individual than a hairstyle, and more of a commitment. I wanted my hero to deal with the idea of commitment, and to find a way to belong to a group that was not his family.

GL: Bunny is the younger brother of Spencer, the lead character in Ted Staunton’s Jump Cut. How challenging was it to ensure these stories complemented each other and were consistent in detail? Would you take part in a multi-author series again?

RS: Ted’s a good friend and we spent a long, loud evening working out our family dynamics (Scotch may have been involved). When we wrote our stories, we ended up borrowing plotlines from each other, and the books dovetail even though they tell individual stories (Ted’s is hilarious).

There were some tricky moments, because the two brothers actually speak on the phone and text each other and we had to get the dialogue right. I recall the series editor, Sarah Harvey, using some pretty tough language and counting her gray hairs.  

And I vividly recall the look of horror on Ted’s face when I told him his finished story ended a day too soon for mine. “What do you mean?” he said. “I’m writing the big scene in my story,” I said, “And it takes place on the Monday. I need you to add a day somewhere.” I won’t write what he said back, but he went to work and found a brilliant solution to the problem (Scotch may have been involved), and he admits now that his story is better for the extra day.

Would I work with another author again? Sure – as long as the editor works as hard as Sarah did, and there’s plenty to drink.

 

GL: You teach at the Humber College School for Writers. What’s the best part about your job, and what do you hope each student walks away with by the end of the semester?

RS: Like I say at the beginning of term: I cannot make you good. Only you can make you good. What I can do is make you better.

I’m not an all-knowing academic lecturing from a distance. I’m more like an old-time boxing trainer, wearing a flashy suit and smoking a big cigar, leaning over the ropes to tell my fighter to keep the hands up the next round, to jab harder.

When I read a story at the end of term and realize how much better it is than the story from six months ago – that’s a great feeling. The student and I have finished a long journey together. And when that student goes on to get published, as hundreds of Humber grads have, well, that’s like your kid bringing home a report card full of A-pluses.

GL: If you weren’t an author, what would you be doing?

RS: Being an artist of any kind is not all that you are – but it’s a large part. If I did not get paid to write I would do whatever it was I did to pay the rent – waiting tables, selling encyclopedias, going to board meetings, handing out parking tickets (ugh) – and keep writing any way. It’s kind of like a religion. You may not go to church, but you don’t stop believing.

-----

More than 12 years ago, Debra Goldblatt-Sadowski launched rock-it promotions, a full-service public relations firm. She has had the opportunity to work with Helen Mirren, James Brown and more, while rock-it promotions clients include the Drake Hotel and Fashion Design Council of Canada, among others. Visit www.rockitpromo.com, www.onthefourthfloor.com or at @rockitpromo

ENTERTAINMENT: The Guest List talks with author Richard Scrimger

Blog Post Oct 10, 2012

Richard Scrimger is the award-winning author of more than 15 books for children and adults.

Scrimger’s books have appeared on lists such as ALA’s Kid's Pick and ALA’s Notable, and his middle-school novel The Nose from Jupiter won the Mr. Christie Award. His books have been translated into Dutch, French, German, Thai, Korean, Portuguese, Slovenian, Italian and Polish. The father of four children, he has written humorous pieces about his family life for publications such as the Globe and Mail and Chatelaine.

I’m most excited about his newest book, Ink Me, which is part of Seven (the series). Published by Orca Book Publishers, Seven is one of the coolest series I’ve ever heard of.

Premise: When David McLean, beloved grandfather and avid adventurer, dies at the age of 92, he leaves a very unusual will outlining seven tasks he has set for his seven grandsons. Watch the trailer.

Seven authors (including Eric Walters, Ted Staunton and more) have written one of the seven grandsons’ adventures, and all the stories are all interconnected.

They take place at roughly the same time, which means they can be read in any order. All were released on the same day earlier this month – it’s never been done before in the Canadian publishing world.

The series and the authors will be at the International Festival of Authors Friday, Oct. 26 at Harbourfront Centre. There will also be a public book launch at Ben McNally Bookstore (366 Bay St., 12th floor) Oct. 26 from 6 to 8 p.m.

GL: Can you share how you came to be a part of Seven (the series)? Why should people read the series?

RS: Last year, Eric Walters called me up in the lull between finishing a book, performing CPR on twins and swimming Lake Superior (that Eric – a busy guy). “I want seven great Canadian writers.” he said. “We’re going to write linked novels – a grandfather with seven grandsons sends them on seven adventures. All the books will be launched on the same day – a first in Canadian publishing!”

He was excited even for Eric, which is like Eeyore being extra doleful. I let him persuade me to join the team. The series sounded genuinely interesting. “There are no rules,” he said. “You write your kind of book. I want different voices. Are you with me, Richard? All for one, and all for fun!” (He didn’t really say that last part – I made it up).

So now the series is ready to go and it really is an amazing collection. There’s adventure, humour, tragedy, mystery, history – even a little weirdness. We want to encourage boys to read, but girls will like the books, too. Each is a stand-alone, but it’s fascinating the way they interconnect.

GL: Your character, Bunny’s, mission from his grandfather is to get a tattoo. What made you land on this storyline?

RS: Well, on my chest I have this amazing tattoo of a galleon in full sail. There’s a crocodile swimming underneath with a bleeding heart in its jaws, and a mermaid, and then sun is going down in the distance. The whole thing took days to do. Four colour. Kind of epic…

OK, fine. So actually my son has that tattoo – not quite so elaborate but pretty impressive nonetheless. I got a text from him while he was getting it done. I was in front of a school at the time. The text said: Pain. So much pain.

I am intrigued at the way tattoos have gone from counterculture to mainstream – like long hair in the 1960s and ’70s – and yet the tattoo is so much more individual than a hairstyle, and more of a commitment. I wanted my hero to deal with the idea of commitment, and to find a way to belong to a group that was not his family.

GL: Bunny is the younger brother of Spencer, the lead character in Ted Staunton’s Jump Cut. How challenging was it to ensure these stories complemented each other and were consistent in detail? Would you take part in a multi-author series again?

RS: Ted’s a good friend and we spent a long, loud evening working out our family dynamics (Scotch may have been involved). When we wrote our stories, we ended up borrowing plotlines from each other, and the books dovetail even though they tell individual stories (Ted’s is hilarious).

There were some tricky moments, because the two brothers actually speak on the phone and text each other and we had to get the dialogue right. I recall the series editor, Sarah Harvey, using some pretty tough language and counting her gray hairs.  

And I vividly recall the look of horror on Ted’s face when I told him his finished story ended a day too soon for mine. “What do you mean?” he said. “I’m writing the big scene in my story,” I said, “And it takes place on the Monday. I need you to add a day somewhere.” I won’t write what he said back, but he went to work and found a brilliant solution to the problem (Scotch may have been involved), and he admits now that his story is better for the extra day.

Would I work with another author again? Sure – as long as the editor works as hard as Sarah did, and there’s plenty to drink.

 

GL: You teach at the Humber College School for Writers. What’s the best part about your job, and what do you hope each student walks away with by the end of the semester?

RS: Like I say at the beginning of term: I cannot make you good. Only you can make you good. What I can do is make you better.

I’m not an all-knowing academic lecturing from a distance. I’m more like an old-time boxing trainer, wearing a flashy suit and smoking a big cigar, leaning over the ropes to tell my fighter to keep the hands up the next round, to jab harder.

When I read a story at the end of term and realize how much better it is than the story from six months ago – that’s a great feeling. The student and I have finished a long journey together. And when that student goes on to get published, as hundreds of Humber grads have, well, that’s like your kid bringing home a report card full of A-pluses.

GL: If you weren’t an author, what would you be doing?

RS: Being an artist of any kind is not all that you are – but it’s a large part. If I did not get paid to write I would do whatever it was I did to pay the rent – waiting tables, selling encyclopedias, going to board meetings, handing out parking tickets (ugh) – and keep writing any way. It’s kind of like a religion. You may not go to church, but you don’t stop believing.

-----

More than 12 years ago, Debra Goldblatt-Sadowski launched rock-it promotions, a full-service public relations firm. She has had the opportunity to work with Helen Mirren, James Brown and more, while rock-it promotions clients include the Drake Hotel and Fashion Design Council of Canada, among others. Visit www.rockitpromo.com, www.onthefourthfloor.com or at @rockitpromo