Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Author Interview – Ian Truman @iantruman

Image of Ian Truman
Where do you get support from? Do you have friends in the industry?
I’m from the working class, so I have absolutely no friends in the industry. I have graduated with a few people who are starting to get jobs and positions, but nothing big so far. There’s this one guy, Benoit Lelièvre, who we met because I did an interview on a Scottish blog. He’s got his masters in comparative literature and he’s sort of a social media specialist but that’s as far as it goes in terms of connections.
The only people I’ve met who are doing anything artistic had to work hard to get their jobs or names out there and they still work hard every day and I feel lucky to have met so many of them in Montreal. Just to name a few (and google them if you’re curious about up-and-coming artists) : my spouse, Mary Lee Maynard, Amy Blackmore from Mainline Theatre (Al and Emoli too), Sterling Pache from Romantic Child Studios, Olivier Carpentier and Gauthier Langevin from Front Froid/Studio Lounak etc…)
How much sleep do you need to be your best?
Standard 8 hours. I do write better if I’m rested but I’d what’s more important to “be my best” is to be stress free of all things of life (food, bills, work etc…) I can only write well if all the general details of my daily grind are actually taken care of.
Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support?
Benoit Lelièvre from He’s into the whole noir stuff and we somehow met because of an Interview I did with a blog in Scotland and he commented on it and we got in touch after that. He edited A Teenage Suicide a few months later and I can safely say that the novel is much, much better thanks to him,
Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
I’d like to make a living out of this, and I don’t necessarily mean become rich, but just make a decent living. I’d probably still work some other job because I fell I need to do something with my hands as much as I need to do something with my mind, but making a living out of writing would be a success to me.
I guess I’m a bit selfish about writing. I really do it because I have these stories inside of me that need to get out. If I put it out there and it happens to me meaningful to somebody else, then I’d be happy about that, but the original drive behind my writing is all about what I have inside of me and that needs to get out.
That’s why I can’t really write for a newspaper or ghost write anything. If I don’t feel the story in my guts I won’t see it through. So far I’ve been lucky enough to have jobs that pay the bills and allow me to write at the same time. I guess that success would be to only write things that I really care about for the rest of my life.
It is vital to get exposure and target the right readers for your writing, tell us about your marketing campaign?
It is vital and it is hard. Marketing is also one of the things I hate the most. I have a hard time selling myself or selling my stuff. I do enjoy interviews and such because you actually get to talk about this or that and develop an idea. If you talk with someone long enough, there’s almost always a point when you’ll get into more interesting stuff like philosophy or how to write better stories, how to be more compelling visually, etc…
I like blog tours because you get to touch a bit of that but if someone put a camera to my face and say, “Sell us your shit.” I’d probably be terrible at it.
That said, the reality is that if you don’t look for your readers, they most likely will not find you so I have a few things going on. I have a blog tour, do a little bit of social networking (I’m not a fan of social networks, but I upkeep the necessary few like Facebook, Goodreads or WordPress). Also, since A Teenage Suicide is rooted in punk rock, I have the support of a few friends who have spent over a decade in various punk bands. They are starting a new label in Montreal, Sabotage, and they agreed to carry the paperback on their webstore. That’ll help me reach people who usually don’t buy that many books.
Aside from that, I do a few literary/artistic events every year. They add up to a few sales and some press in the local arts/college papers.
Anything helps in the end, so I do as much as possible.
Tell us about your new book? What’s it about and why did you write it?
The novel is titled A Teenage Suicide and it’s the story of a group of friends who are growing up in a one factory town. As the economy collapses and the factory closes, their outlook on life is challenged and the cluster of friends dissolves, leaving them to find their own paths and answer some tough questions.
In that sense, it’s very much a “traditional” coming of age story, very realistic. But since my background is close to punk rock and hardcore music, I wanted that aspect to be well developed as well. I’d like to think that anybody can read the novel and love/hate the characters without knowing anything about punk or skateboarding of hardcore. Maybe readers will get to understand why these kids spend so much time in shows and all.
The end result I was going for, what I was hoping that young readers would gain from the novel, is “the will to ambition.” You have all these characters who are starting to take different paths and they are all making decisions for better or worse. They are making these choices while friends and loved ones make different choices and question everything. Is it worth it to burn bridges? Is it necessary? Some friends are suffering, some are dying, are you going down the same path? Which path will you take as a person after you’ve read this?
If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask?
I feel lucky to be surrounded by so many good friends, so I’d say I have that diner party nearly every week…as long as I’m cooking. (Except for Sterling Pache, that guy can cook like a motherfucker!)
Maybe add Tim Barry. I’d like to meet Tim Barry someday.
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
Coffee and videogames. I read only when I’m already relaxed (and somehow coffee relaxes me) and like most people my age, there are a few videogames I like to play but I wouldn’t call myself a “gamer”.
There’s also this one park near the St-Lawrence in the east end of town (It’s actually the only park in the city where you can get to the shore of the river). When I’m really at the end of my roll, I can sit there and look at the water for an hour or so. Water is always relaxing.
Do you have any tips on how writers can relax?
Find yourself a river and a good cup of coffee. A flannel shirt helps. It gets cold on the shore.
How often do you write? And when do you write?
I have to write every day. I get angry if I don’t. If I don’t come up with new pages, I’ll write a blog post. If I don’t feel like doing that, I’ll edit some new project or Il translate my old books if I’m really bored. I try to get some work done every day regardless of what it is.
I mostly write in the morning because by 10 AM, life’s unrelenting bullshit keeps dragging me down. The regular (“real”) job is piling up, trucks are waiting, paperwork gets mixed up, people are asking for things I don’t really care about. I try to get some more work done on my lunch hour. We get a full hour for lunch so that’s good. After work I got to pick up the kid from school make supper, clean up the cat shit form the litter, give baths and then I’m too tired to do anything else than watch one episode of Game of Thrones and go to bed.
A Teenage Suicide
“All they really wanted to do was fuck around, be creative, listen to music, skateboard or go to shows. People kept telling them growing up was supposed to be tough but it’s not like they didn’t know that already. Timmy had listened. Timmy had finished school and got himself a job. That didn’t stop him from running his van into a pillar one night so what was the fucking use? Nobody seemed to have an answer.“
Conor and his friends are growing up in a one factory town where the most likely employment prospect is the assembly line or the farmer’s coop. Aiming higher than the local college, Conor finds himself spending more and more time in downtown Montreal, discovering himself through punk and hardcore music. But as his girlfriend wants nothing to do with the city and his friend Jake loses his brother when the factory closes, Conor’s ambitions could require him to burn bridges he might not be ready to burn.
With A Teenage Suicide, Ian wanted to write a story about kids making decisions and kids making mistakes. Stylistically, it is fair to mention influences of Truman Capote and Mordecai Richler. Imagine of the “cold-hard-fact” descriptions of In Cold Blood mixed with the realistic and witty dialogue of The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz.
Ian Truman is a hardcore kid turned writer. He proudly claims to be from a working class family and has been straight edge and vegetarian for at least a decade now. He hopes to bring the passion, verve and dedication of hardcore into the art form of the novel. Born and raised in Montreal, he is a graduate of Concordia University’s creative writing program. A Teenage Suicide is his third novel.
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Genre - Literary, Coming of Age
Rating – PG13
More details about the author and the book
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