Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Questionless Books Interview: Novelist and Blogger Chad Pelley

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The Questionless Books Interview: Novelist and Blogger Chad Pelley

In The Questionless Books Interview, I get a whole bunch of books people (from authors to editors to publishers to sales/publicity/production people, booksellers, designers, librarians, readers, etc) to "answer" a series of unspoken "questions". The results highlight a delightful mix of the opportunities and challenges facing our sector: from doom and gloom to sunshine and rainbows, and every irony in between.

Chad Pelley is a multi-award-winning writer from St. John’s, Newfoundland. His debut novel, Away from Everywhere, was a Coles bestseller, won the NLAC’s CBC Emerging Artist of the Year award, and was shortlisted for the for 2010 ReLit award, as well as the Canadian Authors Association Emerging Writer of the Year award. Chad facilitates a creative writing course at Memorial University, sits on the board of directors at the Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland & Labrador, runs Salty, and has written for a variety of publications, such as Quill & Quire, The Telegram and Atlantic Books Today.

Chad's Links:

Chad's book
On the Line Magazine

I am... Chad Pelley?

I am known to... write “depressing fiction” that I consider “honest writing.”

I do this in... my home office, that I’ve painted a shade of grey I thought might evoke poignant literary fiction.

I do this because... I feel like my fiction is a conversation am having with myself, that I couldn’t have with anyone else, or in any other way than playing God with fictional people.

I do this when I... should be outside enjoying a sunny day, like the rest of the world.

The way I do this is... painful. I live by the Wilde quote, “A Piece of writing is never finished, it is merely abandoned,” and I revise like Oscar’s shouting that every time I think my agent can start shopping me now.

At his/her core, a Writer is... a quixotic fool who is experiencing life so passionately there’s a need to wrap it up in words.

As opposed to an Author, who is... the above with more ambition, constraints, and royalty cheques.

A Writer is responsible for... every last twinge of mental anguish involved in being a writer: from the daunting blink of a cursor, to the sentence that won’t sound right, to the deer in the headlights moment at a festival panel or live on air.

As opposed to an Author, who is responsible for... trusting their agent, editor, and first readers.

At its core, Publishing is... the gentle collision of an ancient art with modern marketing.

As opposed to Editing, which is... like taking your work to a beauty parlour. And one that can give a bald man Bieber hair, when you find the right editor.

A Publisher should always... act like it’s a partnership.

As opposed to an Editor, who should always... be the opposite of your flaws.

A Manuscript that's ready to be read by others is... in fact not ready to be seen by others, but you don’t know that until the minute it exchanges hands and every bad sentence in the book starts to flare, and you feel naked and unsightly.

As opposed to a Book that's ready to be ready by others, which is... going to haunt you for calling it a book instead of a work that’s still in progress.

A Manuscript should always... feel like the zit-faced teenager in a bad photos from the 80s, or it should feel like it is in that dream where its naked and all his flaws are showing.

As opposed to a Book, which should always... feel dapper and ready for the show; or at least be tip top enough that you can move on to the next project without feeling like there’s a run in its pantyhose or it’s got a bad tie on.

At its core, Bookselling is... an accelerated intellectual art in which one pairs personality with the right book, but is often butchered by most chain store employees who think everyone must love Dan Brown because everyone loves Dan Brown. (No offense to Dan Brown, whom I’ve never read, but who is always the suggested substitute for what they’re not stocking)

As opposed to Book Marketing, which is... also butchered. Every book is not the same, and deserves its own campaign. Book marketing is a bore these day, but it could be a blast..

The smallest unit of narrative is... is the blinking cursor or the thought you haven’t had time to get on paper.

The biggest reason to anticipate the future is... the dwindling attention span and free time of the modern reader.

The biggest reason to be scared of the future is... the eBook pirates might be more like thieves than all the well-articulated “fear not piracy” advocates believe.

In the future we will all... talk romantically of the print book.

At his/her core, a Reader is... 2 more dollars in my bank account, but also someone whose time and readership means more to me than 2 dollars.

However, the ideal reader is... yourself, as a reader, were you not the writer of that book.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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George Murray

George Murray’s six books of poetry include The Rush to Here and The Hunter. His most recent books, Whiteout and Glimpse: Selected Aphorisms, are published by ECW Press. He is the editor of the popular literary website

Go to George Murray’s Author Page