Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Halloween Special! The WAR Series, Writers as Readers, with Liisa Ladouceur

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Liisa Ladouceur

It's no trick — we've got all the literary treats you could need right here at Open Book: Toronto. And in honour of the spookiest holiday, we're chatting with Liisa Ladouceur, the author of How to Kill a Vampire (ECW Press). From the darkest ancient folklore to sexy, modern bloodsuckers, Liisa's book takes readers on a journey through all the known ways to prevent vampirism and protect oneself — and most importantly, how to dispatch the undead once and for all.

Liisa talks with us as part of the WAR Series: Writers As Readers, which gives writers an opportunity to talk about the books that shaped them, from first loves to new favourites.

Read on to hear from Liisa about skipping class in favour of the library, some excellent further reading suggestions for vampire lovers and reading Playboy for the articles (no, really).
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The WAR Series, Writers as Readers

The first book I remember reading on my own:
Book of Nursery and Mother Goose Rhymes, illustrated by Marguerite de Angeli. I am sure of this because still have it here on my shelf, my childish crayon edits and all. It is filled with illustrations of cats, but my favourite drawing was of the maiden waiting on Johnny to get back from the fair.

A book that made me cry:
Too many to count. Almost every volume of poetry by Margaret Atwood, Anne Carson, Susan Musgrave, Pablo Neruda, Leonard Cohen, etc. etc.

The first adult book I read:
Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Our primary school class had gone to see the Polanski film in the theatre and I was enthralled. With the witches. With the decapitated head. So I read the book in the school library — which is where teachers sent me to hide out during the religion classes my mother and I objected to me attending. (Got to love French public schools in the 1970s.)

A book that made me laugh out loud:
Bigfoot: I Not Dead by Graham Roumieu. Funny ha-ha and funny peculiar. Brevity is the soul of wit, and all that….

The book I have re-read many times:
Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The ultimate vampire tale. Each time I notice something new.

A book I feel like I should have read, but haven't:
Ulysses. Anything by Hunter S. Thompson.

The book I would give my seventeen-year-old self, if I could:
How to Win Friends and Influence People.

A book I feel strongly influenced me as a writer and why:
S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders. As a teenager who had memorized every passage, I distinctly recall being floored to learn she had written it in high school, and I decided not to wait to write what I wanted to write. As an adult, I would add Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain and those collections of Playboy interviews: they taught me how to be a better listener and journalist.

The best book I read in the past six months:
Joyce Carol Oates’ The Accursed. A sublimely gothic vampire story.

The book I plan on reading next:
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. I saw him read from it last month, and he signed my copy “dream dangerous.” I’ve been waiting for autumnal weather to curl up with it.

A possible title for my autobiography:
What a great question! Is Goodnight Moon already taken? Then I’ll go with a lyric from one of my favourite songs by Lykke Li: Sadness, I’m Your Girl.


Liisa Ladouceur is a lifelong vampire lover and journalist who covers horror and the dark side of culture for publications including Rue Morgue magazine. She is the author of Encyclopedia Gothica (2011) and lives in Toronto with a black cat.

For more information about How to Kill a Vampire please visit the ECW Press website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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