Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Scott Carter

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Ten Questions with Scott Carter

Scott Carter talks to Open Book about "luck, chance and lineage" and his debut novel, Blind Luck (Darkstar Fiction).

Open Book: Toronto:

Tell us about your latest book, Blind Luck.

Scott Carter:

Blind Luck is about how Dave Bolden’s mundane life is changed forever after a bizarre accident when he is approached by an eccentric businessman, who interprets Dave’s survival as luck and sets out to exploit what he perceives as a gift. Further complicating Dave’s life is his strained relationship with his father, a life-long compulsive gambler. The more he interacts with his father, the more he realizes a series of events from his childhood support the theory that he is lucky. What transpires are a series of extreme tests of luck. As the stakes raise both financially and personally, Dave is left to decide whether his run of good fortune is a gift or a curse.

OBT:

Do you believe in luck or just coincidence?

SC:

The more I’m asked the question, the more I realize just how complex a question it is. Ultimately, I think it’s a matter of faith. People tend to have strong feelings one way or the other about the subject and those feelings represent their viewpoints about the world. I believe that taking risks puts you in better positions to achieve the things that people associate with good luck. However, I also acknowledge that life offers enough fodder for people who believe in more than coincidence.

OBT:

Do you draw on the people you know when you create your characters?

SC:

There are bits of people I know and behaviours I’ve observed in every character, but no one character is based on any one person. For example, people assume that the father in the book is based on my father, but the character is actually more like my mother. My mother loved me dearly, but she was gruff and aggressive. Yet she was also acerbic and funny, so while the character is not based on her, there are some of her rhythms in his spirit.

OBT:

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you wrote your book?

SC:

I didn’t write it thinking about a certain type of reader, but as soon as I started writing I knew the material was for people interested in the central themes of luck, chance and lineage.

OBT:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

SC:

Over the years I’ve become comfortable writing almost anywhere. Subways, restaurants, my backyard, on planes, in my kitchen, my office. But I do have quirks and preferences. When I’m at home, I can only write at home when I’m alone in the house. And I prefer to have access to music. I don’t listen to it while writing, but more as a warm up. Like verbal calisthenics.

OBT:

What was your first publication?

SC:

I published a lot of poetry and short fiction during university in campus papers and journals. But as far as short fiction goes after university, a short story called “Catharsis” when I was twenty-four in the literary journal Lichen, which is still going strong.

OBT:

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Canada” gift, what would those books be?

SC:

This is easy because they aren’t just three of my favourite Canadian books but three of my favourite books period. Craig Davidson’s Rust and Bone, Andrew Pyper’s Lost Girls and Brad Smith’s Big Man Coming Down the Road.

OBT:

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a writer?

SC:

Don’t learn to write, write to learn.

OBT:

What advice do you have for writers who are trying to get published?

SC:

Put in your ten-thousand hours wherever it is that you like to write, learn the business and listen to as many mentors as you can be around. I half-jokingly say to people that the country’s best novel is sitting in an introvert’s desk drawer in some small town. You’ve got to get out there.

OBT:

What is your next project?

SC:

I just finished a screenplay about the murder of a civil right’s activist set in Toronto’s Yorkville district in the sixties. And I’m in the early stages of a new novel, so I’m excited about that.


Scott Carter was born in Toronto and raised in the Beach neighbourhood. He obtained a B.A. with a specialist in English and a B.Ed. from the University of Toronto, where he co-hosted a radio show, "All the Way Live."

Scott began his career in publishing with an internship at ECW Press, followed by work as an editorial assistant at several publishers, including Canadian Scholar’s Press and Nelson. He began his writing career publishing poetry and short stories in small literary zines and literary journals across North America.

Scott is also a screenwriter, and his first short film debuted at the Exploding Cinema Film Festival in Los Angeles. His latest short film, The Unspoken Promise, was written for Bravo! Television. The Unspoken Promise played at the Reel World Film Festival before making its television debut in February, 2008. Since then he has worked on numerous feature films and short films with various companies, including his own Sad But True Entertainment, founded in 2007. Sad But True has produced a short for Bravo! television, a reality series and is now at work on several feature films.

Scott has been teaching high-school English for nine years and has worked on many literacy committees, plus the Toronto School Board’s Learning through the Arts program.

He still lives in Toronto’s Riverdale district with his family. Blind Luck is his first novel.

For more information about Blind Luck please visit the Darkstar Fiction website.

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

1 comment

Correction, Scott. Unfortunately, the literary journal Lichen, in which you published your first short story, is no longer "going strong." The last issue --
the "Missing Issue"-- came out in spring of 2007. They still maintain a web presence, however, and back issues can be ordered by mail.
Good luck with Blind Luck!

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