Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Edo van Belkom

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Ten Questions with Edo van Belkom

Happy Halloween! To celebrate the holiday, we've asked Silver Birch, Bram Stoker and Aurora Award-winning author Edo van Belkom to answer Open Book's Ten Questions. His latest YA novel, Wolf Man, was published by Tundra Books this fall. Van Belkom is the author of more than thirty books, including Wolf Pack, Lone Wolf and Cry Wolf. He is also the editor of several anthologies, including two created especially for younger readers, Be Afraid!, a Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book of the Year finalist, and its sequel, Be Very Afraid! In addition, van Belkom has published more than 200 short stories of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and mystery. His website is www.vanbelkom.com.

OB:

Tell us about your novel, Wolf Man.

EVB:

Wolf Man is the fourth book in my Wolf Pack series. It features a newly created werewolf (born in the final pages of the third book in the series, Cry Wolf) who terrorizes the citizens of Redstone, who in turn take up arms to protect themselves.

OB:

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

EVB:

I did. I wrote all of these books for myself at age 10 or so. I so wanted to read adventure stories with teeth and that had some fantasy to it, but that I could still relate to my everyday life. So, those are the kinds of books I wrote. I’m pleased that the books have been successful with boys, so perhaps I achieved what I set out to do.

OB:

What writers sparked your interest in science fiction, fantasy and horror?

EVB:

My three all-time favorite writers are Ray Bradbury, Robert Bloch and Richard Matheson. If people don’t know who they are, I suggest looking them up. You’d be amazed at how much of their work you’re already familiar with.

OB:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

EVB:

I’ve never known such a thing. All of my writing has been done with interruptions from family and friends and in snippets and bites. I don’t think I’d be able to write very well if I were ever stuck on a deserted island. I’ve always fit my writing in when I could and that seems to suit me. If I had to create a perfect writing environment, it would be a room with a light over the door which I could switch on whenever I didn’t want to be disturbed. But with my luck that light would burn itself out in days and I’d be back where I started.

OB:

What was your first publication?

EVB:

My first short story sale was “Baseball Memories” which was published in Aethlon: The Journal of Sports Literature, published by the English Department at East Tennessee State University. A pretty obscure publication, but the story was picked up and reprinted in Year’s Best Horror Stories 20, so a few more people read it then.

OB:

What are you reading right now?

EVB:

Old Flames by Jack Ketchum. He’s a terrific horror writer and I buy and read anything he publishes as soon as I find it in the store.

OB:

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

EVB:

Wild Things Live Here (The Best of Northern Frights), edited by Don Hutchison, a collection of scary stories by Canadian authors and about Canada.

The National Dream and The last Spike, by Pierre Berton. I know they’re two books, but he wrote them as one… besides, Pierre Berton was a very cool guy and a great Canadian and any intro to Canadian anything should include some of his work.

The Game by Ken Dryden. A work about our national game is appropriate I think. It would give a newcomer the idea that hockey is very important in this country.

OB:

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

EVB:

Joe R. Lansdale once answered the question, “How do I become a writer?” by saying, “You put your ass in a seat in front of a typewriter (or computer, or pen and paper) and you don’t get up until you’ve written something. That’s good advice and it also demystifies the writing process to make it seem more like work… which it is. That’s what most people don’t understand. Writing is hard work.

OB:

Describe the most memorable response you’ve received from a reader.

EVB:

In the months before Wolf Pack won the Silver Birch Award, I was visiting a rural elementary school and signing books. A girl was there waiting her turn and she was holding a copy of Wolf Pack very close to her chest. When she asked for an autograph I asked her if she’d read the book. She said she’d read it twice. Well, I was left speechless. Writing books and getting them published is one thing, but hearing from actual readers who love the book enough to read it multiple times, well, that’s what we all hope for when we begin our careers.

OB:

What is your next project?

EVB:

I’m currently writing another Mark Dalton novel for Natural Resources Canada. That’s right, this will be my second full novel to be published by the Canadian government. The books feature my private detective truck driver whose adventures help long-haul truckers drive with more fuel efficiency. The first book was a hit with truckers, and when they asked for a sequel, NRCan delivered. The book will be out in 2009.






Read more about Wolf Man at Tundra Books website.

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