Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with William Gilkerson

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Ten Questions with William Gilkerson

Governor General’s Award-Winning author and artist William Gilkerson has spent years researching and painting his colourful history of pirates, A Thousand Years of Pirates (Tundra Books). One can almost hear the creak of timbers, the snap of canvas while turning the pages. This gift book is a rich treasure in its own right.

Open Book: Toronto:

Tell us about your book, A Thousand Years of Pirates.

William Gilkerson:

As the title implies, A Thousand Years of Pirates is meant to provide a chronology of western freebooters in the age of sail, in well researched text and pictures, touching the question as to why pirates and piracy have so tickled the interest of mankind. Why this ongoing interest, through the ages?

OBT:

How did you research your book?

WG:

With the very greatest care in every detail.

OBT:

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you wrote and illustrated A Thousand Years of Pirates?

WG:

No specific readership at all, expect everybody who likes the subject, and the way I’ve expressed it, which incorporates children on up.

OBT:

What was your first publication and where was it published?

WG:

My first book was Gilkerson on War, From Rocks Through Rockets, published by McGraw Hill, 1963. (Note: In 2008 this was reprinted by Osprey under the title From Rocks to Rockets, and redesigned as to cover, with no alteration to the pages, drawings, text, etc.)

OBT:

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

WG:

While engaging at full throttle, to keep yourself out of it.

OBT:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

WG:

One with no distractions, seldom realized.

OBT:

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

WG:

Being a Nova Scotian, my “welcome to Canada” book gift would be copies of the novel Rockbound by (My copy’s on loan – help!) and Chris Reardon’s brilliant photos of Louisebourg, plus my novel Pirate’s Passage.

OBT:

What are you reading right now?

WG:

The latest edition of The Economist magazine.

OBT:

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

 

WG:

Persist. Work until your work is good enough to be seen, and then continue working. Make it better. Work some more. The good news is that it does get better; the bad news is that it gets no easier at all, if everything’s working properly.

OBT:

What is your next project?

WG:

I’m working on a book profiling some exceptional teachers I’ve had, mostly outside school, some very colourful characters, each with their own wisdom.


William Gilkerson is a sailor, painter, journalist and historian. He is the author of ten nonfiction books on nautical topics as well as works of satire, art commentary and fiction. His two-volume treatise on the development of ship’s weapons, Boarders Away, is a standard text. His drawings, watercolors and oils have been featured in several major exhibitions and have been reproduced in books, magazines and on film. William Gilkerson lives in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia.

For more information about A Thousand Years of Pirates please visit the Tundra Books website at www.tundrabooks.com

For more information about William Gilkerson, visit www.williamgilkerson.com

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

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