Open Book News

The Word on the Street interview series: Christopher Heard

Christopher Heard

Christopher Heard is the author of The Suite Life: The Magic and Mystery of Hotel Living (Dundurn).

Also well-known as a biographer and arts journalist, Christopher Heard talks today with Open Book as part our The Word on the Street interview series.

Open Book's interview series features authors appearing at the Vibrant Voices of Ontario tent, a brand-new element at WOTS which is supported by the OMDC (Ontario Media Development Corporation), and which features some of the best fiction, poetry and non-fiction being produced by writers and publishers in our fine province.

Stay tuned to Open Book: Toronto this month for more interviews and a series of exciting contests in partnership with Word on the Street!

Open Book:

Tell us about what you’ll be reading in the Vibrant Voices tent.

Christopher Heard:

I will be reading from my new book The Suite Life: The Magic and Mystery of Hotel Living, a book that I have been waiting all my life to write. It is about my love of the Fairmont Royal York hotel — my love of hotel culture in general — and my adventures as a long term hotel resident. I will read passages from the book that are very unique in that they could only have been written by me and in this book (I was conceived in the Royal York Hotel and was the only civilian allowed to remain in the hotel during the G20 meetings last summer to name a couple).


Have you attended Word on the Street in the past? If so, tell us about a favourite memory. If not, what are you most looking forward to?


I have attended as a fan for many years — in fact I never miss this festival — it is one of my favourite events held each year in the city. Circumstances have never arranged for me to be an actual participant as I am this year — and being able to be a featured author at the Word on the Street Festival is literally a kind of a dream come true for me — it is always something I have wanted to do.


The Vibrant Voices tent celebrates Ontario authored and published books. Tell us about a favourite Ontario author or book.


I have to say that my favourite Ontario author is David Gilmour — he and I was his co-host on the television show Gilmour on the Arts and he was a great mentoring voice for me as a young writer way back when my first book was being published. I just loved his last book The Film Club.


What’s the best advice about public readings you have ever received?


The best advice about public readings I have ever received was from Stephen King — I was interviewing him once about his life as an author and he told me to pick passages or stories from a book that would leave the audience wanting to hear/read even more — always stop short of telling them the whole story being described in the passage.


Word on the Street happens simultaneously in Toronto, Vancouver, Lethbridge, Saskatoon, Kitchener and Halifax. If you could be in two places at once, which WOTS festival (in addition to Toronto) would you attend on September 25?


I would have to say Halifax — for the simple reason that it is a city I have never visited and have always wanted to see.


What can you tell us about your next project?


My next project will be another look at hotel living but from a vastly different perspective and with a very different tone — this new book, tentatively title The Gryphon Arms, will be a more comedic look at life in a hotel that will be a fictionalized but still very accurate and truthful look at all the things that happen within the inner workings of a huge hotel.

Christopher Heardhas published biographies of Kiefer Sutherland, Britney Spears and Johnny Depp, among others, during his 13 years as a TV interviewer and film reviewer for the shows Gilmour on the Arts and Reel to Real. Heard currently co-hosts the radio travel show Planes, Trains and Automobiles and contributes weekly pop culture commentary to the radio show Toronto Weekend. He lives in Toronto.

For more information about The Suite Life please visit the Dundurn website.

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

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