National Family Literacy Day

This year for National Family Day I thought I'd share a few Saskatchewan authors.

One of our favourite series is the Tunnels of Time. There is a magic about them tunnels that sucks us in!

The very shocking ending and the thrilling writing of Cambrian will haunt ya. 

Who Has Seen The Wind was filmed in a town not far from where I live. 

I enjoyed the very interesting tale of Dust. Love it when magic happens on the prairies.

Margaret Atwood isn't from Saskatchewan, but she is Canadian. So I'll squeeze her in the list, because I can.

Books by Saskatchewan authors

And some French ones. ;) 

Have you enjoyed any books lately by authors from your area?

A Peek Into Your Life, Dave Weaver

A peek into your life, is a segment spotlighting authors, specialists, and friends who brave my countless questions day in and day out. It's the best way I can share with you all, the many people who taught me the bizarre things I know, who satisfy my thirst for knowledge and adventure, and who keep me motivated.

I am excited to have Dave Weaver in my reality!!! I came across his books because we share a great publisher: Elsewhen Press. And well, his bio had me curious because he claims to write about strange and weirdness, and... well... it's always nice to meet another strange and weirdness writer.

I kept seeing the title page for Jacey's Kingdom and it had me curious. 

In a summary, it is about Jacey and George. They aren't a couple, but there is some type of magical connection between them. Jacey collapses with a brain tumour during a history exam, bringing her exam to life in her mind while she struggles to survive surgery. George is somehow brought into her dreams through a very cool and exciting twist.

I love this type of story and this did not disappoint. It's about dreams and magic interconnecting through history and the real world. Everything flowed naturally taking me from the dream world Jacey uses to survive the coma to the real one... until I wasn't sure which was which anymore! Seeing the modern-world heroes dumped in a magical historical past with kings and knights was amusing, and little bits kept me laughing, especially George and the musician on tour. What I especially enjoyed was how George got a second chance to grow up, just like Jacey. It was a fun read with magical messages interwoven in it and I recommend it for anyone who likes to escape into history every now and again.

Dave has many other books and a great blog CLICK HERE. I can't wait to tackle these reads, too!

But enough about me. Let's meet Dave.

Tell us a bit about Jacey's Kingdom, where the idea came from and what readers should expect.
I'm a big fan of the whimsical films of the early forties, both British and American, which take characters out of their normal situation, usually due to some catastrophic accident or turn of fate ('A Matter of Life and Death', 'A Yankee at the Court of King Arthur', even 'The Wizard of Oz') and place them in a fantasy world inside their own heads. In this threatening yet enlightening environment they are forced to confront a number of symbolic challenges to survive or perish in the 'real' world, which change their perception of their own lives and relationships. 

My first novel 'Jacey's Kingdom' is about a brilliant eighteen year old girl student who collapses with a brain tumour at her final history exam and finds herself in such a world; only this time in early Saxon England, the very subject of her exam. She meets a stranger; a middle-aged man who can't remember his own name after a disastrous accident, and they grudgingly set off to find a way out of 'the dream', helped and threatened by the warring Romano British and Saxon tribes who treat Jacey as an exotic sorceress (she is half-Nigerian) they have apparently been expecting to help them on a dangerous quest for power. 

These stories all play on both modern protagonists' foreknowledge of historical settings and their adapting to the all too real physical dangers they find themselves in. My story also has a time-travelling spin which puts several twists on their personal situation. It also makes it quite funny.

Do you find a message emerges in your writing naturally?
I don't really have a 'message' but the theme I try to pursue is the slippery nature of so-called reality; how we perceive the world in different stress situations, how things we seem sure of are never quite what they seem on the surface. I think karma comes into play in most of my short stories as well, so perhaps the message is 'don't be so sure you know what's going on - you probably don't'. That's as much for the reader as the characters.

Who was your favourite character to write?
Simon from my latest Elsewhen Press book 'The Black Hole Bar'. 

This is a collection of science fictions stories told by a disparate group of writers in a darkly lit and grungy bar high up on level five of Docklands Spaceport near the dirty-bombed ruins of old London. 

The year is 2085 and Simon is an in-house hack for Me-Grade methane mining corp, about to catch a shuttle rocket to Titan for six months to write a dull company report. He's a good guy but in a bad way personally, his wife is probably having an affair with her electro real-tennis coach and his son has become a stranger to him. As an alternative to getting insensible he barges his way into a closed writer's night in said bar and persuades them to let him join their competition. 

Each of the motley band read two short stories then all judge a winner for The Rock (a piece of meteorite) but outside events and crises from the world of 2085 keep making their presence felt between the critiques, arguments and sexual sparring inside the bar. 

There's a touch of the hard-boiled world weariness about Simon but underneath he's looking for love and redemption; a lot to find in one night, but not impossible.

What are you currently working on?
The novel I've just finished but not yet had published is called 'The Unseen'. It is about a recovering alcoholic, John Mason, who believes he has special 'second sight' others don't. We join him as he is about to buy a picturesque old cottage in Epping Forest. It's a year since John's wife Judith died in a car accident whilst the couple were on holiday, caused inadvertently by John reacting to a woman standing in the middle of a quiet country road, a vision he tells us only he could see. 

Recently, dreams of the cottage have replaced his nightmares of the crash, to the extent that John feels Judith is communicating with him, pointing him to the place where he can find her spirit once again. But a new, darker dream introduces him to a girl from the early twenties named Evangeline who seems to be haunting the place. With his step-daughter coming from university to stay the summer and other bizarre incidents and visions escalating beyond his control John involves the local village vicar in an attempt to understand and defeat the historic forces at work. The man seems to know far more than he should about the girl's past though. 

There is a twisted eroticism and genuine evil at play around John's new home. In attempting to lay the past he could be in danger of losing the present, not to mention his own mind. The story has a touch of the Hammer Horror but is more of a psychological mystery.

I have goosebumps! Sounds thrilling.

Tell us a bit about how you write and where.
I do my best writing on my laptop at a desk in the bedroom and almost always there although occasionally I do a little after-hours at work. I need quiet, door shut, then just try to get a few lines down to start with; sometimes not much more but usually that can spread to a couple of hours. 

I'm not aware of time passing when I write. I don't do it to a regular pattern, just when I've a few spare hours or late at night; often when I want something to read at my local Writers' group the next night or so. 

Once I'm really into the story I can do quite a bit over a few weeks but it's very ponderous at the start. I don't plan out the story in writing but I have a map of the general way things will go in my head before I start with a few vivid plotline scenes including the end (although that will probably change if something better occurs to me). I'm a pretty sloppy planner generally because either: a) I like to keep it fresh and flexible or b), I'm a bit lazy that way. I'd like to think 'a)' but I'll never be the type of guy who sticks thirty-nine chapter post-it notes around the wall before I begin Chapter One.

I think I underwrite, I don't edit that much and not as I go along unless it's daft or ungrammatical. 

What books would you recommend for other writers?
I recommend Steven King's 'On Writing'; a snappy yet detailed manual on the art of writing a book from concept to application and editing. It also sets down in excruciating detail the events of the traffic accident that almost killed him and slow painful recovery to start writing again. 

To learn how to write with wickedly cruel humour, perfect timing, pathos and humanity, the funniest book I've ever read is 'Billy Liar on the Moon' by Keith Waterhouse. It's simply an over-looked comic masterpiece.

I enjoyed On Writing! I walked around reading quotes from it for months! lol

Give us a peek at what it feels like to be a writer.
I'm proud of my family and the fact that I've managed to have some books actually published, even though I only started writing about thirteen years ago. I love being a writer, it tops anything else I've achieved (not tricky) and although the process can be a bit of a grind, even though sometimes inspired, the end result is one of the most satisfying feelings you can achieve; to take something from inside your own head and fashion it into a real living world full of people you magically conjured into existence. Its not a small thing. 

It is not a small thing, congratulations! And keep 'em coming.

What is the most inspiring place you've been and how did you incorporate it into your writing?
Going to Japan and seeing the landscape and people (my wife is Japanese) inspired me to write my second novel, 'Japanese Daisy Chain', an interconnected collection of dramatic short stories based on the social constructs and cultural habits of modern Japanese society. 

It's a wonderfully rich setting for drama and just-beneath-the-surface strangeness quite unlike anywhere else I've been and like most visitors I felt ever so slightly changed by the experience. 

Thanks for the peek, Dave! It was just a peek, but I learnt so much about you and your fascinating stories!

What would you like to ask Dave? Now's your chance while I have him in my reality.

Oh, and check out this awesome trailer!!!!