James Roy is... Captain Grammatical!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

James Roy wrote a book called Town. He also wrote a lot of other books, but the first James Roy book I discovered was Town. In my mind (and I know a few tomatoes will be thrown in my direction because of this statement), Town was much, much better than Twilight. Town was real and raw and difficult stories and numerous voices that would have been extremely hard to pull off flow seamlessly and effortlessly. I don't think it could have been executed any better.

James Roy has a blog called Head Vs. Desk that you would be very wise to check out.

1. List the books you've written.
Almost Wednesday
Full Moon Racing
Hunting Elephants
Captain Mack
Billy Mack's War
A Boat for Bridget
Wrestlefest Fever
The Legend of Big Red
Ichabod Hart and the Lighthouse Mystery
Broken Wings
Queasy Rider
Problem Child / Max Quigley, Technically Not a Bully
The 'S' Word - a boys' guide to sex, puberty and growing up
Quentaris: The Gimlet Eye
Anonymity Jones (late 2009)
Edsel Grizzler: Voyage to Verdada

2. What three words would you use to describe yourself? (Don’t use the words ‘nice’, ‘pretty’ or ‘good’ because your Grade Six teacher will read this and be very disappointed)

Kind, driven, frugal

3. Complete this sentence: My teenage years were…

... sometimes lonely, always interesting, and full of 80s music, 80s haircuts and 80s fashion. I know.

4. Have you always wanted to write for young people? Or did you set out to become a brain surgeon and wind up stumbling down this path? Was the road to publication rocky for you?

I was a registered nurse before I was a writer, working mostly with children and adolescents. I hated being a nurse, and if I was only allowed to give my kids one bit of advice, it would be this: 'Don't do a job you hate for eighteen years.' But nursing taught me a lot about people, and allowed me the flexibility I needed as my writing became more profitable. Was being a writer a rocky journey? Not really - I was fortunate to catch the eye of a publisher after one rejection of Almost Wednesday, so that was good. I think you need some good fortune to be successful. Sure, you need to be able to write well, but no published author should ever believe that is their birthright.

5. Who were your biggest inspirations and idols growing up and today?

Growing up, CS Lewis and Roald Dahl. These days, it's writers like Kurt Vonnegut, Lloyd Jones and Terry Pratchett. I also find Markus Zusak's work pretty impressive. He'll probably do OK long-term... ;D

6. Who are your favourite authors and what novels do you love best?

As a kid, my favourite books were Danny the Champion of the World (Roald Dahl) The Narnia Chronicles, The Mouse and His Child (Russell Hoban) and Josh (Ivan Southall). I also loved The Outsiders, Catch 22 and Lord of the Flies as a young adult. Some of my favourite books of recent years have been A Woman Named Drown (Padgett Powell), Cloudstreet (Tim Winton) Choo Woo (Lloyd Jones) and Farther Than Any Man (Martin Dugard) which is a biography of James Cook.

7. If you were in a novel (any one you’ve read), who would you be?

I could say Josh from the book of the same name, but I already lived that experience, and I wouldn't want to do it again. I think I'd want to be either Danny from Champion, or Tom Sawyer. Or ... oo, oo! ... one of the kids from Swallows and Amazons. Yes, there's your answer - John, captain of the Swallow.

8. Did you have an imaginary friend as a child? (Or today? Don’t worry; we won’t call the men in white coats on you)

No. Even my imaginary friends ran away from me. Can we talk about something else now?

9. Complete this sentence: My life outside of writing is…

... almost always coloured with my awareness of being a writer: no matter where I go, what I do or who I'm doing it with, I'm gathering ideas for my writing.

10. If you were a superhero, what would be your name, power and costume?

My family sometimes call me Apostrophe Man, but I think that's already taken. So I could be Captain Grammatical. My costume? It would be white lycra (yes, lycra), with bits of dictionary printed all over it, and a big exclamation mark on my chest, with a squiggly green line under it. And my power? I would be able to correct their/they're/there errors and misplaced apostrophes with a mere thought.

11. Xena Warrior Princess or Sabrina the Teenage Witch?

Sabrina. Xena was too ... pneumatic, and lacked irony. Sabrina was funny. And Salem was a hoot. Should I even know this stuff?

12. Have you read Twilight? Did you enjoy it? Do you secretly believe your own books are better? (I know you do, don’t try to lie…)

Sigh. I have read enough of Twilight to know that I LOATHED IT. These books have singlehandedly set back the empowerment of females by about 40 years, and they're not even well written. I mean, I kept turning the page waiting for SOMETHING TO HAPPEN. We get it - Edward is beautiful. And shiny. Puh-lease. And do I secretly believe my books are better? I don't even make a secret of it.

Thanks James! *dodges tomato*
Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground