Nino Ricci is the guest of honour at the 2015 Torn From the Pages event, hosted by the event's creator, Dave Bidini. The event blends music with the writing of a celebrated author. Ricci follows in the footsteps Miriam Toews and Timothy Taylor as this year's chosen writer. Nino Ricci's latest novel, Sleep, is a tense thriller, as a sleep disorder terrifyingly unspools an academic's carefully constructed "normal" life. Here, the Governor General's Literary Award winner, for The Origin of Species, tackles questions from the Canadian writers on superhero preference and what a person has to do to get a bowl of soup around here.
Photo credit: Kevin Kelly Photography
1. Drew Hayden Taylor asks, "Other than writing novels, what other art form (i.e. plays, movies, music, visual art) do you wish you possessed or had a better grasp of?"
I've always wanted to direct. Film has always been both a great love and a deep influence, but as I can barely even get waiters to take my orders, I doubt I'd be able to manage a film set.
2. Kate Pullinger asks, "Do you pay attention to the opinions of your family - parents, spouse, siblings, children, etc. - when it comes to your writing, both in terms of what you write about, but also how you write?"
I pay attention to my spouse's, as she actually reads my work. With most of the others, I'm safe.
3. Russell Smith asks, "Have you ever been tempted to throw a murder into a story to make it sell better?"
I think Russell is just trying to be provocative. That said, my new novel does indeed have a murder in it.
4. Cordelia Strube asks, "What makes you believe what you write has worth?"
I guess when someone actually forks out $29.95 for it.
5. JJ Lee asks, "Superman or Batman?"
Superman, hands down. For one thing, no carbon footprint. For another, Clark Kent vs. Bruce Wayne. And Robin vs. Lois Lane.
6. Erin Mouré asks, "What part of writing life brings you most joy?"
That brief period after I've finished something and can wake up feeling absolutely no obligation to write.
7. Donna Morrissey asks, "How do you deal with daily life while you're in the middle of creating a book?"
By avoiding it until my spouse reaches the end of her rope.
8. Timothy Taylor asks: "How important have your other work choices - i.e. the things you've done to make money - been to your literary writing?"
Mostly, to make money, I teach creative writing. My official position is that I hate teaching creative writing, because it sucks up so much energy and because I don't really feel I have that much to say. But the truth is that it feeds me, not only because it keeps me in touch with actual human beings but because it keeps reminding me how to write.