Books·Magic 8 Q&A

Michael Winter on why he writes sex scenes

The author of Into the Blizzard answers eight questions submitted by eight other authors.
Michael Winter is the author of Into the Blizzard: Walking the Fields of the Newfoundland Dead. (Rogatien Piano)

The author of The Architects Are Here and former CBC Literary Prizewinner takes on a sombre chapter in our national history. Into the Blizzard: Walking the Fields of the Newfoundland Dead is part memoir, part history, part travelogue, with Michael following the footsteps of the soldiers who lost their lives at Beaumont-Hamel in WW1.

Below, Michael Winter answers eight questions submitted by eight of his fellow writers in the CBC Books Magic 8 Q&A. 

1. Cordelia Strube asks, "Do you think your work will still be around 50 years from now?"

I plan to live to be 98, so I'll be the guy at Dundas and Yonge flogging a box of mouldy novels.

2. Todd Babiak asks, "Do you write sex scenes? Why or why not?"

I described Rockwell Kent [from The Big Why] having sex in a staircase of a house that I only visited once the novel was published, and realized it was impossible to make love in those stairs. If I didn't write sex scenes all my characters would head to the kitchen and make cups of tea.

3. Shyam Selvadurai asks, "What is the hardest thing about being a writer?"

Being a spy in the house of love.

4. Helen Humphreys asks, "Which of your books is your favourite?"

There are scenes from books I'm happy with. I tend to think my books are all broken. But then my favourite reads are almost always books that don't, in the end, pull off what they set out to do.

5. Timothy Taylor asks, "What book were you reading when you were first inspired to write? How old were you? Why do you think that book affected you the way it did at that moment in your life?"

Linda Svendsen's Marine Life was important. I was nearly 22. Larry Mathews discussed the book in a creative writing class. We examined her stories, figured out how they worked. Before then I was writing in the style of Joyce's Pomes Penyeach. I'd never analyzed a paragraph before.

6. Lorna Crozier asks, "If you weren't sitting at your desk writing, what would you be doing instead?"

I have to spray the attic with polyisocyanurate foam before winter hits.

7. Alison Pick asks, "What is your middle name?"

I feel like I'm signing in to do online banking: Hardy.

8. Frances Itani asks, "If you were to have a silent conversation with a now dead writer, which writer would you choose, and from which period? Or perhaps you already converse with dead writers?"

Am glad you added the perhaps. Yes, we all talk to dead people, don't we. I'd like to hear back from F. Scott Fitzgerald while he was in the middle of writing Tender is the Night. Just ask him if he knows where he's going with this

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