Buy the Book, Vengeful Hank and Other Shortweird Stories: Amazon
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing the talented author, comedian, actor, improvisor, and producer Marcel St. Pierre. Marcel's book, Vengeful Hank and Other Shortweird Stories is on my soon to be read list (*book review coming soon!) and I'm looking forward to it!
A New Brunswick native, Marcel St. Pierre now calls Toronto home. His author profile shares: "He is a founding member and former Artistic Director of The Bad Dog Theatre Company and has performed comedy across North America. He’s appeared on stage, film and television and has written for CBC, YTV, The Comedy Network and more. Vengeful Hank & Other Shortweird Stories is his first book of short stories, and was a #1 bestseller in it's category on Amazon." Our interview, below-- enjoy!
Tell us a little about yourself...
I'm a writer, producer, comedian, and actor from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I'm originally from the province of New Brunswick, but moved here to Toronto in 1991 with a teaching degree. A lot of friends from my university were getting good teaching jobs here in Ontario, but even before moving here, I knew I was going to take a year off to dabble with my dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian. Within weeks, I signed up for an improv class, ostensibly to goad myself into learning to write quicker, better material. Ironically now, I actually teach improv. I absolutely fell in love with it and put stand-up on the back burner till I got back into it a few years ago. So, my teaching degree did in fact come in handy as it turns out.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Seriously forever. There's a photo my mom has of me at about 9 or 10 years old, hunched over a scribbler (the Canadian word for notebook) over the kitchen table, writing a story with a pen. It's just always something I've done. I was the one kid in class who would always go "YAY" when the other kids would moan and gripe when the teacher told us our assignment was creative writing. I was always a bookworm, from the moment I learned to read, even before going to school. I was always holding on to comic books, story books, any books at all. I had this great babysitter who encouraged me by having me write stories based on our favourite tv shows, and she'd write some for me, too. I still have her handwritten, loose-leaf stories in storage. I'm a bit of a sentimentalist that way. Case in point, maybe a dozen years ago, I went back to my home town and found a box at a yard sale that had a copy of every single language arts reader I'd ever had back in grade school in the 70s. Needless to say I bought the box.
Can you share your journey to becoming a published author?
In the past, I'd submitted a children's book to multiple publishers and gotten ignored or at least nicely rejected. I'd been a writer and editor of my university's newspaper, and been published in several student publications and was really hoping to make it in the world of legit publishing. After a few years, the short version is that, after getting laid off from my day job, I decided to keep busy while I wallowed waiting for the next job to come. I spent that time going over a series of short stories I'd written and kept as a blog over the last couple years and put together a manuscript of what I felt were the most ready for publication. And then the hunt for a publisher began again... except this time, thankfully, a mutual friend put me in touch with a publisher (who, it turns out, was a former improv coach of mine) who loved my work. A writer himself, he ran a small press and wasn't afraid to take some chances with me.
What do you find to be the biggest challenge, as an author?
For me, seriously, I think the disappointment of those early rejections of my kids' book (which had been received so well by everyone who read it) kind of dampened my spirit. I just figured it would never happen. I kept writing but I stopped submitting to publishers. I also was achieving success in other aspects of my career, so seeking to be published sort of fell by the wayside. I stopped trying. So I think self-doubt probably led to dropping the goal of being published until really, I had no choice but to face it, take it by the horns and try. And now, of course, as an indie author, the biggest and single most challenging challenge of all challenges: finding an audience, selling books, and being read.
What do you find most rewarding, as an author?
Insisting on using Canadian spelling for words such as favour, flavour, neighbour and behaviour. And true to Canadian form, passive-aggressively ignoring those who tell me it's actually the British spelling, thank you. But seriously, it's having people who read your book tell you they loved it. I've had people pick a certain story in my book that I almost didn't include, and tell me that it's their favourite one, and that is not only gratifying, but totally surprising. It's nice to be wrong about having doubted something is wrong.
Share with us a daily habit of yours, that helps you reach your goals.
All kidding aside, I try and do at least one thing a day to help advance my writing, whether that's actually writing or just reaching out to network with someone about my writing. Connecting is key. But only after coffee.
What is one piece of advice you would share with an aspiring author?
If you love writing, then just keep at it. Write according to whatever schedule or output works for you and don't judge your level of success with anyone else's. In the end, it never actually matters if you get published. Allow yourself to just put it all on the page and go back and polish it later. Put your stuff out on a blog if you want to share it and get a larger readership outside your immediate circle. What's important is that you're creating something that you love, because for what other reason are we on this earth than to create? I guess that's more than one piece of advice. Sorry. Ugh. So Canadian of me.
Finish these sentences:
I am most grateful for … the love and support of my wife.
If I could give my 18-year old self one piece of advice it would be… learn how to invest. Seriously, they need to teach kids fiscal management. I'm kicking myself for not getting to it sooner.
My favorite thing about being a writer is… finding just the right word, expression or paragraph to say something. And when that fails, I just inventicate one.
My least favourite thing about being a writer is… self-judgement. It’s like a pair of underwear I keep putting on, remembering they feel like crap, but rather than throw them away, I’ll put them back in the drawer for later and go through the whole thing again. It’s dumb. And human. But sheesh.
My goals for the future are… learning to live in the moment.
I love living a creative life because… it beats being dead. Probably? I don’t know, I haven’t done my research on that, yet.
The last book I read was… Levon Helm’s autobiography “This Wheel’s On Fire”.
My favorite book ever is… probably ‘Pure Drivel’ by Steve Martin. Or ‘Me Talk Pretty One Day’ by David Sedaris. Or ‘Different Seasons’ by Stephen King. Or anything by Douglas Adams.
Outside of writing, my favorite hobby is… comic books. I was out of it so many years, and then I bought ONE SINGLE COMIC for kicks, two years ago and boom. Back in. Like a junkie. I love the old Dell and Gold Key stuff from the 50s, 60s and 70s. That and collecting old vinyl comedy albums.
Do you have any NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS for 2017?
I am pushing in a big way to write new spec scripts to get myself some work writing for television again, whether that's for comedy or animated series. Any story editors or show runners out there want to read my specs? Please ask! So that, or win the lottery. That’s not so much a resolution as a long game retirement plan, I guess? (See previous note about investing early.)
Where can readers find you?
You can find me at my website www.shortweird.com, on twitter @shortweird and on Facebook, you can find my page at “Shortweird Stories”.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Do not trust a talking fish; they will say anything to get elected.
What's the book about?
About the book, Vengeful Hank and Other Shortweird Stories: "Canadian comedian, actor and television writer Marcel St. Pierre brings his years writing sketch comedy and advertising copy – where brevity is key – to bear in this, his first book of short stories. St. Pierre’s playfully accessible writing style complements an ability to conjure unique characters and situations as universally ridiculous as a Gary Larson ‘Far Side’ cartoon. The stories are fast-paced, quick-witted – some laugh-out-loud and some even poignant and sweet. If you like the absurdity of Steve Martin’s ‘Pure Drivel’ but haven’t the time, commitment or attention span to stick with any printed word much longer than the length of several text messages or a Facebook post, this is the perfect book for the cottage or your daily commute."
Ritz writes the following genres:
Romance / Thrillers
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