With Six Novels, Terry Fallis Hopes Readers Will Find Humour in Whatever He Writes

From October 20—22, 2017, the Stratford Writers Festival will take over Stratford, Ontario, as some of Canada’s top literary and creative talents come together for this unique three-day festival. With the festival rapidly approaching, we caught up with attending author Terry Fallis to ask him a few questions about his latest projects, and why literary festivals are important to the Canadian artistic community.

To hear more from Terry, click here to purchase tickets to his upcoming Stratford Writers Festival panel entitled Past, Present, and Uncertain Future with Eric Walters and Craig Terslon.

Why do you feel it’s important to meet readers at events such as the Stratford Writers Festival?  

In short, most novelists write to be read. Without our readers, where would we be? I always enjoy meeting readers and hearing their thoughts and perceptions on my novels. I may have written them, but when the book moves into the readers’ hands, the story is then theirs. Next to writing the novels, I can’t think of anything more important than communing with the people for whom I have written.

What is your favourite part about attending writers festivals or literary events?

There are really two aspects of festivals that I really enjoy. First and foremost, the chance to meet with folks who have actually read my humble offerings is always illuminating and gratifying. Secondly, the opportunity to hang out with fellow writers is wonderful and welcome. By necessity, writers tend to lead somewhat solitary lives, yet I find most writers enjoy meeting their colleagues and exploring the common ground and the shared experiences the writing life yields. Festivals provide the venue for writers to come together, if only for a short time.

Your latest book, One Brother Shy, is clearly an effort to shake your title as a political satirist. Is this something you consciously wanted to do before writing the book?

Well, actually, this is my sixth novel and only my first two were political satires, so the conscious effort to try something new was really made in my third novel, Up and Down. But I certainly understand that if I’m known at all, it is most likely due to my first political novel, The Best Laid Plans. In this new novel, One Brother Shy, I’m ultimately writing about the experience of being an identical twin, something I can do with considerable authority as I am one (and have been my whole life).

After writing so many books with a strong elements of humour, was it difficult to move away from that with One Brother Shy?

I remember feeling a little disquieted when I first read the cover copy for the new novel, prepared by the team at M&S, that said in part, “a novel unlike any of his others.” While there is a somewhat darker thread running through this novel, I hope readers will still find the humour they have come to expect from my stories. I’m fascinated by the juxtaposition of humour and pathos and they each change the other. I’m perhaps delving deeper into this strange pairing in One Brother Shy than I have before, but I really hope there are plenty of laughs (or at least mild chuckles) along the way.

Are you working on any projects right now?

I’m always working on the next novel. I’m worried that if I rest, I might stop. So on I go. I’m well down the road outlining my seventh novel and hope to be writing the manuscript sometime this fall. Tentatively entitled If At First You Succeed, it’s due out in the fall of 2018.

To hear more, don’t miss Terry’s panel entitled Past, Present, Uncertain Future on Sunday, October 22, 2017, at 3:30 pm at the Stratford Writers Festival. See you there!

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