Tell us about yourself.
I have a book coming out next year with HarperCollins called Kaufmann & Sons. I teach at the creative writing department at York University and also do some work with the University of Toronto through their Continuing Education Department.
When did you realize you had a passion for writing?
I grew up with writers and poets and that should have inoculated me against any desire to write. Unfortunately, I sat down and wrote a novel just after I turned 20. It had something to do with wanting to impress a girl I was dating. We broke up some point after I’d written the third chapter and by then it was too late to stop.
What pieces of writing/authors have had the greatest impact on you?
The first book I truly loved was a Bitter Lemons by Lawrence Durrell. It’s about the Cypriot revolt against the British in the 1950s. At the time I didn’t really know the British had even been in Cyprus but the book made me feel as if I did know, and that made me feel wise. I learned that that feeling was the gift of a good writer.
How and when do you find time to write?
If you go looking for time you’re not going to find it. I force myself to write every day for three hours. I’ve also learned to be wary of any inspiration obtained at 2 am, so I work in the morning.
What has been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a writer?
Procrastination, laziness, fear of failure. These are my three Horses of the Apocalypse.
How have you changed as a writer over the years?
I’ve developed a few grey hairs.