Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Author Interview – Ian Truman @iantruman

Image of Ian Truman

When did you first know you could be a writer?

Only a few years ago. I was always writing songs for my bands or short, short stories. I tried writing political essays or papers, did a few zines. I studied political science for a year then left because it really wasn’t me. I didn’t even know you could go to college to study writing (like, fiction writing) until my spouse (who was then my new girlfriend) just said one day “Why don’t you go back to college. You can take writing classes and you’d be good at it.” And I said “That’s a program?!?” Turns out Concordia admitted something like 40 new student a year in creative writing programs (drama, fiction and poetry combined). I had to apply twice before I got in, but I did.

What inspires you to write and why?

All things of life and a lot of art. I feel inspired by the everyday lives of “common” people. But on the other hand, I also like these huge surrealist worlds where you can allow your imagination to run wild. So far my work had been very realistic, very down to earth, but I know I have these stories in me that will require me to work in more surrealist ways.

What genre are you most comfortable writing?


I didn’t plan to be a noir writer. It’s not like it’s a very popular genre anyways and I thought “Wow! I can make a fuckload of money doing this.” But what I do comes out dark, so I roll with it. I’d like to think I write what Lehane once called “literary noir,” and hopefully that’s what readers will feel as well.

What inspired you to write your first book?

My first (short) novel was The Factory Line and it’s a true-ish account of life in a Montreal factory. I worked a lot of shitty jobs and odd jobs back in the day and it provided me with enough material to write a novel.

Who or what influenced your writing once you began?

When I was younger, it was Bukowski, but I don’t think I write like him or that we are driven by the same things. I like the fact that he “had” to write, but then again, his stuff is mostly about being drunk and/or an asshole. I mean, I loved Post Office because I felt I could relate to a shitty work environment, but the whole “I’m drunk so fuck you” thing is really not like me at all and I got out of it quickly.

I then found Mordecai Richler and Truman Capote. I mean, you can’t try to write like someone else did, it probably won’t be good anyways, but I think that we’re in the ball park if you compare my stuff to Richler and Capote.

Who or what influenced your writing over the years?

Music is always important. There are a handful of artists and songwriters that have influenced me in a positive way. I often cite Jabob Bannon, but I could also include White Trash Rob from Blood for Blood, As far as novelists goes, one professor game me Faulkner to read a few years ago and it change the way I see literature.

What made you want to be a writer?

I can’t pin point one thing. I just always kinda wrote. I used to think I could be the lead singer in a successful punk/hardcore band. When that went south, I turned to writing instead. At one point, Mary (my spouse) just turned around and said, “But why don’t you make a living out of this.” I never thought I could and writing still don’t pay the rent but the inspiration still keeps coming, so why stop?

A Teenage Suicide

“All they really wanted to do was fuck around, be creative, listen to music, skateboard or go to shows. People kept telling them growing up was supposed to be tough but it’s not like they didn’t know that already. Timmy had listened. Timmy had finished school and got himself a job. That didn’t stop him from running his van into a pillar one night so what was the fucking use? Nobody seemed to have an answer.“

Conor and his friends are growing up in a one factory town where the most likely employment prospect is the assembly line or the farmer’s coop. Aiming higher than the local college, Conor finds himself spending more and more time in downtown Montreal, discovering himself through punk and hardcore music. But as his girlfriend wants nothing to do with the city and his friend Jake loses his brother when the factory closes, Conor’s ambitions could require him to burn bridges he might not be ready to burn.

With A Teenage Suicide, Ian wanted to write a story about kids making decisions and kids making mistakes. Stylistically, it is fair to mention influences of Truman Capote and Mordecai Richler. Imagine of the “cold-hard-fact” descriptions of In Cold Blood mixed with the realistic and witty dialogue of The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz.

Ian Truman is a hardcore kid turned writer. He proudly claims to be from a working class family and has been straight edge and vegetarian for at least a decade now. He hopes to bring the passion, verve and dedication of hardcore into the art form of the novel. Born and raised in Montreal, he is a graduate of Concordia University’s creative writing program. A Teenage Suicide is his third novel.

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Genre - Literary, Coming of Age

Rating – PG13

More details about the author and the book

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