Author Archives: mattbin

CBC Interview: My Appearance on Fresh Air

Well that was certainly something: an interview on CBC Radio. After listening for so many years, I’ve finally been on there to say a few words myself.

I’ve known Ralph Benmergui for a few years, and have been honoured to be a guest at his table on a number of occasions. The conversation with him (and his wife Cortney) is always engaging; Ralph and I differ on many subjects but I always enjoy speaking with him.

Ralph works from time to time as a host on various CBC shows, most notably Fresh Air, the Ontario weekend morning show. So I was thrilled to accept his invitation to appear on the show to discuss my book Brendan’s Way, as well as other topics related to publishing and self-publishing.

Of course, it’s never fun to listen to an interview you’ve done after the fact – about ten times I wanted a do-over to give a more useful, intelligent, or accurate answer to his questions. But the interview itself was nothing but enjoyable: just another pleasant conversation with Ralph.

Many thanks to the CBC and to Ralph Benmergui (and his producer Sandy Mowat) for getting it all together and putting it on the air.

If you missed it, I’m going to post a recording of the interview here (although be warned, there are a couple of blips in the sound). Listen soon in case the CBC lawyers get wind of it and I have to take it down.

Now available all over the place: Brendan’s Way!

Brendan’s Way was recently released all over the damn place! It’s available on Kobo, Amazon, and numerous other online bookstores.

If you’re looking to load this into your ebook reader, phone, tablet, or Internet-enabled teletype, now you can do so!

And of course if you want a real-life copy hewn from actual tree-type paper, your best bet is to buy it from the publisher.

Amazon link

Kobo link

What’s Happening? Some Stuff.

I haven’t been updating much lately. Gotta do something about that, so here we are.

Some stuff of note:

I’ve also started a new trend: publish a book, you get a cake.

Launch

You are invited to the Hamilton launch of Brendan’s Way, published by Bundoran Press.

I’ll be hosting a very informal gathering in downtown Hamilton on Saturday, May 27, at 7:00. I’ll be reading from the book and signing copies, and light refreshments will be served. I’d love to have you there to celebrate the launch too!

The Nathaniel Hughson Gallery
27 John St. N.
Hamilton, ON L8R 1H1

If you can’t make it, but would like to get a personalized copy, please contact me any time and I’ll get one in the mail for you.

Hope to see you there!

Brendan’s Way Launches Tomorrow!

Well, the big day is almost here. Brendan’s Way launches tomorrow at 9pm at the Ad Astra convention.

All are welcome to the launch – you don’t have to be registered for the convention. It’s in Suite 1070 at the Sheraton Parkway North in Richmond Hill.

It’s been a long, long time coming! I hope I’ll see you there.

Brendan’s Way: the Title

I’ve always had a bit of trouble titling my work. Once in a while, the title is the inspiration for the work: “Unrest Among the Smart Cows” sprung to mind and I wrote a story to fit it. The Punk Book was an inside joke with my longtime bandmate Jonathan.

But usually I agonize over titles, and I often don’t think they’re very good, even after they’re published. But Brendan’s Way surprised me.

The surprise isn’t that the title worked, or that it’s a good one (I think it is). It’s that from the moment I conceived of the novel, I’ve known that was the title; and no one has ever second-guessed me on it. The title fits. It works. It sounds good. It’s right.

But I know next to nothing about titles. So where did it come from?

It started with the inspiration for the book: the song “Saint Brendan’s Way” by the Lowest of the Low. (How many times am I going to link to that song? Many many times. It’s an awesome song.) The song is about Irish immigrants coming to Canada in the 19th century, and how they were following the legendary path of St. Brendan, the famous Irish monk who sailed his leather-bottomed boat across the sea.

In my book, Brendan is an Irish farmer in the late 23rd century, who lucks into a trip to the newly colonized world of Ellis. Just as Irish immigrants filled leaky boats across the Atlantic, Brendan is taking a dangerous trip across space. So the pattern repeats again: following his Irish forebears, he’s taking a trip across a vast and perilous nothingness, purely based on the hope for a better life in a new world.

But it still amazes me that my little ship of a book has sailed through the writing and publishing process without a single question – or even comment – about the title. And it gives me a bit of hope: maybe this book will make it, too.

Or in the words of Ron Hawkins and the Lowest of the Low:

Our fortunes are fleeting
And our passage in steer
And God knows if I’ll perish
In my twenty-fifth year

In this ship full of scurvy
With my bride at my hand
And I shall kiss her tenderly
In this great new found land

And it’s hope that we follow today
If we dare follow St. Brendan’s Way

Brendan’s Way: the Cover

It seems like forever but it’s been less than a year since I announced the upcoming publication of my next novel, Brendan’s Way, with Bundoran Press.

A little bit of history: It was July, 2011. I was struck by an idea as I walked to lunch with my headphones on, listening to the song “Saint Brendan’s Way” by the Lowest of the Low. Space immigrants. One’s a country rube, one’s a deadly assassin. I sat down and got to work on an outline.

I finished the outline – 9,000 words of it – in two days. The third day I started writing, and I pounded out 1,000 to 2,000 words almost every day until I finished the thing in November. Just over five months to complete a 90,000-word book – the longest book I’d ever written, finished in the shortest time ever.

I went through the entire manuscript with my editing circle. I had multiple friends provide input. I rewrote and rewrote. I had a seminar at CanWrite! with Robert J. Sawyer that helped clarify some weaknesses. And in the fall of 2015 I submitted the finished manuscript to Bundoran Press – the first publisher I offered it to in its completed form.

They liked it.

They bought it.

So here, at last, is the cover for my soon-to-be-released novel, Brendan’s Way.

 

Brendan’s Way – Promo Trailer!

The excellent folks at Bundoran Press have been busy preparing for my launch of Brendan’s Way on May 6. Check out the amazing book trailer they’ve created.

Coming soon: the finished cover!

Short Story Published: 100 Voices, Volume 2

My latest publication credit: Centum Press’s new short-short fiction anthology, 100 voices. They selected my short piece “The Tether” for inclusion in their new volume of flash fiction (or near enough to it). I’m insanely pleased to have the story placed there.

You can order the book here, although you should use my special discount code when ordering it: 100V2V51. Check it out today!

The Punk Book

punk-book-coverAs you might remember (or not), I’ve written the Toronto Novel Marathon charity event a number of times (three). Each time I finished a novel. The first one was my longest: The Punk Book, which is a fictionalized account of my early years in a punk band in Hamilton’s 1990s music scene.

Well, the time has come to put this one up on the shelf. So I’ve printed up a few dozen copies and I’m launching it on Saturday, November 19.

It’s a fun book, but it took me a long time to figure out how to write it. Many of the stories in the book are based on my own very memorable experiences; but fictionalizing one’s own life is a difficult process. It’s hard to make it about the people without making it a navel-gazing exercise. But I think I figured it out, and the result is this book. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. Except for Larry, because screw that guy.

I’m lucky to be in a band with such great guys as Jonny Palmateer and Derek Fivehole. It’s really tough to write about this kind of thing without being arch, or cloying, or – much worse – boring. But according to Jon, it’s the best book ever written, so I figure I must have hit close to the mark.

What’s it about? Tom is a young guy who gets into punk music and tries out for a local band. He’s brought in as the bassist. The band gets a bit too big, a bit too fast. The band is run by a punk-savant songwriter and pathological liar named Larry. Tom has a thing for a girl in another band. He’s balancing the band and his job as a delivery guy for a Chinese restaurant. Almost all these things are true. (Especially about the pathological liar. Holy crap is that ever true.)

So why am I launching this particular book on Saturday? Mainly because of this:

The Stephen Stanley Band and The Goalies

Yes, my longtime punk band the Goalies has a rare opening spot for the Stephen Stanley band. (If you’re not familiar with that name, Stephen Stanley was the lead guitarist for the Lowest of the Low, which was a band I was fairly obsessed with in the crazy early-90s music scene.) It’s going to be a big, crazy show. And book launch.

In the end, I’m not trying to sell a million copies of this book. It’s punk: fun and crazy and who cares about rules. But I’m proud of the book, too, and I want to get it out there on this night of nights.

Because as I said at the start of the book:

This book was written as part of the 2014 Toronto Novel Marathon. It is therefore short, crude, and a lot more fun for the person yelling than for the audience.

And also the Author’s Note:

Absolutely nothing in this novel is true.

Which is definitely the case.

Except for the stuff about Larry. Because screw that guy.