I have two projects I am concurrently working on. The first piece of work, that I am on the cusp of completing, is a sort of memoir/ day to day account of my daughter’s transition as a Transgender man (from female to male) entitled The Unfinished Dollhouse. This was originally begun as weekly blog posts but I think has evolved into a memoir.
The second project is a novel (working title Her Enchanted Objects) is about an average middle class woman, Vita, with a complicated past, who keeps encountering a homeless man, Billy, on the streets of Toronto who reminds her of a former lover, Michael. It’s set in the course of one day in June and covers the back stories of all three – Vita, Billy and Michael.
I think my work can be a bit rawer and make more people uncomfortable. I tend to delve into the darker side of human relations at times and I can be more explicit about the disconcerting aspects of life that might not be examined in commercial print – such as the inner life of someone living on the streets, the sometimes tortuous sexual relations between the men and women, the experience of being a Trans teenager.
I enjoy stories about average people under difficult or unusual circumstances and how they navigate them – the Italian born housewife/factory worker obsessed with opera (my first novel Made Up of Arias) – the life of the Sicilian bandit Giuliano who was thrust into banditry to feed his family (my unpublished second novel We Were Like You) – the homeless Billy (current project Her Enchanted Objects) and in a future project the Trans young adult Julia who magically appears at her parents’ wedding (Julia at the Wedding). I don’t like to read, or write, fantasy or spec fiction or romance. I enjoy writing and reading stories about unexceptional people thrust into unexpected situations.
I usually start with the end of the story/novel … think of the novel as an alphabet. I start with “Z” (the ending even if it’s only in my head) and then I fill in the rest of the alphabet. It might not necessarily be A or B it could be F or Q or L in the story.
When I am starting something new I force myself to write a minimum of 500 words each day – quality is good, bad or indifferent - first thing in the morning, before I do anything else. This seems to get the creative motor going.