Thursday, November 6, 2014

Interview with Randy Coates, author of More Precious Than Rubies

Title: More Precious Than Rubies
Author: Randy Coates
Publisher: iUniverse
Pages: 174
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Ebook
Purchase at AMAZON

 Paul Brager is twelve when his father tells the story of Iduna and her apples. Mr. Brager always tells stories before bed to entertain Paul’s little brother, Adrian—a ritual that has become even more important since their mother died. Iduna was a goddess who grew apples that made the gods younger and stronger, but one day she disappeared, along with her apples. Paul doesn’t think much of the myth; he has other things on his mind. Paul and his best friend, Chad Tremblay, are excited to start the school year as seventh graders at Dorian Heights Public School. Even when they hear about the new principal, Mr. Theisen, they aren’t worried about ending up in his office. When Paul finally meets the principal, however, he finds him to be strange, mysterious, and extremely fond of apples. That’s when things start going wrong. Theisen develops an uncomfortable interest in Paul, claiming he once knew Paul’s father. It becomes apparent to Paul and Chad that Theisen is after something, maybe some kind of treasure—and it involves the Brager family. Paul believes his family must be protected and that Theisen must be stopped. Still, he can’t get the story of Iduna’s apples out of his head; there seems to be an odd connection to the tale his father told. He and Chad want to know the answers, but learning them may put their lives in danger.

Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what do you listen to?

I do not always listen to music when I write; however, it does not bother me when I am writing.

Listening to classical music is my preferred choice since rock and pop music causes me to pause at my writing to sing along to the lyrics. Interesting, no? That my writing sometimes gets interrupted while I sing to other people's writing.

Do you have any suggestions for upcoming writers?

I would encourage upcoming writers to be patient with their writing. Often, I have come to a standstill with a piece of work. My creativity simply stops flowing. However, I know the work is good and I do not want to abandon it.

I would suggest that writers do not throw their work out in frustration when they hit these kinds of obstacles. Instead, they should put their work aside. Experiences have shown me that my creativity gets rejuvenated and I always return to these projects.

I've heard many writers suggest that they force themselves to write everyday.

I've tried this and it does not work. If one does not feel inspired, he tends to write sloppily and without emotion. I would suggest to write when an idea comes to you and is so pressing that it won't leave you alone, even in your sleep

What is it you like to do when you are not reading/writing?

This is a good question since reading and writing take up much of my life.

I am a teacher which is really the profession that is making me money at the moment. So, of course, most of my days are spent instructing students.

I travel about twice a year, usually to places where Spanish is spoken (e.g., Mexico). I study Spanish to improve my grasp of the language.

I watch a lot of DVDs, mostly classics, since I rarely like what is on television.

Is there an author/authors that have inspired you?

Edgar Allan Poe is my favourite author. Since he wrote in the 19th century, his writing technique is out-of-date now. However, he is the foremost writer in my life who taught me the beauty of words and how stringing together a number of words can create a stunning passage.

My favourite modern-day  author, although he is dead now, is Ray Bradbury. I always overlooked the notion of science fiction in his stories in order to be captivated by his characters. To me, characterization is the most important concept of any form of art. If the characters do not grasp me in some way (e.g.,make me cry}, then no other aspects (e.g., suspense) will appeal to me.

Bradbury always made me feel for his characters and I always try to follow his examples in my own writing.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Growing up, I wanted to be a writer and an actor, in that order.

As university approached, I still held these ideals; however, my mother thought they were unreachable and steered me towards teaching. The fact that she had a cherished brother who was a vice-principal probably had something to do with that.

Interestingly, a huge part of teaching involves writing and acting. Have you ever tried to be animated in front of 30 students when you're feeling down? Bring on the acting!

How do you/would you react to a bad review of your book?

I am in the company of writers when I say I have received, and will continue to receive, bad reviews of my writing.

I always prepare myself for bad news, sugar-coated as "creative criticism" sometimes. This way, when the good news arrives, I am ecstatic .

I sometimes let my friends read my material and invite them to give me advice. Having the people closest to me do this is good preparation for withstanding the reviews of the professionals: the people who get paid for critiquing.

Also,when I receive bad reviews and they cause me to feel depressed, I remind myself of how fortunate I am about other things in my life (e.g.,being healthy).

Randy Coates graduated from the University of Waterloo with a bachelor of arts degree and went on to acquire his teacher’s certificate at the University of Western Ontario. He is currently an elementary teacher in the Toronto District Board of Education.


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