Lessons Learned from My 99th Book

Lessons Learned from My 99th Book

Posted on February 13 by Lesley Choyce in Fiction, Interview
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How could I have written and seen the publication of 99 books? I ask myself that question and it does seem odd. After all, I didn’t have a book published until I was, um, 29. So, if my math is correct, all were written in the brief space of 39 years. That’s an average of 2.5384615 per year according to my calculator.

Just for the record, I believe I have at least six or seven that I wrote but (perhaps for the best) never found a publisher. And, of course, I have a few more upcoming projects in the works, as should any writer who loves the job of sitting down and writing.

Broken Man on a Halifax Pier is book #99, and I think it embodies much of what I’ve learned over the years writing books that I pour my heart and soul into. It is pure fiction and not the story of my life in any way that I can fathom. The setting is the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, where I live, and my protagonist Charles is himself a struggling writer, so I can identify with him on those two counts.

And yes, despite my grandiose numbers, I too am a struggling writer. Like any novelist worth his salt, I struggle to get it right, to tell a story that has heart and a story where the reader will truly care about the characters. There is joy in writing, but after the euphoric first draft, there is tedious work, doubt, frustration, blood, sweat, and tears — and ultimately, a feeling of satisfaction that I’ve added a very small contribution to the grander story of being human.

I did recently ask myself, What is this book about? since I could never answer that question while writing it. I decided it’s just a story and within that story are a few essential truths about what I’ve learned in my short tenure on this planet. It would be silly for me to try to outright explain everything that I discovered in answering this question, but I’ll pony up one surprise that I discovered: When you are down and out, there will always be someone there who will come to your aid, and that person is quite likely to be a complete stranger.

 

Lesley Choyce

 

 

Lesley Choyce

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014

Lesley Choyce

Lesley Choyce is the author of over ninety books. He has won the Dartmouth Book Award, the Atlantic Poetry Prize, and the Ann Connor Brimer Award, and has been shortlisted for the Governor General's Award. He lives in East Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia.