I’m six feet tall, weight about 300 hundred pounds and make ice. Wait. Hold on. That’s my refrigerator. Hmmm. About me, eh? (I’m Canadian so I have to say “eh” once a day to keep my citizenship). Well, I never set out to be a novelist. I wasn’t one of those people who always wanted to write a book and I didn’t take English or journalism in school. I was the kid you saw on your neighborhood street selling lemonade on a hot
summer’s day. My mom always said my eyes were green because I loved money, so she bribed me to read. The first few books I read she paid me 25 cents per book. Her trick worked. She instilled in me a lifelong love of reading. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties and my wife and I moved to New Zealand so that she could continue her education that I first began to write. By the time we moved back to Canada I had a draft of my first novel – The Impact of a Single Event. Even though The Impact of a Single Event became a national bestseller in Canada, I still had no intention of making a career as a writer. However, like the reading bug I caught as a boy, I found myself compelled to write and came up with Dinner with Lisa.
What or who made the biggest influence on you wanting to become a writer?
As I mentioned, my wife and I moved to New Zealand so that she could continue her education. While we were there I didn’t have the same work pressures that I had in North America. I found New Zealand to be a much more relaxed environment. As a result I began to spend a lot of time in the local libraries reading to my heart’s content. One day while I was reading an idea popped into my head. “Wouldn’t it be interesting to read a story about a diary that gets passed down from one generation to the next, where only one person per generation gets to add a story about a turning point in their life.” That was the initial idea for my novel The Impact of a Single Event. So, it was a situation that initially inspired me to write.
What was the first book you ever wrote about and was it ever published?
The first book I ever wrote was The Impact of a Single Event. Although it became a national bestseller, it definitely wasn’t an easy process. After returning from New Zealand with my initial manuscript I spent the next two and a half years rewriting and rewriting and rewriting. As I stated earlier, I didn’t have a background in writing so I sought out some local published writers and had them read small sections of the manuscript; usually about 5000 words or so. These people were very generous with their time and always gave me a pearl of writing wisdom that I incorporated into the rest of the story. When I finally had something worthy of being reviewed by a publisher I got a lucky break. I found an editor who had 34 of her own novels published. She has an excellent understanding of writing and story telling and guided me through the final steps. There’s a reason why so many writers thank their editors when they win an award. A good editor is beyond value and I credit some of my success to her.
Do you have any writing habits that people might find unusual?
I wish I could tell you something about my writing habits that would be memorable, but I don’t think I have any interesting habits. When I write I treat it like a job. I sit down in the morning and work. I have lunch and then I go back to work until my brain is mushy. Sometimes mushy brain strikes me at three in the afternoon, sometime it’s eight at night. I know I’ve had enough when I get a little dizzy and the words on the page start to swim. I might force myself to sit down in the morning, but I stop when my body tells me to. I’ve never looked at a blank page. If I get stuck with something I’m working on I know the story isn’t fully developed in my head and I leave it and work on a different part of the story until the scene is clear to me.
What are you currently working on?
I’ve got a couple of projects I’m working on. One is a children’s story inspired by my son, who hasn’t slept through the night since we brought him home from the hospital. You can see his picture on the home page of my website. The other project is a fictionalized account of one of the most famous people who ever lived. I’d like to tell you more, but I need potential readers to be intrigued enough to visit my website again. The job of a storyteller, after all, is to keep the reader interested!
Where can people connect with you online?
I love to hear from readers so please feel free to send me an email if you have any questions. My author website is www.RLPrendergast.com and my email is rod@RLPrendergast.com. You can also find me on Facebook through my website or by searching RL Prendergast. I’ve also recently created a twitter account. I’m @RodPrendergast.
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