Get to know Terry Fallis 

What’s the working title of your future memoir?
Making Up for Lost Time

What book did you read as a child that you remember fondly?
When I was about nine or ten, I read a book called Pilot Jack Knight that really stuck with me. It was the first time sentences on the page made me cry. As you might have guessed, it was about a pilot in the early part of the last century. I loved it and read it over and over.

What is something you’ve always wanted to write about?
I may not always have wanted to write about this, but certainly lately I’ve been interested in the aging process. Yes, I’m having some difficulty with the notion that I am now as old as I am. In my mind, I’m locked in amber at about the age of 32. I feel no different than I did back then, except the morning after my weekly ball hockey game.

Which fictional character would you like to be friends with?
I would dearly love to hang out with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.

Best advice you’ve ever been given? (can be about writing or otherwise)
With regret I can report that my agent has always urged me to “keep my day job.” It wasn’t a shot at my writing, but rather a nod to the remunerative reality of the Canadian novelist. One day I hope to ignore her advice. But not yet.

Worst advice you’ve ever been given? (can be about writing or otherwise)
Now you’re going to get me in trouble. I’ve often heard that it is absolutely essential for writers to “write every day.” I wish I could. I think that puts too much pressure on writers whose lives may not allow them to honour that edict. I will always write because I love the process. But I cannot and do not write every day. 

What’s next on your reading list?
Amy Jones has a new novel out that I look forward to, and soon, Miriam Toews will, too. Those are the two the come to mind right now.

Could you please take a photo of something in your office and tell us the story behind it?

When a good friend of mine learned of my fascination with the life, if not the writing, of Ernest Hemingway, he gave me this painting of the literary titan’s writing studio in Key West, Florida. Sometimes when I get discouraged with my writing, I spend a few minutes staring at the painting. Then I try to get back to work. Sometimes it works.

What sparked the idea for Albatross?
I became interested in the difference between success and fulfillment. Even though we might be very good at the career we’ve either chosen or fallen into, it may not be what we’ve been put on earth to do. And it might not be what truly fulfills us. Success is not the same as happiness. Albatross is about a young man who is the best in the world at something that earns him fame and fortune. But he’d much rather be a writer, even though he’s not a remarkable or gifted writer. So it’s the story of how he stumbles into, and then escapes from, a gilded cage.

Terry Fallis is the author of Albatross, and will be appearing at Festival Sunday on Sunday September 8, 2019.