I think that the coolest thing that can happen to you, is when cool things happen to your friends.
Examples: Adam and his band Penny Blacks went on tour to Ontario. Awesome! My best friend Tara is pregnant. Right? So great! I just picked up a CD by my favourite local band, Little You Little Me. My friends are basically rock stars.
Trent has written a book and as of today, you can buy it. (You can buy it in person at local Indigo and Coles stores next Friday).
Please enjoy this interview.
Hi Trent! Tell me about yourself and what you do.
Hi Barb! Hmm…well, I suppose the most high-level way to describe me is dorky. I’m a full-time human resources professional and part-time pedantic writer whose main focus is nerd culture. The occupational split is kind of neat as it allows me to focus on business during the day and talk about geeky things at night. Best of both worlds, really.
To clarify, when I say that I focus on “nerd culture” I mostly mean that I analyze entertainment media that appeals to those of us with pale skin and a predisposition towards social inhibition (cartoons, comics, video games, science fiction, and feature film). It’s not everyone’s interest, but I dig it.
You are pretty active on the internet. Tell me about some of the places you write for online.
I suppose you could say that I get around. Outside of pouring myself into my tremendously adorkable personal blog, puctualdork.com, I write for three websites on a weekly basis.
I’m an Editor at RPGamer.com, which is the largest RPG website on the internet. RPGs, or “role-playing games,” are exactly what they sound like: games that allow you to take on a role other than your own and participate in a narrative. There are pen and paper RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons, massively multiplayer online role-playing games such as World of Warcraft, and video game RPGs like Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest. I’m only well-versed on that last one. However, my role on the site is less about releases and reviews and more about video game industry coverage and the production of genre-cenric editorials.
I’m also MissionGeek.com‘s Entertainment Writer. Mission:Geek is kinda neat because it’s a website owned and operated out of Atlantic Canada. Over the past year and a half, I’ve contributed numerous film reviews, Oscar predictions, television and film recommendation articles, a series dedicated to entertainment tropes and idioms, and more than a handful of top ten lists (because people love lists).
Finally, I’m a Podcaster and Columnist for NerdsOnTheRocks.com. Nerds On The Rocks covers all elements of nerd culture and members of their community submit questions related to comics, film, TV, or video gaming to have answered by me on a weekly basis in their “Ask a Dork” column. I am the dork to which they ask. For their podcast, I join a group of outspoken nerds to discuss entertainment media.
Outside of contributing to those outlets, I mostly spend my online time watching hilarious videos of cats and tweeting about peanut butter. So yeah, I basically live life to the fullest.
How does one go from not being an author, to being one?
I’m stubborn. Possibly stupid.
At one point I realized how much I had been contributing to the various sites I write for. It didn’t feel as challenging to me anymore to fulfil those commitments and I began to wonder what more I could do. Eventually, an idea swelled up in my head and I was foolish enough to take a stab at it. I’ve never been the type to not finish what I’ve started, so, nine months later, it’s now complete.
What is your book about? Would you say you’ve based the story on real life people, places, events?
In Stitches is a dorky dark comedy aimed at young adults. It takes the gothic concept of bringing someone back to life through scientific methods and allows events to play out under a comedic filter. Hence the title. The most comprehensive way to understand it would be as a modern-day Frankenstein with socially inept characters and Kevin Smith dialogue. It’s unorthodox as all hell, but it’s pretty much me on paper.
The official statement within the book’s cover is that it is a work of fiction and that all allusions to real persons, places, or things are coincidental and don’t apply an opinion, negative or positive. However, I’d be lying if I were to say their weren’t some shout outs to real people, places, and events.
There are three main characters: Scott the neurobiologist, Tom the trauma surgeon, and Adam the monster they create. Their personalities are all representative of my own to a certain extent. Scott is funny and loud, but socially rude and lazy. Tom is intelligent and kind, but bashful around women and overly worrisome. Adam is friendly and openminded, but tried to cling to the past. He also serves to enable positive change for his creators, which, in turn, ultimately helps him. Those are the only characters which are directly “based on” people, however, a number of characters, places, and things are named after friends and family of mine from the Saint John, NB region. Those are in-name-only references.
In terms of setting, the book takes place in small town Maine. I chose this location as a subtle allusion to one of my favourite authors, Stephen King.
In terms of events, I’ve never attempted to raise the dead. That should be a given. But they way a character get’s dumped may or may not have happened to me before and I may or may not have channeled Taylor Swift in rebuttal.
You’ve spent the greater part of the last 9 months writing a book. Any “lessons learned” for the next one?
Don’t underestimate the process. I’ve met a lot of writers who’ve been under the impression that all you need to do is sit down and write. In their heads, like I once did, they calculate how many words per week they write now and estimate how long it will take to produce something. It’s not that easy for most people. It certainly wasn’t for me. Before a single word hits the page, you need a solid concept. Without a unique idea, you’ll be seen as a hack by critics and contemporaries alike. From there, you’ll need an engaging or realistic setting. If people can’t imagine your environment in their heads as they read, you’ve failed at your job. You then have to create characters with dimension and flaws. Without an arc or personality to those characters, there’s no point to them existing. All of this requires a lot of thought and planning. To that effect, a 5,000 word chapter can take five hours or five days.
Otherwise, I’d say I’ve learned that playing god with the people and places you create totally goes to your head. One day I woke up and said to myself, “I’m going to kill someone today.” I had a cold character just a few paragraphs later. The power to create and tear down is intoxicating.
What’s a Typical day like for you?
When I was in the heat of final rewrites I would wake up, drive into uptown Saint John, sift through labour market statistics and engage with local companies for roughly eight and a half hours, come home, complete commitments one of the sites (dependant on the day), play maybe a half-hour of video games, go out running or to boxing (dependant on the day), return home to crank out a couple thousand words on the book, and pass out to start it all again the next day. Occasionally, I’d make pitstops at Feel Good Store for loose tea or hit the internet to look up pictures and videos of red pandas, but that was mostly to maintain my sanity.
My schedule has since changed. Now that I’m back to writing just for the other sites, I have what feels like a ton of time to take it easy and hang out with friends and family. I definitely need the break to catch up on my reading and video games backlog, but I’m already starting to get a bit antsy for more. I’m thinking about doing some new stuff in the future. I’ve been meaning to brush up on my culinary skills and I’m not the best swimmer, so though are the next mountains for me to cross.
What about your dream day?
It starts with a call from bank, saying that they’ve lost all record of my student loans and as such consider them paid in full. Does that sound boring? I hope not — dreams can be responsible, folks.
Seriously though, outside of waking up to find an army of corgi pups ready play with me in my newly minted peanut butter factory, where Daft Punk plays live around the clock, I can’t say that I don’t already have a lot of what I’ve dreamt about.
Questions to prove you’re human:
What are your three favourite movies?
Yeooowza. That’s a doozy. You realize they pay me to hate movies right? Well, of the many I do love here are three that I can watch on good days and bad:
1. Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope — Did I mention that I’m a dork? I can’t say that I’m huge into science fiction, but Star Wars isn’t just a simple movie about antics in space. Under a minuscule budget, Lucas created an entire universe full of fantastical characters and places, a new style of cinema, and a space opera which has been imitated numerous times but never bettered.
2. Wristcutters — Dark sounding title, but this flick harkens back to my love of quirky humour. It’s a romantic comedy of two people who fall in love after already dying. The atmosphere is morose and a little depressing, but the characters and the way they feel towards one and other really sincere and sweet.
3. The Iron Giant — Quite literally the only movie to ever make my eyes water (and its a kids movie of all things). In concept, it’s just a movie about a boy and his giant robot, but the intrigue comes out of the atmosphere. The film is set in the days where American socialist propaganda was commonplace and paranoia was rampant. No one likes the robot because he’s different and their ignorant hatred is almost their undoing.
What CD is currently on repeat?
A Different Kind of Fix by Bombay Bicycle Club
You could say that I’m a pretty big fan of the band, and this is my favourite of their albums. Shuffle is what I listen to as I get ready every morning and Bad Timing is my jam every night.
Favourite thing to do on a Saturday?
Waking up to watch cartoons. I may not by five years old anymore, but I clearly still kind of have that mentality.
I am single. Currently looking for someone awesome to fall into mutual weirdness with.
Well, the next big thing for me is just going after new and different things. Maybe skydiving or punching a bear in the face. I haven’t quite figured out what I want to do this summer.
However, I know that I’ll be returning to authorship. In the fall I’m starting work on a new book called “Bloody Mary Makes Friends.” It’s about exactly what it sounds like and is in no way a sequel to In Stitches. It will, however, be another dark comedy.
His book is available for purchase at Amazon (for Kindle) Here.
The book is also available for purchase in softcover Here.
As of next Friday, you can purchase his book locally at Indigo and Coles.
Follow Trent on Twitter: