As I slowly edge my way into blogging I think about how much I have shared and I know that with every post there has been a bit more. So, bit by bit you will learn about me. However, today you are going to learn a little about my writing partner.
David Gane and I have been writing together for many years. We are co-authors of the international award winning Shepherd and Wolfe mystery series. Our relationship began long before that when David started dating my sister, and then married her. We are in laws and writing partners in crime or partners in crime writing. You decide.
I figured some fun content would be to interview David. I am certain that he will come up in my posts frequently in the future but for now here is your introduction to David Gane.
David had a busy year working at the library and the university as well as keeping our online store and newsletter going. The load has definitely lightened in terms of official job titles so I was able to cap off his year of teaching and working at the library with this dialogue.
I sat at my kitchen counter and he in his office and through the gift of technology we had our mid-morning visit. I began:
David, you just competed your term as the 2019-2020 Writer in Residence at the Regina Public Library. What was your best takeaway from this position?
How much I learned. I really liked being faced with questions around story, writing, grammar. Some things I knew and some I didn’t know. When I didn’t know I would have to learn to better help people coming in with questions.
What was a re-occurring challenge that came with the job of Writer in Residence?
The limits of my knowledge of the English language, the complexity of it and trying to give the best answer to hopeful writers. There are so many rules that I always found I was challenged. This was coupled with the different rules for the different styles of writing. The other challenge was critiquing a person’s work without hurting them.
If you weren’t a writer what do you think your job would be?
I’ve been a writer for so long that I don’t think I have any other skills. Teaching stems from my interest in writing so those two (teaching and writing) are tied together. I like building things with wood. But, if I had a job in construction, I think I would get bored. If writing had never shown up in my life I could probably have given beekeeping a go. (Dave’s dad was a beekeeper). But, being at the mercy of nature, the weather—I’m not sure I could have handled that.
When you were a little kid what did you want to do when you grew up?
I can’t tell you because it’s one of my security questions!! What are you trying to hack me?
What is your most satisfying moment when you are writing?
The reason I started writing is because I wanted to give people an emotional reaction.
But before the emotional response of the reader satisfaction comes when the words just show up—or being in the flow of writing. When I show up at the page and put words down without thinking about it and it all just flows. I love falling into that moment.
Creativity is a raging river—and when I create I immersing myself in it and let it carry me. In the movie Finding Nemo the turtles hop on the current and flow along and that’s how they cross vast oceans. The current is the satisfying moment.
However, I love the feeling of a beautifully constructed thing. I think Shepherd’s Watch is the best written of all of our books. There’s a satisfaction in writing something beautifully constructed. Some of Hemmingway’s stuff makes me so happy. Children’s books make me so happy when they are beautifully constructed. Shakespeare’s best plays, wow. It’s not just the language. He just built a beautiful cathedral there. That’s my final answer.
What is the moment that you were certain you were on the right track with this writing gig?
When I have been, and with you sometimes, in a conversation with other writers and we don’t have the uncertainty other authors may. Receiving awards affirms this. Whatever we are doing, we are doing it right. Even going to the Canadian Children’s Book Centre Awards we were playing with the big boys—our little indie book that came out of nowhere.
When we have conversations with other authors but we don’t feel out of place, it’s like we belong in the world of writing.
When I was sitting in class, back at grad school, taking a poetry class. I didn’t believe in myself. The teacher at the time called me out and said that I lied to her because I was doing just fine at writing. That’s a moment I knew it was in me.
Are you willing to share ideas on future projects?
My future project right now is totally figuring out what Davidgane.com is. Finding those 1000 people (or more) who say “I like what you do and I support you.”
This next question I ask this because I am also a teacher. You are a sessional instructor at the University of Regina, what feeds your soul more, writing or teaching?
Writing. No hesitation. But I also know how important it is to help others.
Let’s talk about co-writing. What’s the plus for you?
You bring out a certain amount of humor and fun in my writing that I typically don’t have. Even now, my next project is potentially darker. I need to try and do a genre piece without you just to try and push myself into those zones. Also, I want to write something and see if I can be fun without you—push my boundaries.
What are the challenges?
Compromise. But compromise is sometimes the better choice. That other voice is helpful. Although I get frustrated when you challenge me but I problem solve through it. I think about a scene in Shepherd’s Watch where you told me the scene was too long. And it was.
The Shepherd and Wolfe series has had a fair bit of traction. Each book has been recognized in some way and there are still two coming. What’s your biggest dream for the series?
My big dream is that the Shepherd and Wolfe series gets recognized as a successful series in Canadian Young Adult literature. My big dream is to land the metaphorical plane at the end of the series, for the readers to enjoy the stories and to make them happy.
We are a fly on the wall in your office. What does it look like when you’re writing?
Boring. Me, writing and writing and writing. Sometimes mouthing the words to myself. Staring off into the distance a lot. Zoned out. Getting distracted and watching Youtube videos of movies from music I listen to while writing.
Speaking of music how do you fill the silence when you write? Is there a type of music that you listen to?
Movie soundtracks. Always. Michael Giacchino He’s done music for Star Trek, Speed Racer, Mission Impossible. I have to listen to instrumental music because words are distracting.
How much do you read in your spare time?
I try to read an hour a day.
What are you currently reading?
The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. It’s basically twelve steps to opening yourself up to possibility.
Do you have any rituals or superstitions around writing or the creative process?
Not really. I used to go to a coffee shop and write but now, because of Covid-19 I’m going to have to sit here (points to the couch in his office, behind him) and the couch is going to be my place. I’ve been writing morning pages. I walk or run, read a little, lunch, write in the afternoon. I think I may turn into an afternoon writer.
Where do you see yourself in one year?
Here. In this chair. (Dave laughs) Honestly, I’m putting a lot of faith and work into Davidgane.com working out.
Three years from now?
I don’t think that far ahead. I guess, being self-sustained as a writer. Making contributions to others and fulfilling my creative passions. Finishing the Shepherd and Wolfe series. Finishing my own book.
And ten years?
Lightning round, are you ready?
Too bad. Favorite beverage? Water/ coffee.
Favorite thing to do in your free time besides write? Sleep and eat.
Do you have a nick name? Super Dave.
Shorts or pants? Depends of the season.
Do you prefer to do or to chill? Do.
Summer or winter? Summer.
David apologized for talking a lot and making me summarize his words, but then he retracted the apology and said that he’s always editing my words in our writing so now it’s my turn.
It was fun to sit down with him and ask him some questions. Because I work so closely with him, there were no surprises but he did flesh out some thoughts.
So, everyone, there’s a glimpse into my writing partner David Gane.
Side note: the featured image at the top is from an interview, not David’s office!