B*H: Why do you write?
DG: Well, why not?
A new season means new conversations, or, rather, new In Conversations! We talked to some of our Fall 2020 authors about their forthcoming books, and about the essential but frequently elusive art of writing. For the next couple of months, we’ll be sharing their wit, their wisdom, and their work with you on the blog. You can also subscribe to the Book*hug Press e-newsletter or follow us on social media—we’re partial to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter—for updates on upcoming author events. Happy fall, y’all.
Our conversation continues with author David Goudreault, whose novel, Mama’s Boy: Game Over—the third and final volume of the Mama’s Boy trilogy, which also includes Mama’s Boy and Mama’s Boy Behind Bars—was published by Book*hug Press last week on November 10th. Goudreault bears little resemblance to the series’ volatile protagonist—he’s incredibly gracious, for one thing—but he does share a sense of humour with his creation. We were delighted to hear his thoughts about writing, the power of language, and the significance of time; we’re even more delighted to share them with you.
What are you currently writing?
I’m working on a book for youths. It will be coming out this spring. It’s about family and eventually separation and things that make kids worried about family issues. So I’m working on this for this spring. And I have an album, a CD that is coming out in December, which is a mix of songs, spoken words, some poetry that I’m reading, but with a lot of collaboration from a few musicians here. And I think it’s a great project. I can’t wait to send it to the world everywhere. So that’s the two big projects, for now, the album and the book for the kids. But I have also two novels that I’m working on. I don’t know which one will take the lead when I will be ready to really work on the novel. I need a lot of time to do so. But I have always a few projects like that at the same time.
What are you currently reading?
I’m reading Michel Tremblay. I just finished the last one from Margaret Atwood, The Testaments, and I really appreciate both. So it’s a good stretch of reading. Sometimes I’m like a few weeks without finding the good books for me. But for now, it’s a good stretch. I think that I discovered Michel Tremblay at the right moment to do so. Because when I read it the first time, I think I was too young. But now I really appreciate the way he’s writing. So it’s a good thing to go back to some readings that were a little hard when we were younger.
Why do you write?
Well, why not? I write because I like it, because there’s people out there who want to read what I have to write. And for me, writing is really a relationship. I’m not the kind of writer that I have to write for myself because I have things inside me. And yeah, I have a lot of things inside me, but if there is nobody to read me in the end, I won’t write it, I will meditate. So I write because I like to get in touch with people through words, through books. I like when writers get in touch with me through their books, through their ideas. So for me, it’s a way to be in relationship with the world. So that’s why I write.
Who, where, when, and what influences your writing?
I think everything has an influence. It’s sure the books that we read will have great influence because that’s how you get your own way, by seeing the others, how they’re doing, what in their books make you react. So I think that with consciousness or not, you take everything from your writing, from your living through, from anything that makes you react in the days of the weeks. So at the end, you take all of this and you make a story or a poem with it. So I think that’s how it works.
Where do you write?
Well, I write at my desk in my house. I can’t understand how some writers can write their books in the cafe and in some public space. I really need to concentrate, I really need to get in some kind of state of mind to write. So it’s something that I do really alone. I’m doing some shows too, so sometimes I write while backstage. But when I write backstage, I have to be alone and to be concentrated. So that’s where I write.
What does and doesn’t help you write?
Well, what helps is coffee. I take a sip. Coffee, and also being up early. I think for me, the best way to write is in the morning, the earlier is the better, because that’s when I have most energy, inspiration. And also, kids didn’t drain all my mojo, all my energy in the morning. At the end of the day, as a parent, as a human, and as a writer, I’m pretty done. So I have to do it early.
What do you write with?
Computer. When I write with a pencil, it’s really for my nearby, for to write poem or romantic stuff. But you won’t read it. You will not read it.
What makes you happy?
To find a good sentence at the right time. When you work a lot on a part of the book and something is missing and when you finally find it, it’s like a, great, great, great source of happiness for me.
Do you have a preference for fiction, nonfiction, or poetry in your reading or writing?
I think there’s something great in all kind of stuff. I think it’s a great accomplishment of literature to be so rich in so many ways. And that’s why I like to write poetry, to write songs for me or for others, to write some fiction, nonfiction too. So I’m pretty much in everything about this. I’m still excited to discover things in all these type of writings and readings.
Tell us your favorite word, and why it’s your favorite.
I think my favorite word is time, or maybe I would say memento mori, because time is our greatest ally and the worst threat to our life. Time is killing us, but nothing can be done without time. So it’s my favorite word because it still fascinates me. The time it takes to write books and the hope you have that this book will survive in time. So I’m happy that I’ve took the time to respond to your questions. And now I will go back to writing. Have a nice day.
BONUS: Listen to the audio recording of David’s interview below:
David Goudreault is a Québécois novelist, poet, columnist, and social worker. He is the author of the bestselling La Bête trilogy, which includes La Bête à sa mère (Mama’s Boy, Book*hug, 2018), La Bête et sa cage (Mama’s Boy Behind Bars, Book*hug, 2019), and Abattre la bête (Mama’s Boy: Game Over, Book*hug, 2020). He has also published three poetry collections. His latest novel is Ta mort à moi. He was the first person from Québec to win the Poetry World Cup in Paris (2011), and he has also received many other awards, including the Médaille de l’Assemblée Nationale (2012), the Prix des Nouvelles Voix de la Littérature (2016), the Prix de la ville de Sherbrooke (2016), the Grand Prix Littéraire Archambault (2016), and the Prix Lèvres Urbaines (2017). His work has been published internationally in France and Mexico. Goudreault lives in Sherbrooke, Quebec.