Local Spoken Word poet, and now published author Barb Day, recently came into Candy Funhouse to promote her adventure novel for kids ‘Zanzibar.’ After years of edits and re-edits her book is finally on our stores shelf and will be a hit for those young readers out there. A great stocking stuffer for the Christmas season.
Candy Funhouse (CF): Getting an independent book published is notoriously hard, can you take us through the process?
Barb Day (BD): Well, I was self-published completely so that solved that problem (laughs.)
CF: What about the editing process?
BD: I know an editor from here in Cambridge, so she edited the book for me. I had a few other adults read it over. Then I took it to a publisher, and he designed the cover and printed the books.
CF: What were kids reactions to reading the book?
BD: Well, the interesting thing about it is that I never had a child read it until after it was published. Of course I was all worried about it, the adults who read it loved it, but I really wanted feed back from a kid.
CF: And we’re assuming the children's reactions were as positive as the adults?
BD: I sold a book to an old co-worker of mine for her son. I got a message on Facebook saying that Jax’s was devastated because one of their dogs managed to chew off a few pages of the book, it was Jax’s absolute favourite book too! Jax was an avid reader, so to hear that from a kid was a huge thing.
CF: Is there going to be another book? Maybe a continuation or a whole different story all together?
BD: I left it open for a trilogy. But I mean I work full-time too and it took four years from start to finish for this book, so it might be awhile for the next one. It takes lot of time and energy.
CF: While in the writing process did you have a set mind set for the characters and story lines? Did it change drastically in those four years?
BD: That’s a good question! Most writers have everything mapped out well in advanced that’s how they work. Me, not so much. I do things totally opposite. I just sit down and words just start to flow out.
CF: With that style you have, did you find the editing to be tiresome or frustrating?
BD: I really wish I kept some original drafts, I’m sure I would read them now and just want to crumple them up and toss them in the garbage.
CF: Surely its a rewarding experience, how cool is it to have a physical copy of a book you wrote in your hands?
BD: Oh absolutely, I have to say two of the most amazing things were; one finally finishing after four years, and two getting that first copy off the press and holding it. I wanted to scream, laugh and cry all at the same time.
CF: Have you done more book signings?
BD: I did my book launch at a small coffee shop in Brantford, and we had a big pirate cake and everything. It was really cool, a mother brought in her two daughters and we took pictures and she thought it would be neat if her daughters met a published author. Those kinds of things, made all the work worth it.
CF: Can you give us a percentage on how likely another book will come down the line at some point?
BD: Haha, I said I’d take a break for a few months, but I’m sure sooner or later my wheels will start turning again. I’ve already got feedback of people wanting to know what happens next.
CF: If books continue to sell, does it put pressure on you to continue in the series?
BD: I’m sure it would be similar to George Martin and his Game of Throne series, having to produce new stories to feed the masses!
CF: Where did the inspiration for the book and its overall theme and characters come from?
BD: I loved fantasy books as a kid, but I never wrote for years and years and years. I wrote in high school but didn't really write anything again until up until five-years-ago.
CF: What sparked the revive in writing?
BD: I took a course at Mohawk College, called writing for publication. One of the assignments happened to be to write a short story for kids. So this book essentially started off as a school assignment. I remember the teacher saying “you packed an awful lot into the short story, this needs to be a novel.”
CF: When it comes to the Spoken Word poetry, where does your inspiration come from? Your surroundings or experiences?
BD: A lot of Spoken Word comes from experiences, I mean I have one about how difficult it is these days to get a coffee. I had a poor experience at a drive-thru coffee shop and was so mad I decided to write a poem about it.
CF: What about the inspiration for ‘Candy kid’?
BD: Well, I heard another poet mention a certain candy bar in her poem, so I decided I could do a whole poem about candy.
CF: Do you think the English language and how we tell stories is a thriving industry or do you think its dying down as technology starts to take over?
BD: I think should write a poem about that! I think in someways it is and someways it isn’t. With Spoken Word, I find the most impressive thing is that it’s drawing in a younger crowd. Men are interested, generally poetry in the past has been a female market. But now with Spoken Word more and more varieties are showing up, it’s a impressive and wonderful thing.
CF: Do you have meetings for poetry slams?
BD: I run one out of Brantford called the Brant Rant. We have a meet up the second Wednesday of every month.
CF: Have you noticed an increase of people coming out now that there’s the University (Wilfrid Laurier) in town?
BD: We just started it up, but we had a meeting with the Arts co-ordinator from Laurier, and they’re very interested in being apart of it. We’re going to get a young man who's been to nationals to run a work-shop at our meet up.
CF: Is it just poetry at these meet ups?
BD: That’s a common misconception. We try not to make it just about poetry. For instance, the one coming up we’ll have stand up comedy. For Valentines day in February we’ll be having an ‘Anti-Valentines day’ meet up. Then for St.Patrick’s Day we’ll have a musician that plays Celtic music, to get a wide range of people to come out. Once they come out and notice how fun it is, they start to come back and it just grows.
Be sure to come into Candy Funhouse and pick up her book Zanzibar!