The Three Rs: Michael Hingston

October 25, 2013 § 1 Comment

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of working on Michael Hingston’s debut novel, The Dilettantes, recently out from Freehand Books. Michael is the books columnist for the Edmonton Journal. Called “one of the sharpest young literary critics in this country” by 49th Shelf, his journalism has also appeared in the Globe and Mail, the National Post, Alberta Venture magazine, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.

When did you first know you wanted to write books?
Like most kids, I daydreamed about it when I was in elementary school. But when I tried to picture what would go between the covers, I would totally blank. I’m still not sure about the concept of books, plural, but I knew I wanted to write this one, at least, when I looked up one day towards the end of my university career and realized that I’d been subconsciously gathering material for years.

How does writing fit into your typical day?
This novel was written almost entirely between the hours of 12:00 and 12:30 MST, during my lunch breaks at work. So writing always has a spot. I write something every day, be it fiction or journalism or just “emails,” which can sometimes be enough of a task that I include it on my day’s to-do list.

Cover of The Dilettantes by Michael Hingston

Do you type or write by hand?
When it comes to actual sentences, typing only. But if I’m daydreaming, or making a list of characters or plot points or what have you, I use a notebook. I don’t know why. It can’t help that much, and honestly I wind up losing about 50% of it anyway.
What have you read recently that you loved?
Jess Walter’s We Live in Water is my favourite book of 2013. Second place is Lynn Coady’s Hellgoing. And I also loved Adam Marek’s The Stone Thrower. (Three story collections! How about that?)
What are your all-time favourites?
Moby-Dick is the G.O.A.T. in my books. It fires on just about every cylinder fiction can.
You can either write or read for the rest of your life – but not both. Which do you choose?
I love writing, but without the constant fuel of reading other people’s stuff, it would descend into nonsense pretty quickly. So: reading.
What’s your third R, and why?
Rotini. Ray guns. RSVPing for weddings. Ritalin? Rabelais.

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