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Wereduck by Dave Atkinson – Interview by Julia, Teen Blogger


I first met Dave at Word on the Street where our local library was hosting author readings and holding Q&A sessions. I discovered not only does this new author have witty comebacks and a good sense of humour, he is a good natured man. Yet as soon as I read the title to his book, I knew I had to read it to see what it was about. Imagine picking up a book with a duck on the cover with the title in a bold red: Wereduck. Any sane person would take a double take.

Wereduck ended up as a fantastic little tale for me and was a good read with my cup of tea before bed.

Dave Atkinson is an award-winning freelance journalist, columnist, and broadcaster. His work for the CBC has appeared on The Current, Atlantic Voice, Tapestry, Maritime Magazine, In the Field, and regional radio programs across the country. He and his wife are homeschooling their three silly kids in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Dave recently published his first novel, Wereduck, this September.

Follow him on his official site and other social media:

Site: http://daveatkinson.ca/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/davyay

Wereduck is Dave’s debut novel. While it may be a crazy youthful adventure about a young girl and her quirky family, it is so much more. It is a fantastic telling of another were-story.

“Kate's family has told her that on her thirteenth birthday she'll hear the "Whooooo" call of the moon, and howl back, and become a werewolf just like them. But she doesn't want to be a werewolf. She's always felt more like a duck. On the night of her thirteenth birthday, Kate stands near her family's cabin in the backwoods of New Brunswick and hears the moon calling-but it sounds like more of a "Whooooo?" as in "Who are you?" and Kate does what she's always wanted to do-she quacks. Quack, quack, quacks.

Her family tries to understand Kate's new full-moon form, but they are busy integrating themselves with some new, edgy werewolves in town.

Engaging, hilarious, and utterly believable, Wereduck is a thrilling addition to the were-canon.” – Nimbus.ca

 

Now on with the show…

1.      Which character do you relate with the most?

Is it lazy to say all of them? Someone asked me if I was Dirk, and I thought for a minute and said, “Yes. But I’m also Kate. And John. And Bobby. And Kate’s parents…” Basically I’m everyone but Marge, Kate’s grandmother, who is an amalgamation of all the great and strong older women I’ve known in my life. I think writers, at least this writer, writes people from their own perspective, and we can’t help but weave a bit of ourselves into them. Even the bad ones.

2.      What animal would you shift into if you could?

Oh, gosh. Probably a crow or a raven. They’re amazing. I lived in Nunavut for a few years. I was continually amazed by the fact that ravens not only thrive in the harshest environment you can imagine, but they seem to have enough free time to spend tormenting all the local dogs…. for fun.

3.      Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I don’t remember the exact moment, but my interest in writing evolved as a kid. I loved to read, and I’m the type of person who when I see something I love, I want to participate in it. I remember turning a creative writing assignment in Grade 5 into a novella. I think that’s pretty typical of writers. Even now, when I read something great, it makes me want to write. It’s a pretty cocky thing, believing you have a story worth telling and the chops to tell it. I don’t think I’m a cocky person, but when I read something fun, I think: “I could do that.” And I write.

4.      Why did you want to choose a duck for Kate to shift into?

If you grew up in a family of werewolves, and you thought werewolves were the lamest, least cool thing you could be, what’s the opposite of that? Probably a duck. I wanted the title to be ridiculous enough to be startling, but compelling enough for people to want to read it. Before we were married, my wife told me that if she could be any animal, it would be a duck. That amazed me, because it was the last animal I would have ever thought of. But I was intrigued. My wife is a glorious mystery to me, in that I’m amazed by her creativity and intelligence, but her motivations are completely different from mine. I think I partly made the main character in Wereduck a female so that I could explore a bit of that mystery to better understand what makes my wife tick.

 5.      What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Making it long enough! After ten years of working on the radio, I had developed the habit of writing really succinctly in order to fit a news story into a minute and five seconds. Which is useful on the radio, but not so much in a novel. When I first sent the manuscript to Nimbus, the feedback they sent was something along the lines of “we like it, but you need to write more. Lots more.” So I did. And I’m learning!

6.      How much of the book did you base off of things you knew around you?

Dirk’s world is based on the world of journalism, which I know pretty well. I think he was the most fun to write, because of that. He’s waaaaay, waaaaay exaggerated, but I think Dirk would have fit in at most of the newsrooms I worked at over the years. The setting in the woods in New Brunswick is based off some of my time living in that area. The little town they visit is fictional, but the place where they have their camp is based on a real place.

7.      Have you ever hated something that you have written?

I have hated almost everything I’ve written, at one point or another. When I write something, I think it’s great. When I read it the next day, it’s garbage. It took me a long time to understand that it’s actually somewhere in between. I only write once a week. When I started, I sat down and wrote the first chapter in a sitting. A week later, I opened the file, announced it was garbage, deleted it, and started over. I did that for about three months and got no further than the first chapter. I finally decided that if I was ever going to finish the book, I needed to just keep going. So that’s what I do. When I’m writing the first draft of something, I never go back and read. I just pick up where I left off last time and keep writing. Separating writing and editing is crucial for me getting anything done, because of that thing… that thing where I hate what I write.

8.      If you were to make a sequel to Wereduck would you decide to base it on a different type of were-species?

Haha who says I haven’t written a sequel to Wereduck? I think subsequent books would follow the characters in Wereduck, but that’s not to say there aren’t opportunities for other were-things to occur, even the kind you might not expect.

Thank you so much Dave for taking your time and doing this author interview with me. Your book was great and I will definitely recommend it to my friends if they ever want a nice enjoyable read. Despite me being piled in homework (quite literally) I loved doing this author interview with you. It was very relaxing and I had a very good time.

 ❧

Check out Dave’s new book Wereduck out at your local library. 

Julia,

Teen Blogger

 

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