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Background INfo: I currently practice as a gastroenterologist in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. I studied biochemistry in Calgary, and subsequently did my medical training at the University of Alberta. There, I completed residency in internal medicine and subspecialty fellowship in gastroenterology. Finally, I did a research project on Crohn’s disease, which earned me a Master of Science in experimental medicine.
INfluences: I have traditionally enjoyed reading science fiction, and was motivated by a piece by Dan Simmons, who wrote a preface to a series of stories regarding the process of discovering one’s underlying ability to write. I am often inspired by veterans of World War II that I meet professionally; they have many stories to tell, and the world can benefit from someone willing to create a forum for them.
Internet Presence: To date I have not established a website, but I am doing this interview!
The Future: The benefit of a day job that is fairly successful and the blessing of two children born in the last two years means that I am presently thinking about my next project without doing much writing. When the time materializes, I hope to have a second novel flowing quickly. My next book is on the subject of a Canadian surgeon involved in the allied advance through Italy during World War II.
Old Soldiers, Bewrite Books, 2006
Background INfo: I'm an Australian now based in Vienna, Austria, where I was born in 1949. I grew up in Sydney and after graduation came to Vienna where I studied translation. I got my first job as a typist in Helsinki. That job took me to Geneva, Switzerland where I stayed for 30 years and lived over the border in France. I came to writing late – at 44. I was on a career track with a UN telecoms agency, but one day I stumbled on a writing magazine in London and tried my hand at a story for a competition. I didn't know how the story would end and when it did, I sent it off. It got nowhere, but I got the prize of being hooked on writing. I found a local group in Geneva and went online to a forum on Compuserve. I knew nothing, so these were good places to start. I took early retirement last year and now I can write full time.
INfluences: When I came to Vienna in the late 60s, I'd written some poetry and sent it off. The rejection was nice – good style, but come back in 30 years when you've lived a little. I'd forgotten that advice, but as it happened, it was 30 years later that I started writing fiction. Susan Tiberghien and the Geneva Writers' Group let me feel I had the "right to write." Never having studied English lit and speaking trilingual mishmash for years, I'd somehow mislaid my mother tongue. Then there was Alex Keegan and his writers' Bootcamp, who put me through the paces for three years. Write, write, write; submit, submit, submit was the mantra. I attended a workshop at the Humber School for Writers in Toronto and worked with Wayson Choy. Then I did correspondence courses through Humber with the late Timothy Findley and with Peter Carey. I attended the Geneva Writers' Conferences and was able to do workshops with Thomas E. Kennedy, Wallis Wilde Menozzi, Jane Alison, Peter Ho Davies, and others. I'm also grateful for the experience of attending the International Conferences on the Study of the Short Story in English. My favourite authors are Timothy Findley and Janette Turner Hospital.
The Future: My second collection of stories, Back Burning, won the Best Fiction prize at IP Picks 2007 and is being released in November in Australia through Interactive Publications (IP). I'm finalizing my Creative Writing Ph.D. thesis at UNSW in Sydney, of which one part is a novel, Ambergris. From February to June 2008, I'll be attending events in Europe to talk, teach and give readings. After that, I want to go back to my first novel, Tillandsia, and revise it again. Then I want to write more stories and continue work I've just started on adapting some of my stories for short films. A whole new ball game.
Back Burning, Interactive Publications (IP), Australia, 2007
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