Today’s author R. L. Prendergast is here to tell us about his new novel, Dinner with Lisa.
R. L. (Rod) Prendergast was the entrepreneurial kid you saw on your neighborhood street selling lemonade on a hot summer’s day. Recognizing young Rod’s preoccupation with money, his mother bribed him to read with an offer of 25 cents per book—and instilled in him a lifelong love of reading. Although he continued down the path of industry—he started and sold his first business before completing his Bachelor of Commerce—he continued to read voraciously. After a number of years working in sales, marketing and management for several companies he spent a year’s sabbatical surfing and reading in New Zealand and, free of business pressures, he began to write. Those first words became the backbone of The Impact of a Single Event—which was long listed for the Independent Publishers Book Award for literary fiction, and which became a national bestseller in Canada. Spurred on by the success of his first novel, he took another sabbatical and wrote Dinner with Lisa. He is currently working on his next book.
Welcome to Reviews and Interviews, Rod, please tell us about your current release.
The name of novel is Dinner with Lisa. The story is set in Canada during the Great Depression. Joseph Gaston, a widower with four young children, uproots his family and moves west in search of work. He arrives in the small town of Philibuster where he is reunited with his prankster brother, known throughout town as The Great Henri. Thanks to The Great Henri, Joseph has some minor scrapes with the law. So not only must Joseph find work and keep his family from starving, but he’s got to avoid the chief of police who is after him as well.
What inspired you to write this book?
Have you ever wished you’d written down the stories told you by your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, great aunts and uncles? I know I do. For years I listened to my relatives recounting their childhoods, and talk of the unusual characters they’d known. People who did crazy things, and had nicknames like Hateful Dan, The Black Prince and Dumb Dora.
One day I finally began to write down the recollections of my parents and their older siblings. As the cache of tales grew – a great uncle’s experience in WW1, my mother’s memories of the neighborhood corner store, my father’s memories of life on a dairy farm – I saw a connecting thread. Before long, I was researching the time periods in which the stories took place – and was inspired to write Dinner with Lisa.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m presently have two projects in the works. The first is a children’s bedtime story inspired by my son, who doesn’t sleep (there’s a picture of him on my website at www.RLPrendergast.com). The other is a fictionalized account of one of the most famous people who ever lived. I’d like to tell you more, but I need you to be intrigued. The job of a storyteller, after all, is to keep the reader interested!
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I never have considered myself a writer. Not that I haven’t sold a lot of books, but I don’t think I’ll ever define myself as a writer because, and this is getting a little philosophical, I don’t want to pigeonhole myself. Yes, I am someone who writes novels, but I want to give myself the freedom to do anything and not be something specific.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your workday like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I was writing full-time, but now that the novel is in bookstores (and available at Internet retailers) I spend most of my day promoting and hanging out with my son.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
My son is about 2 ½ years old. My wife and I clip his fingernails while he sits at the computer. We’ll play a video for him so that he’s distracted. The fingernail clippers are always beside the computer and I find myself lining it up a certain way when I sit down to work each morning.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My father taught at a local college for a long time. I guess when I was little I told my mom I wanted to be a “college man,” whatever that meant. I also loved money and saw myself starting a business, which I’ve done a few times. Other than that I probably wanted to be an astronaut or a professional athlete like every other little boy.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I’m being held captive by my publisher. Please send help. I’m at…
Thanks for squeezing the interview in while you could, Rod! Readers, if you’d like to read more about Rob, you can check out the rest of his tour schedule and stop at other blogs to say ‘hi’.