Ian Stout is a writer and a traveler. He has visited over 40 different countries, walked the Great Wall of China, sat in Rome’s Coliseum and stood on the roof of Hitler’s Fuehrer-bunker in Berlin. He's seen the ruins of Machu Picchu, wondered why the Leaning Tower of Pisa doesn't fall over and has looked in wonder at Napoleon's home on Elba. His ideas come from his various experiences and travels. The characters he creates have traits and manners akin to the hundreds he has met and connected with, be they a waiter in Montmartre or a cab driver in Mexico City.
A full time writer, Ian does not consider writing his hobby but an act of love, a passion, and a joy. Ian was kind enough to share his thoughts with me. Enjoy :-)
Why do you write?
I write because that’s what I am, a writer. When I left home at age eighteen for a walk-about in Europe I wrote long letters back to my parents and grandparents telling them how well things were and what a great time I was having. This was my first effort at fiction and it worked quite well.
After eighteen months I returned home and wrote a series of travel columns for the Dundas Star. After that I wrote columns for the Hamilton Herald, the Recorder Group and finally for the Brabant chain of papers in the Niagara Peninsula. During that time I also had items published in the Readers Digest, several magazines and the occasional feature in a daily.
Writing is something I do, like breathing, and I don’t question it or try to analyze it too carefully for fear of screwing things up.
Which writers inspire you?
No writers inspire me. There are some I admire and whose skill I appreciate, but inspire? I don’t need inspiration because I am a writer. I certainly do like many authors but have no desire to be like them. They had their stories to tell in their way and I have mine. I may love reading Joseph Conrad, James Clavell, Stevenson or Hemingway, but I don’t to write like them or be like them. I am, and always will be, Ian Stout.
What is your favorite book and why?
Shogun, by James Clavell. I love the way he took a part of Japan’s history in the fifteen hundreds, a part we know little of, and built a story on that history. His attention to detail, his descriptions of historical events and his refusal to be politically correct in his depictions of life in those days is to be admired.
What is the easiest thing about writing and what is the most difficult?
The easiest thing about writing is accepting accolades and compliments. All the rest is damn hard work. It is a lonely business. Unlike painting, where you can see where the painter is going, or sculpture, where a figure slowly reveals itself as the artist chips away, a written work is a complete unknown and cannot be judged until the last page is completed.
The hardest part of writing is believing that what you are in the process of producing is actually worthwhile.
Which book do you wish you had written?
The Gutenberg Bible. All I’d have to do is sell one and I’d be set for life.
How do you market your books?
My books are published by Fifeshire Press, a small boutique publisher in the east end of Toronto, and printed and distributed by Ingrams in the United States. They make it available on over 70 web sites worldwide including Barnes and Nobles and Books A Million in the US, Angus and Robertson in Australia and the Book Depository in the UK. It is available in New Zealand, India and South Africa as well. Ingrams ships copies directly to retailers, wholesalers and libraries anywhere in the world. I also, in co-operation with Fifeshire, actively contact libraries, retailers and wholesalers across the continent, do book signings wherever possible, speak at libraries and make myself available for readings, interviews and functions.
Any new release?
My third novel Murder Unedited is now out and available. It is the story of a ‘near retirement’ police detective who is attempting to solve the murder of a book publisher in Hamilton. The detective, William Law Deas, is a Scot who views the world somewhat differently from most homicide investigators.
The official launch of Murder Unedited is on the 5th of October 2015 at 7 pm in the ballroom of the Hampton Inn on Bronte Road at The QEW. It’s free, the wine is quite good, and the nibblies by the hotel’s catering people are just great.
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