Au­thor Clau­dia Dey on the re­lease of her sec­ond novel, Heart­breaker

North Toronto Post - - Currents - By Jes­sica Padykula

It feels like I am watch­ing my soul cross an eight­lane high­way.”

For Toronto writer Clau­dia Dey, who at­tended St. Cle­ment’s School, it was see­ing Michael On­daatje’s The Col­lected Works of

Billy the Kid the­atre adap­ta­tion that sparked her de­sire to tell sto­ries.

“I thought, ‘I want to do that. I am go­ing to do that.’ It an­swered to the elec­tric­ity I felt in­side; it gave me a form,” she ex­plains. “When you are a teenager, you are hunt­ing for ways to live, ways to be. This mo­ment gave me my di­rec­tion.”

Dey wrote her first play in Grade 7 and even scripted a death scene for her­self.

“I was poi­soned af­ter hav­ing an af­fair with a pro­fes­sional base­ball player and did a death dance in one of my mother’s dresses and turquoise high heels,” she says.

De­spite keep­ing much of her writ­ing to her­self when she was younger, Dey says she got a lot of en­cour­age­ment in her bur­geon­ing lit­er­ary pur­suits.

“I look back now, and the en­cour­age­ment I re­ceived from teach­ers and from other stu­dents prob­a­bly helped to nudge me to­ward writ­ing as a for­mal and le­git­i­mate pur­suit.”

Af­ter St. Cle­ment’s, Dey stud­ied lit­er­a­ture at McGill Univer­sity and then play­writ­ing at the Na­tional The­atre School of Canada for two years. What came next was a whirl­wind of cre­ative pur­suits in­clud­ing, but not limited to,

play­writ­ing, a sex col­umn, an ad­vice col­umn, her first novel ( Stunt), act­ing in two in­de­pen­dent films (one, a hor­ror film with no di­a­logue where she falls in love with a sea crea­ture), a book about sex, a de­sign stu­dio and a cloth­ing brand called Horses Ate­lier and now Heart­breaker.

Heart­breaker is her sec­ond novel and tells the story of Bil­lie Jean Fon­taine, who ends up in a small, north­ern town in the mid­dle of nowhere af­ter fall­ing from a stolen car. Years later, she dis­ap­pears one night and it’s up to her daugh­ter, Pony, and hus­band to piece to­gether what may have hap­pened. The book is told in three dis­tinct voices — Pony, Bil­lie Jean’s dog and a teenager named Su­per­nat­u­ral.

In terms of process, Dey says she writes a book to answer a ques­tion for her­self or to set­tle a de­bate within her­self.

“In the case of Heart­breaker, the novel be­gan with an im­age: a woman in a white three-piece suit tum­bling from the open door of a slowly mov­ing Mercedes sedan: her long hair, the loose limbs. She was in the mid­dle of nowhere,” says Dey.

So, Dey asked her­self: what is the mid­dle of nowhere? From there, the novel took shape.

Dey is a healthy mix of ex­cited and anx­ious about the re­lease of Heart­breaker.

“It feels like I am watch­ing my soul cross an eight-lane high­way,” she says.

With a cre­ative mind like Dey’s, she’s al­ways think­ing about what may come next, but that doesn’t mean she’s ready to share.

“I have an­other novel in me.That is my fu­ture. But I can’t say any­thing more.”

Dey’s sec­ond novel was just re­leased

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.