Christian McPherson is a poet, novelist, and cartoonist. He lives in Ottawa with his wife and their two kids. He has written a bunch of books including, The Cube People, Saving Her, and My Life in Pictures. His new book of poetry is being released this fall from At Bay Press, Walking on the Beaches of Temporal Candy.
Q: Tell me about your writing. How long have you been publishing, and what got you started?
My first book, Six Ways to Sunday, came out in 2007 from Canadian small press publisher Nightwood Editions; they are in Gibsons, BC. It was a collection of short stories I had been working on for close to a decade. My second book was a book of poetry Poems that swim from my brain like rats leaving a sinking ship published by Bayeux Arts out of Calgary. I did two novels with Nightwood, The Cube People and Cube Squared. Then I had a long run with Now or Never Publishing out of Vancouver BC. Now Or Never published three books of poetry (The Sun Has Forgotten Where I Live, My Life in Pictures, and One Poem), one novel (Saving Her), and my second collection of short fiction (Going Fly). My most recent book is a double book of poetry entitled Walking on the Beaches of Temporal Candy and is published by At Bay Press out of Winnipeg.
Q: How many times have you exhibited at the ottawa small press fair? How do you find the experience?
I have been coming since 2008, twice a year, I do believe. I think I only missed one. So around 20 times. It a nice way to meet fellow authors and publishers and I get to meet strangers I would normally never get to meet. It’s a hard to find place, so the traffic can be light at times. Overall, rob makes it a very welcoming place to be – he needs to work on the coffee! Ha.
Q: Would you have made something specific for this spring’s fair? Are you still doing that? How does the lack of spring fair this year effect how or what you might be producing?
It doesn’t slow me down in the least, however the pandemic I heard was very tough on small publishers because the distribution through Amazon and Chapters came grinding to a halt as I understand it. So not to have a fair to exhibit their work is tough.
Q: How are you, as literary writer, approaching the myriad shut-downs? Is everything on hold, or are you pushing against the silences, whether in similar or alternate ways than you might have prior to the pandemic? How are you getting your publications out into the world?
I was recently invited to do a Zoom poetry reading. That was a first for me. My new book Walking on the Beaches of Temporal Candy is supposed to launch this fall. I may do a virtual launch on Zoom. I’ve seen some different online events by way of Zoom. I’m also promoting as I normally do by way of Facebook and Instagram and email. Now that stores are reopening, I’m hoping that people will find it in actual stores.
Q: Have you done anything in terms of online or virtual launches since the pandemic began? Have you attended or participated in others? How are you attempting to connect to the larger literary community?
Like I mentioned in the last question above, I’ve participated in a reading and I’ve seen the launch of Brad Smith’s new novel The Goliath Run by way of Zoom. Hopefully this won’t last forever and we can get back to in-person readings and launches.
Q: What is your most recent book or chapbook? How might folk be able to order copies?
Walking of the Beaches of Temporal Candy is a double book of poetry from At Bay Press and you can order your copy here: https://atbaypress.com/books/detail/walking-on-the-beaches-of-temporal-candy
It’s my first hardcover book and it also has an illustrated walking cycle so when you flip the pages, my little astronaut avatar walks across the page – it’s super cool!
Get it straight from the publisher! At Bay Press.
Q: What are you working on now?
I’m working on more poetry and I’m drawing what I call, demented doodles. I really want to do a book of illustrations – maybe a poetry/drawing combo book. Sometimes my drawings come out as political cartoons, other times they are just weird images that my brain comes up with. I tend to invoke the zeitgeist of the 1960s in my artwork. Artists like Rick Griffin, Ralph Steadman, Tomi Ungerer, Mati Klarwein, and so on. I’m really having fun doing it.