Meet the Author: Bonnie Bowman

We're crazy-excited that one of our favourite Toronto authors, Bonnie Bowman, will be reading at our Little Red Umbrella Variety Spectacular on Friday night. She'll be sharing some of the weirdest stuff from her second novel, Spaz — a totally fucked up and foot fetishly modern take on the Cinderella tale. (Facebook invite here.) We interviewed her back in February, when she was about to read at the Holy Oak Book Club:

Meet Bonnie Bowman. She’s the author of two books: Skin, winner of the 1999 3-Day Novel contest; and Spaz, a kinda skewed take on the Cinderella story. Words used to describe her novels include: “grotesque, perverse, provocative, quirky, salacious”, all of which we translate to mean “pretty freaking awesome”. She currently lives in Toronto, and was game to be our guinea pig for the first edition of our new column, Meet the Author. If you'd like to know more, come out to meet Bonnie in-person and hear her read from Spaz at the Holy Oak Book Club this Saturday, February 26th, at 7:00pm.

How would you describe your novel, Spaz, to someone who hasn’t heard of it yet? 

Spaz is a blackly humorous, twisted tale about Walter Finch, a rather unremarkable shoe store manager, who has been obsessed with feet and women’s shoes since childhood (when he suffered his own personal shoe trauma). His dream is to design the perfect women’s shoe which, he is convinced, will lead him to the perfect foot to grace it. A skewed take on Cinderella. Sorta.

What are you reading right now? 

I just finished reading the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It’s the first young adult novel I have read since I was a young adult. It was recommended to me by someone who works at the publisher because I was told I should try writing a YA novel. Figured I better read one first.

What was the first book you ever bought with your very own money? Have you re-read it lately?

I can’t remember that far back. It was probably some kid’s book that I bought with my saved-up pittance of an allowance. I remember the first book I ever got as a Christmas present was Black Beauty (read it so many times it was a tattered mess). I have not re-read Black Beauty lately, but maybe I will. Maybe I won’t be as scared this time about the barn fire.

Is there a book that you’ve read that you would really like to go back in time and un-read? Why was it so bad? 

Wow, probably tons of them. I would love to answer this question but I think I’ve already un-read them.

Did you have a favourite book to have read to you as a child? What made it so special? 

Not a book, but a magazine insert in Family Circle called “A Christmas Adventure in Disneyland”. I was three years old and it was read to me so many times, I had it memorized. I would sit on the couch turning the pages appropriately and “reading” it out loud for all the amazed neighbours who thought I was a freakin’ prodigy (a notion my mother did not disabuse them of). What made it special was probably that it was in verse and it was long (12 pages). It was magical. And of course everyone thought I was a genius.

What makes or breaks a live reading for you? 

Makes it: Basically just a lively, connected reading voice. Breaks it: A too-long reading.

If I had to drop everything and immerse myself in a book right now, what should it be? 

Spaz, of course! And after you’ve finished reading Spaz, read anything by Tony Burgess (of Pontypool fame) and get all fucked up.

You can choose one author, dead or alive, to go drinking with. Who do you pick, and where do you take them?

I pick Martin Amis because I know he enjoys a drink and the last time I saw him, he was still smoking cigarettes. I would take him to my apartment because it’s probably the only place left where we can still chainsmoke while we drink and argue and then hopefully make out.

If you could re-write the ending to any famous novel, which would it be? And what would you change it to? 

I would make Old Yeller live! Actually, I’d probably make Old Yeller come back from the dead and terrorize Travis.

Is there one big, famous book that you feel like you really should have read already, but still haven’t?

War and Peace. I don’t know how I escaped reading that. I think I would like to die not having read it, only because it’s one of those books you’re supposed to have read before you die. Don’t tell me what to do.

What’s your favourite word? 

Honestly, for usability, it’s probably “fuck”. Predictable and boring I suppose, but it’s a real workhorse of a word. For underused words, I enjoy “horrid” for some reason, as in: “She was a horrid child.” I am also very partial to “jackal”.


Photo: Lisan Jutras

You'll find the rest of our Meet The Authors here.


Ruth and Fred said...

Great interview questions, and great answers from a swell gal.

CodyMcGraw said...

Where can I get a copy of her work? She sounds really interesting.

Laurie said...

You can pick up a copy of her novel at the Holy Oak Cafe (1241 Bloor St. West), or at your favourite local retailer...But it's cheaper at the Oak :P

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