Trevor Melanson’s dark fantasy book, Terminal City, was published by EDGE in 2016—with sequels on the way. Currently, I work as a senior communications strategist for a think tank at SFU called Clean Energy Canada. I also have a decade of experience editing some of Canada’s largest magazines, including Canadian Business, BCBusiness, and more recently Vancouver magazine.
What types of stories thrill you enough to keep you awake at night?
Curiosity may be the thing that keeps me hooked the most. The last book that I power-read was House of Leaves. If you don’t know it, it’s a sort of postmodern horror novel, and the mysteries are as philosophical in nature as they are seemingly supernatural.
In TERMINAL CITY you explore themes of fathers and sons and finding your own path. Are there any ‘big shoes’ in your own life that you try to fill?
Honestly, not really. Terminal City’s protagonist is like me in many ways, especially me at his age. So I wanted to find a couple big ways I could differentiate him from me, and one was by giving him a father that was a lot like him. I’ve noticed there are a lot of good writers whose parents were also good writers, and it’s in many ways an advantage, a privilege. But if you feel this strong internal need to be a unique individual, your own person, I could see it being a sort of threat, making you question whether you’re a writer because your mom or dad was, or because that’s what you’re truly meant to be. And, of course, we’re all largely products of our childhood, so you can’t take a scalpel and say this would be me regardless of my parents. We all build identities for ourselves, and we (and certainly I) get uncomfortable when we’re made to doubt those identities; this is a feeling I like writing about.
Necromancers can reanimate the dead. Sage and Savant do the same through galvanism. What wisdom do you think we might learn from the dead if our stories came true?
Probably to enjoy what you have now and to stop constantly feeling like you’re just working toward the next thing. At least that’s what dead me would tell living me.
You have a body of non-fiction writing and editing under your belt. How is the experience of writing fiction different from your previous experiences?
It’s more of a marathon, certainly. And the sort of journalism I did was the longer sort, too: magazine features. Still, with writing fiction, I find it helps to stay focussed on the immediate chapter, to separate it into 30 or 40 accomplishments rather than one big overwhelming one. On the flip side, with nonfiction, good writing can be tougher, because you can’t just write in a detail that sounds good unless it’s true and you know it’s true because you made a note of it.
What is the worst thing about being an author? What is the best thing?
Worst? For me, definitely time-related. Just finding the time on top of working and everything else. I need systems—I write on transit a lot—or it wouldn’t get done. Or it would take longer, which is not an option when you’re writing a trilogy. The best thing is hearing from people who became immersed in your story, the same way you were immersed in the stories that inspired you to write in the first place.
What is the book you dream of writing and haven’t yet?
That’s a secret. I have a lot of ideas, more ideas than I can write, but there’s one in particular that’s sticking, that friends get excited about when I explain it. It would be a standalone and more literary but with strong speculative fiction and magical realism elements. One of my writing career goals is to blend elements of ‘literature’ and ‘genre’ as often as I can. The Terminal City Saga is genre with literary touches. My next book, I think, will be literature with genre touches. And as I say that, I’m very critical of those distinctions (which is partly what motivates me to blend them).
Find out more about Trevor Melanson
Author web page: http://trevormelanson.com