Adam Pottle wants to shake things up, tell it like it is and doesn't care if tempers are riled or strong emotions are evoked.
The Prince George-born author has a hearing impairment in both ears and over the years disability has become an obsession, he said.
Pottle has placed a disabled character at the centre of his new book Mantis Dreams: The Journal of Dr. Dexter Ripley, offering a glimpse into the difficult world of a man struggling with a rare debilitating disease that confines him to a wheelchair. Mantis Dreams was recently nominated for the 2014 Saskatoon Book Award.
Pottle will be signing books and reading from his latest work at Books & Co., 1685 Third Ave., on Sunday, March 2 at 7 p.m.
What is your best wish for this book?
Interesting question. I have a few different hopes for this book. One, that it's widely read around the world and that I'm asked to go to London to read from and promote it, allowing my wife and I to travel together. Two, that it pisses off enough people to give me a certain level of notoriety, forming the bedrock of a solid writing career. Three, that it's made into an indie film with George Clooney in the lead. He's a practical joker and can play anyone so I think he'd do very well as Dexter. Plus, cripples are Oscar bait. He'd be all over it.
What would you like the reader to take away from the experience of reading your book?
When the reader finishes the book, I hope that he or she sits still in a quiet room for a few moments and lets the story settle and lets Dexter's words sink in. I hope he or she grows a little more open to different kinds of stories and different sorts of people. I also hope he or she thinks, "I wanna have a beer with the son of a bitch who wrote this."
This is not your first published work, but is it your first novel?
Mantis Dreams is my first published novel. I wrote my first novel when I was eighteen. (Twelve years ago. FML.) Since that first novel, I've written four novels, including Mantis Dreams.
What was the most challenging thing about writing this type of no-holds-barred type of book?
Trying to determine how far to take it. It's easy to be too offensive, or too vicious. You have to balance things out; otherwise, the reader will get overwhelmed and it won't work as a story. I had so much fun writing Mantis Dreams. I laughed out loud so many times. I took Dexter--or rather, Dexter took me--into really uncomfortable territory. I guess I felt that very few people would read it, so I could get away with just about anything.
Was something surprisingly more difficult than you thought it would be during the process of writing the book? Something surprisingly easier than you thought it would be?
The difficult part was keeping Dexter readable. Most people want to read stories about admirable characters: heroes, upstanding citizens, people who do the right thing. Dexter's an unlikeable character, so I had to make sure he didn't go too over the top with his remarks and his malicious nature.
Did you have the idea for this book for a long time and then eased into it or was it bang - you had the idea and boom - you jumped into with both feet?
Dexter began as a voice jawing away in my head. He just kept yammering for a month or so; he wouldn't shut up. So finally I had to sit down and write what he was saying, if only to stop him from bothering me. But then he just kept talking, and he said interesting things. So I just kept writing, and eventually I had a novel.
Adam could you tell our readers a bit about yourself - how long you were in P.G?.
I was in P.G. for fifteen years: 1994 to 2009.
Do you still have family here?
I do. My dad and my brother live in PG. My brother plays in the metal band Axis Disrupt.
Did you go to school with the mainstream students or was there an alternative plan made for your education to better suit your needs?
I went to mainstream schools. First Glenview elementary, then Kelly Road secondary. I used a hearing device so I could understand the teachers. I wore a device connected to my hearing aids, and the teachers wore a microphone. Sometimes my fellow students took the microphone and flirted with me or said unmentionable things. Ah, high school.
How do you describe your condition?
I have what's called a sensorineural hearing loss, which means the nerves inside my ears didn't grow properly. As a result, I'm hearing impaired in both ears. I have little to no hearing in the upper pitches, meaning I can't hear a whistle unless it's right beside my head. I have close to normal hearing in the lower (bass) pitches, which is why the drums are so appealing to me (I've played the drums since I was twelve).