Wash your hair, or read another chapter?
Readers of Ric Demeulles’ new novel, “Hickey’s Dead,” are finding it so compelling that they’re choosing the latter.
“For a writer, that’s pretty exciting that someone is saying they were trying to sneak in a little bit more reading,” said Demeulles, “I hope the readers get a good read – something that will keep their attention and keep them going.”
Sexual abuse, rape, and murder are all covered in the novel – all in a small town comparable to Sudbury.
“I made up the town. It’s definitely not Sudbury because it’s a hard rock gold mining town, but it’s got a lot of similarities,” said Demeulles.
It’s been three years in the making, and Demeulles now has the piece of work he set out to create: a story focused on immigrants living on a street in a small mining town.
“I wanted to show how some really evil things, even on this little street, could happen,” said Demeulles. “In Northern Ontario in the '50s, mining towns had people from all over the world. Those people had to deal with topics just as big as topics people were dealing with anywhere else.”
When asked what readers hope to get from his novel, Demeulles said he hopes people find it to be a good read.
“Any moral or message is really up to the reader to take out of it what they want.”
Demeulles’ work has been published in some of Canada’s top literary magazines, including "On Spec and Descant", and he published his first book five years ago. To write this one, Demeulles wrote and researched from about 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day.
“Somebody asked me, 'Do you write every day, or do you write when you get the inspiration?' It’s kind of a romantic idea of writers, to think they just write when they’re inspired,” said Demeulles. “You have to have discipline and you have to grind it out.”
Along with connecting people through the book readings, Demeulles said many people were connected in the writing of this book.
“I’ve had a ton of help in writing this book ... it really was a collaborative effort.”
To read excerpts from the novel, visit demeulles.ca.
You can buy your own copy of “Hickey’s Dead” at Cosmic Dave’s Vinyl Emporium, Chapters on The Kingsway, Gulliver’s in North Bay, or online at demeulles.ca.
Book signing? Bring a live band
Ric Demeulles is preparing for book readings and signings scheduled over the next couple months. First up though, you’ll find him at Chapters on Sept. 20 and 21. He’s bringing Dan Lessard along (former host of CBC’s Points North) as a master of ceremonies, as well as an Irish band to liven things up a little.
“I know how boring writers are, and how boring it can be just to listen to someone read from a book,” said Demeulles. “Books should bring people together. You read them in isolation, but really the act of writing is connecting with someone else. The book reading should be like that too. It should be lively and bring a whole bunch of people together who could have a whole bunch of fun.”
Jordyn Fitzgerald is a freelance writer in Greater Sudbury.