For Colin Hayward, writing stories is more of a by-product of his love of travelling. Known for his work as a travel story writer, he has been to 42 different countries and is always ready for more exploration and discovery.
Like his last book, “Other Times Other Places,” his newest, “Dark Enough to Dance,” is a collection of short stories and novellas taking place in various locations around the globe.
“I’m always inspired by the location itself,” Hayward said. “It’s not until you go there and start looking that you start wondering ‘what if?’”
It’s that question that has moved Hayward to create stories inspired by his travels.
In “Dark Enough to Dance,” his stories are set in England, Cuba, Thailand and France — each one retains a spark of reality in the otherwise fictitious stories.
“There’s always a kernel of reality in any fiction,” he said. “In the story of Cambodia, one of my friends does own a pub, so I used his pub…In that story, the character comes back to Thailand after 20 and it’s no coincidence that I had just come back to Thailand after 20 years myself.”
On Oct. 8, Hayward signed copies of his novel and did a reading at Le Fromagerie Elgin while refreshments were served from 5-7 p.m.
Currently, Hayward is working on another novel, one that has required him to travel to several locations, including Italy and soon, Jerusalem. Although he travels to get the view he needs for his writing, ultimately it’s his love for travel that calls to him.
One of his travelling events that inspired a story occurred while he was in Havana, Cuba, when Hayward, suffering an asthma attack, found himself at a tuberculosis clinic.
“We went to the tuberculosis clinic and met this amazing nurse, later called 'Nurse Boom-Boom,' for obvious reasons, and she was the only one who spoke English,” Hayward said. “She never asked me what my name was, just gave me some treatment and said, ‘Oh, you are from Canada,’ and I said yes. She said, ‘Oh, I’ll give you my name and address and if you know a Canadian with lots of money who wants a Cuban chicka ...,’ and she did.”
He said that was a “what if” moment for him.
“What if somebody actually went out with her,” Hayward said. “You never know when you’re going to find a particular story.”
“Dark Enough to Dance” is published by Scriviner Press and sells for $17.95.
A former theatre professor at Cambrian College in Sudbury, Hayward still freelances as a director, lighting designer, actor and pyro-technician. He lives outside Sudbury, Ontario.
Ryen Veldhuis is a freelance writer in Greater Sudbury.