Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Dirty Dozen, with Chris Eaton

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Chris Eaton (photo credit: Dylan Welsh)

Writer Chris Eaton was uniquely qualified to author his newest book. Why? The title is a good hint: Chris Eaton, A Biography: A Novel (BookThug).

Confused yet? It's not so difficult to understand when we think about our modern obsession with Googling ourselves — Chris Eaton, A Biography: A Novel creates a life from the disparate and disconnected anecdotes found online about myriad Chris Eatons, a group of individuals who share nothing but a name. In blending these lives into one, Chris asks the question of how individual our individuality really is.

Today we speak with this particular Chris Eaton as part of our Dirty Dozen series, which asks authors to share twelve unexpected facts about themselves. Read on to hear from Chris about a hockey career cut short, first dates with strangers and secret mathematical skills.

  1. Some of my favourite movies include the entire Mighty Ducks and Step Up franchises.
  2. Speaking of hockey, I didn’t start playing until I was ten but learned the game quickly and by twelve was being promoted to the more competitive leagues. I was a very good skater because I’d taken figure skating lessons, and I always knew where to be. Then, at fourteen, everyone else got huge and I peaked out at 5’6”, which marked the end of my professional career.
  3. Speaking of hockey, I know how to speak Swedish, although I haven’t done so for over 20 years except when I’m singing along to Jakob Hellman’s och stora havet. The landscape and the people of Sweden are remarkably similar to the landscape and people of New Brunswick.
  4. Speaking of Sweden, once while making a shortcut through Malmo, a friend and I climbed a fence and mistakenly snuck across a Swedish army base. We had no idea until we found the submarine.
  5. I may or may not have stood on a Swedish nuclear submarine.
  6. Speaking of going under the radar, I’m deathly shy. Most people wouldn’t assume this about me because I do so much performing, and once I’m in a situation where I’m talking to someone, I can sometimes be hard to shut up. But I’m also often in direct conflict with my fears, and so I force myself to do things that terrify me, like striking up conversations with strangers. Many years ago, for almost a year, before there was online dating, I forced myself to ask out a stranger once a week. Not many of these relationships lasted longer than one date, but I met some very interesting people.
  7. Speaking of dating, I once had a private audience with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.
  8. It never came up in our talk, but the only food I don’t like is coffee.
  9. In addition to music and fiction, I have tried my hand at acting. As a child, I appeared on a New Brunswick children’s show called The Blue Rainbow.
  10. My real talent, however, has always been Math. I took Math courses throughout university in order to boost my poor English grades so I could keep my scholarship.
    Before that, I made a deal with my grade 12 high school Math teacher that I didn’t have to attend class as long as I got 100 percent on the tests. I guess I essentially taught myself calculus.
  11. My first few novels were written in early high school and were all sequels to the Xanth series by Piers Anthony, which he was claiming to be finished with. I sent them to him and he replied in a postcard saying I should make my own magical land based on the shape of the state I was from, and just thinking about writing about a box like New Brunswick made me sick with hatred for him.
  12. Those novels were written under the name A.J. Robertson, which is combination of my mother’s initials and my father’s first name and me being their son. I rewrote the novels removing any reference to Xanth and submitted them to various big name publishers. Most of them wrote back but the best response by far was this: "Thank you for sending us your manuscript. Unfortunately, we only publish large photographic coffee-table books. Therefore, I am afraid that we cannot consider your project at this time."

Chris Eaton is a novelist and songwriter/musician from Sackville, New Brunswick, currently living in Toronto, Ontario. He is the author of two published novels called the inactivist and The Grammar Architect, and a retrospective book of short fiction called Letters to Thomas Pynchon. He has also recorded a half dozen CDs under the name Rock Plaza Central, including the critically acclaimed Are We Not Horses?

For more information about Chris Eaton, A Biography please visit the BookThug website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

Check out all the Dirty Dozen interviews in our archives.

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