Interview with Nicholas Houseman, author of Old Country Wounds
31 Jul 2018
What can you tell us about your new release, Old Country Wounds?
I wrote this book as I have always been interested in looking at immigrant situations, being an immigrant myself, and how moving from one country to another brings with it all sorts of challenges but mostly how one gets caught between the two cultures and countries and over time how feelings change and evolve. When I was young my family moved around a lot. Before I was 12 I had already lived in 4 countries and been to 8 different schools and the constant change impacted who I am as a person. Living in Canada now, a country full of immigrants, it interesting to hear discussions around life in a new country and longing for the “old country”. That was the basis of the book that was then wrapped around a good old-fashioned story of revenge.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
I cannot say that anyone or anything inspired me to write. I always enjoyed writing even when I was small. I remember being frustrated as a 9 year old because my teacher asked us to write a story and I wrote three times as much as the limit set. I had so much to say as the story took on a life of its own and I remember thinking to myself even then that I enjoy the process of building the story.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
I am more of a nonfiction person. I like historical biographies and business books. Top 5 I would say include Good to Great by Jim Collins, Stop Time by Frank Conroy, The Night Manager by John LeCarre, Misery by Stephen King, Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt.
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
If I had to pick someone it would be Sir Winston Churchill or Napoleon. They are know for some incredible successes but they are also known for some incredible failures and that is what I would want to explore with them. If I had to pick someone living I would like to invite Barak Obama and discuss his life and challenges he overcame to become President and where he sees the world going.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
Building the story and adding parts to it like building a house. Adding a room that explores someone’s feelings or adding a room that involves a distant memory. It’s the process of creating something with no boundaries. Writing has no limits except imagination.
What is a typical day like for you?
A typical day involves running my businesses. I write on airplanes or when I have downtime during trips. The book I wrote was started in Montreal but written in hotel rooms around the world including London, Ljubljana, Dubai, Singapore, and many others.
What scene in Old Country Wounds was your favorite to write?
My favorite scene was when the main character stows away on a ship to make his escape. It reminded me of times in my childhood and luckily I wasn’t caught.
Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?
Never give up! And I think this is critical in writing. I started the book and got sidetracked by life and business but I always kept working at my book a little bit at a time. There were times where it was very frustrating to write and then leave it alone for a month or two because of other commitments but the satisfaction of completing the book was immense. My kids summed it up well when the paperback version arrived at our house – “Dad you wrote a book! That’s cool.”
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