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Sam Wiebe

award-winning writer of LAST OF THE INDEPENDENTS and INVISIBLE DEAD

Blog posts : "General"

INVISIBLE DEAD Release Day

May 2, 2017

Invisible Dead is out today stateside and internationally from Quercus/Hachette. (It was released in Canada last June by Random House.)

Yesterday I did an interview with Paperback Radio. The host, Willem, asked how it felt to win literary awards. And obviously it feels great. But that stuff is so beside the point.

Getting something written is difficult, full stop. Getting something you're written that you're proud of...it doesn't happen often, to me at least. But I'm proud of this book, in a way that I haven't been with anything else I've written.

The fact that two reputable publishers have agreed to put out a fucking private eye novel--set in fucking Canada--well, it's the nicest lunacy.

Sometimes I lose track of that, how lucky I am to be at this point.

I hope you give the book a chance, and that if you do, you enjoy it.

My article from Crimespree Magazine on music, crime fiction, and Invisible Dead

An Invisible Dead Q&A on The Big Thrill website, home of the International Thriller Writers. 

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This Week's Events; Craft Fest; Radio Stuff

April 24, 2017

Tomorrow night I'll be a guest at the South Hill branch of the Vancouver Public Library to talk with their book club about Invisible Dead. Jinder the book club host is terrific, and I really enjoyed co-hosting the Asian Mystery Writers book club with her last fall as part of the Writer in Residence program. It'll be nice to catch up with her, and to talk about my book.

This Saturday is Authors for Indies. Usually I run around to three or four bookstores, but this year I'm just doing 32 Books in North Vancouver from 3-5 pm. After that, though, I'll probably be back in East Van lurking aound Pulp Fiction on Main or one of the breweries nearby.

Sunday I'll be on Paperback Radio, talking about Invisible Dead. There are a few guest blogs and such that I'll be doing to promote the book.

May 2nd Invisible Dead comes out in the States and internationally. I'll be doing a few events in May, including a book signing at Seattle Mystery Bookshop on May 20th, Saturday, at noon. That same night I'll be a guest on Noir on the Radio, a show hosted by Greg Barth. 

This July I'll be in New York for Craft Fest and Thriller Fest, the conference put on by the International Thriller Writers. I've never done this conference before, but it should be a blast. Any chance to drop into the Mysterious Bookshop and The Strand is welcome. 

Thanks for reading through this litany of events. I'm currently at work on Wakeland Book 3, waiting for my Canadian and American editors to finish their edits of Book 2, Cut You Down.

I read the Shining a couple weeks ago, and was reminded how goddamn amazing Stephen King is. Right now I'm reading Salem's Lot, which is also really good. I usually don't read two books at once, but I started Jill Leovy's Ghettoside and was hooked instantly. Between reading those two and watching season three of Bosch, I'm pretty well-stocked for entertainment.

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Seattle Mystery Bookshop Event

March 30, 2017

Saturday May 20th at noon I'll be signing copies of Invisible Dead at Seattle Mystery Bookshop. Looking forward to it! 

You can pre-order at at http://www.seattlemystery.com

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Spring 2017 Events

January 31, 2017

I'll be doing a few events in the Winter/Spring 2017. Here are the details: 

Feb 22: Real Vancouver Writers, Grunt Gallery, 350 E 2nd Ave #116, Vancouver. Doors at 7, readings start at 7:30.
I'll be reading with Adele Barclay, Danila Botha, Jonina Kirton, David Ly, and Cole Nowicki. Hosted by Dina Del Bucchia and Sean Cranbury.

Apr 20: Arthur Ellis event, VPL Central. I'll be moderating the shortlist event panel, featuring Katherine Prairie, Elle Wild, Merrilee Robson, Marty Allen, and Cathy Ace.

Apr 25 : Book Club event, VPL South Hill branch, 7pm. I'll be discussing INVISIBLE DEAD with Jinder and the members of their book club. I believe drop-ins are ok.

I've also confirmed my participation in the Kamloops Writers Festival in November, but that's a ways off. Hope to see you out at one of these events!

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Heel Turn

January 12, 2017
My story "Heel Turn," about pro wrestling and racism (and boy do those things overlap), is in the latest issue of The Matador Review. Crude language abounds.

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Happy New Year...

December 31, 2016

My residency with the VPL was one of the most rewarding experiences in my career. The events were well-attended and seemed to help aspiring writers, which means a lot to me--my goal when I started was to put on events I'd want to attend. I think it was successful. Most of that success can be attributed to the library staff, and the writers and artists who gave their time. Thank you!

The Globe and Mail did a write-up on the residency here. Aside from a couple factual errors, it's a nice piece, and again, the credit for the success goes to everyone involved. The VPL is world-class.

A couple weeks ago I was reading the National Post's Top 99 Books list when it dawned on me that they had more novels about people turning into plants and animals than genre fiction. I may have shared this criticism with one or two people on social media...

...then a week later, the Post asked me to write a best-of list to address that oversight. I agreed. Here's my "Top Ten" list, titled "Reviewing the Evidence."

Let me say, I'm NOT a critic, and make no claim to objectivity or a clear view of the mystery/crime field. A lot of great authors didn't make the list simply because their books are still piled on my TBR shelf. The Post cut my "honourable mentions" addendum, which is below:

Rather Be the Devil by Ian Rankin (My family forbade me on pain of death from buying this because it was going to be a Christmas gift.)
Charcoal Joe by Walter Mosley
The Silent Dead by Tetsuya Honda
Cold Girl by R.M. Greenaway 
Strange Things Done by Elle Wild
Wilde Lake by Laura Lippman
Rain Dogs by Adrian McKinty
IQ by Joe Ide 
Umbrella Man by Peggy Blair
A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny
Revolver by Duane Swierczynski

The second comment on the article is hilariously negative: "For shame, surely you can do better." I really, really can't.

Anyway, Happy New Year to you all. I've got a story coming out in early January and a very cool anthology project in the works. We'll see what else 2017 has in store.

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Cut You Down, Writers Fest, and November Events

November 1, 2016

The second Wakeland novel has a name, cover and publication date. CUT YOU DOWN will come out June 6th 2017 in Canada and the US. INVISIBLE DEAD will be released in America on May 2nd, 2017. I'm incredibly excited about this!

 

The Vancouver Writers Fest wrapped up last weekend. I was on a panel with Michael Koryta and Peter Robinson, moderated by Lonnie Propas. The first event I ever saw at the Writers Fest was Peter interviewing Ian Rankin, Denise Mina, Stuart MacBride, and Wayne Arthurson, so to be on the stage with Peter was a little surreal. The second event was a 'Sunday Tea" reading series where I read with Sharon Olds, Adam Hassett, Robert Olin Butler, Clea Young, and Eimer McBride. I'm very grateful for being included with such esteemed company--and now I can say I've read with 2.5 Pulitzer winners!

November will be a busy month. Tonight (the first) I'm part of an Asian Mystery Book Club featuring SG Wong, who will be in attendance to lead the discussion. Here's what else is going on:

November 2nd: Noir at the Bar Vancouver at the Sheen Whisk(e)y Room: This will be fun! A lot of out of town special guests, including Terry Shames, Will Viharo, and Michael Pool, who's launching his Fast Women and Neon Lights anthology. 

November 3rd: Alternate Histories Panel at the VPL Central Branch. I'm moderating a panel featuring SG Wong, Dietrich Kalteis, E.C. Bell and Janie Chang.

November 7th: I'm on a Giller Light Bash featuring Aislinn Hunter and Lisa Charleyboy. Should be fun!

I have a bunch of workshops and consults I'm doing with the Vancouver Public Library as their Writer in Residence. Please check vpl.ca/events for all of them.

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US Publisher for Invisible Dead and other News

October 19, 2016

The first month of being the VPL Writer in Residence has been amazing. The opening event was terrific, with some people calling it the best event the VPL has ever offered (note: I am one of the people saying that, and not for any involvement of myself. The panelists were incredible.) The workshops so far have been fun and interesting, and I'm amazed at the creativity of the community. Tonight's scriptwriting workshop will hopefully continue that trend.

Quercus/Little Brown will be publishing INVISIBLE DEAD next year, around the time the second Wakeland novel comes out in Canada. Obviously I'm thrilled about this. Speaking of the second novel, I've been working on the edits for it, and just got it off to my editor Craig Pyette at Random House. Craig helped write Roddy Piper's memoir, which looks incredible, and there's a terrific article by him about the collaboration with Piper in the National Post.

Anyway, I'm very excited to be working with so many cool people. And tomorrow I'm onstage at the Vancouver Writers Fest with Peter Robinson and Michael Koryta! Things don't get better than this.

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Writer in Residence

September 2, 2016

I'm proud to announce that I'm the Vancouver Public Library's 2016 Writer in Residence!

This fall I'll be running workshops, offering consultations, and moderating some terrific panels. All the events are online at VPL.ca/events , and the official announcement is here: http://www.vpl.ca/news/details/vpl_writer_in_residence_2016

 

 

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Up and Down

August 29, 2016

The one thing every writer collects is grudges.

 

Even the most successful writers I know have an accountant’s mind for awards not won, sales not made, reviewers who just didn’t get it, publicists who missed major opportunities...the list goes on.

 

It’s part egotism and part anxiety, and part the nature of artistic endeavor. My dad’s a jazz musician, and he put it really well: one day you’re playing the best club in the city with the best musicians, the next you’re at the PNE fairgrounds wearing a straw boater and being yelled at by old people to “quit playing that n——r music.”

 

The successes you have aren’t guaranteed by any security--they could all be ripped away in a moment, and you just have to go on.

 

Last weekend I drove to Kamloops with three much more accomplished writers. Eight fucking hours in the car, there and back. Two people showed up.

 

When you’re forced to think three steps in advance, it’s very hard to appreciate what you have right now.

 

And yet sometimes a moment breaks through that cynicism. Today I started a new writing job, which I’ll be able to talk more freely about tomorrow. I was given a tour of the various departments, introduced to the people I’ll be working with, then shown to my new office and left to work.

 

I’m sitting there, and I start thinking about how when I was a kid, every week my parents would take us to the Oakridge Library and let us borrow any books we wanted.

 

One night, we drive to the Kerrisdale branch--my mom or dad must have wanted a book there. As I’m pulling grown-up books off the shelves, I spy one called How to Write Action-Adventure Novels by Michael Newton. I start flipping through it. 

 

The book has advice on all the important writing questions: how to get your weapons details right, how to write sizzling sex scenes. I’m all of nine years old at the time.

 

But that book made me realize that someone had to write all these books on the shelves, and that those people weren’t necessarily geniuses drunk on the inspiration of the muses--that pretty ordinary people could write books, and do.

 

And 25 years later, here I am.

 

When people piss and moan about their lack of some type of success--or mine, which is always very kind of them--my standard response is this:

If you think of your writing as anything more than a product--something to be bought, consumed, and discarded--then you must forego the right to complain when your book doesn’t perform as the ideal product.

 

It’s why I hate the question “How’s your book doing?”--the book is the thing that is done

 

I’m lucky enough that I wrote something I’m proud of, that it was edited and agented by people who believed in it, and that it was put out by some of the best people in Canada.

Anything beyond that--foreign sales, TV sales, translations, another book deal--is a blessing that will come or won’t, and is entirely out of my hands, and must therefore occupy less mental space than that devoted to working on the next book.

 

You take your victories where you can. Sitting in my office this morning was a victory. 

 

In a day or so the elation will pass, and I’ll be subsumed in worry and anxiety about writing, about disappointing people looking to me for help, about not doing enough or doing it wrong--business as usual. But today was a moment.

 

I hope everyone reading this gets moments like that.

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Reviews and Interviews

August 1, 2016

The response to Invisible Dead so far has been amazing. I wanted to share two things that I thought were especially cool.

Naben Ruthnum interviewed me for Hazlitt. In his review of the novel he compares it to the work of Richard Price and David Simon, which doesn't happen every day. I'm really proud of how this turned out.

And from Margaret Cannon's review of Invisible Dead in the Globe and Mail: "Haven't heard yet of Sam Wiebe? You will soon."

It's incredibly gratifying.

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August Events and Book Tour

August 1, 2016

What a month. July saw me tour Invisible Dead from Vancouver to Edmonton, Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa...it was exhausting, but a lot of fun. Thanks to all the writers, book store owners, and everyone else who helped facilitate this trip.

Here's my schedule of events for August, most in Vancouver or its surrounding area:

August 1st: CBC Radio interview, the Stephen Quinn Show
August 2nd: Harmony Arts Festival, West Vancouver, Crime Fiction panel with Ian Hamilton and William Deverell, moderated by Robin Spano

August 6th: Black Bond Books in Maple Ridge, BC with Cathy Ace, Allan Emerson and others
August 13th: Black Bond Books in Central City, Surrey, BC with Cathy Ace, Allan Emerson and others

August 20th: Kamloops Library

 

Here's a book recommendation: John McFetridge's One or the Other is officially released today. It's a great procedural set in Montreal at the tail end of the seventies. I can also recommend Viet Than Nguyen's The Sympathizer, which was a really interesting spy novel that's won a boatload of awards. Both books are interested in the ways that the victimized become victimizers. 

Thanks for reading this,

 

Sam

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Book Launch, Upcoming Tour

June 23, 2016

To everyone who came to the book launch at Pulp Fiction--thank you! I had a terrific time connecting and re-connecting with people...and the after-launch drinks at Main Street Brewing and The Whip were pretty great, too.

Invisible Dead has been out for about a week now. The reviews have been pretty stellar--check out the write-up in the Vancouver Sun, and on the Dead End Follies Blog

In July I'll be embarking on a cross-Canada tour that will take me from Vancouver to Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. I'm hoping to add some more cities to that list, but we'll see. I've heard "July isn't a good time for book events..." though those are the same people who've also said "nobody comes out to events in the sunshine" and "if it rains no one will come out." As David Milch says, the 'smart money' usually misses its bus in the morning.

 

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Two Weeks and Counting

June 1, 2016

INVISIBLE DEAD comes out June 14th, two weeks from today. The book launch is at Pulp Fiction Books on Main Street, in Vancouver. Here's the link to the Facebook event.

Hope to see you there! 




 

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New Events Added; Authors for Indies and Noir at the Bar

May 1, 2016

Authors for Indies was yesterday. I was at three stores--Black Bond Books in Central City, Dead Write/White Dwarf in the West End, and Pulp Fiction on Main. Busy day, but great to connect with so many booksellers. Janie Chang organizes AFI, and has made it into a rewarding ceebration of independent bookstores.

This Wednesday is Noir at the Bar Vancouver, which will be at the Shebeen Whisk(e)y Room, inside the Irish Heather Bar in Gastown. [All of these are greater Vancouver locations, by the way.] NATB is consistently my favorite literary events, probably due to the alcohol, but also the cozy atmosphere. Come out, have a drink and a pretzel, and hear some crime writers read from their newest work.

Invisible Dead comes out in a month and a half, and I'm already organizing a barrage of new bookings, including Kelowna, Kamloops, Nelson, Surrey, and Maple Ridge. June and August I'll be doing Vancouver and B.C. events, but in July I'm arranging a road trip. I'm hoping to include Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal, at the very least. It'll be a lot of fun. 

And then in the fall...I have some VERY cool announcements to make about what I'll be doing in the fall. Stay tuned!

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2016 Spring/Summer Events

March 25, 2016

My new book INVISIBLE DEAD comes out this June, and I'll be doing a ton of events around Vancouver, as well as road trips to Kelowna and Nelson, to Seattle, and (I'm hoping), the rest of Canada. Here's what I've lined up so far:

April 9th: Booked for Crime -  Capilano Library, with Dietrich Kalteis, Owen Laukkanen, and Jackie Bateman

April 30th: Authors For Indies -I'll be at Black Bond Books at Surrey Central in the morning, followed by Dead Write  Books from 1-3, and Pulp Fiction (Main Street location) 4-6. 

May 4th: Noir at the Bar Vancouver - The Shebeen Whisky Room (212 Carrall Street, Vancouver)

May 18th: Kelowna and Nelson trip--details to come

May 26: Christianne's Lyceum - Last of the Independents book chat

June 14 - Publication date for INVISIBLE DEAD

August 2: Harmony Arts Festival, West Vancouver, Crime Fiction panel with Ian Hamilton and William Deverell, moderated by Robin Spano

More events to come!

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Couple of Brief Announcements

November 3, 2015

I'm taking over blogging duty for Robin Spano on 7 Criminal Minds, a wonderful blog run by a great group of writers. My first post is up already, on motivation.


Tomorrow night is Noir at the Bar Vancouver, the event I look forward to the most. It's at the Shebeen Whisky Room in Gastown, and starts at seven. Then the day after is a library event with Dietrich Kalteis and ER Brown

My other semi-regular blog, Off The Cuff, has a new post up about our road trip to Bouchercon with John McFetridge, John Jantunen, and ECW Press publisher Jack David. It was a hell of a trip. 

Other than that...I've been working on edits for Invisible Dead, I have a cool short story announcement to make pretty soon, and I'm finally caught up on my midterm marking. Books I've read recently which I'd recommend:

Patricia Highsmith, Talented Mr. Ripley
Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, Roseanna
Les Edgerton, The Bitch
Josephine Tey, The Franchise Affair
John McFetridge, Dirty Sweet
and I'm still working through the Ross MacDonald Lew Archer series. 

 

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Bouchercon, Shamus Awards, and Advice for New Writers

October 18, 2015

The last two weeks have been busy as hell. I've been in Edmonds, Washington for the Write on the Sound conference, then a week in Toronto and Raleigh for Bouchercon, and then down to Seattle for their first Noir at the Bar. Add to that the panel I was on at Word Vancouver, and the discussion I was a part of at the West Vancouver Library, and it's already been a crazy fall.

Last year at Bouchercon Long Beach, I was a new writer, there for the first time, not knowing anybody. I was shown a lot of kindness by writers like Elaine Ash, John McFetridge, David Swinson, Tanis Mallow, and Brian Thornton. This year I was able to hang out with writers like Michael Pool, Danny Gardner and John Jantunen, who were at Bouchcercon for THEIR first time.

All writers deal with feelings of insecurity and fraudulence. I definitely felt that last year at Bouchercon, less so this year. But in these last weeks I've seen a lot of writers covering for those feelings by exaggerating their own accomplishments, hard-selling their books, or, like I did last year, waiting on the edge of the group for someone to talk to them.

All of them secretly wondering what they can do to earn admission into the group.

This is what I've realized: those feelings of fraudulence and insecurity ARE your ticket in.

When I was starting out I went to an Ian Rankin reading, and afterwards asked him for advice. He said to me, "Just remember, we've all been where you are."

Hopefully realizing that will make those things easier.

One last illustration: Last of the Independents was up for a Shamus award, which are given out at Bouchercon. The awards dinner was nice, and I got to hang with Corky and Dana King and meet Lawrence Block. I didn't win. My next stop was the bar, for obvious reasons. When I walked in the first person I saw was Peter Rozovsky. Peter is the godfather of Noir at the Bar, a critic and crime fiction champion, and overall a very nice and knowledgeable guy. 

As I got my drink, Peter walked up to me, pointed at me, and said loudly:

"LOSER!"

And I laughed, and felt really happy to be amongst my own tribe.

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The Hugo Awards

August 23, 2015

(This is a response to Amy Wallace's article in Wired, Who Who Won Science Fiction's Hugo Awards, And Why it Matters: http://www.wired.com/2015/08/won-science-fictions-hugo-awards-matters/ )

Ok. I know four-fifths of fuck-all about SFF, (other than a borderline-unhealthy obsession with Blade Runner and a broken heart from the shitty ending to Mass Effect 3). But as a writer I've found the Hugo awards an interesting debacle to follow.

You have two pretty worthy causes at stake here--the championing of good writing, and the championing of diverse voices in a genre. Anyone who thinks those are incompatible, or even competing values, is deluded.

I'd like to think the Crime/Mystery genre is more advanced than SFF when it comes to representation, but I have nothing to back that up other than anecdotal evidence. It could be that this kind of revolution/revolt has already happened, is happening, has yet to happen.

In my own career I've been nominated for two Arthur Ellis awards, won one, won the Kobo Emerging thing, and been nominated for a Shamus. I've been way more fortunate than most.

Now, I'd like to think I received those accolades because I'm the unheard voice of my generation (or A voice of A generation, as Lena Dunham said on Girls.) You know the part in Casino where Joe Pesci says about Kevin Pollack, "He'd like to think the Teamsters gave him all that money because he's so fuckin' smart"?

The Shamus nom was really meaningful, because it's the category that Walter Mosely won for Devil In a Blue Dress and Dennis Lehane for A Drink Before the War. I grew up idolozing those guys. And I assume this year's award is a lock for Julia Dahl's Invisible City, because I've heard nothing but raves about it so far. (It currently sits at around base camp of the gloomy Eiger that is my to-read list).

But here's the rub--would a writer of color or an LGBT writer have those same awards? Would they have the same access to those awards?

And that's the thing--if the playing field isn't level, than awards are even more meaningless than they really are. 

And these are (in my mind) legit, judged awards, not really capable of the manipulation that the Hugos are. If the Hugos had a judging panel, they'd definitely be less susceptible to gaming the system. But maybe it's BECAUSE of how shitty they're set up that we can look at the system a little bit more objectively.

There are some interesting counter-arguments mentioned in that Wired piece. Of course quality should trump identity. Of course self-published and small-press authors face a harder struggle. But that's been twisted into some competition between 'blue-collar' and 'diverse' writers--one claim doesn't--shouldn't--can't--discount the others.

To me the real hero is Annie Bellet, the person who gets what the better parts of the Puppies group was trying to do, but refused her nomination because they sided with a racist/misogynistic-troll-'performance-artist' over people fighting to have their voices heard. The best quote from that article: "I want these awards to be about the fiction, and that was important enough to me to give one up."

Anyway, that Wired piece is worth a read.

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Toronto, Kobo Emerging Authors

July 9, 2015

7/9/2015: Just got back from Toronto for the 2015 Kobo Emerging Writer Awards. And I have some very good news...

Last of the Independents won in the Mystery category!

The books were shortlisted by a jury and then judged by Ian Hamilton, author of the Ava Lee series. I'm going to shamelessly retype Ian's comments: "a well-crafted homage to the age of crime noir combined with a thoroughly modern sensibility. Sam's characters were engaging and tightly drawn."

It's a tremendous honour, and the list of people who need to be thanked would be very long. If you've supported the book, your name should be on that list. I'll briefly thank everyone at Kobo for arranging this. Thank you, I'm honoured, and hopefully the next one will be even better!

Links to the story on CBC and Quill & Quire.

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