Q: Hello, Steven Verrier, and thank you for this interview. Would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself?
A: Well, I’ve been writing seriously since I was a teenager … first songs, and then I got hooked on prose while attending university in Canada. After completing undergraduate studies, I spent many years living and working overseas, particularly in Japan. Somewhere along the way I earned graduate degrees at Columbia and the University of Iowa, and I continued to write … getting some short plays published, along with articles and a nonfiction book titled Raising a Child to be Bilingual and Bicultural, based on my and my Japanese wife’s experience raising our children to be fluent in both parents’ native languages and cultures. More recently I’ve been concentrating on fiction, and my first novel, Tough Love, Tender Heart, was released by Saga Books earlier this year. A second novel, Plan B, will be published by Saga Books in 2009.
Q: Tell us about your book, Tough Love, Tender Heart.
A: It’s the story of Don Fisher, a middle-aged misfit—just about everything has gone wrong in his life—who finally meets the sort of woman he’s given up on ever meeting. This happens while he’s on vacation in Venezuela. The woman, Ana, is Colombian, working as a waitress in Caracas, and while the two don’t exactly have a storybook romance, a child is conceived during Don’s vacation. He doesn’t learn this until he’s back in the States, but from that point on his energy is directed toward marrying Ana and bringing her to live in the U.S. Little does he realize the obstacles U.S. Immigration is about to put in his path.
Q: You wrote the book Raising a Child to be Bilingual and Bicultural. Was the switch to novels a natural step? How did that come about?
A: Both books deal with situations I’ve been involved in or know well. I’d written fiction before, so the transition wasn’t difficult. For each book I simply chose the genre that I thought would be most effective in getting the subject matter across. As far as Tough Love, Tender Heart was concerned, it had to be a novel.
Q: How much of Tough Love, Tender Heart comes from your own experiences?
A: I’m a partner in an international marriage, though I’ve got to admit my spouse and I never faced many of the problems Don and Ana do. I’ve talked to people who have, though, and I think there’s a certain arbitrary nature to immigration matters that has to be addressed.
Q: What would you like readers to take away from reading your book?
A: Escape, memory of a good story well-told … and food for thought.
Q: Tell us about your publisher and your experience with them.
A: My publisher, Saga Books, is based in an area of western Canada where I used to live. I contacted Saga, sent a proposal and sample, and things started moving along from there. Contract to publication took about eight months, and I’m very happy with the product they put out.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: Plan B is a story about a teenager who’s—pardon the language—screwed by the public education system but doesn’t take being screwed lying down. Saga Books will release this second novel of mine not too far into 2009.
Q: Is there anything else you would like readers here to know?
A: I’ll be around for the long haul doing whatever it takes to carve out a significant writing career. I appreciate every little step along the way, and I appreciate every little bit of support I get. For information about Tough Love, Tender Heart or about Steven Verrier, please visit stevenverrier.com, and drop a line telling me what you think about this book!
Q: Thank you again for the interview.
A: Thank you! I really appreciate this opportunity to introduce myself and my work.