Today I’ve been sent the cover for the Editions Albin Michel’s translation of DEBRIS, now titled “Toutes les chances qu’on se donne” or All the chances we take. This is the second book I’ve had published there, with IN THE CAGE released a couple years ago, and they really are a juggernaut in the French publishing world. I’ve been very impressed with their production and attention to detail, and I think this cover is a great example of how deeply they get what I’m going for in my work.
This book of short stories, like the novel, will be published under their Terres D’Amērique banner, where they translate the work of so many excellent North American authors like Colson Whitehead, Craig Davidson, Claire Vaye Watkins, Christian Kiefer, and Guy Vanderhaeghe. Good company to be in, and a list that shows the quality of the work they publish (and this dingbat someway).
The pub date is May, as far as I know, but I’ll share full details when I have them. In the meantime, stare at this lonely little house on a hill and ponder your deepest feelings and emotions over a case of Michelob Ultras. I know that I will…
For those of you who might be interested in writing the start of a novel, or who might know somebody looking to stir one up, I’ll be teaching a section of the Writing the Novel: Introduction course at University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies yet again, with this one starting on February 22nd, 2021. Here’s the description from their site:
If you want to write a novel but have no idea how to begin, this course will help you get going. You’ll review literary technique with respect to the novel, and spend lots of time writing – and reading – to help you discover your own style. We’ll cover basic skills, tips and techniques to improve and polish your writing. By the end of the course, you will have written and edited the opening of your novel.
There will be weekly modules to keep authors on track as they work toward the beginnings of their novel, along with weekly webinars where I’ll share my thoughts and best practices and other useful tidbits. I’ll also be teaching Brother by David Chariandy, and Son of a Trickster, by Eden Robinson. These are two of the best writers out there and their books are magical.
While we’re holed up and trying to stay busy, it has helped me tremendously to finish the draft of my latest novel, County Road Six, and I think that dusting off your pens and keyboards is a fine way to do something meaningful, and safe (unless you are one of the characters in my stories). So, give this a whirl and feel free to share away if you like. I appreciate it.
I’d been waiting to hear about this news for a little while, since IN THE CAGE (Dans La Cage) was published by Éditions Albin Michel back in Fall 2018, and I went over to Festival America, but with the publishing world going through the pandemic and trying to figure out the best way forward, I knew that it might be awhile before I found out when the translation for DEBRIS would make it onto their slate.
Last week I got word that the translation was being planned for Spring 2021, and that Albin Michel’s mighty publisher/editor Francis Geffard was working through the rest of the edits and production details. When I last spoke with them about possible pub dates to follow DANS LA CAGE (as both books were sold together, and always scheduled to be released novel-first, then collection), I learned that they usually would take at least a year and a half between books. As 2020 was a wash for many reasons, a possible spring date then was kicked down the road a year.
The title that has been suggested is Parmi les décombres, which translates to “Among the Debris.” Which is apt and to the point as the original. But we’ll see if that is the eventual title that sticks.
I worked through translations with Janique Jouin de Laurens at the same time as the translations for IN THE CAGE, so I’m not sure how much more is going to be asked from my end, but I’ll share any more news as it comes in, as well as any news about the new novel, COUNTY ROAD SIX, finally gone back to my agent after some extra revisions. Now that 2021 is underway properly, we’ll see what shakes out there. It’s a tough go in many ways during even normal publishing times, but I’m trying to stay positive and busy with new writing while I wait and see if there’s a place for this kind of writing at a publishing house that gets what I’m laying down. Things were looking promising before, but you can’t take any of this shit for granted. Just keep on writing while the cogs turn.
Until I got more, take care and be safe all. Cheers.
I’ve been slow to post on the site lately, but I figured I’d finish up this one I start a little while ago to let folks know about what I’ve been working on. As you can see by the photo at the bottom of this post, I have been writing, scribbling notes, and drinking many diet beers. During this I’ve managed to write a solid first draft of a new novel.
I finished County Road Six back in July, but have been working on revisions around my teaching schedule and other work. After getting some very wise and succinct notes from my friend (and peer in Georgian Bay mayhem) Cherie Dimaline, I’m going through the revisions now before sending it back to my agent, and seeing what might be done with the novel.
I don’t have an official synopsis yet, but I will say that this novel is much longer than I expected, though I imagine it will be pared down some.
The novel tells the tale of the four O’Hare sisters coming back to a wasted farmstead off County Road Six in North Simcoe County, outside the fictional town of Marston, Ontario on the southern reach of Georgian Bay. Recently orphaned after their father’s death, they rally around the house they were raised in by him. The mother of the eldest O’Hare girls (Beth and Mara) is long gone, with the mother of the youngest (Kaitlyn and Emma) lost to illness when they were children. Their father’s reputation and violent local past has broken any link to their maternal lines, and left only his hand to guide them as they navigate their lives in the town, and try to find a way out of the dangers of rural poverty and violence.
As they join at their familial home again to reclaim the acres that have fallen to them, a stranger arrives at the farmstead who appears a monstrous likeness to their father, and who begins to prowl the town and the farmstead. In trying to discover the identity of the man, they find secret corners of the property where their father, Arthur O’Hare, kept leavings from his life before them. What they uncover hints at a far more sinister and troublesome past than they suspected for the father, one that has haunted them as they grew up in the region, even without knowing the depth of it. In coming to terms with their father’s sins, they dredge up old resentments that risk driving the sisters apart at a time when they are the distinct focus of a very vicious and determined man.
While the stranger keeps returning over time to stalk what he believes to be his birthright, the town of Marston is hit by catastrophe that lays it low, and sees a surge in gang violence from warring bikers in the county, along with mayhem in the hilltowns and bloodfeuds spun out of control. As the region begins to come apart at the seams, the stranger closes in. The O’Hare sisters have no choice but to come together and protect their home, and each other, with everything they’ve ever had in the balance, including their very lives.
If you’ve read my work before, you know that my influences range from folks like Cormac McCarthy, Daniel Woodrell, Donald Ray Pollock, Stephen King, Eden Robinson, and other authors who meld literary fiction, rural crime, elements of horror, and who focus on atmosphere and tension in their work. This novel is squarely in that territory, and meant to get a little more than weird when shit hits the fan in ol’ Marston town, and the surrounding woods and waters.
Anyway, I hope that serves as a decent primer for County Road Six, and I hope to have some news in the next while about what might happen with the novel. The publishing world is all over the place, so that isn’t great, but I hope that there is a place for the work here, and possibly in some of the other places where my stories have gotten some readers.
More when I’ve got some. Until then, take care and keep the dream alive… KH
It has been a strange few weeks for the world, including for people who write and read books and who might’ve had their lives and schedules disrupted. Indie bookstores around Toronto, where I’m at, are doing their best to deliver to customers, and authors are going online to read fiction or poems or talk about their work with readers. Considering how isolating this all can feel for some folks, I hope that some of this can keep us connected and inspire writers to keep at their work while they’re at home.
If you want to drink whiskey and play Skyrim all day and night, that’s all good. So is finishing Netflix and going through your catalogues of old movies, or watching the Raptors whoop up on everyone during their playoff run to become NBA champs. I’ve been on the screens with friends around the land as well, warbling at each other digitally some nights, and that has made me less weird.
Given that books cost money and not everyone has it, or that they might be harder to come by depending where you live, I started to think on all of the short stories out there that you can dig up online from journals and such. So, I gathered up a bunch of stories by writers that I know and/or admire and who can write their asses off, and I’ve got them listed below for you, with links to each and all…
(Note: There’s no pattern to this other than my scanning through my shelves, some of which have writer pals grouped together, in case you are worried about the pile of dinks at the start.)
There are so many more out there that I’m sure I missed or couldn’t find links for. But I wanted to get this up now and I’ll add more as I go. These are mostly Canadian-based writers, but I may add others to the list, as I do have a lot of faves from elsewhere. One thing about Canadian journals that I gotta give them props for is that they have a lot of work available to all online, and that is pretty cool for the authors and their readers.
I hope you find something good in there, and please do what you can to support writers and booksellers during these weeks. Many of these folks have books you can buy if you like what you read, so check those out if it floats your boat.
Cheers friends, stay safe and batten down the hatches. Hardcastle
I have been meaning to get this information up for a little while, following some of my programs at the Toronto Public Library, and my meetings with aspiring or emerging authors about their writing. In any case, this post is just a short list of the resources I shared during the programs, and meetings, for members of the public who might not have been able to gather them all up during my events.
You can find a sample cover letter below…
Here are some links that list publishers, agents, and literary journals that accept submissions from authors:
Finally, here are some pages from the document I’ve been using with lists of resources you can dig into (the most of which was drawn up by my friend and fellow author/instructor, Amy Jones, and that I added some to later – THANKS, JOJO). That’s about all for now, so I hope these are useful. Thanks, all. KH
“Canadian writer Kevin Hardcastle spent four years working on his debut novel. His sentences are artfully laconic, if it did not sound so cliché, one could speak of a hard punch . The killer Tarbell, who works with a sawed-off shotgun, is reminiscent of the crazy staff of Donald Ray Pollock’s Southern Noir novels. One can dodge blows, not shots.”
– Christian Schröder – Der Tagesspiegel
Thanks to the fine folks of Kulturezeit and Der Tagesspiegel for covering the novel, and, as always, to Polar Verlag for taking a chance on this book. Much appreciation and respect to you all.
For the months of October and November, I’ll be at the Toronto Reference Library in a secret cave of the third floor, where they keep the current Writer-in-Residence. For this term, the focus is on short fiction, which I’m pretty familiar with as a form. If you ask some people. Others may say I’m crap at it, but they can get bent.
I found out that I’d be WIR for the library later in the summer, and officially took my spot there at the beginning of October, and am starting to settle into my office and do some writing and reading of other people’s writing in that space. I’m not there everyday, but I’ll be in and out a fair bit to do work and meet with aspiring and emerging writers who have submitted short stories to be read and critiqued. There is a cap on how many stories I can read and meet to discuss, and we’re almost full-up, but there should be a few more spots if you want to submit yours.
There will also be programming that I designed for the library (as you can see by the fancy pamphlet that just showed up around the library the other day). It’s all taking place over October and November in the Reference Library. The first one is soon, on October 10th, and it’ll be an introductory event for me, and a discussion about finding and navigating writing community. I’ll be joined by bestselling author and long time CanLit frenemy Amy Jones, author of the new novel Every Little Piece of Me.
The link to the other programs is right here, and you can look forward to more guest authors for the November events too, as the library has been kind enough to let me invite them in, and bring a wider perspective and a bunch of smart art people along to share their words and experiences with you.
It’s an honour to be Writer-in-Residence at the TPL, one of the busiest municipal library systems IN THE WORLD. :O. So, I thank them for having me during the fall term this year, and I’ll do my best not to get throwed out and to give all that I got back to the public and to aspiring and emerging writers who send their work or attend our programs.
See you around the library, folks. I could be anywhere… (But seriously I’ve learned nobody checks to see if I’m still there when the library is closing so I could really just be in there at any time).
I’m playing catch up on the wordpress these days, as I’m not had a ton of news to report, and have been writing the shit out of this new novel, while also putting together some other projects as well. After the publication of Im Kafigin Germany, by Polar Verlag, I haven’t had much book stuff to report on regarding the first novel and its translations.
Hardcastle’s storytelling impresses. He describes the exciting story quite calmly. Mercilessly accurate. Very cinematic. Action. Dialogues. Hardly explanations. No inner monologues. Emotions only when they are visible. No superficial dramatizations. And yet, this book shakes you
– Hanspeter Eggenberger, Tages-Anzeiger
That’s a bit of the review from the translation I got on their site, four stars out of five overall, but do make sure to check out their hilarious rating system. I think our Canadian papers should take note of this and get their shit together about giving us the right amount of Spannungs, whatever the overall review says.
Thanks to Hanspeter Eggenberger andTages-Anzeiger for covering the novel. If I get any others passed along, I’ll share them. Either way, at least I have been reviewed in German, which I probably did not think would ever happen with this novel about rural Simcoe County fisticuffs, poverty, mayhem, and family. Cheers. KH
As it is now July somehow, and up in Toronto we’ve gone straight from winter to summer with about four minutes of spring, it kind of snuck up on me that the German translation of In the Cage, published as Im Käfig by Polar Verlag, is actually out and on shelves in Hamburg and elsewhere.
You can find it on their website by clicking here, and, if you want to grab a copy from somewhere there are fine German booksellers that can help you out with that online. I’ve not got my hands on it yet, but am looking forward to seeing the first hardcover I’ve ever had published. So it goes in Germany. Pretty alright.
Big thanks go to editor Wolfgang Franßen, and translator Harriet Fricke, who I’ve likely mentioned on here before. And to all of the staff that worked on the translation and publication of the novel. I think I may well be their only Canadian author, and I’m in there with the likes of David Joy, William Boyle, and Attica Locke, to name a few. Not too bad at all.
Keep an eye out for more news, and if I can get over to Germany at some point, I’ll let everyone know. In the meantime, take care and believe in your dreams…