An Interview with B.B. Wright

Please help me welcome author B.B. Wright to my blog today. B.B. is giving away a copy of his book, BETRAYAL OF TRUST, to one lucky commentor.

cover_2Tell us about yourself.
My degrees are in mathematics (from the University of Waterloo) and education (from the University of Toronto).

During my time in education, I co-authored (along with their accompanying workbooks) the first mathematics textbook series in Canada for Prentice-Hall, “Mathscope”; I was a co-operating teacher through the University of Toronto to assist impending teachers to become engaged in observation, teaching and unit development within the classroom; I validated a number of mathematics workbooks for the Independent Learning Centre, Ministry of Education.

I left education for a while to work as a real-estate appraiser; later, I returned to teach adults as part of a retraining program through Seneca College. During this period, I was invited to contribute to a document for industry called “A Guide for Public Involvement” by the Canadian Standards Association; during this period, I worked with an environmental group “Future Builders.”

A friend of mine, Don McCrae, introduced me to acting and, as a result, it sent me along a most enjoyable experiential path of community theatre where I played roles in such plays as Black Sunday, Last Real Summer, Catch Me If You Can, Dick Whittington and Relatively Speaking. I also read for a part in a play for a major Canadian radio program but I was cut after the second round.

Community politics for me took on a different dimension when I became campaign manager for one of our local regional councillors, Lorna Bissell.

When I finally returned to education full time, I worked in both the mathematics and counseling departments at a nearby High School.

Before attempting this novel, I took a writing course at Humber College’s School of Writing under the tutelage of Canadian author Sandra Birdsell. During that period, I was a volunteer (providing information and support to patients and their families) in the cardiac wing of the Trillium Hospital, Mississauga.

Now, my time is divided between my home in Brampton, my farm in Priceville, my grandchildren and my writing. Recently, I began to learn bass guitar with the assistance of my neighbor and good friend, Al. I have even played bass guitar for one song in his rock band and I wasn’t laughed off the stage (so there’s still hope for me after all). For the most part, my time is consumed with writing.

None of the above would have occurred without the constant, selfless support of the most important person in my life, my wife, partner and friend, Jeanne. We help each other to be the best that each can be.

Give us an elevator pitch for your book.

What if everything you believed in was a lie? The protagonist, Edward Slocum, learns much more than he ever wanted about his community, the death of his wife, his company’s real agenda and the strength of his moral resolve as corruption at the highest levels within government and business comes to a head. The movie “Traffic” transposed to a rural Canadian “Peyton Place,”Betrayal of Trust” is a fast-paced, action-packed thriller with naughty bits and all that keeps both genders—teen to adult—guessing at every twist and turn as cocaine is smuggled across the U.S. border from Canada.

Tell us about your hero. Give us one of his strengths and one of his weaknesses.

Edward Slocum (executive vice-president of KemKor Pharmaceuticals) begins a dangerous rollercoaster ride of events that irrevocably changes his own life and endangers the future of his community when he discovers armed men outside Building 3C on Company premises. He learns that everything he believed in was a lie. A workaholic, Edward is fraught with guilt over his wife’s death as he struggles with the autopsy’s revelation that his wife had been pregnant at the time of her death, his rekindled attraction to his teenage sweetheart Charlotte Bradley and his growing misgivings about his friend, John Elkhart..

Well respected and loved in his community, Edward joins forces with two dynamic women, Charlotte Bradley and Janet Thompson only to find out that nothing is what it appears to be as they attempt to expose the corrupt, greed-infested CEO of KemKor, William Rattray, and take down the local drug cartel headed by the charismatic and ruthless Garcia Urquiza.

Iris Murdoch (author and philosopher, awarded the Booker Prize in 1978 for “The Sea, the Sea”) once said that the subject of her work was “the otherness of other people.” To some extent this rings true with me except I’m not sure how you totally separate yourself and your experiences from the characters in your novel. I believe there is a seed of who the writer is in every character created. One of the best parts of writing is the challenge of giving the reader access to a character’s interior. The writer of the novel, “Inside,” Alix Ohlin, in my opinion, sums it up nicely: “Literature gives us access to the interior lives of people different from ourselves, no matter where or when they live, in their fascinating, mysterious, even frustrating complexity. It’s nothing short of miraculous.”

What inspired your latest book?

It started with the question: “What will be my legacy?” I wanted to answer that question in a way that honored my mentors, my family and friends, while at the same time providing both enjoyment and impact. Similar to the protagonist in my novel, I wanted to say that I too was a person willing to risk and to step outside my comfort zone; a person who not only walked on this earth but who continuously strove to be the best that he could be no matter his age or life’s trials and tribulations. Writing for me was the best way to express an act of gratitude to the books and people who had shaped my life.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

I am a pantser. I have a general idea about how I want a novel to begin and end but outside of that, that’s it. I’ve only just recently learned that I am an organic writer. In other words, I start with an image often not really knowing what is going to happen. Let me give you a couple of examples of what I mean. One of the characters in my book, Janet Thompson, was originally only going to be a minor character but I enjoyed her character so much against that of Charlotte Bradley and later Edward Slocum that I felt compelled to write her in and that’s exactly what I did. Also, within a chapter I would throw a curve at myself just to see what would happen. Often it would take me a week or more to problem-solve my way out of the situation. I guess it’s the mathematics side of me that manifests itself in those situations. Whatever is going on, for me, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It keeps me stimulated, interested and connected to the characters and storyline. I think I would go flat as a writer if I just meticulously outlined the book, sat down behind my keyboard and began to write. Now all of this having been said I know my approach wouldn’t work for everyone. So to sum up, I’d say everyone has to find what works for them.

What is your writing routine like?

I usually start my day after breakfast. Now for me that’s quite early. I’ve usually turned on the coffeemaker by 6:30 a.m., sliced up some oranges, kiwi, and banana before sitting down to a bowl of either hot or cold whole grain cereal. Generally, while I’m having breakfast, I watch the morning news and read the morning paper before heading up to my office with a cup of decaf coffee at about 8:00 a.m. After I have checked and replied to my email, Facebook and Twitter, I settle into to writing about 10:00 a.m. In the early stages of a novel I might only write for 4 to 5 hours. As the novel evolves, I may spend between 8 and 10 hours cocooned away in my office. They’re days when the words just flood the page and I just keep moving for fear of losing the creative moment. Those days often don’t end until well into the evening. Once I reach that stage in my writing I’m literally living with what I’m doing. Even when I’m not writing, I’m constantly thinking about it. Luckily for me, I have an understanding and supportive partner in the process. For me this whole process is treated like a relationship. It’s similar to a close friend you really miss if you’re not connected to for any length of time. That mindset keeps me in the moment and focused on what I’m doing because I’m really close to that ‘friend.’ At the end of the day (around 10:00 p.m.), Before closing my computer down, I often sit behind the keyboard and look over what I have written that day before tucking my characters in for the night.

Something not said that must be emphasized is the importance of exercise. My day usually includes one or a combination of an elliptical workout; weight training; 6 km walk (if the weather is not too nasty). I would be considerably less than truthful if I said that it was easy to always fit it in. Other than the general health benefits of a workout, I’m rejuvenated and ready to return to my writing; often, I’m invigorated with new insights.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do to combat it?

I think all writers suffer writer’s block from time to time. Often, I have wished that a long, warm shower would resolve this pesky writer’s block instantly by miraculously washing away the cobwebs; regrettably, it has rarely been the case—at least for me. My solutions fall into three distinct categories: mathematics, writing and exercise.

When I have had a particularly dead-head start to my day I do mathematics contest problems on the University of Waterloo site. As a person whose degree is in Mathematics, I naturally gravitate there to jump start my little grey cells. Once I’ve worked through 4 or 5 tests I’m ready to move onto the next stage, namely, writing. The writing is not focused (and shouldn’t be at this stage) and is more gooblygook or nonsense stuff caring little for punctuation, sentence structure etc. I write anything that comes into my head so as to just get me writing. Highly free-flowing at this stage, I think anyone reading it might think I should be committed. After a hour of writing what quite justly may be described as crap, I head for a tea-break then off to either do a long walk (6 km, weather permitting) or work out on my elliptical and weight lifting system or some combination of the before mentioned. A nice long walk through the parks usually does the trick as it perks up my contemplative self and rejuvenates my creative juices to the point that when I return home I’m full of vim and vinegar and ideas, ready to either finish off that chapter or begin anew. Once that dam is broken, watch out; I’m usually cocooned in my office for hours. I treat my writing as if it’s one of my closest friends and as a result there isn’t anything I would not do to keep that connection established and fresh. When you live as closely as I do with the characters and the situations they find themselves in, I accord them the same respect that every human being should and must expect and deserve. Therefore an injustice befalls them if I don’t do my very best to overcome writing blocks and to bring their story to life on the page. That is the least you can do for a best friend. Don’t you think?

Do you prefer to read in the same genres you write in or do you avoid reading that genre? Why?

I prefer to read a variety of genres—fiction and non-fiction. Recently, I began reading poetry again. John C. Mannone says it nicely in one part of his article: “Poetry empowers prose.” In my opinion, empowerment is what it is all about whether in writing or life in general. Since there is a wonderful smorgasbord of ideas out there, I prefer to cast my net wide and gather them in; it would be remissive, in my opinion, to do otherwise. You never know where the next story will evolve from; remember, writing and research feed in to each other. So, for me, it’s important that I keep an open mind to all the creative venues and to challenge myself each step along the way. The creative, challenging trigger is to mind-play with the question: “What if?” The resultant new worlds that materialize are among my greatest joys.

When I get an idea, I look into it, and that gives me other ideas. The genesis of the entire story could be one thing or several things. “Betrayal of Trust” is a nonfiction fiction—a story partially weaved from factual material. Though I do take creative license in my writing, my goal is not to make gratuitous mistakes. Getting it right is what makes for a more vivid and better story; rewards that neither the reader nor writer can ignore.

Author_Picture_cropped_2Why have you become a published author?

I spent 6-8 years learning about point of view and character development, establishing setting, developing plot, designing structure, making connections, and discovering my literary voice. For me, not being published would have been a betrayal to not only myself but to all the people who have supported me along the way. Sure, I’d like to be successful at it and make some money. Who doesn’t? But, for me, the over-riding factor that drives me is writing—pure and simple. According to Patricia Cornwell, “You don’t become a writer—you are one. And, if you really are a writer, it’s like telling a songbird to shut up—you can’t.” Publication affords me greater feedback and an opportunity to have impact and to provide enjoyment to a wider and varied audience. It is a catalyst which demands an uncompromising honesty and dedication to my responsibility to dig deeper within me to achieve the highest standards I can for both my art and my audience. When your manuscript never leaves the drawer to see the light of day, it is difficult to achieve the level of standard and recognition that it so rightly deserves. I would rather know that I gave it my best ‘shot’ than to never have tried at all. Right or wrong, that’s just my point of view. I’m driven to be better than I was the day before. Writing provides that lifelong learning experience that I have always wanted. Retired now, I fill my time with writing and embracing the opportunities that awaits a published author.

What’s next for you?

The second novel begins this spring, continuing from where “Betrayal of Trust” left off. Though the base will still be the Grey-Bruce region of Ontario, it will take the reader further afield through Quebec, Vancouver and into Northern Canada. At the moment, I do not have a working title.

Also, there is a historical novel tugging at me to write that follows a woman’s rise to wealth and power during the latter part of the 19th Century and early 20th Century. Presently, I am an on-line student studying history to help prepare me. There is much to learn and do before I begin tackling this very challenging project.
A collection of short stories and a few novellas are certainly in the works. I have folders and binders filled with story possibilities just ‘itching’ to be told; every imaginative day allowed to me will be spent discovering each story’s inherent magic and to capturing it in print.

Every time I sit in front of a blank screen and ready myself to create, it is a revelation, a ‘throwing of my hat in the ring’ so-to-speak.
My hope is that my particular style of storytelling will not only capture the interest of a reader but keep him/her asking for more. That’s a risk a writer must take every day.

Do you have any words of inspiration for aspiring writers?

Try to remember the first time you walked, went to school, played a musical instrument, danced, played a sport, swam, downhill skied, learned arithmetic, learned a language, drove a car, your first real job and the first time you went to the bathroom without needing help. The list of firsts is endless. What do you remember? That’s right! For most of us, we weren’t a smashing success at first try. There were a lot of warm-ups, frustrations, and awkwardness. In other words, there were lots of bumps in the road. Writing is no different. The key: never give up in yourself. Quitting must never be an option. Set your goals; make sure they are reasonable; turn those negative thoughts in your head to positive ones; learn, learn, learn from those who have been successful; then set aside a time that yours everyday to practice, practice, practice; always learn from your failures, never ever let them define you; you must always, always define them; don’t be afraid of criticism just make sure you understand where it’s coming from and what it is really saying; step outside your comfort zone, it will broaden your perspective and enrich you; get as much real experience as you can so that your writing bubbles over with it. Most of all never quit; never use an excuse not to follow your dream no matter how daunting the task may look ahead. Like the small child who learns how to walk, it began one step at a time. Be patient! Before you know it you’ll be up and running.

Where can readers find you?

Readers can find me at:
They can find all the platforms I’m on by Googling: b.b.wright, betrayal of trust





Edward looked at his watch: it was 7:30. He decided to walk farther downstream to where he and Karen used to fly fish. She always caught more than me, he reminisced. I never did learn her secret.
Letting out a long sigh, he grasped the package of sample bottles in one hand and his walking stick in the other, and he began to head downstream along the ragged shoreline.
Snap! Crack!
A section of limestone boulder to Edward’s right exploded, a piece of it momentarily stunning him. The sample bottles dropped to the ground as he wrapped his hands around the walking stick to support himself.
What the hell just happened? he asked himself, staring at what was left of the boulder and rubbing the side of his head.
He picked up movement from the corner of his eye and turned to investigate.
Three men emerged from the woods along the trail Edward had just come from. All three men carried weapons. The man out front was yelling something and pointing at Edward as he ran.
Edward’s gut knotted in fear. He was sure the man out front was the same person he’d seen on Building 3C’s loading dock last evening.
Panic streamed through his body. Throwing away his walking stick, he grasped his sample package and began to run as best he could along the shoreline.
While rounding the face of the cliff, he heard the weapon’s report. Snap! Crack!
The bullet ricocheted off the rock with a pinging sound, splaying Edward’s forehead with fine stone particles. He kept running. Ahead, he saw a break in the rock formation and picked up his pace.
All Edward could hope for at that location was a short respite to catch his breath and evade, if only momentarily, the increasing accuracy of the shooter. Lungs aching from the effort, he reached his temporary refuge and collapsed behind a large rock formation, gulping in air and gathering himself. As he listened, he was surprised that their voices appeared more distant than he expected. Peering around the rock and half expecting the wiry man with the ponytail to pounce, he was surprised to find no one there. Where are they? His mind frantically searched for an answer.
Their voices grew closer.
“Shit! How could I be so blind?” he chastised himself.
He had been crouching at the bottom of a rough-hewn pathway that led to the top of the cliff. It was then he realized that he was at the site where he and Karen had gone fly fishing. Somehow he had forgotten about this pathway.
He began to climb in earnest, the burn in his thighs painful.
Snap! Crack!
A section of the trunk of a birch tree beside him splintered, and he reflexively ducked while still endeavouring to increase his upward rate. The rock face ahead zinged, spraying fine powdered dust in his face as he passed it. The top drew near. His legs felt heavy as his thighs ached with indescribable pain. He was slowing down. Though nauseated and woozy, he forced himself to keep climbing.

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