Clichés aside, local author Chad Ganske says he was born to be a writer.
“I’ve always written. The cliché that you are born a writer is true, in my case anyway,” said Ganske from his home in North Saanich.
“My mother still likes to torture me by pulling out old scrap books displaying various attempts at short horror stories that I wrote when I was in primary school. Apparently I tried to sell my stories to the neighbours for a nickel,” Ganske laughed.
Ganske moved with his family to Sidney from Red Deer, Alberta, in 1988 and he attended North Saanich Middle School and Parkland Secondary.
“After graduation I attended UVic sporadically but always dreamed of being a writer and could never quite justify post-secondary education. Instead, I put my time into writing short stories and screenplays and bounced around between different restaurants in Sidney as a line cook before finally training as an Education Assistant,” said Ganske, who currently works with District 63 at Deep Cove Elementary.
Last month, Ganske’s premiere novel, a science fiction story he dubbed Idyllic Avenue, was published by Cresecent Moon Press.
“After graduating high school I read a lot, and I wrote a ton of short stories,” Ganske explained.
“One story in particular stayed with me and begged to be expanded. That short story was the seed that eventually grew into Idyllic Avenue.”
Although the genre is clearly sci-fi, Ganske said writing it in that way was something he never intended on doing.
“My short story went through a number of re-imaginings to become the novel it is today,” said Ganske.
“I wanted to focus on dark themes and create layers of mood through various strange settings. The story, which was originally a detective yarn, slowly morphed into something that I had never intended. Over time I embraced the science fiction qualities that Idyllic had adopted and took advantage of the freedom of writing in the sci-fi genre. It’s fascinating to think back to the progression of my novel.”
The novel, Ganske continued, is a story about space travellers who settle on the last inhabitable planet in the explored galaxies and immediately engage in a fight against time — and each other — in an effort to build a sustainable society before the suns burn out.
“There’s a lot of complexity and the book tackles some pretty big societal issues, including segregation and government policy and genetic engineering, but that’s all background stuff. At the heart of the book is a simple tale of love and loss through the eyes of the main character. I wouldn’t consider it hard science. It’s really about relationships,”
Ganske said the completion of the book was a huge success for him, as was having it published.
“I found my publisher the old fashioned way,” he explained.
“My girlfriend and I borrowed a copy of the Writer’s Market handbook from the Sidney North Saanich Library and spent many evenings sifting through it for appropriate publishers and agents. Miraculously, it only took a couple of weeks for Crescent Moon to show interest, and I signed a contract within a month of submitting. I consider myself extremely lucky. I expected it to be a much longer process.”
Ganske added the book is already selling well at Tanner’s Books and he’s looking forward to seeing what other local and national bookstores will carry the novel.
“It’s already in the bestseller section in Tanner’s, so I’m thrilled about that,” laughed Ganske, adding the local bookstore has been extremely supportive.
Through promoting his book, Ganske said he also hopes to inspire young writers.
“Idyllic Avenue isn’t just a sci-fi novel but it’s also a story about a kid from the prairies who dreamed of being a writer and took a hard road to get there. For all those aspiring writers at North Saanich Middle School and Parkland Secondary, I hope they can take a bit of inspiration from my journey.
“People always tell me, ‘I’ve always wanted to write a novel,’ to which I respond, ‘so write it.’ That’s the advice I got, and now I’m passing it down.
“Through all the complexities and hardships, it’s really that simple.”