So many literary neighbours: yet another reason I am so delighted to live in Westdale. Brent van Staalduinen's debut novel--Saints, Unexpected--is set downtown, kicks into action with a thrift-store robbery, and features, among other characters, dodgy developers.
His fellow Hamilton author Amanda Leduc (The Miracles of Ordinary Men) says that Saints, Unexpected is filled with detail that brings the city's core to life, and "with hope, both as gritty and as gentle as the city it explores."
Brent told me:
I live in the north end of Westdale, out near Princess Point, with my wife Rosalee and daughters Nora and Alida. It’s quiet here, which I love and need, and we’re surrounded by good people. My writing space is an office in the basement with a big window at street level. Right now it’s snowing lightly which, although I love winter, has intruded upon my hope for spring.
The desk reflects my current state, which is scramble-busy-sleep-when-I-die mode: In the foreground is Saints, Unexpected, my new Hamilton novel (to be launched on Wed., April 20 at Bryan Prince Bookseller, 7 pm!), papers and folder for the new course I’m teaching at Redeemer University College, some spit-up spots from a three-month-old doing her best to entertain us in the wee hours, and drafts of Boy—my next novel—to revise so my agent can submit to publishers later in the spring. Nora, my three-year-old, likes to come down to decorate, so there are a couple of tempera masterpieces on the corner of my desk waiting to find display locations. Oddly, only one empty coffee mug sits next to the lamp—usually, I have a collection—and an uncharacteristic cup of Tim’s fuel beside my laptop.
Strewn about are photos of loved ones to remind me where I come from and why I write. Bookshelves full of discovery and craft. A collection of my successes and publications at eye level because sometimes all the reality and rejection of a literary life can creep in. Piles of books for teaching, reading, and dust-gathering. Lego on the windowsill. Gumby, who’s seen everything. All of it bathed in good natural light—there’s something to soaking in real light's full spectrum, y’know?