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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Apr 30, 2021

Mark interviews writer, director, playwright and actor, Rod Carley and they talk about his new novel Kinmount.

Prior to the interview, Mark shares a personal update as well as a word from this episode's sponsor.

You can learn more about how you can get your work distributed to retailers and library systems around the world at

During their conversation, Mark and Rod talk about:

  • How, when he was young, Rod would come home from school every day and work on a picture book
  • Joining a musical as part of the chorus in grade 9
  • Theater offering a sense of collaboration and inclusion
  • Having Canadian poet bpNichol as a creative writing instructor in university, and how this legendary writer was a huge influence
  • The work Rod did adapting and editing Shakespearean scripts into modern settings by finding more recent historic parallels to moments, themes, and events from the original plays
  • Writing musicals based on the history of Northern Ontario
  • An overview of the premise and setup for Rod's first novel, A Matter of Will
  • Rod's latest novel, Kinmount, which is about a theater director trying to put on a Shakespeare play (Romeo & Juliet) in a small town
  • The common mis-perception of Romeo & Juliet as a romantic story rather than a tragedy
  • How Romeo & Juliet is, in many ways, a tragedy of toxic masculinity
  • Balancing humanity with hilarity in the writing of this book
  • The subtle elements of magic realism in Kinmount and A Matter of Will and how it has to come from an organic place in the story
  • One of the things Rod has done when directing MacBeth ("the Scottish play") to break the curse/spell associated with that play
  • How the first week of July in North Bay there is a massive shadfly infestation
  • Launching a novel during the 2020 Pandemic
  • Pivoting to a virtual book launch, and hiring a small local marketing firm to assist with that
  • One of the pros of having a virtual book launch, which allowed for attendees from afar
  • Getting onto the long-list for the Stephen Leacock Medal and the support Rod received from Terry Fallis
  • Some of Rod's influences that include Robertson Davies, Mordecai Richler, David Sedaris, Kurt Vonnegut, and more
  • How Rod prepares for doing a live (or virtual) reading of his work
  • The way Rod's work in theater has informed his ability to compose dialogue
  • Modern adaptation (what Rod calls "responsible adaption") of Shakespeare's society and how, back in Shakespeare's day, people were used to speaking and listening a lot more rapidly, so a typical Shakespeare play wasn't as long in duration as a modern version
  • And more...

After the interview, Mark reflects on the adaptations that can happen with creative work and how authors might consider their own work re-adapted to different formats.


Links of Interest:


Rod’s first novel, A Matter of Will, was a finalist for the 2018 Northern Lit Award for Fiction. His non-fiction short story, A Farewell to Steam, was featured in the anthology, 150 Years Up North and More. His literary fiction short story, Botox and the Brontosaurus, is featured in Cloud Lake Literary’s inaugural online review. Rod is also an award-winning director, playwright and actor, having directed and produced over 100 theatrical productions to date including fifteen adaptations of Shakespeare. He is the Artistic Director of the Acting for Stage and Screen Program for Canadore College and a part-time English professor with Nipissing University. Rod was the 2009 winner of TVO’s Big Ideas/Best Lecturer competition. KINMOUNT is his second novel.


The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0