Ask the Writer: Terry Watada
A short interview with a multi-genre, award-winning author
Jen Knox (JK): Hi, Terry! Thank you for taking some time to answer a few of our questions. We are honored to feature your work in On Rules. What is the best piece of advice you've received as a writer/person?
Terry Watada (TW): Long ago I was advised to write “what you don’t know”. I didn’t understand it at first. How do I write what I don’t know? I then decided that I should begin with the familiar and then venture into the unfamiliar and, if necessary, into the uncomfortable/distasteful.
JK: Please share with us one (or a few) of your favorite lines, either from your work or someone else's work, and explain what strikes you about the passage.
TW: If I could tell my Mom and Dad that the things we never had
Never mattered, we were always okay…
-Paul Simon “Getting Ready for Christmas Day”
Wish I could’ve told my parents the same, but it is too late.
NORTH RICHMOND STREET being blind, was a quiet street except at the hour when the Christian Brothers' School set the boys free. An uninhabited house of two storeys stood at the blind end, detached from its neighbours in a square ground The other houses of the street, conscious of decent lives within them, gazed at one another with brown imperturbable faces.
“Araby” by James Joyce
Beautiful description by James Joyce. Sums up the whole story in one paragraph.
JK: Why is creative work important?
TW: It allows me to discover and recreate a past that I never knew. My parents and community come to life for me as a result.
JK: How did you find your first publication?
TW: I submitted my first poetry collection to a Toronto publisher not expecting much. But fortunately, the Mercury Press was looking for new writers at the time. So, they accepted it pretty quickly. Harder time with my second publication.
Through an agent, my first novel (second publication) was rejected by 25 publishers. Then a friend of mine called a Vancouver publisher and pitched the novel. They accepted it right away. Strange how things work out. He was a grand friend.
JK: What are your thoughts on the impact of AI on the world of creative writing/publishing?
TW: Dangerous gamble. If found out, the writer will live in disgrace and the publisher may not survive the controversy.
JK: What are you working on now? Please share any links our writers can follow to read more of your work.
TW: My sixth poetry collection was just released. “The Mask” (Mawenzi House, Toronto ON. Dec. 2023) is probably my most accomplished effort after so many years of trying my hand at poetry. I hope readers agree.
My fourth novel is set for release in late 2024. “Hiroshima Bomb Money’ is based on the true story of an aunt who survived the atomic bomb for a time. She spent that time searching for her twin babies.
Lighthouse Theatre Summer Festival in Port Dover, Ontario (on the northern shore of Lake Erie), will debut my latest play in 2025. “Sakura” was commissioned to celebrate the life of a Japanese immigrant who settled in the town in the 1930s fated to become one of its beloved and prominent citizens.
I am also putting together my second short story collection and beginning to work on a detective novel for the challenge. Got to keep moving.
Thanks, Terry! What an inspiration you are. “Got to keep moving” just might be a mantra for many writers after reading this. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. We are excited to feature your work in our forthcoming anthology.
Terry Watada is a well-published writer living in Canada. He has 3 novels, 6 poetry books and a short story collection in print. His 6th poetry volume, "The Mask", was just released. His fourth novel, "Hiroshima Bomb Money", is due for publication in late 2024. His new play is set to debut in the summer of 2025. He likes to keep busy as he has a second short story collection in the works. "Rules of the Game," which will be published in Unleash’s ON RULES anthology, is an integral part of that collection.