First-time novelist Bradley Somer to present at Festival of Words

Lisa Goudy
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Bradley Somer's first novel, Imperfections, was released in fall 2012. Somer will be at the 2014 Saskatchewan Festival of Words taking place from July 17 to 20.

For author Bradley Somer, writing is different each time.

“It’s like a puzzle you work on for two to four years and you very slowly start putting the pieces together,” he said. “It’s part of the fun of writing.”

Somer has only had one novel published so far and he will be at the Saskatchewan Festival of Words this summer.

“I’m very excited to be coming,” he said. “I’ve passed through Moose Jaw many times … I’ve heard it’s an awesome event.”

Born in Sydney, Australia and raised in Canada, Somer has lived in Calgary for many years. His work has appeared in a number of literary magazines and anthologies over the last 10 years.

His first novel, Imperfections, came out in the fall of 2012 after being picked up by an agent in San Diego. He said the book is a “send up to beauty culture and the Western ideals of beauty.”

He described it as a partial satire and partial social commentary through fiction.

“I deal a lot with the modeling industry and plastic surgeries and what people do to themselves and the ethics of plastic surgery as well,” said Somer. “It’s a double-edged sword there. There’s definite benefits and definite problems with extremes of plastic surgery.”

Everyone has an opinion on beautiful and what it means, he said, which is why the topic is so open.

His second novel, Fishbowl, is set for release in spring 2015. It is about a goldfish falling off a high-rise building. The novel takes place in a span of 30 minutes.

"The idea of the book is you don’t live your own life. You live everybody else’s life together,” said Somer. “(It) just follows all of the residents of this one apartment building and they’re going through the major life things so birth and death and losing a job and falling in love, falling out of love and the thread that ties it all together is Ian the goldfish who’s taking a good plummet off the 27th floor.”

Currently, he is about three-quarters finished writing another book. While Imperfections required a lot of research and Fishbowl was plotted out “within an inch of its life” because the characters’ stories are working together, he said his third novel is more of a “free flow stream of consciousness.”

He added he’s still working with festival organizers to figure out what he’ll be doing at the festival, but there he’ll probably do three or four sessions.

“I’ll be doing some reading and chatting about Imperfections and then (I was) asked if I’d be willing to do a read from my new book coming out next year and I said, ‘Of course.’ Then I hear we get the pleasure of doing a lot of outside things with the crowd,” said Somer.

“It’s always fun to chat with readers as well because when you’re sitting and writing in isolation for many years, you don’t get a lot of chance to chat about other people’s takes on your novel.”

The festival takes place from July 17 to 20. Early-bird passes are $175. As of June 1, the pass will cost $200. Flex passes for individual sessions can be purchased to $100.

For more information, visit www.festivalofwords or contact the festival office at 306-691-0557.

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Sydney, Australia Canada Calgary San Diego

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