Many of Kevin A. Couture’s most recent short stories may highlight themes of being lost, but the Fernwood author is anything but lost.
For the past decade, Couture has been on a clear, steady path of writing short stories with the goal of creating characters and plots that transport readers away from the world they currently live.
“I just love a good story — to be transported and taken away. When I’m writing that’s what I try and do, is try to give a 15 or 20-minute vacation for people. Something that’s interesting to read and takes you away,” said the 45-year-old author.
But Couture hasn’t always been serious about writing fiction for others to enjoy. His writing journey began 10 years ago, while he was a single dad and at home with his children. He wanted to challenge himself and see if he could write an interesting story with a bit of humour.
His first short story was about a boy named Riley and his older brother Terrace, growing up in a household with an abusive mother. The 12-page pieces revolves around the boys wanting to help their neighbour clear out his recently deceased wife’s belongings, but their mother not wanting them to go. It quickly evolves into a story about brothers protecting each other and how one brother “absorbs” the problems of his parent’s relationship.
Since then, Couture has written anywhere from 30 to 40 short stories, many of which have been published in journals. For Couture, an interesting story is not just about the plot, but the development of characters as well.
“I think an interesting character is an everyday person who gets saddled with something that’s out of their element, something that is difficult,” he said. “Everyday characters or everyday people are extraordinarily interesting. The way that you find out how interesting they are is when there’s adversity or there’s something that’s challenging them. Then those interesting traits come out.”
Now, Couture’s first story, along with 11 others with the common theme of lost or being lost, mixed with humorous parts, have been released as part of his first collection of short stories titled Lost Animal Club. He will also be speaking on a humour panel as part of the Victoria Festival of Authors beginning Sept. 21.
The inaugural event brings together 21 authors (11 of whom are from the region) for four days of discussions, readings, book signings, workshops and festivities in downtown Victoria.
Laura Trunkey, artistic associate with the festival, said there have been some literature festivals in the past, but they hope to turn the festival of authors into an annual event.
Authors include Carmen Aguirre, Brian Brett, Yasuko Thanh, Betsy Warland and Jan Zwicky.
The Victoria Festival of Authors runs until Sept. 25. For a full schedule of events visit victoriafestivalofauthors.ca.