The ShatterColors Standard Interview -- Author Version: George Fosty (10/2010)

(Interview consists of 15 pre-set questions. Authors have published at least one novel or short story/poetry collection.)

1) Why did you begin writing, and how long have you been doing so?

I first began writing in the late 1970's in an attempt to record my personal experiences. I was fascinated by the world around me and the people I met. I wanted to record their stories. I never thought that it would lead to a career as a writer. During the 1980's I had a number of my railroad poems published in magazines, mostly in the United States. This modest success gave me the confidence to continue writing. Ironically, most of my poems sat on a shelf for thirty-years until the release of Short Lines.

2) What does your writing routine consist of?

I spend a great deal of time researching and studying my subjects before I write on them. I never write on topics or individuals that I have not spend a great deal of time studying.

3) Have specific events ever flung you into an extended and productive period of creativity?

As I get older, and come to the realization that every day is special and that no one is guaranteed tomorrow, I find that I have become more fixated with efforts to complete my projects faster and in a more timely fashion. I sometimes feel that I am writing against the clock, and that I have only a limited amount of time to get my histories and writings out. It is almost a fatalistic perspective on life.

4) What are common sources of inspiration?

I am inspired by those around me. I also believe that the greatest stories have yet to be written. It is this inspiration and belief that drives me forward in terms of life and writings.

5) What does a book need to do to get you to read it from beginning to end?

A book has to be written from the heart in order for me to read it front to back. I am not one to read manufactured, boilerplate, books. I need to see substance and thought interwined with persoanl perspective.

6) Who are some of the authors you most admire?

The authors I admire the most are Nordhoff and Hall, the great writing team of the 1920's and 1930s who gave us Pitcairn's Island, Mutiny On The Bounty, and other great South Seas adventure stories. I appreciate what they have produced as a team and feel inspired by their works. I write histories with my brother, Darril, and I am well aware of the difficulties writers face when it comes to working as a team. It is very difficult to write as a team and to do so successfully. It is also very inspiring.

7) How familiar are you with the literary canon?

In terms of a literary canon, I would say that my most detailed knowledge and background training I have would be in the literary works of American and British writers from the 1880s-1930s period. I find that this period in writing was the most profound, understated, and important in modern times. I find myself constantly reflecting back on the works of Joseph Conrad, Herman Melville and others. These individuals incorporated life experiences into their writings and I find that this first-hand knowledge made their works timeless.

8) What's your take on politics and literary endeavor?

I have very little respect for modern politicians and politics. Many of these people are shallow and unintelligent. They remind me of spoiled brats or idiots. They are limited in their ideas and perspective on life. You do not have to be smart to be a politican. It requires no training or expertise. It is one of the few professions where the idiots can succeed. Politics and Literature do not mix. Politics breeds hatred and greed. Literature is designed to inform and educate.

9) What are your feelings about formal vs. free verse?

I like both forms. It is the message that is important, not the style.

10) Do you feel "flash" fiction (300 words or less) is a viable form, or nothing more than a writing exercise?

Flash fiction has a place. I am particularly appreciative of its use in the area of humor and commercialism.

11) When not writing, what do you do for amusement?

I have a busy life. When I am not writing or working in the publishing industry, I spend most of my time with my family. Family is the most important aspect of my life. My family keeps me grounded and in perspective. Otherwise, I would be totally absorbed in my writing and career.

12) What's one of the most annoying things you can think of?

I am totally disgusted with television programming and modern news reporting. I believe that television and modern news, especially cable news, dumbies-down individuals and distorts reality. People need to shut off their televisions and read more books.

13) Briefly describe what you consider to be one of your standout childhood pranks.

I was never one to orchestrate pranks on others. As a child, I was often the victim of bullying and found that pranks were often the work or those who wanted to embarass or degrade someone.

14) What are your upcoming projects/works in progress?

I am currently working on three books. Two are American soccer, and the other is a World War II history.

15) Care to conclude with a sweeping philosophical statement?

Truth is the greatest threat to the status-quo. If people want change, they need to seek truth.


The ShatterColors Standard Interview -- Author Version
© 2006 by Robert Scott Leyse

George Fosty Responses
© 2010 by
George Fosty



About the Author

George Fosty is a Canadian-born historian and writer living in New York City. He is the co-author/author of six books: "Sustaining The Wings" (1991) , "The Desperate Glory: The Battle Of Dieppe, 1942" (1991), "Splendid Is The Sun: The 5,000 Year History of Hockey "(2003), "Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, 1895-1925" (2004), "Footie's Black Book: A Guide To International Association Football" (2010), and "Short Lines: The Poems Of A Railroad Trackman 1979-1987" (2010). In addition, he is also a featured writer in the book, "Multiple Lenses: Voices From The Diaspora In Canada" (2007).

He and his brother, Darril, are two of Canada's best known historians and are considered the leading experts on the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes, an all-black hockey league that existed in Eastern Canada from 1895 to 1931. In 2007, the Fosty brothers gained international recognition and acclaim for their historical work in the sport of ice hockey after being featured in the ESPN documentary "Frozen Out."


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