Told through the lens of a goldfish named Ian, falling from the twenty-seventh floor balcony of an apartment building, Fishbowl (available August 4th) follows an eclectic cast of characters on a single day. There is the hunky grad student, his girlfriend, and his mistress; the construction worker who feels trapped by a secret; the building’s superintendent who feels invisible and alone; the shut in; the pregnant woman on bed rest; and the home-schooled boy, Herman, who thinks he can travel through time.
We caught up Fishbowl author Bradley Somer to talk about his captivating breakthrough novel, his philosophy on writer's block and what you might be surprised to find on his bookshelf.
What was your inspiration behind choosing to tell your story from the perspective of a goldfish?
There’s a lot of freedom in writing from the mind of a creature with a seconds-long memory living solely in the present. Ian the goldfish was a great vehicle for a character with a carpe diem attitude and an awesome way to have an impartial observer watching other people’s lives go by.
What was your favourite part about writing this book?
This book was a blast to write, start to finish. It was a giant puzzle that I got to put together over the course of a few years. Without giving anything away, there are so many little pieces of narrative detail that play big roles later in the story, making sure they were all in place when they were needed was both a challenge and a pleasure.
There are lots of great characters in this story. If Fishbowl were to become a movie, who would you like to see star in it? And who would voice Ian the goldfish?
I said I’d plug my friend Kristy for a role if it ever went to the big screen. She’s never aspired to be an actor or anything, I just think she’d be good. I think James Earl Jones would be perfect for Ian’s voice.
What do you do for fun? When you’re not reading of course ;)
Hiking in the summer. Snowshoeing in the winter. Road trips, travel and exploring whenever I can.
What was your favourite book as a child?
I loved John Fitzgerald’s The Great Brain series. It’s a bunch of short story collections about the misadventures of a kid and his older brother in the late 1800’s, Utah.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
I don’t. I think writing should be fun and if you’re having fun, you’re not going to get too stuck. I thought I had writer’s block once but it turned out I just didn’t like what I was writing, so I left the project behind and moved on.
And for a bit of fun, what book might we be surprised to find on your shelf?
(Sighs) I’ll admit it… Paris Hilton’s “Confessions of an Heiress.” I bought it a while ago for research purposes… really.