by Stephen Dafoe
Author Marty Chan brought a little magic and a lot of story telling to the Morinville Community Library Thursday night as part of his launch tour for Infinity Coil, book two in the Ehrich Weisz trilogy. The young adult novel is a steam punk tale of a young Harry Houdini and features other prominent figures from history, including Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison.
Although the 50-year-old writer’s latest adventure takes place in an alternate version of New York, the inspiration for his first two books came from Morinville, the community he called home in the 1970s.
Chan’s parents and a younger sibling still call the community home, and the author has fond memories of growing up in town when his father owned a grocery store here.
The writer’s first two books: The Mystery of the Frozen Brains and The Mystery of the Graffiti Ghoul were both inspired by childhood events he experienced in Morinville. The former from seeing some brains in his parent’s refrigerator and thinking his parents might be aliens, the latter from his time living in an apartment building near the Morinville cemetery. The Mystery of the Frozen Brains earned Chan the City of Edmonton Book Prize in 2005.
The writer’s time in Morinville was chronicled in The Dim Sum Diaries, which ran on CBC Radio Edmonton from 1994 to 2000. The commentary series told Chan’s tale of being “the only Chinese kid in a small prairie town.”
As was the case with his first two children’s novels, Chan has continued to put a creative and entertaining fictional spin on his real life experiences and recommends the process for other writers.
“The best thing you can do for yourself is to pay attention to the world around you,” Chan told his Morinville Library audience. “I think it is a source of inspiration that can eventually feed into a story.”
Though Chan has spent roughly the last decade writing for children, and young adults, he is also well known in the theatrical and television world. He has written several theatrical plays, including an upcoming musical for Sheridan College in Ontario.
Infinity Coil is currently available in print and ebook format. For more information on the book and author visit martychan.com.