Xlibris Publishing introduces Bert Johnston, author of The Canterbury Hall Tales.
Please briefly describe your book.
In the 21st Centtury these residents of Canterbury Hall gathered around a table to tell each other tales just as Chaucer’s pilgrims did on their way to Canterbury in the 14th Century. Like Chaucer’s stories, these fifteen tales are contemporary to their times (with one exception), and sometimes the account of the persons who tell these tales are as interesting as the stories themselves. Written in Chaucer-style verse, The Canterbury Hall Tales are a treat for people, young and old, who enjoy the humor and adventure of Chaucer’s stories. The author has made no attempt to capture Chaucer’s bawdiness.
Who is the author “behind” the book?
I am a lifelong writer who published poetry in the Wheeling (WV) Intelligencer while in grade school, edited an award-winning weekly high school paper, and as a Presbyterian minister wrote sermons and church news letters for forty years. Now retired and living at Westminster Village in Spanish Fort, Alabama, I am enjoying the pleasures of writing fiction and have written two novels prior to my current work, The Canterbury Hall Tales.
Did you have any particular literary influences?
As a senior at Centre College, I was privileged to study Chaucer under Dr. Hardin Craig, head of the English department at the University and a leading authority on Shakespeare and the literature of his era. As a visiting professor at his alma mater, Dr. Craig taught an honors course in which Chaucer was a major subject. I have loved The Canterbury Tales ever since.
What inspired you to write your book, and how long did it take you to finish it?
Several years ago I had in my files four or five short stories with no obvious relationships to each other. Remembering how Chaucer’s pilgrims were united by their storey-telling along the road to Canterbury, I envisioned a new set of Canterbury tales told by elderly people united not by a pilgrimage but by their fellowship around the dinner table at their senior residence. I then wrote enough additional stories to form a collection to be called The Canterbury Hall Tales and translated them into Chaucer-style verse. It took me over three years.
What is the one message would like to convey to your readers?
Story-telling is an art to be cultivated. It brings people together in a way that listening to television does not.
Are you working on a sequel to your book?
Are there any events, marketing ideas or promotions planned?
I hope to have a book reading at the senior residence where I live. I am asking relatives and friends to hype this book by email, Facebook, or whatever. I will use the postcards, bookmarks, and other PR, materials provided by Xlibris.
What was your favorite part of your publishing experience, overall and with Xlibris?
I enjoyed the process of moving from manuscript to book format, and was especially pleased with the great cover created with the help of Xlibris.
Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Edit, edit, edit; proof, proof, proof; and believe in yourself enough to stick with it until you get it published.
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