Episode 112A – Thorsten – Grolar

Overview

Thorsten is originally from Germany and speaks German. When he married, he and his wife moved to Canada where he learned to speak English. While he had written some books in German, he now writes in English.

We discuss his book Grolar about a hybrid polar bear / grizzly bear that is attacking a town. We discuss his other books – one of which is a mandatory read in German high school.

His Book

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Transcript

Hello, welcome

[00:00:43] Stephen: to episode one 12 of discovered word. This is an interesting and exciting interview today, I’m talking to Thurston Nash. We talk about his book grower, which is a polar bear grizzly bear combined. And it’s a story set up north of me, uh, in [00:01:00] Canada, which is where he lives. But, uh, this is really interesting for everybody because originally thons German and speaks German, but moved to Canada with his wife and kids and learned English and writes in English.

And we talk a bit about that in his book. And, uh, it, it’s just an interesting conversation because I haven’t had a chance to talk to somebody about. Other languages as much as this, even though there have been quite a few on that, do speak other languages. German’s the first time I believe. So it’s a really great discussion.

The book sounds really interesting set in an area that is exciting, uh, up in Canada with, uh, this giant grizzly attacking people. So sit back and enjoy Thorston. Good afternoon. Welcome to discovered wordsmith. How are you today? Oh, I’m

[00:01:51] Thorsten: doing great. Thank you. Thank you. How are you doing? I’m

[00:01:54] Stephen: doing good. You mentioned it’s a nice day where you are, where you live.

[00:01:58] Thorsten: Oh yeah. I’m in [00:02:00] WestBridge, Alberta, Canada. Okay. And yeah, so far we didn’t have a, a lot of great days where you could be actually outside. So I would reduce it to three or four comfort, a place. So I did some garden

[00:02:14] Stephen: work today. Nice. Yeah. I live in Ohio right below lake Erie and we’ve. Freezing weather in the morning, like 27 when I woke up and then 67, when I took the dog out a little bit ago.

Before we talk about your book, tell us a little bit about you, what you like to do your hobbies and other things about you that you care to share.

[00:02:37] Thorsten: okay. I, I just start rambling on and you just do the timeout or something.

[00:02:42] Stephen: we like that around here.

[00:02:43] Thorsten: So obviously, uh, I’m an author. I’m an novelist. And as you probably hear in the audience, it’s my second language I’m operating in right now.

I’m a published traditionally published author in Germany. And my books are read in schools between Denmark and [00:03:00] Italy. One is a mandatory read in one province. Nice in Germany for the next two years in Germany, language art in English. It is 1984. So that’s quite an honor from there. And I publish, I still self-publish, for example, and hybrid, that would be the name.

And so I’m coming from a storyteller side and if I’m not writing poems or short stories or novels, I like to write songs. I’m the singer songwriter for a hobby. I really just pleasure. I dunno. It’s a different energy that comes outta it.

[00:03:33] Stephen: Yeah. Yeah. I actually. Found a lot of authors play music or they’re in it, computers.

I don’t know why that is. It just seems like quite a few of them are that way. So that’s good. What instrument?

[00:03:47] Thorsten: It’s mostly guitar. And I also work with loops, so I use loops that are pre preproduced and I mold them into whatever I need, but I would rather prefer being an it person.

[00:03:58] Stephen: Some of the days I’ve [00:04:00] had recently.

I don’t know if you wanna say that. What got you into writing? Why’d you wanna start writing?

[00:04:06] Thorsten: Yeah, that’s a good one. That pretty much nails down to one week in my life. It was like in middle school at one point where I really love to play, like with Playmobile Lego, all these things. And I was probably the boy played a little longer than the average, those things.

And I’ve eventually come to, came to school. And what did you do yesterday? And I’m like, yeah, you play with me like that. And your friends are looking a little cringy. And I was like, yeah, this, the time is over. And that is the right of passage and all these things. And for a week I was in limbo, but I did read a lot at the time already.

And for me, that was literally the next week. I was like, maybe I give it a shot with a little short story. And I wrote my first, my first book, what was basically a school book full of the story.

[00:04:57] Stephen: Yeah. so nice. I totally understand that. [00:05:00] I feel writing gives me a chance to still be a kid and play. Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

It’s the reason to have kids and grandkids. So you can pour out the Lego and nobody looks at you weird.

[00:05:11] Thorsten: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. I figured that out. I was like, oh, there’s actually a positive kid. Yeah.

[00:05:16] Stephen: Nice. Tell us about your book. Now you have multiple books, some in German, some in English. So tell us. Uh, one, we’re gonna talk about today and touch on the other ones a little bit, give people an idea of the stuff you write.

[00:05:29] Thorsten: Yeah. So I’m always like, so I told you in Germany, I’m also traditionally published in Canada, too. I wrote a novel in, in English, together with a colleague from Zimbabwe, which was published in Ontario. It’s my totem came calling. In English. And that was my first collaboration in English with another author.

The next novel I’m about to finish is a suicide hotel. It’s a futuristic dystopian novel, as you might think from the title. I got a grant [00:06:00] literary arts grant from the province here over the last year to write the book like part-time. So I’m, part-time janitor. Part-time novelist in English. Nice. In Germany.

I was a full-time author for 10 years. I have multiple books published. There were also award run by Western debut was the, was the nomination. They won other awards and the books are read in schools. As I said, between Italy and Denmark. And I also toured all these countries back then, I left that behind six years ago, seven years, time flies, especially lately.

With my move to Canada, my wife is Canadian and that’s why we settled back here. Oh, nice.

[00:06:44] Stephen: Other languages. I think that’s amazing. I can barely speak English and have a rough time with Spanish in high school. So going German and writing books in Germany and now English and writing books in English. Have you, and you told me this earlier, but to tell [00:07:00] everybody, do you try and write in both languages or do you translate or what do you do?

[00:07:05] Thorsten: Yeah. It was with my first move to Canada already. When I met my wife, we lived in, in Calgary and then Victoria on the west coast. And I knew I, I had, I found out that parallel doesn’t work for me. I know it does work for other riders, I guess my gray sponge just have that much capacity. So I had to do the switch with the move literally like two, three years later, I said, I’m not trying to cling on something.

I can’t keep up the language. On the level I was riding. I always say, when people ask me, imagine you’re top surfer and you break a leg and you can’t surf for a year. The, if you go back on the board, you are just not as good or like when you’re not practicing what you’re doing. So for me, it was really then conscious decision to say, no, I’m did the switch in English to English and I leave the German behind.

[00:07:59] Stephen: Good. [00:08:00] Wow. I just can’t imagine. Have you thought of having your books, the German books translated to English, not necessarily by you, but you know somebody. Yeah,

[00:08:09] Thorsten: exactly. So if anybody’s out there that thinks about the getting the books translated, don’t do it yourself. You want to translate in your mother tongue.

That’s always a tip that people give me. So I didn’t translate my own books. They’re all translated by first language English speakers. Okay. And there are quite a few out. I think you mentioned that before kind of books are right. It’s like, I’m the nightmare for publishing house. because I do multiple genres.

I do young adult fiction. I do horror. I do literary contemporary literature and those things. So there are different ones out there from young adult fiction to, for example, grower is like an environmental horror. Novel that takes place in Canada. And it’s also as an audio book, Chad Berg and the [00:09:00] American actor spoke it professionally in

[00:09:03] Stephen: amazing job.

Nice. And that’s the book we’re gonna talk a little bit more about, so tell us a little brief synopsis of what the book’s about.

[00:09:12] Thorsten: Yeah. It’s. Protagonist is John he’s. A construction worker, laid off construction worker from Vancouver and tries to make a living for his little family. And he get ends a job at a old, bigger camp in the Yukon.

So he goes there and, um, that camp is gonna be. Attacked by a grower bear because grower is half grizzly, half polar bear and lately over the last 10, 20 years, these mixtures meet more often and mixed to, to be a grower. And I was thinking when I heard about the liger, did you ever hear about, liers seen one.

Wow. There you go. And I heard they’re bigger than the original animal, right? Yeah. And then as an author, storyteller comes like, what if [00:10:00] that would happen to a bear . I made up this slightly bigger bear, the grower bear that then pros this camp. And, but it’s also like a very personal story for John and his little family.

[00:10:15] Stephen: Nice. Okay. So you have several books out. Is this book already out or is it coming out?

[00:10:23] Thorsten: No, it is out. Yeah, it is as ebook and as a book and also an yeah,

[00:10:29] Stephen: got it. Got it. And what type of feedback are you getting?

[00:10:34] Thorsten: I must say I’m really fortunate with that one as in German, where it was nominated for an independent book award in English as well.

So the translation must work well. I just trust translators that people do in German and in English refer to Steven King. If you’re in a certain way, if you write horror with a very person protagonist. [00:11:00] There. And then people think about Kujo or other, or than you, right in that realm, what I’m honored. And as a teenager or in middle school, I read all the Stephen King novels that were out there.

So. Nice.

[00:11:14] Stephen: Nice. So you mentioned Stephen King. Would you say your books are like his, or is there an author or a set of books that you say are, would say are similar to give people an idea?

[00:11:26] Thorsten: That’s an interesting question. So. What puzzles me actually is that there are people out there that read all my books.

Why? Because that’s good. Yeah. Because the narration voice differs. Great. So if I write from the point of view of a 15 year old, uh, with migrant background, maybe in Germany, the narration voice differs largely from grower or from, from other, from a broker, for example, What they all have in common, according to my audience in, in Germany, at least I heard that a couple of times is that I [00:12:00] just tell what needs to be told and nobody feels like they’re drifting off.

And, uh, uh, yeah, I don’t wanna do that either so

[00:12:07] Stephen: nice. Okay. All right. And I know that’s a big thing. You mentioned Steven King. He’s often accused of going for long times and oh, we could just take these 30 chapters out and it doesn’t matter.

[00:12:21] Thorsten: Yeah. Yeah. And that’s why I’m not saying necessarily personally myself, because yeah, you and me, and let’s say maybe authors and literary really interested people notice that while the general audience flies through a book of Stephen King and might fly through a book of mine and says like, oh, both horror.

So I compare it right. It could be, but I know I would not compare my writing styles.

[00:12:46] Stephen: Got it. OK. Now is grower. Standalone or is it part of a series?

[00:12:54] Thorsten: yes, no, it’s a standalone, but what I love to do if it works is that [00:13:00] I reuse characters, protagonists side characters from other novels in a different setting, different age when it works.

So there, there is one or two characters pop up there, side characters that been side characters in another.

[00:13:16] Stephen: Got it. Okay. That’s nice. So it’s almost like a shared universe

[00:13:19] Thorsten: through the yes. Yeah. Yeah. I have, yeah. I have a uni. I have my own universe.

[00:13:24] Stephen: the Thurston universe. Yeah. Nice. Nice. Okay. So a grower, if you had a choice, would you like to make it into a movie or do you think it would make a good TV show?

[00:13:37] Thorsten: That’s a, oh, that’s a nice question. I think I never had that one. I like that because I, I love also movies and I love TV and I love filmmaking and all these things. Oh, I think would it be, I usually I say, okay. Usually I say a novel is if it’s a sh it’s a [00:14:00] movie, it’s a it’s right away. It’s a serious.

Versus a short story is always a movie. It can’t be as serious. That’s like where I’m coming from with grower it, I think it could be a movie or a limited series, like a six, six shows or something.

[00:14:19] Stephen: Yeah. The whole limited series thing is definitely way popular and much better than it was 20, 30 years ago.

Oh yeah.

[00:14:28] Thorsten: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Great stuff out there. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

[00:14:32] Stephen: And you mentioned Stephen King, you wanna talk about somebody who’s had some bad adaptations in the movies? Yeah.

[00:14:39] Thorsten: Some that’s without his own fault, right?

[00:14:41] Stephen: right. Well, he even says, Hey, they pay me for the story. They can do what they want with it.

But the ones he does get involved in are usually the ones that are much better as movies or TV shows or whatever. So there’s a couple good ones.

[00:14:55] Thorsten: Yeah. But I don’t know how he spends his time. There must be two or three [00:15:00] Stephen Kings out there that write and, and manage and all. And as a family, geez. Yeah.

[00:15:05] Stephen: His kids write. Yeah. And I actually I’ve read Joe Hill quite a bit and I like his stuff a lot. Okay. I haven’t there, there was one, I forget the book. I was reading it and I said, yep, he’s Stephen King’s son, because that ending did not go well but that’s a personal opinion. Your book roller and your others.

Where can people find them? Do you have a website? I

[00:15:29] Thorsten: do have a website under my name, so okay. If I, so yeah, I probably have to spell it. Like

[00:15:35] Stephen: I’ll put a link in the show for everybody.

[00:15:37] Thorsten: Yeah. So you can find there a couple and more information about me in general. Like whatever there is, but otherwise you can totally get it on the big online store that we all where you can order it or UN audible.

Right? It’s the same family. Yeah. Cuz

[00:15:52] Stephen: you have it as an audio book you said? Yeah. Yeah. Nice. That’s rare for. Independent [00:16:00] author.

[00:16:00] Thorsten: Yeah, I was really fortunate. I have three and I just think it’s, Chuck will. And also I have three books on audible by American two are actors and one was a Chicago radio host.

Chuck will all three did an amazing job. They put their own character into the story, right? It’s a voice. It’s a different voice. And. Was a great process. I also I’m one of my novels was turned into a public radio play in the public radio in Germany. That’s cool. Yeah. So I, and I wrote the script, so I’m very in multimedia author as well.

I always say, I always said like in Germany when they had the interviews, I said I’m a German author, but a Canadian storyteller, because what I learned about storytelling actually was in the English world. And that was at that point, Canada. And now I basically do the full circle. Hopefully that’s

[00:16:54] Stephen: pretty cool.

Our stories are reflections of our life and experiences. [00:17:00] So that gives you that a unique perspective, which it sounds like lots of people like,

[00:17:06] Thorsten: yeah, like I say, the one book is in fifth edition in Germany out and it is red. And that one is a young adult fiction, for example. And what the teachers say. I can read this book with the kids because the kids read your book.

And that is one of the greatest awards you can have as a, as an author. Yeah,

[00:17:26] Stephen: totally agree. That’s something I’m trying to work on.

[00:17:31] Thorsten: yeah,

[00:17:31] Stephen: no. Yeah. What’s the, uh, next book that you’re working on. That’ll be coming out.

[00:17:36] Thorsten: Yeah. So it’s close to completion. I just, yesterday, literally I had to write the final report for the grant.

The funding that I got from the Alberta foundation for the arts. So I had to, it was a trying year for all of us, right? Like I got laid off as a janitor for four months, but in, in Canada I had a, had a financial support called se. So [00:18:00] didn’t hit. Financial stress. And thankfully with the funding, it was offered, but the kids were more home.

So I had to find another place to write. Yeah. But in time in 12 months I managed to write that novel and I’m to the point that, uh, I just have my test readers read it because it takes place in the future in 21, 12. That’s pretty far from now. And I came up. A lot of details that, that I hope I didn’t confuse at any time, but I, I need some fresh eyes to read that.

So as soon I get the feedback, what I hope by the end of may in June, I wanna really complete it. And then I will look here for agents or publishing hubs. So I don’t have an agent. I had agents in Germany, but that is different from me right now. I’m pretty much start from scratch. . Ah,

[00:18:53] Stephen: okay. Working with Mickey seems to be a good thing for lots of people.

So [00:19:00]

[00:19:00] Thorsten: yeah, no, I’m really fortunate that we run into each other and no, I’m really happy. I, I do every year I do a review generally how I do as a self-employed or partially self-employed or as a author or my other project. And I definitely checkmark Mickey as, as, yeah. That’s a good decision and I keep going with it.

Yeah, absolutely. Nice. Okay. Good.

[00:19:22] Stephen: Creative action. So, let me ask this. You’ve mentioned Steven King. Do you have any other favorite books and authors? Uh, it’s funny.

[00:19:31] Thorsten: I do have a author, a favorite author that I like to mention, because I think in certain circles he’s known, but not for the broad audience is Charleston bros.

He’s he’s from Washington, as I know. Okay. And he so far just wrote short stories, but I tell you if you’re into language and storytelling, And psychology and personal is really has a very advanced and unique [00:20:00] way to tell stories. For me personally, I learn, I grow, I think I can read it three times. I still grow the stories.

There are very few out there. I think it writes two short stories a year maybe as, and a couple of essays and the essays are great as well. So I think he’s teaching at a university. I dunno. That’s the last thing.

[00:20:18] Stephen: OK. I’ll have to look him.

[00:20:20] Thorsten: Yeah, no, if you’re into writing Def I, I, you can’t say that, that if you can write that way, congratulations, you did it.

I always wanna grow of, cause I now have a lot of headroom above me.

[00:20:34] Stephen: Right. Okay. And up there in Alberta where you live, do you have a bookstore that you like to go to? Maybe take the kids to?

[00:20:44] Thorsten: Yeah, it’s funny. I just had the other. With a colleague in Germany where I was complaining, is it my age or something?

I don’t read as much anymore. And then he said, you’re currently writing a novel five hours a day. That’s other people don’t read that. So [00:21:00] what I did over the last year, it was a lot of research. It was, uh, I call it humbly, quadruple doctor theist or something. Cause I had to spread myself in so many. Ways of sociology and psychology and then all these other things and dive into those technologies.

So I think like we are talking if June is over and I lean back, I will hit the bookstore again. nice. Yeah. Otherwise poetry I’m reading. Huh?

[00:21:32] Stephen: Okay. Nice. All right. So before we move on to author talk, tell everybody the elevator. If you ran into somebody and they said, why should I get grower and read it?

What would you tell? ’em

[00:21:45] Thorsten: grower is just a fast read. That’s what everybody says that keeps you on the edge. And people really like also the point of view of the grow up bear that I have in. So we look through the eyes of the bear as well at

[00:21:59] Stephen: times. [00:22:00] Nice. Nice. Yeah. Okay. There you go. And that sounds great. I appreciate you sharing the book with us today on the podcast.

Oh, thank you.

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