Cory in Paradise
One of the things I love about social media is the ability to find out about new books and meet new people that under normal circumstances you might not know were out there. The other day I stumbled across a new book written by Cory Ingram call, “Paradise.” The whimsical novel is a coming-of-age story of gay love. I knew I had to check it out and find out who Cory was, so I reached out to him. Cory graciously accepted my offer for an interview.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a Canadian writer and designer living in London, England. Day-to-day I manage my communications and design company, Ingram Creative, which primarily works with clients in the arts and media.
I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, which is right on the doorstep of the Rocky Mountains, and received most of my post-secondary education from the University of Toronto. Both cities, to this day, take up a lot of space in my imagination.
I always knew I wanted to be a professional writer, but it wasn’t until I cycled through several different — and competing — interests in my twenties that I realized that I’d gotten too far away from my dream. This past year I decided to commit myself to writing, which I’m now enjoying in tandem with my design work.
You just published your book called, “Paradise.” Where did you get the idea to write this and could you tell us a little about the book?
Yes, thanks to Ganymede Press for publishing my debut novel! The idea for Paradise came to me from a combination of my own musings on first love and a desire to write something that was serious and literary, but also whimsical and a pleasure to read.
In a nutshell, Paradise is a coming-of-age story of first gay love, and a bit of a love letter to Toronto — a city that has left a deep impression on my mind and heart. The story takes place over a single summer and tracks the protagonist, Chris — a smart, if a little awkward university student — and his first relationship with a confident and more experienced guy named Jake. Over the course of the summer, Chris is led — and occasionally hurled — outside his comfort zone and is left to navigate the feelings of love, desire, and self-doubt against a summer backdrop that is at turns idyllic and terrifying.
As much as the story is about Chris and Jake, a lot of the best moments involve the quirky cast of supporting characters (including a drag queen and ex-girlfriend) who bring humour and a bit of madness to the mix. I think there’s something in there for everyone.
I went to your website and read up on you a little. You have an extensive bio, a degree in philosophy, managing a real estate business, now writer. What motivates you? What are you passionate about?
Nicely done on the research! I think whether I’m writing a philosophy paper, or starting my own business, or training for an ultramarathon, or working on a novel, I’m motivated both by a desire for achievement and the desire to satisfy the gnawing, restless energy that gets me up in the morning. By achievement, I don’t necessarily mean big awards (although those can be nice), but rather a sense of having reached my goal — whatever that may be. Sometimes the goal is big like writing a novel and other times it’s something small like pushing through the last set at the gym. In any case, that gnawing feeling I described is the basic motivator. I’m not wired to sit around and enjoy my life as is; I’m always driven to more — more knowledge, more experiences.
Which leads me to the thing that motivates me most: truth. We are living in a world where truth is often sidelined by alternative facts and media spin, and I’m compelled to fight back. The world is in chaos, and when that chaos is driven by misinformation — when the truth is ignored or falsified — we endanger everything from our education systems to our democracies to our stewardship of the planet. It can’t go on.
As for what I’m passionate about, that list includes: learning, writing, reading, running, pushing my body to new limits, and inspiring others to find the best in themselves and the world. It’s easy to despair at everything that’s going on, but we need to find the spirit and courage to drive onward to something better.
Have you ever thought of adding modeling to your bio?
Not seriously. While I use images of myself to help promote my message, I much prefer taking photos to being the subject of them. That said, I would definitely be open to modeling for a cause or in collaboration with someone or something I believed in.
What is next for Cory?
In the short-term, I’d like to finish the collection of poetry I’m working on and to (finally!) get a cat. I have this vision of a grey-and-white tabby — tentatively named Louie — who might help me edit, or at the least keep my company.
And in the longer-term, I’d like to write more about climate change and ecological destruction and find tangible ways to help get us back on track. We only have one planet, after all.
Cory, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to stop by and answer a few questions.