Six-plus Years, plus Six Weeks

In the spring of 2014, I moved into an apartment and, within a month, began work on a novella–or, I’ve joked since then, a novel if it goes well–about a guy who moves into an apartment… and starts seeing things, or just one thing: a ghost or some other supernatural being, a woman who assaults him in the night.

That fall, a few things started happening for me. A publisher accepted Nobody Looks That Young Here in September. A different publisher accepted Hamburger in November. In between the two, I met my wife, Pauline. I bought a different apartment, and sold it again when we bought a house. We got married. The two books came out, but needed editing and promotion when they did. The house needed work (and still does). I got promoted at work. Our daughter was born and, just after starting her in daycare and regaining something like our previous routine, an actual, you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me global pandemic threw us into a nineteen-week gauntlet of caring for her every day, full time, while both trying to also work full time from home.

Most of these interruptions were good things, and the bad ones weren’t as bad as what others have been through. What they meant, though, was that I put this manuscript down again and again, for weeks or months at a time, three times for so long that restarting actually meant starting over, junking anywhere from twenty to thirty-five thousand words each go-round.

There were periods where it felt stupid to carry on, to try again, to get this thing finished and right before letting myself try anything else, even a new short story. I didn’t start any new fiction for five years.

If confinement was previously just an occasional feeling about this project, the feeling’s been much more literal at times these last seven months–and it may have helped, because I finally got the damned thing done.

There were so many stops and starts, and total restarts, that until two weeks ago, I still couldn’t show a word of it to Pauline. But it’s as done as I can make it, now, and its title seems to be Modern Folklore. In the end its word count came out near the upper limit for a novella, but however it’s categorized, it feels both as short and as long as it needs to be, and I’m happy with it right now.

One challenge met, though, the next one begins, one that’s been in the back of my mind from the beginning: where do I submit this book?

There are a couple of literary and specialized presses I expect I’ll send it to, and a couple of contests, too, so here’s hoping. I’d love to see it published as a standalone.

But on the other hand, have you noticed novellas tend to get published in bunches?

And wouldn’t you know it, I recently had an idea for another, one I don’t think will take six years–in fact, I’ve signed up for National Novel Writing Month (#NaNoWriMo) for the first time. With thanks to my sister, Dawna, who reminded me just in time, as well as Pauline for her encouragement, I’m charging forward with the momentum and curious to see how far I get. Officially, the goal’s 50,000 words by the end of the month–the minimum length for a novel, apparently–and I feel pretty good about the 5,000 I have so far… William Faulkner claimed to have written As I Lay Dying in six weeks, so who knows, right?

If you’re also participating in #NaNoWriMo, good luck, and come find me here:

And no matter who you are, you can follow my updates on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, too:

I hope to have more news to post soon.

Interview on Storylines

Capping off an exciting 2018, I had the privilege of being interviewed by Christine Cowley for Storylines on Hunter’s Bay Radio, 88.7 FM in Muskoka. Hear the program below!

Three July Happenings!

Nobody Looks That Young Here is in bookstores, and this weekend, so am I! If you’re in Toronto, come by Coles in the Beaches this Saturday between noon and 3pm to pick up your signed copy. Event details are here, hope you can make it!

Also, this month, I’m honored to be Open Book’s Writer in Residence! I’ll be posting on their blog all month long, and four posts are already there. Swing by and take a look, and if you see one you like and want to pass on, by all means please do tweet it or share it on Facebook. (They also did this fun interview with me at the start of the month.)

Third thing: I read at Word Up in Barrie on the 12th, and holy crap, we made the papers. Plus, here’s a photo from the organizers Linda Laforge and Aaron Reynolds!


Thanks to so many of you who’ve come out to events so far or otherwise supported the new book!

The 2018 “Nobody’s Getting Any Younger” Tour

*New June and July dates added!*

My new collection of stories, Nobody Looks That Young Here, is coming to your town, to help you party it down… I look forward to seeing you on one (or more!) of the following dates!

Sunday, April 22, 4pm
Oakville, ON
Oakville Literary Café
Joshua Creek Heritage Art Centre
1086 Burnhamthorpe Rd. E.

Monday, May 7, 8pm
Toronto, ON
Words at the Wise Reading Series
Wise Bar
1007 Bloor St. W.

Sunday, May 27, 3:30pm
Guernica Editions Spring Party
268 Augusta Ave.

Sunday, June 3, 7:30pm
Hamilton, ON
Lit Live Reading Series
The Staircase Theatre
27 Dundurn St. N.

Thursday, June 7, 8pm
Vancouver, BC
The Writer’s Studio Reading Series
Cottage Bistro
4470 Main St.

Tuesday, June 19, 7pm
Toronto Lit Up: Daniel Perry & Julian Samuel
(The Nobody Looks That Young Here Launch Party!)
Dora Keogh Irish Pub
141 Danforth Ave.

Saturday, June 30, 11am-12:30pm
London, ON
Author Visit & Signing
Oxford Book Shop
262 Piccadilly St.

Thursday, July 12, 7pm
Barrie, ON
Word Up
Unity Market Café & Studios
25 Toronto St.

Saturday, July 21, 12-3pm
Author Visit & Signing
Coles Book Store – Beaches
2169 Queen St. E.

Tuesday, September 11, 7pm
Boneshaker Reading Series
Bloor/Gladstone Branch, Toronto Public Library
1101 Bloor St. W.

Monday, October 29, 7pm
Common Readings
Campbell House Museum
160 Queen St. W.

 Check back here often, more dates will be added!

Launching April 1, 2018!

Amazon (U.S.) (Canada) (Other countries)
Indigo (Canada) / Barnes & Noble (U.S.)
or at an independent bookseller near you!

Nobody Looks ... - CTL

This is Currie Township, Southwestern Ontario, where roads crumble, barns rot, jobs erode, marriages suffocate, and kids like Mike Carrion find themselves adrift in it all, scratching their way to adolescence before they either knuckle down or get out of here and never look back. Beginning with the Friday night car crash years before Mike was born, the 17 stories in Nobody Looks That Young Here follow the Carrion family and Currie Township in Mike’s words and those of his parents, friends, and others who’ve already left for the city well aware of what becomes of the people who don’t.

Nobody Looks That Young Here is a book that counts Lives of Girls and WomenSunshine Sketches of a Little TownWinesburg, Ohio and the novels of S.E. Hinton as ancestors, and it includes stories published in Exile: The Literary Quarterly (2012 Carter V. Cooper Prize finalist, “Mercy”), The Dalhousie ReviewThe Prairie Journal of Canadian LiteratureGreat Lakes ReviewecholocationWhite Wall Review and elsewhere.

What people are saying about Nobody Looks That Young Here:

Nobody Looks That Young Here hooks the reader from page one. Perry deftly shows us the beauty and frailty of human connection through ordinary lives and struggles with poverty, village claustrophobia, and dreams of escape. This book of poignant linked stories made me want to get into the car, travel along Highway 402, and find Perry’s small town.

—Farzana Doctor, author of All Inclusive

Autumn: Interviews, Reviews, Events

The first few months after releasing a book–especially a first one, I would think–are a strange period. The elation dissipates, but so too does the anxiety. All the running around that comes with launch preparations and sending out review copies (and incessantly googling yourself afterward) and well-timed reading events catches up to you. For a time, you just sleep a lot. If it’s summer, you go to the beach. You travel. You watch baseball and you play baseball (or at least, if you’re me, you do). You start to get worked up about not writing much new material; you get really worked up when you reread the new material you do write and remember that the book you’ve just put into the world also once looked as bad as this mess of a new draft. You try really hard not to, but if you’re moving into fall you start thinking about awards season, and how to show absolutely no emotion when your lottery ticket predictably doesn’t come in. You start to wonder if maybe your little moment is over, too; you did some events, you got some press, you sold some books, and now it’s on to the new publishing season and the new books by other people. You accept that you’ll get back to that wonderful just-released-your-first-book glow one day…

And then some really good things happen:


I’m charged up for the fall, friends. And I’m writing again: improving Nobody Looks That Young Here in short bursts and drafting that next book, too. I hope to have more events booked soon, and maybe a couple more bookstore visits just in time for the holidays.

Thanks for reading!

Two Reviews of Hamburger!

Andrew-Woodrow Butcher of The Winnipeg Review said all the nice things about Hamburger, including this about “Three Deaths of James Arthur Doole”, the last and longest story in the book, in which a Canadian family family travels to Europe to visit an ancestor’s war grave:

“Perry layers the ordinary with subtle complexities that push us into new territory… This is not a story of unreliable voices, or ambiguity, or shocking information that overturns previous understanding. This is a story about how reality is complicated and polyvalent. ‘Three Deaths of James Arthur Doole’ is simultaneously earnest and ironic, simple and intricate.”

And in Quill & Quire, Alex Good said, “Perry’s shorter pieces are the most successful: narrow slices of contemporary life dealing with characters who seem to have just missed epiphanic moments, as though being late for a bus.”

Happy to receive the coverage! Read the full reviews here and here.