The first is that I saw Rio read at one of my very first Elora Writers' Festivals. This was long before I was invited to get involved with the committee that presents the festival each year. He had just published his very short novel, End Times. It's a dark, dark little book. Rio had obviously taken a great deal of time choosing just the right passage for an reading that would pack a punch - but then he noticed a kid in the crowd - a girl - probably around 8 years old.
"Oh my," he said (or words to this effect). "I can't read that part...let's see." He did find a passage that was dark and disturbing but lacked the language and perhaps graphic content of his initial passage.
I love that Rio is local and that he, like me, chose this community to call home. He lives just five minutes from me with his editor wife and young family. There's a moment in the interview when I asked Rio about his first reader and his response could just as easily been my response. My very first reader is also my wife - with similar results. My wife laughed aloud at that part of the interview.
And he's also a really great writer. I enjoyed his book, Point Hollow but I loved Westlake Soul. Read them both - it's time well spent.
The thing I like most about this interview is that it's not the first one we taped for Turning Pages. Rio and I got together a few weeks before this interview was shot at the Fergus Library. We picked out a great windowed spot and Larry Peters, the show's producer, filmed a wonderful segment. The following week Larry approached me somewhat sheepishly while Roxanne and I were shooting some interviews at her bookstore.
"Say, Dave," he said. "I'm really embarrassed and this has never happened before - I somehow lost the footage of that interview you and Rio shot last week."
It was a happy accident because we had originally planned to re-shoot the Rio interview in the same spot - to kind of recreate what had been lost. When I asked the Library if I could take over that particular corner they informed me that there was a tour coming through at the time we'd arranged for the re-shoot with Rio. Since it was a beautiful day, we moved everything outside and, I think, ended up with a fairly good interview.
Here it is - enjoy my conversation with Rio Youers:
To find out more about Rio and his writing, please check out his website by following this link.