If you’ve ever wanted to expand your vocabulary, the debut novel by a former Williams Lake resident will provide you with a plethora of new words that begin with ‘p.’
Thirty-one-year-old Logan Macnair’s book Panegyric is a story about an underachieving writer attempting to pen the memoirs of a well-known business-man turned politician.
He said he purposely titled each chapter with a ‘p-word,’ something he started accidentally about four chapters in and ran with.
His book is about legacy, artistic integrity, unfulfilled ambition and trying to come to terms with your level and your status and what you can and can’t do, Macnair explained.
“I know that sounds a little bit abstract as I say it, but it’s a little bit weird, a little bit unconventional and experimental. It doesn’t necessarily follow a very straight forward plot from A to B to C like novels do.”
The tale is fiction, and the result of a love of writing in his spare time, Macnair told the Tribune days before he was finalizing his PhD thesis in criminology at Simon Fraser University.
“Not that I ever tried to write a book or anything, it was just writing that I did for myself.”
That ‘just writing for himself,’ changed when a friend who was curious asked if she could read some of his writing and then encouraged him to write a ‘real book’ because people might like it.
So about four years ago he started writing what would become his first published novel.
He didn’t have a lot of time to work on it because he was busy with school, but it became something that he chipped away on over weekends and evenings.
“It was a slow and long process.”
Eventually he finished it and sent it off to about 10 smaller independent Canadian publishing houses, knowing it was ‘pretty niche and a little weird.’
About a year and half ago it got picked up by Now or Never Publishing in Surrey, B.C.
The in-house editor did not ask Macnair to change much at all in the story, which was ‘kind of nice.’
“I think they liked it or respected it enough not to ask me to make too many changes.”
Chris Needham, publisher, said he chose the book primarily because of its and its author’s intelligence.
“Panegyric uses its intelligence to engage and entertain the reader, rather than alienate, which can be difficult for some writers of that caliber. That and the fact it’s always good to surround yourself with smart and funny people, and Logan is clearly that,” Neeham said.
Macnair grew up in Williams Lake, attended high school here and his first year of university at the Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake campus.
His parents Joanne Macnair, Bob Macnair and sister Bobbi-Jo Macnair all live in Williams Lake and his brother Ryan lives in Vancouver.
He moved to Kamloops when he was 19 to finish is undergraduate degree at TRU in sociology and political science. From there he did his master’s degree in Victoria and then started his PhD in criminology at Simon Fraser University five years ago where he has also been teaching.
His PhD thesis delves into political extremism on the internet and is an extension of a focus he started with his master’s degree which explored online interactions. It also incorporates a few studies he’s completed over the past few years.
“It was something I grew up around and I was really interested to see how other people are using the internet and things like social media to do a bunch of things and one of the things I found the most interesting was how criminal, extremists and terrorists were using it in very creative ways,” he said.
When asked if he’s inserted himself into the story, Macnair responded to the extent that there is a piece of every writer in writing to some level, but it is not meant to be about him at all.
“There is some boring stuff in there that’s more based on me, but any of the more exciting or weird stuff is completely fictional.”
Now that it is out on bookshelves and available for purchase, it’s a bit nerve-wracking he suggested.
“In that sense it is still in my thoughts. There was a time when I had finished it and I set it aside and didn’t think about it for awhile, but now that it’s been released I find myself drawn back to it.”
He reread it for the first time in about a year and a half.
“Now it’s kind of taken over my life again, which is scary, but exciting to know it’s in people’s hands and they can actually read it.”
All book launch events have been cancelled because of COVID-19 and he said some people have had trouble getting copies because of distribution issues, but there are copies at The Open Book in Williams Lake.
He is already writing another book, he started after finishing the first one, which he described as more conventional and classic and partially based on his research but in a fictional form.
Its original draft is 75 per cent complete and he is hoping to find time over the summer to finish it.