Michael Foy no longer lives in Surrey, where he was born and raised, but the characters of his short stories sure spend a lot of time in the city.
The Montreal-based writer works and lives in suburban Baie D’Urfe, in a home located one block west of Surrey Street, the name of which offered him some comfort when his family chose to live there.
Foy grew up in the Newton area of Surrey from 1970 to 2004, before teaching, academic pursuits and, he says, “a beautiful woman” prompted a move to the U.S. and, ultimately, Montreal.
“I started writing short stories in 2015, while completing a creative writing course at Concordia University,” Foy told the Now-Leader. “I spent a lot of time travelling to Montreal by train and wanted to use that time to create fiction,” he continued. “I started by reading the greats like Raymond Carver, Alice Munro, Denis Johnson, and Allistair MacLeod. I completed my first story Falling, about a boy who escapes the drudgery and distress of home to meet a girl and go for a night swim, only to find his moments of distress magnified. Growing up I spent a lot of time at Unwin Pool. It was a pool name just waiting for a story. Once that story was published, I was hooked and have since written 12 more, most of which are set in and around Surrey.”
Foy’s detail-rich story, about explosives experts at Pitt River Quarry, includes a scene of beer, billiards, strippers and a mechanic nicknamed Douche at the old Newton Inn on King George Boulevard.
“I responded to a submission call that was posted on Facebook,” Foy said of his involvement in Canadian Shorts II. “Open calls to Canadian anthologies are not that common, and it seemed like a great opportunity to share my work. Up until then I had focused on Canadian literary magazines, so this seemed like a logical next step.”
He said managing editor Brenda Fisk created a cool cover and a series of engaging efforts to promote the collection.
“It has been a pleasure to be a part of the project, especially with its tribute to first responders in the time of this COVID pandemic.”
The 242-page book, available at online retailers in paperback, large print, ebook and audiobook, promises literary fiction, sci-fi, romance-thriller and other short stories, all dedicated to emergency medical dispatchers. The foreword is written by Stacey O’Sullivan, a retired paramedic.
The book “unites some of our country’s diverse writing talent to defy 2020’s year of upheaval,” the publisher says. “From the depths of social isolation and societal upheaval, 16 authors offer compelling stories of hope, failure, love, and sheer wonder at the workings of the world – with Bigfoot and a little alien abduction for fun.”
Foy’s bio says he completed degrees in psychology and teaching at Simon Fraser University, and has published stories in The Nashwaak Review, Grain Magazine, Blank Spaces, Literally Stories, QWERTY and The Impressment Gang. At John Abbott College, he is the psychology department chair.
“I recently completed a short story manuscript of 13 stories, the majority of which are set in Surrey,” Foy noted. “Since moving from my hometown, I find solace and value in remembering events from my time there, growing up in a city bursting at the seams, and coping with the change that ensued forms a theme in some of the stories.”