“They’re designed to be light, fun reads,” Snook told Yorkton This Week.
To start with, the books take place a number of years into the future in a fictional version of Canada and the U.S. called Glamerica, which has become one country.
Remy’s Dilemma (Book I) takes place in Quebec and Ontario, while the follow-up Remy’s Dilemma: Special Delivery takes place across Western Canada.
And Snook explained Book III is in the process of being written and will take place across Atlantic Canada.
Snook said it is important he writes about locales he knows.
“One thing a little different about the Remy series is that I only write Remy into places that I have been myself,” he said. “I think it’s a fun way to add little nuggets of truth into the ridiculous story.
He added it is something he can draw on from part of his background as a writer for a couple of business-to-business publications.
“My work as a B2B editor has taken me across the country to every province multiple times and into many small towns and areas that most Canadians never get to see,” said Snook.
Interestingly, Saskatchewan ends up playing a sort of central role in terms of the future Snook envisions.
“I placed the capital of Glamerica in Saskatchewan because I thought it would be a fun surprise for readers, something different,” he said, adding “the book has brief stops in Prince Albert, Meadow Lake and Saskatoon, and Remy befriends a silly character who calls the province home on his journey.
“I’ve been to several areas of the province for work, including Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Meadow Lake, Big River, Carrot River and Lloydminster (also briefly mentioned in the book).”
The second book was ultimately a bit of a gypsy creation.
“I also wrote all of Book II on the road while travelling for work over a 3.5-year period, in more than 60 towns and cities, including four in Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, Carrot River, Meadow Lake and Prince Albert),” said Snook.
The full list of towns and cities visited is published in the back of Book II.
Protaganist has a bucket list
So what about the quirkiness?
Well in ‘Remy’s Dilemma’ the world is coming to an end. That’s what Remy Delemme believes, anyways. While double-checking his lifelong to-do list to ensure he has led a rich life, he realizes he hasn’t come close to completing his goals, relates a synopsis provided by Snook. Panicked and short on time, Remy embarks on a chaotic road trip to complete the most important item on his bucket list – finding the answer to man’s greatest question. There’s just one problem.
Then there’s Detective Tobias Gray, the most respected criminal profiler in the Toronto Police Department, thinks Remy is a serial killer; and he’s not the only one who has come to that conclusion. Armed with a green crayon, smiley-faced stamp and a pack of cigarettes in a race against time, the story’s main character, Remy, carves a path of hilarious destruction, baffling and infuriating the police, his government and every other person he encounters.”
And, the weirdness continues in book two.
In ‘Remy’s Dilemma: Special Delivery’ Remy finds himself detained in Prince Albert, arrested for crimes against the Glamerican government. To earn his freedom and avoid incarceration, a confused yet cooperative Remy is forced to work as a shadow agent for the government, explained Snook’s synopsis. Unfortunately for them, Remy isn’t the criminal genius they pegged him for (nor is he even a regular kind of genius), and he inadvertently sets off a series of events that could spell doom for the entire world. Meanwhile, Toronto police detective Tobias Gray attempts to track him down and rescue Rose Maheen, the love of Remy’s life who has mysteriously gone missing. Along with a cast of wickedly funny characters, including a grizzly moose addicted to maple beans and a retired curler turned philosophical hobo, the bumbling but ever-endearing Remy sets off across Western Canada on the adventure of his life, encountering exploding museums, train derailments and chaos galore everywhere he goes.”
It’s all rather ‘over-the-top’ silliness and that was what Snook really set out to write, or at least it evolved that way.
“The idea for the first book started with a strange dream I had while living in Wolfville attending Acadia University,” said Snook.
“I thought it was really interesting, so I decided to sit down with my computer and start typing. I wrote for about 12 hours. Over the next nine months I put together my first novella called Wasted Days (2003-04). Many years later, I gutted the novella and re-wrote it into Remy’s Dilemma.”
And somewhere in the process the idea for additional books came to light.
Author didn't have a plan
“No. I didn’t really have a plan when I first started writing,” said Snook. “As I put the first book together, I really like the idea of having three separate books with Remy causing chaos in different regions of Canada.”
But why did he think the book(s) worth writing?
“I love fiction writing, so I would be writing whether people read my books or not,” offered Snook. “That said, I’ve received some amazing compliments over the years from fans of the books.
“One person mentioned it was a go-to book for them to make them feel better when they have really hard days, because it makes them feel lighter. Giving people something light and silly to break away from reality for a little while is one of the things I like most about putting my books in people’s hands.
“Another person said that their teenaged son loved my first book and that it was the first fiction book they read from start to finish and that he couldn’t wait to read the next one. Having someone thank you for sparking their child’s love of reading is just about the best compliment I could ask for.”
Of course there were challenges, even for a writer with an extensive background including most recently branching out on his own to start up Snookbooks Publishing, his own content creation company where he works with companies, associations, publishers and independent writers to help them tell their stories through his writing and editing services.
“Writing while juggling work, raising children and making time for my wife and I can definitely be a challenge,” said Snook. “To complete Book I, I did most of my writing in the early mornings when everyone was asleep -- we had one child then.
“For Book II, I wrote it entirely while on the road because I wanted to make sure I dedicated my time at home to my family.”
In his writing, Snook takes a somewhat unique approach.
“As for the flow, I prefer to write the Remy books one character at a time, starting with Remy,” he said. “I write Remy causing all his chaos then write all the other characters around him. I find this flow works better for me then trying to write chapter to chapter, which I’ve also done.”
While humour can be difficult to get just right in writing, that part came more easily for Snook.
“Fortunately, the humour comes naturally to me. It’s just my dorkiness being scribbled onto paper,” he said.
So what does Snook think is the best aspect of the books?
That’s “hard to say,” he noted. “I love writing all of Remy’s ridiculous antics and popping in little nuggets of Canadiana wherever I can.”
And, in the end he’s generally happy with what he has created.
“I’m pretty satisfied with my books,” said Snook. “I feel like I’ve learned a lot from my novella writing days in 2004 and 2006, which were very rough, to Book I of the Remy series and then to Book II of the Remy series, and into Book III and the other writing projects I’m currently working on (a choose-your-own adventure, dice-rolling battle book called Dungeon Jest coming out this fall and my first children’s book, which will come out before Christmas).
Remy’s Dilemma and Remy’s Dilemma: Special Delivery are available on a wide variety of channels. The printed version and eBooks can be ordered off of Friesen Press, Amazon Kindle, Chapters Indigo, Kobo, iBooks and Google Play.
For more information on The Remy Delemme series, you can also visit www.snookbooks.com or follow Snook on any of the following: Instagram: @remyridesagain -- Twitter: @a_snook -- Facebook: facebook.com/snookbooks