Writer in Residence

Writers on TV Survey: Kathryn Mockler

By Carey Toane

As part of our Books and TV theme, I invited Toronto authors, editors, agents and others to tell us a bit about their personal reading and viewing habits. First up, poet, screenwriter and The Rusty Toque editor Kathryn Mockler.

Name: Kathryn Mockler

Recent work: The Purpose Pitch (Mansfield Press, 2015),
Personal website: http://www.kathrynmockler.com/

How much time do you spend watching TV in a week? 3 
hours

How much time do you spend watching TV in a week when the new Downton Abbey/Game of Thrones/etc comes out? 3 to 5
 hours

How much time do you spend reading in a week? I really don’t know. I teach and edit two journals and I’m always reading online articles, so I feel like I’m reading all the time. Actual books? For pleasure? Maybe 3 hours a week.

Do you identify as a TV binge watcher? Yes. I prefer to binge.

Do you stream shows online? Mostly legally.

Do you post about TV on social media? Occasionally. I had a rant recently because I saw three episodes of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which I found to be fingernails-on-chalk-board irritating, but usually I keep my TV opinions to myself.

Are TV series the new novels? Yes or No: Perhaps. TV is really good right now.

Do you ever watch TV the old-fashioned way, y'know, on the television? We have a computer hooked up to our TV set and watch everything on the TV screen. I don’t like watching TV on my laptop.

How does that feel? Pretty good.

Favourite TV show (current/all-time): Better Call Saul/ The Wire & Murder She Wrote

Favourite Canadian book/short story TV adaptation: Life with Billy (1994) which is a CBC television movie based on a nonfiction book by Brian Vallée. The screenplay was written by Brian Vallée, John Frizzell, and Judith Thompson and the TV movie won three Gemini Awards. Life with Billy is a haunting portrait of domestic violence and is based on the true story of Jane Stafford who shot her abusive common-law partner.

Worst book/short story TV adaptation of all time: House of Cards (U.S.) which is an adaptation of the BBC adaptation of a novel by Michael Dobbs. I liked the British version but have not been able to get into the U.S. series. I find the characters flat and the writing often cheesy and just not that good. Everyone seems to like it, but I can’t quite understand why.

Canadian book/story you would like to see on TV: I like Eliza Robertson’s short story "L'Étranger" and I’d also like to see Lynn Coady’s first novel Strange Heaven on TV. Both writers have terrific dialogue.

Graphic novel that should be a TV series: Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

TV series that might have been based on a book: The Christian Television Network (I’m not sure if it’s called that anymore) but any Christian network works as a TV series for me. Stay up very late one night and watch all the doomsday shows. It’s very addictive. Writing about it now makes me want to get cable again. If there were a series about this network or a series about anything on this network—Christian rock bands, evangelists, all of it—I would never leave my house again.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book.


Carey Toane is a librarian, journalist and poet. Her first collection of poems, The Crystal Palace, was published in 2011 by Mansfield Press. She lives in Toronto, where she is currently working on a collection of poems inspired by and dedicated to Twin Peaks. She is on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/careygrrl

You can contact Carey throughout the month of May at writer@openbooktoronto.com

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