So just who is the guy behind the hockey helmet, anyway? I can tell you that he is a great guy who wields a mean hockey stick. He's also an awesome writer, and was generous enough to agree to an interview with me today.
But before I tell you any of that -- you need to watch this: quite possibly the funniest book trailer ever made:
See what I mean?
Now, you've seen him on Youtube, but here he is, unmasked and ready to talk.
A big Darby welcome to author Donald Calame!
Darby Christopher: So Don -- A WALK THROUGH A WINDOW is all about how different people came to live in Canada. I know you were born in the United States -- where exactly were you born?
Donald Calame: I was born in Queens, New York (but grew up in Hicksville, New York. Yes, there really is a place called Hicksville).
Darby C: Hey -- I just realized you are the coolest author ever, because we share initials! D.C. Darby Christopher and Donald Calame. Double Cool. So, where do you live now, Don?
Donald C: I live in Vancouver, British Columbia (maybe one of the most beautiful places on Earth).
Darby C: I'm a Toronto girl, myself, though I have to admit Charlottetown, PEI (which is where I was forced to spend the summer with my grandparents) turned out to be pretty beautiful, as well. My Gramps was a big storyteller when I was there. Do you remember any special stories about your family that you heard when you were a kid? Can you tell me one?
Donald C: I'm trying to think of a special story that my family told to me but it's difficult because they didn't tell too many stories, which is kind of sad because I'd love to know a bit more family history. The only one that comes to mind is a story my mom tells about how when I was around four years old my parents decided to take us on a trip to Disney World in Florida and apparently I threw up the entire plane flight down. But that's probably not the kind of story you were thinking of. Let me mull this one over and I'll try got come up with something better.
Darby C: That's okay. I like a good barfing story. I was sick when I fell off my skateboard once and hit my head, but that's another one of those stories best left to another time. Can you ride a skateboard?
Donald C: Yes, I can, though I don't do it much any more. When I was growing up my best friend and I used to have skateboard races down our driveways and we would do skateboard stunts (often with painful outcomes). This was before people insisted on everyone wearing helmets (which is a very good idea - we just didn't think we could ever get hurt when we were kids. We were wrong. There were many bumps to my head - which might explain my warped sense of humor).
Darby C: Well, I love your sense of humour, so skateboarding brought good things to you, for sure! Your new book SWIM THE FLY is a total laugh riot from start to finish. But besides writing books, do you have a secret skill or talent you’d like to share?
Donald C: Skills? Hmm. Okay. I can play the guitar a bit. I've also found I'm pretty good at teaching my dog silly, pointless tricks (which I've shamelessly used to promote my books on my website). I'm a pretty decent cook. I have passable hockey skills.
Darby C: Ha! I knew there was a reason I diguised you in that hockey helmet! If you had a chance to walk through a window into the past, where would you go?
Donald C: All right, so I probably should say I'd go back and hang with Jesus, See what his whole deal was - really. Or maybe around the times of the pyramids to see how they built them. Or during the 1920s before the Great Depression when times were flush. But honestly, I would probably go back to 1981 to watch the New York Islanders win their first Stanley Cup. Still, it's a tough decision because you wouldn't want to waste it in case you only had one shot. Maybe I'd go back to the 1960s because it was a huge period of turmoil and change. It's really quite difficult to choose.
Darby C: I like your hockey choice. As for me, I couldn't ever figure out how that window worked, so I had no control in the matter. I got to meet some pretty amazing people, though. Anyone special you’d like to meet if you could go back in time?
Donald C: I'd love to meet Van Gogh. Or Hemingway. Though I worry I wouldn't like them in real life and it would shatter the illusion.
Darby C: Yes, that might be a bit of a problem. But you don't know until you try, right? So, after you've been out playing hockey, what's your idea of a great snack?
Donald C: I'm partial to Butterfingers or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
Darby C: Yeah, I like those, too. I hope you don't eat them near the pool -- I've heard stories.... Speaking of pools, can you tell me a bit about your latest project?
Donald C: My debut novel SWIM THE FLY will be release on April 15, 2009. It's the story of Matt Gratton and how he tries to swim the 100 yard butterfly to impress a girl he has a crush on (even though he isn't a very good swimmer). It's also about how Matt and his friends set themselves a goal to see a naked girl by the end of the summer and how their attempts go horribly wrong.
I'm currently writing the sequel to that book which will hopefully be released in the fall of 2010.
Darby C: I've been lucky enough to read an advance copy of your book, and it is one of the funniest I have read in a LONG time. I can't WAIT for the sequel! If I want to learn more about you or your books on-line, where can I go check you out?
Donald C: You can go to my website www.doncalame.com. There's more information about me and my books than you will ever want to know.
Thanks so much for chatting with me today, Don. And for those of you who are interested in reading Don's book -- you've got a special treat in store. I have an ADVANCED copy and we (me and Don) are giving it away. And since it's a book about swimming, Don will also throw in a very special swim cap for the winner. Just put your name in the comments below -- and let us know why you want to read Don's new book.
I'll do a draw on Friday and notify the winners then. So you've got until this Friday, March 6th to get your comment in. (And if you need a reason to read the book, go watch Don's book trailer -- my favourite scene is when his dog Scooter is trying to steal his soul at night!)
Many thanks again to author Don Calame! And get your name in for our free draw!
UPDATE: We have a winner! Check here: http://tinyurl.com/c2c7xy to see if it is you!