An interview with Vic Cavalli, author of The Road to Vermilion Lake

this week I’d like to introduce Vic Cavalli, author of the road to vermilion lake. He has been teaching Creative Writing at the university level since 2001, and is captivated by the complex interpenetrating relationships between literature and the visual arts. 

What is one thing that no one would usually know about you?

I love fishing for steelhead in the winter. The colder the weather the better—snow, wind, ice forming on the edges of the river.  Those harsh elements keep all but the true devotees from the rivers and the resulting experience is a wild flame-like solitude. The ultimate contrast with my office desk at the university.

Are the names of your characters important to you?

Absolutely. Since reading Charles Dickens long ago and meeting characters like Mr. Smallweed, and later Flannery O’Connor and meeting characters like Mason Tarwater and Hazel Motes, or JM Coetzee and meeting characters like Michael K, I’ve always enjoyed creating symbolic names for my characters.

How did you choose a title for your book?

The title has its basis in physical geography and romantic anatomical coincidence. I love travelling and camping in B.C. and Alberta, and Vermilion Lake is a glorious natural wonder in Alberta. The fictional / symbolic B.C. lake of the same name in my novel is intended to echo some aspects of the physical beauty of the Albertan lake fused with the fact that the edges of a woman’s upper-lip—on either side of Cupid’s bow—are called the vermilion borders.

Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?

If you believe you have a gift to develop, my honest opinion is that you should study English Literature to get a clear sense of what has been done and the various styles and strategies that writers have developed over the centuries. This will help you avoid what I call “Pioneer Syndrome,” which is the belief that you are a pioneer breaking new ground when in fact your style or strategy has been used before; it is nothing fresh or original. I learned this lesson decades ago when as a student I shared a long poem with a Prof at UBC and he said I sounded like so and so. I was shocked when I took out that author’s text and saw that he was using my style 20 years before I had developed it!

Where do you find your inspiration?

In the wilderness, near the rivers and ocean, in the mystery of memory, and in the healer love.

What was the most important thing you learned at school?

My first Philosophy professor, Dr. Donovan Jones, taught us that the more you learn and the more your knowledge grows, the greater your boundary with the unknown becomes. This, he explained, is why the wisest people are also the humblest. Their boundary with the mystery of existence is vast and ever expanding.

Do you have any favourite resources you would like to share with our readers?

A great resource is The Book Blogger List:



You can find The Road to Vermilion Lake in Kindle and Paperback format here: :

Amazon – The Road to Vermilion Lake

You can meet Vic on Goodreads here:


These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.

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