A way with words

St. Mary’s student celebrates publication of new book

It is sometimes said that the best opportunities in life often happen by chance, and the same could be said for author and St. Mary’s University student Pae Veo regarding the publication of his new book entitled Searching for Marilyn Monroe – Parables and other Animals.

For Veo, who writes under a pseudonym, the publication of this book happened by circumstance after a prolonged period of trial and error.

“I actually didn’t plan on publishing this book,” said Veo. “Over the years, I had sent over fifty query letters for seven different novels to literary agencies. However, nothing came of it. One night while editing a manuscript for the fifteenth time, I came across an ad for a publishing agency, I wrote a new query for a book that didn’t exist. As it would go, they called me the next day sounding interested [and] I told them I would have the manuscript ready by Monday – having said that on a Friday, I had a very busy weekend.”

In Searching for Marilyn Monroe, Veo delves into a wide variety of subject matter but has a masterful way of tapping into the emotions and eloquently capturing some of the more sensitive topics. Veo credits his self-described ‘unconventional’ manner of living as helping him properly capture the stories within his novel.

“For years I lived in a very unconventional manner,” explains Veo. “Let’s just say, I went camping for eight years without a tent. Within this time, I learned how to really listen to people that were going through difficult times. Constantly being surround by those suffering from addiction and mental health issues day after day, year after year, it forces one into a world view in which self-expression is the only escape from the hardships of being.”

“When writing this type of fiction, sometimes the best voice isn’t the writer’s, but those whom they have listened to over the years.”

It is hard for the author to pinpoint his exact style of writing, but has had this new novel described as existential fiction – to which he would somewhat agree. Veo does however credit his time at St. Mary’s for the improvements in his writing.

“St. Mary’s has greatly improved my writing. In fact, some of the stories I had written in Eugene Stickland’s creative wring course,” explained Veo. “But what may surprise some is, just as much as the writing courses I have taken, the philosophy courses have equally helped.”

“The writing courses have taught me how to write, but the philosophy courses taught me what to write about – or at least, a better way to express what I am trying to say.”

For any aspiring authors you want to follow in Veo’s footsteps he has one major suggestion: listen.

“They say that you have to live a thousand lives before you are able to write, but they never say how one is supposed to do that,” said Veo. “You can only live one life, but you can listen to a thousand others.”

Searching for Marilyn Monore – Parables and other Animals is now available through Friesen Press.