Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Featured Author: Preston Randall

Preston Randall

Preston Randall was born in Philadelphia but moved to Canada at an early age and currently resides in Victoria, British Columbia. After graduating with a B.Sc. in Biology he pursued an administrative career spanning thirty years, seven of which were spent in the Caribbean. Although always interested in creative writing, it wasn't until after returning to Canada in 2007 that he published his first short story.

A dedicated distance runner, Preston has a personal best of 2:35 in the marathon and completed the Boston Marathon in a respectable 2:47. He now runs for fun and fitness and only competes in the marathon vicariously through the characters in his latest story.

In 2011 Preston joined an online writing community at, and has since received awards in 3 writing competitions including 1st place in a Journalism Writing Challenge, 3rd in an open fiction contest, and 1st again for Flash Fiction (Drabbles). Although known for his humorous characters and descriptions, many of Preston's stories include veiled and not-so-veiled messages regarding serious issues of the day.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
This story deals with some sensitive issues but not in a heavy-handed manner and the ending should leave readers with a great deal of satisfaction at how all the crazy characters and situations are interconnected and resolved (and it’s funny too).
What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you'd be embarrassed to admit?
My wife and I are completely hooked on a number of reality TV series including “Big Brother” where the goal is not to get voted out of the Big Brother house by the majority. Individual competitors are obviously selected based on the volatility of their personalities and everything short of physical violence is widely encouraged. Watching the show is like driving past a car wreck – you know you shouldn’t stare but it’s almost impossible to look away. It could be great research for writing as you get insights into how people generally react under stress. But I don’t kid myself—I think the real appeal is watching “bad” social behavior and feeling good about yourself for not being as dysfunctional as those in the show.
Who or what inspired your last book?
As an aging distance runner I’ve long come to realize my competitive days are over and it’s now mainly a battle to make it to the finish line in one piece. One day while I was out jogging my imagination took over and I wondered if there were any circumstances that would allow me to actually win a marathon in my present condition. I don’t’ want to give too much away, but anyone who reads the story will understand what my twisted mind came up with. 
Most embarrassing moment?
When I was 10 or 11 years old, our family hosted a BBQ for all the staff from the University Department where my mother worked. My older brother and I were trying desperately to be “adult” and engage in conversation with various staff members. At one point in front of a relatively large group of people, one of the staff asked what the difference in age was between my brother and me. Before my brother could say anything I confidently blurted out that he was six months older. Everyone in the group burst out laughing and my brother found many opportunities over the years to remind me what an idiot I was.
Scariest moment?
When I was about 16 a friend offered to drive me to Ma-Me-O Beach in Alberta for one of their infamous weekend dance-parties. As we wanted to arrive fully lubricated at the end of the 35-mile drive, we opened up a case of beer and decided to use the back roads to avoid being stopped by the local police. After numerous beers, I was instructed to look for a landmark by the side of the road—a large white house—which would indicate the need to make a sharp left-hand turn leading into town. My friend was notorious for driving like a maniac and true to form when I signaled for the turn he cranked the wheel hard left without slowing down from about 60 mph. We slid straight into the ditch and all I remember is a stream of beer hitting me in the face (from the open bottle in my lap) and then total disorientation as the car flipped and rolled about 30 yards into the bushes. Miraculously we pried our way out of the crushed vehicle with only a few minor cuts and scrapes. But after staggering back to the road we saw that we had missed a telephone pole by about 6 inches. We hitchhiked into town and got cleaned up, but I’ve often wondered at the seeming randomness of fate—some being tragically killed in incidents like ours while we walked away virtually unharmed. 

Preston's Book: The Unbelievable Story of How I Met Your Mother

Daniel Zurenski feels like a total loser, but he's about to encounter a crazy array of characters who are going to change his life forever. It starts with Fred Zimmerman (and his unique pet) who scrubs pots at The Spaghetti Barn restaurant and accidentally sets off a disastrous chain of events. There's the volatile restaurant manager Paolo and his greasy head chef nephew Tony. Then there's a fanatical sports reporter named Bruce Jagerski who dreams of winning a marathon if only he didn't have such a bizarre running style. All come together during marathon race weekend in this hilarious tale which will keep you guessing right to the finish line.

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