“It’s not my magnum opus, but it’s my first – and you never forget your first,” newly-titled author Collin Glavac joked of his December 3 released novel, Ghosts of Guatemala.
Ghosts of Guatemala, a spy thriller, took Glavac over two years to complete, and was born out of a creative bond with his father, Marjan Glavac, that dates back to the 2015 play In Real Life that he wrote, directed and acted in. His father produced the play, which was performed at the TAP Centre for Creativity in London, Ontario.
The play came out of an idea that his father sprung to him on a road trip to Chicago that the two took together, and another idea followed, Love Spell, which was performed at the 2016 Hamilton Fringe Festival.
“Basically, for In Real Life, my dad told me he wanted a play about four characters and told me what he wanted them to do, so I painted the picture of the story, so to say. We hired a bunch of actors in town and my father acted as the producer and had to advertise the play and find the studio and venue for the performance,” he explained. “I had never written or directed a play before, and both of them turned out to be successful and I was really happy about the projects.”
Collin, a Dramatic and Liberal Arts B.A and M.A graduate at Brock University and St. Catharines resident, explained that before the two started working on Ghosts of Guatemala, he was struggling to write and create, and admitted that he needed a goal or incentive. Majran came to him with a proposal to write the book, brought some loose characters, locations and ideas, and offered to publish the novel as the producer. Since the plays went well, it was an easy decision for them to collaborate on the book.
Ghosts of Guatemala is a fictional story set in post-Cold War times, and focuses on the main character John Carpenter, a James Bond / Jason Bourne style character, who has been ‘activated’ from his summer house in Nicaragua by the CIA and has been tasked to capture and interrogate a drug lord named Pablo Puentes to ultimately disable a kill switch. Underneath the surface story, distrust and corruption intertwine with the main narrative to create a layered story arc between John and the CIA that will ultimately span over a trilogy of books.
Each novel will focus on a different country or city in Latin America, the first, obviously placed in Antigua City, Guatemala, which Collin explained, is “very safe, because a lot of the cartel and drug lords have their kids and families there. Guatemala has a lot of crime and corruption, but a lot of tourists go to Antigua City because they know it is safe.”
Marjan acted as a cultural advisor to Collin throughout the writing process, as Marjan often visits Antigua City for months at a time, learning about and experiencing the culture.
“I would do a bit of research, where I would Google things, but I would also write scenes and have to ask what the characters could be eating, and what the buildings looked like. During my reread of the finished novel, I realized, and was surprised, by how much of Guatemala was actually in the book,” Collin said.
With Ghosts near release, for his next project, Collin, a sci-fi / fantasy lover, plans to break away from the espionage genre, and move into urban teen fiction, with a novel he has already begun work on.
“I’m just really trying to get outside of my element. This is my first book. I have no doubt that my next will be better, but this is the best it could be, right now. It took me a long time to get to that place.”
For more information on Ghosts of Guatemala visit collinglavac.com where you can read a free deleted chapter from the novel. You can currently purchase the book on Amazon.ca and Glavac plans for local retailers to stock the novel.