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Christopher Ward's room with a leafy view

Songwriter and fiction writer Christopher Ward in his Toronto home office, where he spends most of his time writing, reading and creating his music

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

With three dedicated readers here, there are local branches of our home library all over the house. My wife is in a book club; my daughter just started a teen book blog called bibelotdotcom, and I leave Bookhenge-like stacks everywhere. My room for reading, writing, listening and playing is small, but only feels as small as what I'm reading or working on at the time. I've got a leafy view and last winter a brave cardinal accompanied me through the barren months.

I read according to my mood and am guilty of reading many books at once. For fiction, I love David Mitchell's work; Cloud Atlas is a hugely entertaining and brilliant balancing act. In non-fiction, I recently really enjoyed Summer World; author Bernd Heinrich uses a storyteller's voice to reveal the wonders of nature. In music reading, I was astounded by Bob Dylan's Chronicles: Volume 1. Who knew that after four decades of obfuscation, Dylan would lay it out so clearly!

Books are a huge influence on my songwriting, usually indirectly; but in one case, while working on the lyric for Amanda Marshall's Beautiful Goodbye, I tried to emulate Raymond Chandler and to create a new category of "noir pop."

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Recently, I've moved from the three-minutes-and-20-seconds form to something longer. My first book, a tween novel called Mac in the City of Light, is coming out next year.

Christopher Ward is a songwriter, and a judge on the hit series The Next Star, the finale of which will be broadcast tomorrow on YTV.

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