Saturday, December 14, 2013

Brrrr........

Winter, although not officially arrived, has certainly settled in.  We are in the deep freeze, with a good layer of snow on the ground and more falling as I write.  Can we say “White Christmas?”….how nice that will be for a change.   Christmas is fast approaching, and the hustle and bustle is increasing to frenzied proportions.

With so much activity in these weeks and days leading up to Christmas, both Pam and I find it’s hard to concentrate on much writing.  However, I’ve recently discovered “Bit Strips” on FaceBook and am using them to poke some fun at our writing world.   We plan on a writing day early in January to get back on track and see what the New Year will bring for Jamie Tremain.






I don’t often get to the movies, but have seen two in the last two weeks.  Philomena with Judi Dench (love her!) and Steve Coogan, is a heart warming tale based on true events.  A gentle movie that could require Kleenex, and one I’d watch again.   And last night my oldest son, William, and I met at our local theatre to take in  The Hobbit – The Desolation of Smaug.   Even though we had to sit quite near the front, it was a fast paced adventure.  More enjoyable than the first instalment and now am waiting for the third.   Since watching The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey last year, I’ve become a huge fan of Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch through  the BBC series “Sherlock”.   So that added an extra layer to my enjoyment of the film last night.

On the home front I’m looking forward to experiencing Dickens’ Christmas Carol with two of my grandchildren next week at the RiverRun Centre and then later in January it will be Peter Pan for the other two.   My daughter, Christine, will come along as well, and I’m really looking forward to both productions and hope that it will ignite a love of live theatre in the younger ones.

With Christmas comes expectations, family gatherings, excesses of all kinds, and stresses.  This year in particular I am sobered by the thoughts of friends and co-workers who are battling serious illnesses.  There is never a good time to be ill, but Christmas time seems to really tug at the heart, especially when there are little ones involved.  My thoughts and prayers are with one family in particular and it’s put a different perspective on what’s truly important.  Not just at this time of year, but every day. 

I hope you’ve been enjoying the series of interviews which Pam has done so well.  Don’t go too far away, because there will be more in store for 2014!

We’re looking forward to Bloody Words in 2014 and becoming more involved with this amazing community of writers and authors we’re fortunate to be part of – a more encouraging, educational, and fun group I’ve never known.

So from this half of Jamie Tremain I wish you a Very Merry and Blessed Christmas, Happy Holidays and all the Best for a Healthy and Happy New Year.

Cheers!

Liz

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday Interview with special guest author Andrew Pyper




To celebrate our year of monthly interviews at Jamie Tremain’s blog our Christmas post welcomes bestselling author Andrew Pyper.
This Stratford, Ontario native decided there were too many lawyers in the world and started writing thrillers and scary novels that keep us up at night. And we’re very glad he did. Since he declared the ‘bar’ was not for him he has found much success as a writer.




Pam:
Thanks for agreeing to talk with us Andrew. I first met you at Lakefield College a few years ago and recently you joined Liz and I for lunch at Scene of the Crime Festival. You were there to read from your latest book Demonologist and also to receive the Grant Allen award for your contribution to Canadian writing. How important is it to attend these events?

Andrew:
I honestly don’t know how important it is in strict business terms (if you crunched the numbers, it might well be time better spent working on your next book) but it is important to me.  Meeting readers, fans, fellow writers, booksellers, students – it’s a great pleasure on a personal level and, I think, a necessary reminder of the community that brings us together in this wonderful, unlikely, mad racket of books.  (I should say that receiving the Grant Allen Award in particular was an honour, and was part of a memorable getaway weekend!) 

Pam:
You have a degree in English Literature. Who has influenced you the most when writing your own work?


Andrew:
I’ve never had a living mentor.  My influences have all come from the page (and, sometimes, the screen).  If I had to name a shortlist, it would look rather incongruous:  Henry James, Joseph Conrad, Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Martin Amis, Stephen King.  Make of it what you will.


Pam:
You are a family man with small children. Your books are scary and can cause nightmares with a sensitive soul such as me. How old will your children be before you let them read your books?

Andrew:
I plan on giving them a gift of my entire library on the day they move out of the house.

Pam:
The Demonologist film rights have been sold. What are your feelings about this exciting development to see characters you have created up on the big screen?

Andrew:
I just hope they make the movie.  Brilliant, good, bad or awful, it would be so thrilling to sit in a darkened cinema and see your people do the things you made them do, and maybe even say some of the things you had them say.  I’m not terribly anxious about the film “remaining true” to the book, as it will inevitably be a different thing, its own thing.  In any case, when authors retain control over their own adaptations it doesn’t often lead to happy results anyway.

Pam:
Have you ever collaborated with another author? Would you?

Andrew:
I’ve worked on a couple of TV pitches with a friend, but I’ve never written a whole book with someone else.  If the right person and the right story came along, I suppose I’d consider it.

Pam:
Tell us about your writing process? Lock the door to an office or sit in a coffee shop with your laptop?

Andrew:
Historically, I’ve been able to write pretty much anywhere – I’m not fussy about noise or pretty views or barometric pressure, etc.  But over the last several years of parenthood, it’s just made more sense to work at home.  So my routine is 1) Make breakfast for kids, 2) Grab coffee for myself, 3) Head upstairs to the office and close the door.  I’ve probably gotten so used to it now that if I went to the cafĂ© to work, I’d be ripping the espresso machine off the counter in the first fifteen minutes and screaming at everybody to get off their damn phones.

  

Andrew reading from the Demonologist after receiving the Grant Allen award on Wolfe Island at Scene of the Crime festival this past August.

Liz has joined me today in asking Andrew a few questions as she just loves the dark side.

Liz:






In the Guardians, I was happy to see mention of Ontario towns and cities that I'm very familiar with - Listowel, Elmira, Kitchener, etc.  And as a Canadian reader and writer, I'm always happy to see that our familiar territory can be used successfully as a backdrop in a story - were you ever advised to change the locale(s) to something south of the border?

Andrew:
No, I’ve never been explicitly asked – or even nudged – to set my novels in one place over another.  I realize this may be a little unusual, as I have many colleagues who have been asked to change their Saskatoon to Boston, their Dryden to Manhattan.  But it’s just never come up.  For me, setting isn’t determined by market or by nationalism, but by the story itself.

Liz: 
Any particular reason you chose not to pursue a career in law - or is writing just more fun?

Andrew:
I don’t know what I’d be doing for a living today if Lost Girls, my first novel, hadn’t met with the success that it did.  Probably working as a bartender somewhere and writing on the side.  Or maybe I would have been a criminal lawyer, as that was the one area that interested me and that I may well have been good at.  But these are unwelcome speculations.

Liz:
Was there a haunted house in your childhood which you based the setting of The Guardians?

Andrew:
I see haunted houses wherever I go.  But in terms of growing up in Stratford, we didn’t have a haunted house (at least not a particular one I recall) but a haunted bridge.  It was located just outside town, and we’d drive out there sometimes and freak ourselves out, daring each other to cross it.  Every youth needs a haunted something, I think.  In my case, it’s been considerably more than one something.

Liz:
When did you become interested in writing about the dark, and not always unseen, side of life?

Andrew:
My mother kept many of the stories I wrote when I was in primary school, and you can see it there too, right from the beginning: the gothic, the suspenseful, the fantastical turn.  I love building solid-looking floors and then opening a hidden trap door in the middle of them.  I love what the experience of fear reveals in my characters, as well as in myself. 

Liz:
I can remember reading the Exorcist when it first arrived on the scene and couldn't sleep without a light on for years after that.  Have you ever scared yourself when writing?

Andrew:
Yes.  Perhaps I’ll leave it at that.

  

Liz:
 The Globe and Mail best 100 books of 2013. The Demonologist -For me, as a parent, and grandparent, I think the fear of losing a child, or not being able to find them, is the frightening undercurrent of your novel - wondering how far you'd go to find them.   "Hell is a night drive looking for a missing child."    Was it difficult to separate yourself, the author, from your created character, David Ullman, as he desperately searches for Tess? 

Andrew:
I have to be emotionally involved in the story – no matter how removed its events from my own life – and in the case of The Demonologist, David’s position as father, as a protector, was crucial to my involvement in the narrative.  Discomfort, fear, real worry: these are among the necessary ingredients for me.




Thanks Andrew for spending the time with us today. We wish you continued success in your pursuit to keep our hearts pounding and scaring the daylights out of us. Demons and Christmas may not mix, but a good book is a good book under the Christmas tree or any time.






Andrew Pyper was born in Stratford, Ontario, in 1968. He received a B.A. and M.A. in English Literature from McGill University, as well as a law degree from the University of Toronto. Although called to the bar in 1996, he has never practiced.
His new novel, The Demonologist, was published in Canada and the US by Simon & Schuster in March, 2013, and by Orion in the UK and Australia in April 2013. Film rights have been sold to Universal Pictures with Robert Zemeckis’company, Image Movers, producing. Pulitzer prize-winning playwright, Robert Schenkkan, is adapting.

 www.andrewpyper.com/
www.goodreads.com/author/show/33116.Andrew_Pyper‎

We’re glad you visited with us today to learn about Andrew Pyper. Check him out on twitter or FB and say hullo. Better yet, get thee to a book store and buy the Demonologist before it’s sold out.
2014 has a good ring to it and Jamie Tremain will start the blog in January with Gloria Ferris talking to us about her new book Corpse Flower.

Talk soon,
Pam &Liz






Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday Interview with C.B.Forrest


Today we welcome to Jamie Tremain’s blog, award winning author C.B.Forrest. http://www.cbforrest.com/
Journalist, poet, short story writer, fiction crime writer.
Chris has promised to dig up a few skeletons from his closet so sit back and learn more about Chris and his writing life.


Pam:
Thanks for being here Chris.

You didn’t start your writing career as a novelist. Can you tell us what made you concentrate on crime novels after your start in journalism?

Chris:
I’ve been writing stories since I was about eight. I went into Journalism because it didn’t require any math or science, and I knew a lot of fiction writers got their start in the profession. I was covering murder trials within my first few months on the job, so that provided me with an inside look at the justice system, crime and punishment. Everybody wants to write crime, even the literary heavyweights –they just use a pen name when they do it. 
  
Pam:
You wear many hats in the writing field. Do you have a favourite way of working with words? Novels, poetry, articles or short stories?

Chris:
I’m just a writer, that’s how I look at it. I don’t consider myself a ‘poet’ because I could never dedicate myself entirely to that craft, and I don’t consider myself exclusively a ‘crime writer’, either. I’m interested in all forms of expression. These days I’m tweeting like a maniac thanks to the Rob Ford train wreck. I’m on fire with the one-liners. #crackmayor

Pam:
What writer inspires you the most in your own writing?

Chris:
I’m inspired these days by the depth of talent among my Canadian peers. Most of them have been at it longer than me, so I take comfort in seeing their work continually evolve and mature. As for a single writer, that would be Leonard Cohen. I discovered his writing when I was 14, and it changed everything.  
  
Pam:
What are you reading right now?

Chris:
I just started ‘And So It Goes: A Life of Kurt Vonnegut’, and James Lee Burke’s ‘The Lost Get-Back Boogie’, which was rejected 111 times by the way.

Pam:
What keeps you busy or relaxes you when not writing? I’m sure I read you’ve tried skydiving!

Chris:
I went skydiving the summer before last and loved it. I would like to get fully certified one day for solo jumps. I’m bumbling my way through some Buddhist traditions and trying to figure out the punch line. I think I might be discovering that meditation, eating well, and exercising work better than drugs and booze, at least for the long-term.

Pam:
If you weren’t a writer what would you be? Do you have a secret passion to conquer? Come on Chris. Rattle those bones!

Chris:
I was interested in a military career before life events steered me to a different path. I was acquainted in the past with some people who were former bank robbers and bikers, and never judged them – in fact, I saw part of myself in them. So who knows, maybe I would have been a bandit instead of a wordsmith.   
    
Pam:
Do you think technology has something to do with children not picking up a book to learn or for entertainment? Has literacy been affected by the use of devices or helped?

Chris:
Kids are probably reading less than they did 20 years ago simply because they have a billion more options for amusement, but at the same time they are communicating with each other around the clock about what music they like and what book they just read. Technology is generally like that: good news, bad news. Where do we go from here except maybe back from where we started?

Pam:
We met at a Bloody Words conference a few years ago, and I attended the Toronto launch in a downtown pub for ‘The Devil’s Dust’. How important do you think these events are for a writer?

Chris:
Events provide an opportunity for a writer to engage with his or her peers to complain about writing and publishing, and to interact with readers to learn what resonates. Everybody likes to hear how his or her work is being received.

Pam:
Have you considered collaborating or do you like to control your own work?

Chris:
I can’t collaborate with myself half the time, let alone another writer. I tip my hat to you and Liz.

Pam:
Canadian literary writers have received many awards recently. Get out your crystal ball and tell us the future for crime writers.

Chris:
I think Canadian writing in general is entering an exciting new era. The artistic talent in this little country is staggering. We need to do a better job promoting ourselves and taking pride in our work, maybe add a little American bravado to our Canadian false modesty. Canadian crime fiction is finally starting to earn the respect it rightfully deserves. The “Literary Establishment” will one day hopefully recognize that good writing is good writing, period. If those who work in crime fiction can get invited to the serious award galas, we promise we won’t eat with our mouths open.

Pam:
We hear a lot of negative news about changes in the book industry. How are you feeling about where we are headed?

Chris:
Change is inevitable. No business model lasts forever. I think smart publishers are proving they can more than fill the gap left by those companies who can’t or won’t change. Books will always be a part of our culture, of that I am certain. Purely from a reader’s perspective, the choices are mind-boggling. We are living at a time when many of the top writers in the game are doing their best work.  

Pam:

I loved this book. “The Devil’s Dust”.  Small town with big problems. This was the third in the trilogy featuring Charlie McKelvey. Do you have a work in progress? Another series? Spill the beans Chris!

Chris:
Thanks for reading, Pam. I hope very soon to be able to announce details around a forthcoming book that I’m really excited about – a crime thriller with a cool twist ending. And I have been busy tweeting about Rob Ford. You can join the fun @cbforrest   

Pam:
You were born in the Ottawa area and live there with your family. What is in the water there that has produced so many great writers?

Chris:
I feel like I stumbled into this terrific group of writers who have supported me from day one. A strong local writing group helps, and the Capital Crime Writers is a large and active body of writers in all stages of their career. There might be something in the water here, but it’s affecting the politicians, not the writers.

Thanks Chris for taking the time out of your busy schedule. We look forward to reading your next project.


                      BIO

C.B. Forrest is the author of the acclaimed Charlie McKelvey trilogy, including The Weight of Stones, Slow Recoil, and The Devil’s Dust. His short fiction and poetry has been published in Canadian and U.S. journals. He has just completed a new crime thriller and is at work on a new series. He can be visited at www.cbforrest.com and followed on Twitter @cbforrest


We hope you've enjoyed meeting C.B. Forrest. Stay tuned for another interview next month with Andrew Pyper.

Talk soon,
Slainte,
Pam


Sunday, November 17, 2013

All things of a writing nature


Writing and books are a passion and something I have wanted to do and dabbled in for quite a few years but it’s the other things that a writer must learn that I need more lessons in. This last four days have been hectic as I met with my writing group for a two day online conference.

Experienced authors and assorted people in the writing community spoke on blogging, the use of social media, how and when to use it and all the aspects of marketing your book. What are agents looking for and how to get one? Should you try to get an agent or self publish. I have read copious amounts on these subjects but always learn something new.

The next night was my book club meeting. We had nine eager readers and writers with the author in attendance. That is always a plus, to be able to discuss the book and get the lowdown on just how the book came about.

was the author discussing the amount of research she needed for her book “The Book of Stolen Tales” the second in the Mesopotamian trilogy. This was my favourite book this year and look forward to the third in the trilogy.

Day four. Did I tell you I can’t get enough to do with books? Today I joined Oakville author Melodie Campbell
http://funnygirlmelodie.blogspot.ca/at our local Chapters store where she was promoting her follow up book to ‘The God Daughter’ with ‘The God Daughters Revenge’.

Now that was fun but it could have been busier. We forgot the Santa Claus parade was today. But the shoppers that were there were receptive,and Melodie sold lots of books and goodwill which is one of the main objectives of these events.


Now it’s back to my writing with Liz and Jamie Tremain. As you know we write separately but get together on line to collaborate and edit and brainstorm. I know, it’s not for everyone but it works for us so..

Followers of this missive have been receptive to the interviews on the blog. If you have a favourite author you would like me to interview, and I can reach them please let me know.
Next up on November 25th is Ottawa author C.B.Forest of the Charlie McKelvey mysteries and in December Andrew Pyper has centre stage talking about his new book “The Demonologist”.

Ok Liz, are you ready to brainstorm tomorrow?

Talk soon,
Slainte,
Pam



Monday, November 11, 2013

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day….

What a minefield of emotions this day always brings.  My father, Ralph T Stoner, served as an Artillery Gunner with the 10th St Catherines’  Field Battery. And he served proudly too.   He passed away in 1987 and I still miss him an awful lot - especially today.









 He loved this country and I am so proud to see so many of his values have been taken up by my own children.  My oldest son William, can be quite eloquent in his passion for this country and what his grandfather fought for.  I pray that my grandchildren will also learn from history, and our influences, what it means to live free in this country.

And now, I’ve just seen news that there is to be a   new memorial to the 93,000Canadian soldiers who took part in the Allied invasion of Italy during theSecond World War.  And yes, my father was one of the 93,000.  My sister and I will look into seeing how we can contribute.

I have posted in the past on Remembrance Day and what it means to me.   But I wanted to say, that this year, I am so gratified to see how much participation there seems to be in ceremonies and observances. On FaceBook this morning, non-Remembrance Day posts seem out of place.  And there seems to be growing respect.  Thank you to those who are too young to have their own memories, but are old enough to understand we need to remember.

My undying thanks and gratitude will always be to those men and women (and awfully young boys at times, too) who laid down their lives to preserve what too many of us take for granted today.


Thank you.

Liz

Sunday, November 3, 2013

COMMUNITY

Community is Important

Did you change your clocks last night?.  I saw a reminder on FaceBook – Don’t forget to turn your clocks back.  I’m turning mine back to when I was 20.   As my mother would say, “if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”

Yesterday, Pam and I had a planned Jamie Tremain day.  A chance to get caught up on non-writing areas of our lives and then down to where we’re at with our latest project. Which is well under-way by the way!  So we spent the morning, and a pot of coffee, getting back on track.  More than a handful of chocolate covered almonds disappeared as well.  Even though I have times when its hard to muster up enthusiasm for any writing, I always feel re-energized after time we can spend together face to face; plotting, discovering, what if? etc.

And yesterday also provided us with an opportunity to hook up with Gloria Ferris and Donna Warner for lunch.  We enjoyed a delicious meal at CusinaMediterranean Bistro here in Guelph.  If you like Greek food and a quiet atmosphere, I recommend you pay a visit.  

Gloria is an established Canadian author – Cheat the Hangman was the winner of the 2012 Bony Blithe Award, and her next book, Corpse Flower (winner of the 2010 Unhanged Arthur) is soon to be released.  I thoroughly enjoyed Cheat the Hangman and am looking forward to reading Corpse Flower.  Donna is a freelance editor and mystery writer.  She and Gloria are currently co-authoring a mystery that takes place in the exotic setting of Roatan, Honduras.   So, for Pam and I, their advice and insight into the world of publishing was invaluable.   We had a most enjoyable afternoon with them, great conversations and sense of camaraderie, underscoring the essence of this amazing writing community which Pam and I are part of.

The afternoon helped provide a much needed boost for  yours truly.  That while sometimes writing can be frustrating and discouraging, it should still be fun.  After all I already work eight hours a day, I really don’t want to feel I’m coming home at day’s end to work at a second, and so far unpaid, job.  So I need to try and re-focus on the fun part.

Pam and I are fortunate to be writing together, I find it hard to imagine how solitary it might feel to be doing this alone.  How about you?  Are you a struggling writer trying to find your niche?  Trying to find the right agent or publisher for your work?   Don’t give up – you’re certainly not alone.
You’re part of an amazingly supportive community.  We’ve found that established authors are more than willing to share their insights, and are keen to help us avoid mistakes they’ve made.  Learn from them!

Community is not just about where you live – it’s also about the people who ARE the community.

Stay tuned for Pam’s next interview with author C.B. Forrest later this month.

Cheers!


Liz

Monday, October 28, 2013

Jamie Tremain welcomes the new guy on the block, Adam Saint


Private Investigator, amateur sleuths, police procedural and hard nose detectives along with forensic anthropologists are just a few of the genres that make up the crime/mystery fiction we all love. 
Today I want to introduce you to Anthony Bidulka the Saskatchewan author of eight books in the PI Russell Quant series and now a new thriller/suspense series featuring disaster recovery agent Adam Saint.

 Welcome Anthony to Jamie Tremain’s Blog. Congratulations on your new book, “When the Saints Go Marching In” featuring Adam Saint as a Disaster Recovery Agent.

Thanks, Pam. And thanks for inviting me to your blog!

Pam:
Why the switch to a new series?  Can you give a short summary of the new book and what a disaster recovery agent does?


Anthony:
Every so often it’s nice to change things up, stretch your artistic wings and see where they take you. As you know, Pam, before becoming a full time writer I have had careers in teaching, bar-tending, selling shoes and accounting. So I guess making changes comes naturally to me. It’s exciting and damn scary at the same time.
Another aspect of this is that with writing a series the question is always in the back of the author’s head (or should be): when is the right time to end it? The correct answer may be never, or it might be three books ago! I haven’t decided whether the Russell Quant series is done, but the character is certainly on hiatus while I work on developing and establishing Adam Saint.
Speaking of which, you asked what a disaster recovery agent does. Adam Saint is an agent with the Canadian Disaster Recovery Agency (CDRA). Whenever there is a disaster of any kind—man-made or natural—anywhere in the world and Canadians are involved, the CDRA sends in an agent to look after the needs of the Canadians. This could mean anything from recovering bodies and getting them back home to loved ones to liaising with local authorities to ensure the safety of people in disaster situations.   

Pam:
Your readers have travelled the world with Russell Quant and now vicariously with Adam Saint. You, yourself travel a good part of the year but I get the feeling that home and family is where the heart is? Do you miss home when you are on the road and travelling, and when you are home for a while do you itch to get away again?

Anthony:
You have it exactly right. And I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. I think the sign of a great home life is yearning to get back to it even when you’re riding an elephant in India or smoking sheesha in Saudi Arabia. At the same time, having wanderlust is simply me being fascinated with the world, different cultures, different foods and drink. Sometimes it’s nothing more than the scents of a market place or how the wind blows that makes a place memorable for me. My mother goes on about how she thinks I’ve been pretty much everywhere there is to go. Whereas I worry I’m going to run out of time to get everyplace I want to go.
With travel I like to try new places and go back to old familiar haunts I enjoy adventurous trips like my upcoming trek down the Amazon next month and finding a nice beach to do nothing but eat, drink and be merry in the sun. I also travel for work, going to conferences, doing book tours, attending literary events. Then of course I’m equally interested in spending time in my own city and my own house and my own back yard, all of which I dearly love. Sometimes there is absolutely nothing better than going for a walk with the dogs in the back yard.
  
Pam:
Is travelling essential for your research or an excuse to be on the road?

Anthony:
Travel is essential to my writing. I think when you read either of my series it becomes apparent that travel is a big part of what I write about. Not so much in a travelogue kind of way, but rather as an added spice, an atmospheric kind of thing. With Russell Quant the travel aspect was more about me being interested in investigating that contrast between having a Canadian prairie private eye who lives in Saskatoon but who happens to end up having adventures in exotic locations around the world. What I hoped to communicate was that although there may be great differences between where you (a reader) live and places like Hawaii, the Middle East, France, there are a great many similarities as well, and neither place is necessarily better or more interesting than the other.
With the Saint books, travel plays a different role. Unlike with Quant, travelling the world is a fundamental part of what Adam Saint does. Quant is a reluctant traveller, whereas Saint is a man-of-the-world adventurer. 
  
Pam:
And with all the travelling, when do you schedule your writing? Do you have a specific routine you follow?

Anthony:
Yes. I love to be home most specifically in the summer months. Hmmmm…wonder why? To be fair, I love seasons. So I do love winter, spring and fall too. But with winter it’s just nice to get away now and then. That being said, I usually know that I can count on being home for three to four months in a row come summertime. So that is when I do the majority of the heavy lifting in terms of writing, draft one type of stuff. The balance of the year, when my time may be a little more disjointed in terms of uninterrupted time at my desk, will be spent in editing, research, planning and marketing pursuits.

Pam:
You were one of the first authors I met at the Bloody Words conference in Ottawa /2009. Liz and I were welcomed into what feels like a great family who really enjoy each other’s success. How important is going to conferences and attending launches and readings at libraries- book clubs etc?

Anthony:
I believe it is very important. Whenever people ask me what advice I give new writers, getting involved in the community of writers is always one of the first things I say. That community can be local, provincial, national and international. I have sat on boards and committees and attended ‘writerly’ events at each of those levels and every one of those experiences gave me so much in return. Not only do you learn things about what it means to be a writer, but just to be surrounded by like people is a very powerful thing.

Pam:
I’m sure you have a work in progress. Can you give us a peek into what that is?

Anthony:
Indeed. I’m grateful and thrilled to say that ‘When The Saints Go Marching In’ was a successful first foray into the world of Adam Saint. So I am currently nearing the end of editing draft two of what will be the second book in the series. We’ve just settled on a working title: “The Women of Skawa Island”.
I’m very excited about this book. Some say the second book in a series is the most important, when you can really judge the strength of a series. The author is by now very familiar with the returning characters and has had time to really figure out the prevailing atmosphere and rhythm of the writing and where he or she wants to go with the long term story line. I think that was true with the Quant series (book two, Flight of Aquavit, won a Lambda Literary Award), and I do feel a real confidence going into this book. So much of a first book is about setting the stage, groundwork in terms of character and sense of place, getting your voice right.

Pam:
Who inspires you with their writing and do you have a favourite author?

Anthony:
There are too many names on that list to write here. But I will say this, when choosing what to read when I am in the midst of doing my own writing, I always “read above me”. Books by writers who I feel are so much better than I am. They inspire me. They make me better. 

Pam:
Who was your model for Adam Saint?

Anthony:
Interesting. I guess the fact that I have no answer kind of is the answer. There was no model. There is no such thing as a disaster recovery agent in the real world. I created him from scratch based on a couple of years of tossing the idea around in my head. Since ‘When The Saints Go Marching In” was released, invariably at reading events someone will say to me something like: “I didn’t even know the CDRA existed”. I love that, because it means two things. One, the world I created for Adam Saint is believable, and two, the CDRA makes sense.

Pam:
If life had turned out differently and you weren’t a best-selling author, where do you think you’d be today?

Anthony:
Oh wow, another interesting question. I don’t think I’ve been asked this before. Hmmm. Well, as I mentioned earlier, immediately prior to becoming a writer I had a decade long career as a Chartered Accountant, specializing mostly in corporate audit. But you know, even if I hadn’t been successful with writing, I don’t think I’d have gone back to that career. I was done with that. I was good at that job, but not in love with it. I suppose I would have either started from scratch again, maybe gone back to school and trained for something new or perhaps tried my hand at something fun like running a greenhouse or restaurant.

Pam:
When did you begin to feel that you had found success as an author?  After the first book – or later?

Anthony:
As far as the traditional sense of success, along the lines of what I said earlier, things really started to happen with book number two. “Flight of Aquavit” won the Lammy. The award really helped bring attention to the series, particularly in the American market. Even just being nominated for an award is a really good thing. That is another piece of advice I give new writers: make sure your publisher/publicist is submitting your work for whatever awards it might be eligible for.
In a non-traditional sense, I feel I had success as a writer the very first day when I got up in the morning and all I had to do was write. That was astounding, blindingly-exciting, thrilling success in so many ways. I have built my career as a writer by identifying goals—some big, some small, oftentimes many at the same time—and when I accomplished one, I always remember to  celebrate it. Then I move on to the next. Success is important. It’s human nature to want to succeed. Being a writer can be a tough, challenging life that may include public and private rejection and failure. So I believe it is imperative, in order to survive and thrive, to build in plenty of opportunities to succeed. Recognize it. Celebrate it. Repeat.

Pam:
This is my standard question. Have you ever thought about collaborating on a novel as Liz and I do?

Anthony:
I very much admire what you and Liz do together. I’m sure in many ways what you do is exceedingly more challenging and difficult than what I do. I’m sure there are pros and cons to both. But no, I have not considered collaborating on a novel. I never say never, so who knows? But I am quite in love with the process I have, with the sometimes solitary world of being a writer. I write at home. Alone. Quiet. No radio or TV or music playing. I rarely answer the phone if I’m in serious writing mode. I tend to be distracted even when I’m with people during that all important draft one phase. And I love every bit of it. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? Then again, as I talked about at the beginning of this interview, I do like change…so maybe…hey…you and Liz need company on your next book? J

Pam:
Your website is a joy to read and very interesting. You show your twitter feed on the home page so being connected on social media appears to be important to you? www.anthonybidulka.com/

Anthony:
Yes. Together with my webmaster, we work hard to make my website a good place to visit, user-friendly, informative, some fun stuff to look at, so I appreciate your comment about it being a joy to read.
Initially I resisted social media. I had my website. That was enough. But eventually the writing seemed to be on the wall. It was becoming very clear social media was here to stay, and it was powerful. It was my editor who suggested I give Facebook a try. At first I saw social media as solely being “social” and I didn’t have the time for or need any more social outlets. But I am always interested in marketing ideas. So I agreed to a trial run. I would put the same strong effort into Facebook as I had the website (no use in doing anything halfway).
Within a very short period of time I had my proof. On book tour I found that at nearly every event there were people in attendance who were there because they heard about it via Facebook. That was enough for me. Eventually I added Twitter and Goodreads to my marketing toolbox. Some time ago I wrote an article on marketing. In it I talk about how the proliferation of social media and a writer’s involvement in it can cause it to become a serious time sucker. Before you know it half your morning is gone, and all you’ve done is attended to social media. Not good. For me, I think the answer is to choose a handful of social media outlets and excel at them. Instead of doing a million thing badly, do a few exceptionally well.  


Thanks Anthony for sharing your life and your books with us.  Hope to see you at Bloody Words next June.

Thanks for this. I really enjoyed it. And DRAT! I will have to miss Bloody Words in 2014. Yes, you know it. Travelling. Ireland this time. Never been. But I will admit I am very sad to be missing Bloody Words and seeing you and so many other great crime writer and reader friends. High hopes for 2015!

Pam: Sorry you will not be coming to Toronto next year. I think Scotland should be in your plans as I think wearing a kilt would be just your style. Not sure if they have a Bidulka tartan though!

Anthony Bidulka has enjoyed time well-spent and misspent in the worlds of academia,
accounting,  footwear, food services and farming. In 1999 Anthony Bidulka, BA, BEd, BComm,
CA left a decade long career as a Chartered Accountant to pursue writing.
Bidulka’s Russell Quant mystery series has been nominated for Crime Writers of Canada Arthur
Ellis Awards, Saskatchewan Book Awards, a ReLit award, Lambda Literary Awards, with Flight
of Aquavit awarded the Lambda Literary Award for Best Men’s Mystery, making Bidulka the
first Canadian to win in that category.
In 2012, Bidulka began a second series, following the adventures of man of action Adam Saint, a
tough-as-nails, luxury loving, Disaster Recovery Agent.
Like his protagonists, Anthony lives a big life in a small city on the Canadian prairie. He also
loves to travel—meeting people, sampling food and wine, walking sun-drenched streets, making
good use of swim-up bars, and being awed by the world.
He lives in Saskatoon where he is at work on his next novel.

We hope you enjoyed this interview with Anthony Bidulka. Check back on 18th of November as Ottawa author C.B. Forrest has agreed to shake up a few skeletons in his closet.

Talk soon,
Slainte,

Pam