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