Monday, November 24, 2014

Teacher to Storyteller













 Cathy Astolfo is an award winning novelist of the Emily Taylor mystery series and so much more. After a successful career in education Cathy turned her sights to storytelling. Get yourself comfy and find out what makes this author tick.

Jamie:
       Thanks Cathy for being our victim on Jamie Tremains blog. Can you tell us where you get the ideas for your stories?

Cathy:
A friend of a friend who read my first book assumed Id had some kind of trauma in my life. I told her it was being an elementary school teacher! Seriously, though, every single one of my books and stories have roots in reality. Something Ive read, seen, watched on television, heard aboutand I confess, theses events can be pretty horrific. Evil happens and I am intrigued! I think its a desire to understand how and why people perpetrate terrible actions on othersand control it. After all, in a crime story, the author can punish the bad guys and reward the good. Unlike reality, where sometimes there is no happy ending. Be carefulI might be using one of these conversations in a book

Jamie:
       You wear many hats as a wife, mother, grandmother and a large extended family.  Are you disciplined when it comes to carving out the time needed to create novels?

Cathy: No, Im terrible. I cant advise anyone on how to carve out the time, because I dont do it. I write a book every two years when I could easily do one a year, except I socialize a lot. I dont regret my choices, though. Family and friendships are very important to me.

Jamie:
       Whats the best writing advice youve ever received?

Cathy: 
 To persevere. Never give up if you want to be a published author, if you want to share what you write. I would write no matter what, of course, but Ive always had an impulse to have others hear and read what I write. Its not easy to acquire an audience, however, especially in Canada. Many times I have almost given up and then I suddenly remember that advice.

Jamie:
       Which fictional character do you wish you had created?

Cathy: Atticus Finch. I fell in love with him many years ago when I read To Kill A Mockingbird for the first time. Hes flawed, real, yet a thoughtful, brave and loving man. I still adore him!

Jamie:
       Which fictional character do you wish you were?

Cathy: Tom Joad. I wouldve liked to be as brave and committed to making a difference as the character in The Grapes of Wrath. I have always been far too comfortable with my life, I think, to risk everything. He was forced by circumstances to either collapse or forge ahead and try to change the world. I have always admired him and wished I could be so courageous.
Oh boy, these are good questions! Do you realize Ive chosen two male characters? This might have to go into a novel some day.


Jamie:
       If youre like so many of us, you have a pile of next to be read books what are you reading at the moment, and what do you hope to read next?

Cathy: Right now I am reading Deryn Colliers second novel, Open Secret. I love Deryns writing, characters and plot twists. Next I will finish reading, Lethal Ladies. Ive read Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, but not the other two. My sister-in-law gave me the collection because these are early female crime/mystery writers that she thought I would enjoy.

Jamie:
Would you ever consider collaborating? Could you?

Cathy:  I am currently collaborating on a movie script, so I would definitely consider doing that with a novel. Don't know if I could, though. Since I am not a scheduled person and write at erratic intervals. I would probably drive my writing partner nuts. Then again, maybe it would be good for me!




Jamie:

       Do you have a preference of writing either a novel, short story or being involved in an anthology?

Cathy: I honestly have no preference. I love the writing process, whether it leads me to a short piece or a longer one. I write anything! Poems, scripts, short stories, novels. This doesnt mean that everything I write turns out to be something anyone else would want to read, of course! I love the short story/poem for its challenge of choosing the perfect words, because you are forced by brevity to choose very wisely. I love the novel for its ability to really explore a character or describe a setting or follow a plot path that winds in surprising directions. Being involved in an anthology is so much fun because you have others to market alongside. (Did I mention that I dislike the marketing side of being an author? Being with writer friends helps a lot!) You pool your contacts and resources and its a wonderful experience.





Jamie: 
You have just launched Sweet and Sensual with five other authors published by Imajin Books. Six romantic novels in one package. Tell us about this experience.

Cathy: My publisher at Imajin Books, Cheryl Tardif, is a master of marketing. I would follow her to the ends of the earth! I was a bit shy about having Sweet Karoline included in this bundle, since its not a classic romance the way some of the others in the anthology are. Its more in the Gone Girl style of romance! But as always, some of my best friends are included here, and that makes it fun. I met these wonderful women through writing and am eternally grateful that they are in my life, whether virtually or in person.

Jamie:
       What is next for Cathy Astolfo? After all your promotion gigs, book fairs, library readings etc, have you a work in progress or do you take some down time before starting your next project?

Cathy: As usual, I have several projects on the go. One is a script rewrite, which I hope to complete by the end of this month (November) alongside my nephew. Well give it to my daughter to promote. (Shes a co-owner/producer of Sisbro & Co. Inc., a film production company.) After that, I plan to complete my novella, Up Chit Creek, an adult cozy mystery. Then Im on to finish my young adult book, Saylor Hammett. See what I mean by erratic?

Thanks Cathy for sharing your writing life with us. Good luck with the movie script.




Catherine Astolfo retired in 2002 after a very successful 34 years in education. She can recall writing fantasy stories for her classmates in Grade Three, so she started finishing her books the day after her retirement became official. Her short stories and poems have been published in a number of Canadian literary presses. Her story, "What Kelly Did", won the prestigious Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Crime Story in 2012.
In the fall of 2011, she was thrilled to be awarded a four-book contract by Imajin Books for her Emily Taylor Mystery series (previously self-published), and has never been happier with this burgeoning second career.
Catherine's books are gritty, yet portray gorgeous surroundings; they deal with sensitive social issues, but always include love and hope. They're not thrillers, but rather literary mysteries with loads of character and setting. And justice always prevails. Her most recent novel from Imajin Books is Sweet Karoline, a psychological suspense. Sweet Karoline hit the top ten of Amazon Canada on its first day of release.

Selected bibliography
The Bridgeman: An Emily Taylor Mystery. Imajin Books, October, 2011
Victim: An Emily Taylor Mystery. Imajin Books, November, 2011
Legacy: An Emily Taylor Mystery. Imajin Books, April, 2012
Seventh Fire: An Emily Taylor Mystery. Imajin Books, July 2012
"What Kelly Did" NorthWord Literary Magazine, 2012
"Family Recipe"EFD1:Starship Goodwords. Carrick Publishing,2012
Sweet Karoline. Imajin Books. July, 2013
"The Three R's" Thirteen: An Anthology of Crime Stories, Carrick Publishing, 2013
Awards
Winner, Arthur Ellis Best Crime Short Story Award, 2012
Nominee, Zonta Club Women of Achievement, Brampton-Caledon, 2012
Winner, Derrick Murdoch Award, 2012
Winner, Bony Pete Short Story Award, First Prize, 2010
Winner, Bony Pete Short Story Award, Second Prize, 2009
Winner, Brampton Arts Acclaim Award, 2005
Winner, Dufferin-Peel Catholic Elementary Principal of the Year, 2002, the Catholic Principals Council of Ontario.
Winner, Elementary Dufferin-Peel OECTA Award for Outstanding Service, 1998
Websites: www.catherineastolfo.com; www.imajinbooks.com; www.sisbro.net; www.scribesdigest.com

Talk soon,
Slainte,

Pam, Liz and Jamie

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A new use for an old item


Since I was born around the time of the ark, those of you under forty may not know what I am going on about. I’m talking about the iron and ironing board. Yes I know, many of you thought they'd been demolished years ago with the advent of permanent press fabric and no iron shirts etc.

I first learned to iron in home economics class when I was fourteen along with ‘How to make an omelette’ and ‘How to knit a pair of socks on four needles'.

When I first married I followed in my mother’s footsteps. She ironed everything. I stopped ironing the tea towels and underwear when our new dryer took out most of the creases. But I soldiered on and kept ironing even though I worked full time and raised three children.

I love linen clothes and the way to wear them is wrinkled. I just can’t do it. Nothing like a crisp shirt or blouse and my steamer works out the wrinkles in jackets or pants. Now before you say it…no, my husband does not iron. That is another blog! He does not want to take the pleasure of ironing away from me! I swear the steam keeps my complexion, well if not dewy its not dry. I’m sticking with that story.

So what has this to do with writing you ask?

My back has been bothering me for some time and I think it's because of all the sitting at the computer. My friend Vicki Delany writes from a standing position in her kitchen. She props up her laptop on a wall into the kitchen and voila. We all know how prolific Vicki is.

Soooo, the old grey cells were working as I thumped away at the ironing board enjoying the steam bath. I wanted to jot down some notes so I asked my grandson Riley to bring me my laptop to my permanent ironing station in the bedroom. I had an AHA! Moment
I hung up the crisp ironed shirt and moved the steaming instrument to the floor and set up my new office.

The board can be raised up and down to suit me and if I get tired I can sit. There is room for my coffee and a notebook. What more does a writer need? Now if I can only get my laptop to steam.

Its a good spot for plotting. Hmm , gives me an idea for a murder. Either the steam or the hot iron.

This is now the perfect height. And I can still watch the birds outside.


Check out the blog on Monday 24th. Read all about the indominable Cathy Astolfo chat about her writing life.

Talk soon,
Slainte,
Pam









Monday, October 27, 2014

NOIR AT IT'S BEST


 
Welcome debut novelist Dietrich Kalteis to Jamie Tremaine’s blog. 

Congratulations on the publication of your first novel
 ‘Ride the Lightning”






                       definition: To be executed by electrocution in the electric chair:Webster’s dictionary



Dietrich: Thank you for inviting me, Pam and Liz, it’s nice to be here.

Jamie: Your short stories have been published widely and you were a finalist with a screenplay at a Los Angeles festival. How do you compare the discipline in writing a full novel with short story writing?

Dietrich: I started writing short stories, thinking a novel would be overwhelming at first. It allowed me to play around with different genres, see what felt best, and above all, to find my voice. When I finished one, I submitted it for publication while working on the next. Getting a short story accepted and occasionally getting feedback from an editor sure helped me learn and gain confidence along the way.
When I tackled my first novel, I liked its expansiveness and being able to extend the conflict, bring in back story, develop and focus on additional characters and build in subplots, something that wouldn’t be possible in a short story. I can’t say I like one form over the other, but having written quite a few short stories before I began a novel taught me to keep it tight and aim to maintain a page-turning pace.

Jamie: Do you identify with Karl Morgan the bounty hunter or Miro Knotts the lowlife drug dealer? Just wondering… about research. Were you a bad boy in your youth?

Dietrich: Miro Knotts is the kind of character a reader will likely love to hate, there’s not much that’s sympathetic about him. Readers are more apt to like Karl Morgan. I guess there are aspects of him that I identify with. He’s basically a good guy who makes a lot of poor choices that keep him living life on the edge. Was I a bad boy? Not really. I don’t have a lot of experience with some of the elements in the story, so I had to do a lot of research for this one.

Jamie: Do you plan to write a series featuring Karl Morgen?

Dietrich: I never intended Ride the Lighting to kick off a series. Karl learned enough from his mistakes throughout the course of the story that I think he’s not likely to repeat them in the future. I did borrow a minor character from the story though. Dara Addie becomes a main character in the next novel called The Deadbeat Club, scheduled for release in 2015, ECW Press. She’s a year older, a little wiser and twice as edgy.

Jamie: What are you currently writing or are you busy promoting Ride the Lightning.

Dietrich: I write full-time, so I have plenty of time to do both. I start early every day and write till noon, which leaves me lots of time for promoting Ride the Lightning. I just finished another crime story set during the heyday of the Barbary Coast, and I started working on a new one involving some smugglers set in Vancouver in present time.

Jamie: Most writers started out with other careers – what occupations have you held while developing your writing career?

Dietrich: I was a graphic designer/art director all my working career. I really enjoyed the work, but in the back of my mind there was a story teller dying to be heard. I penned my first attempt at a novel when I was sixteen, wrote it in longhand and kept the loose-leaf pages in a shoe box under the bed. Never did anything with it, but I knew writing was something I would return to one day. It took a heck of a long time from that first attempt, but here I am.

Jamie: Bouchercon 2014 will be underway in November.  What is it about writing conferences that appeal to you personally?

Dietrich: It’s great to get together with other writers, see old friends and make some new ones. Writing is a solo effort, so events like Bouchercon allow writers to get out of their caves and socialize. I’m raring to head to this year’s Bouchercon in Long Beach.

 Jamie: How long was Ride the Lightning in the works until it was published this spring?

Dietrich: It took three months to pen the first draft and about another nine to edit it into shape. I sent it to a handful of agents and publishers that accept submissions over the transom. When I got an email from Jack David at ECW Press, saying he wanted to publish the story, I nearly tipped off my chair.

Jamie: When not writing how do you like to spend your time?

Dietrich: Cooking, hiking, painting, playing guitar, taking photos, and I read a lot.

Jamie: You share black and white photography on your Facebook page – how did you become interested in this art form?

Dietrich: I’ve always loved photography as an art form. I directed a lot of photo shoots and took commercial shots when I was in the graphics industry. Now, I just like to get out into the city with a camera and look for something interesting to shoot. Going through Europe with a camera and a backpack is near the top of my bucket list.

Jamie: Has any particular author inspired your writing?

Dietrich: There are many great authors with incredible voices that have inspired me: Hunter S. Thompson, Ken Kesey, Jack Kerouac, Charles Bukowski, Tom Wolfe, William S. Burroughs, Leonard Cohen, just to name a few. As far as crime fiction, I am a huge Elmore Leonard fan. No one did it better in my opinion.

Thanks Dietrich for sharing your writing life with us. We wish you continued success with your future novels.

Thank you so much for inviting me Pam and Liz. It’s been fun.



Links for Dietrich.

If you want to meet Dietrich in person, on Nov 4th he will be schmoozing and reading from his book Ride the Lightning at ….Noir at the Bar, Vancouver, Shebeen Whiskey House, 212 Carrall St. Vancouver


You can also catch him at Bouchercon in Long Beach CA, taking part in the panel ‘Round the world for murder’ on Saturday, Nov. 15 at 3:00 PM with Erin Mitchell, Cara Black, Sara Blaedel and Barry Lancet

Or at Book Warehouse, Main Street, Vancouver, Nov. 19th for an evening of crime fiction with fellow Vancouver authors Owen Laukkanen, Robin Spano, E.R. Brown and Sam Wiebe.















Dietrich Kalteis's short stories have been widely published, and his screenplay Between Jobs is a past finalist in the Los Angeles Screenplay Festival. Dietrich lives in West Vancouver, BC, and his debut novel RIde the Lightning was published this past April by ECW Press.  





If you enjoyed this interview,check back next month as we grill Cathy Astolfo.

Slainte,


Pam and Liz

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Red Flags

Those of you who follow me on Facebook would have seen a photo I posted on Monday as I began a long awaited few days away. The drive up to Wasaga Beach only took a couple of hours.  Fall colours are well underway, but the weak sunlight failed to highlight the colours to their full beauty.  


Still it was a nice, uneventful drive and we arrived early afternoon at the “resort” previously booked online. Let me digress a moment.   With a modest budget to plan a few days away, the selection was limited. But we believed we had found reasonable value while booking through Hotels.com and were excited to know we had three days to wind down.  A pile of books, decks of cards and no definite plans equalled some serious R & R.

Wasaga Beach is definitely geared to summer time tourists and this time of year is much quieter; the lodging was only a block from the beach! With sweaters and flannel hoodies I didn’t care about the cold as long as rain didn’t interfere.  Anticipated walks along the beach awaited.

Oh how photos can deceive. The booking promised a suite with living area and two separate bedrooms plus kitchenette. Perfect!  Upon check in we were led to our unit by a pleasant woman who advised that because it’s not summer season, there would be no regular housekeeping.  Not a problem – meant if we decided to veg in front of the TV or read all day we’d not be disturbed. 

But - you know when you get those ‘red flags’…..? 

Red Flag #1 – opened the door to our unit (across the lot from the parked car) and wondered if the aroma wafting out was unique to the area – best description -  cinnamon laced bleach.  Ok, it meant the room has recently been cleaned, not a bad thing.  But I’d have preferred a less intense scent to whatever commercial cleaner had been used.  And even with windows opened the smell never seemed to lessen.

Red Flag #2 – no phone in the unit.  Huh…guess its assumed everyone has a cell phone these days, but then how would we contact the service desk if there was a problem?  (ie how can we get rid of this smell!)

Red Flag #3 came when I looked into my bedroom (and I use the term loosely) where a double bed filled most of the room. A miniscule bedside table with a reading light made for a Barbie doll completed the d├ęcor.  No dresser, not even a fold up luggage stand to put my suitcase on.  A tiny alcove of a closet with mismatched plastic hangars would be it for unpacking.   The bed had seen better days, but hey, I’m the type of person who can sleep pretty much anywhere so I wasn’t concerned.   (That would be Red Flag #4, if you’re keeping count)

At least the unit was clean.  Handy to the beach, and shopping we wanted to do.  And shopping we did – I bought a small bed side light knowing that the one provided would not suffice for my planned reading binges.   With only a ceiling light in the living area – no light beside the couch, there’d be no reading there.  Oh, the couch.   Yes, that got covered quickly with a spare sheet before either of our derrieres made contact.  Not exactly a large couch either, the only other seating available were two mismatched chairs meant for the kitchen table, and one of those was pressed into service as a coffee table.


The bathroom was clean – but just like the kitchen and sitting area, the curtains were not exactly sewn for privacy, if you get my drift.  Looked for the light switch – and looked.  Not in the room itself, or by the door.  However, around the corner – BEHIND the fridge, I found it.  Imagine the middle of the night, stumbling to the washroom and groping past the coils of the fridge to find the switch. Yep.



 Light Switch!



Finally came time to call it a night.  Managed to fit my CPAP machine on the tiny bedside table and was too tired to read.  Ah…time to drift off to sleep.  Or not…listened to the rain, and tried, and tried, to get comfortable.   The bed creaked and groaned more than a haunted house. Sleeping right on the box frame might have been softer!  At least using my CPAP machine allowed me to escape the cinnamon/bleach bouquet for a while.  (2 days later and at home, I still get whiffs of the scent when using the CPAP).

Needless to say the next morning, after comparing notes on both bedrooms, we decided there was no way we’d be able to spend another night, so we packed up and left.  Ironically the office didn't even question why we were leaving after just one night. 

The day wasn’t a total loss, sun shining and breezy; a walk along the beach came to pass.  A drive into Collingwood and more time spent by the water satisfied the urge to be by the lake, if only for an hour or too.





 
















All in all, an interesting start to a week of vacation. But next time, a thorough review on Trip Advisor will be the rule of thumb…in hindsight reading about our accommodation after returning home showed the concerns raised by other travellers. At least I did gain a new reading light.

And now, Thanksgiving approaches, and despite the disappointment of a flubbed vacation, there is so very much to be thankful for.

This month’s interview will feature Deitrich Kalteis – be sure to check back for that later this month.     

Cheers and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Liz

Monday, September 29, 2014

The body parts lady… author Cathy Ace







Welcome Cathy to Jamie Tremain’s blog.


We met Cathy Ace at the Bloody Words conference this past June. A transplant from Wales to Vancouver, British Columbia, Cathy is, after a successful career in marketing, doing what she loves best. Writing traditional mysteries. The fourth book in the Cait Morgan Mysteries is about to be launched.

‘The Corpse with the Platinum Hair’ brings us to our first question.

Pam:

As exciting as it must have been to have your first book published, when did you feel you ‘had made it’ as an author?


Cathy:

To be perfectly honest, Pam, I don’t think I have, yet, though maybe it’s a feeling I’ll get one day. I still think it’s very early days in my writing career. I know I’m incredibly fortunate to have a publisher so supportive of Cait’s adventures, and, indeed, there are two more books in the series in the works for 2015, but “made it”? Not yet. I am still learning, and am enjoying every moment.


Pam:



You are plowing through all the body parts in the titles of your books.  Do you intend to keep going with that theme?

Cathy:
Absolutely! It’s great fun, and I hope folks think it works. Of course, while some titles are more literally true (eg: Platinum Hair) many are metaphorical, and I think that’s just fine. On the horizon are corpses with Sapphire Eyes, and a Diamond Hand!

Pam:
Reading your books I have vicariously travelled to the south of France, B.C.’s wine country, Mexico and now Las Vegas in the Corpse with the Platinum Hair. Now that’s the kind of research I would like. Did you travel to all these spots for atmosphere?

Cathy:
I know I’m a lucky girl, and, yes, I know all the places I write about very well. I used to spend three or four months each year in the south of France; I live only three hours away from BC’s fabulous wine country; I’ve been fortunate enough to spend quite a bit of time on the Pacific coast of Mexico, and Vegas? I LOVE Vegas. Just over two hours away, by plane of course, it’s close enough for weekend jaunts. In 2015 Cait travels to Wales, where I was born and raised (I didn’t migrate to Canada until I was 40) and she also gets to cruise the Hawaiian Islands on a luxury liner – something I’ve been fortunate enough to do myself, indeed, my husband and I were married in Honolulu. After that? Well, I know where she’s off to in 2016 . . . but I think my publisher would like me to keep that to myself for now. Suffice to say I know the countries well, and the locales too . . . though I am planning return trips there to “double check” my facts!

Pam:
You were telling us about a new series you are starting. I love the premise.  Women of the W.I.S.E.  Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England. Can you tell us more about it? We could travel to Scotland for some research if you like!

Cathy:
I really enjoy writing the Cait Morgan Mysteries, and I’m delighted that a lot of people like to read about a travelling, foodie, not-so-amateur sleuth and her retired cop “significant other”. But a change is as good as a rest, or so they say, and I’ve always enjoyed Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone books. I put those two things together with my own British background, and came up with The Women of the WISE Enquiries Agency. They are a group of women from different backgrounds, who have formed a private enquiries agency, based in London. 

Carol Hill is in her thirties, Welsh, married and finally, very happily, pregnant. She’s a computer whizz, and is the office based person in the group. The Honourable Christine Wilson-Smythe is the daughter of an Irish Viscount, in her late twenties, very beautiful, very bright, and very single. Intrepid, and as fearless as only those under thirty can be, she sees life as an adventure. Mavis MacDonald is in her early sixties, just retired from her final posting as a matron in the British Army, a widow with two grown sons, grandchildren, and an aged mother who lives at a care home in Dumfries, Scotland, which is where Mavis grew up before she began to travel the world as a nurse. Mavis knows how to treat people from all walks of life as real human beings, and she has a good business head on her shoulders. Then there’s Annie Parker—her parents moved to the East End of London from St Lucia before she was born, so Annie’s blood might be an Afro-Caribe mix, but she’s as Cockney as they come, and loves living in The Big Smoke. A sharp tongue hides a vulnerable soul, and she’s decided, now she’s in her early fifties, that she’ll never get married, but relies for company upon her mum, Eustelle. Annie’s nuts about anything gumshoe, but these aren’t hardboiled PIs, they are women who enquire, and each possesses a unique skill set which allows them to work well as a team. In this first book of the series they are called to a stately home in Wales to investigate the Case of the Dotty Dowager. 

Liz:

If I were to travel to Wales (which I’d love to one day!) give me one or two ‘must see’ destinations not in the guide books.

Cathy:
Being a Swansea girl I will suggest you start there—the Gower Peninsula is in all the guide books, and rightly so, because it’s stunning. You’ll even find entries about an area called The Mumbles. But the hidden gem? Joe’s Ice cream parlour in The Mumbles—I have eaten ice cream on several continents, and Joe’s is THE best! A chocolate sundae at Joe’s is on my MUST DO list whenever I visit my mum and sister, who still live in Swansea! Also, (and again with a food theme—surprise, surprise) in a part of the Gower called Rhossili, there’s a little place I love to visit. When I was little it was called “Thomas’s”, so that’s how we refer to it within the family, but it’s been renamed The Bay Bistro, and it has a great, small, locally sourced menu, and a stunning view of the beach. When you’re full of lovely local food, you can walk out to the Worm’s Head (Google it!). Of course, back in Swansea you should visit The Brangwyn Hall, to see the world-famous panels painted by Frank Brangwyn, and drop into the Dylan Thomas centre, celebrating Swansea’s most famous literary figure. (Psst! A couple of these are mentioned in Cait Morgan’s fifth book, The Corpse with the Sapphire Eyes, which is set in a castle on the Gower Peninsula!)

Pam:
You recently became Vice-President of Crime Writers of Canada. www.crimewriterscanada.com/   Multitasking must come easily for you. Deadlines for a new series, social networking, travelling to conferences and family time. When do you write?

Cathy: You know, this is one of those question where the answer keeps changing. When I wrote my first two books I was working as a University lecturer, but then I “retired” (for the second time in my life—I’m making a habit of it!) and thought I’d have more time to write. And, indeed, for a while I did. But now? Now I usually write first thing in the morning for a few hours, then get other stuff done, then, when everyone’s gone to bed around 9.30pm I start again, writing through until about 2am. It’s quiet, and my mind seems to work well at that time. But I’m not someone who writes every day. Well, I do, but not my novels. Those I write in short, sharp bursts for four weeks, with all the plotting, planning, time-lining, and character development done ahead of time, then I sit down and can hardly stop!

Liz:

If Cait Morgan were to be brought to life through film or television – have you an actor in mind to play the part?

Cathy:

If Catherine Zeta Jones would be prepared to gain 80lbs, allow herself to be aged a few years, and get her hair grayed, she’d be perfect (except for the blue eyes!) It’s the accent, you see . . . there aren’t a lot of Swansea-born actresses with that transatlantic twang that creeps in after a few years, and she’d have that off pat. Funnily enough, when I recorded the first two Cait Morgan books for Audible, the recording engineer said I sounded a bit like her! Yes, we grew up together (I’m a fair few years her senior) and I knew her when she was a child and as a teen, so I suppose that explains the similarities.

Pam:

There is a profusion of writing advice on the Internet. Were you influenced by anyone in particular when you started writing your books? And I don’t mean Agatha Christie!

Cathy:

Confession—I have never read a book about writing, or attended a course about writing, in my life. It’s a bit embarrassing, really. I just write the way I do, and hope folks enjoy listening to the voices in my head! My overall goal is to tell good stories, without the words getting in the way. My ultimate hope is that readers feel as though they have experienced my books, rather than that they have read them.

Pam:

I think we all agree that writing conferences are a wonderful way to give and receive support for ones endeavours. We have made many friends along the way from attending Bloody Words and Scene of the Crime. These conferences are unfortunately no more. Will we have to travel to Portland Oregon for ‘West Coast Crime’ www.leftcoastcrime.org/2015/ or can you as VP at Crime Writers envision a large conference in Canada we can attend?  Not that I am averse to Portland. I’ll see you there when our book is published

Cathy:

This past twelve months has given me the chance to attend my first ever conferences. I began with Bouchercon in Albany, NY in September 2013, then Left Coast Crime in Monterey, CA, in March 2014, Malice Domestic in May, the Canadian Libraries Association conference in Victoria, BC, also in May, Bloody Words in Toronto in June, the Special Libraries Association conference in Vancouver in June, the American Libraries Association conference in Las Vegas in June, and I enjoyed them ALL. This year I can’t make Bouchercon, which is annoying because it’s in Long beach CA this year, so a much easier journey, but I hope to go in 2015. I know what you mean—it’s a great opportunity to meet fellow authors, but it’s even more fun to meet readers, and that’s why I’ll be attending Left Coast Crime in Portland in March 2015 and Malic Domestic in Bethesda, MD in May—when I get to celebrate my birthday with a group of like-minded lovers of traditional mysteries!

I have no secret information about any future Canadian crime conferences—sorry!

Pam:

You have had success with short stories and anthologies and your work has been produced for BBC4. Tell us about your experience listening to your words broadcast over the radio.

Cathy:

To hear what I had written expertly performed by the wonderful actress Alex Kingston (she was Dr. Corday in ER, and, given that I’m such a huge Doctor Who fan, I will always know her as Doctor River Song) made me shiver. It’s very strange to hear your words coming from someone else’s lips, in someone else’s voice. The second of my short stories was performed by another excellent actress, Glenne Headly (she was the female lead in the super movie, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) and was just as thrilling. Both stories featured strong female central characters – something I seem to do a lot! It was such a proud moment—being in Vancouver, on the phone with my mum and dad in Wales, listening to BBC Radio 4 as the first story was first broadcast. THAT was very special.

Jamie Tremain:

Thanks Cathy for sharing your writing life with us. Congratulations and have fun and good sales at the launch of The Corpse with the Platinum Hair and your new series.

Thanks so much for having me along!

Having fun at Bloody Words in June 2014


Cathy Ace loves crime! It’s true – she discovered Nancy Drew in her local library, then found Agatha Christie on her Mum’s bookshelves, and she never looked back. Cathy happily admits that the characters she met between the book-covers as a child have influenced her writing. “Nancy Drew was plucky, strong and independent, and Agatha Christie’s puzzles engaged me every time. I love the sort of book that mixes intricate plotting with a dash of danger, and that’s what I’ve tried to create with my Cait Morgan Mystery Series.”
Her debut novel, “The Corpse with the Silver Tongue”, was published by TouchWood Editions in March 2012.”The Corpse with the Golden Nose” was then published in March 2013, and appeared on the BC Bestseller list for the first time in April 2013. April 2014 saw the publication of “The Corpse with the Emerald Thumb”, and the fourth Cait Morgan Mystery, “The Corpse with the Platinum Hair”, will be released in September 2014.
Born and raised in Swansea, South Wales, Cathy is, like her heroine, now a Canadian citizen. “Cait’s Welsh Canadian, as am I. They say ‘write what you know’, so a short, plus-sized Welsh woman, who’s quite bossy, fits the bill! But Cait and I are not one and the same: she’s got skills and talents I don’t possess, and I’m delighted to say that I don’t usually encounter corpses wherever I go!”
With a successful career in marketing having given her the chance to write training courses and textbooks, Cathy has now finally turned her attention to her real passion: crime fiction. Her short stories have appeared in multiple anthologies. Two of her works, “Dear George” and “Domestic Violence”, have also been produced by Jarvis & Ayres Productions as “Afternoon Reading” broadcasts for BBC Radio 4.
“The Corpse with the Emerald Thumb” was published on 15th April 2014 and will be followed by the publication of “The Corpse with the Platinum Hair” in September 2014 (already available for pre-order/order).
Cathy is proud to be a member, and now Vice President, of Crime Writers of Canada, and a member of Sisters in Crime.
You can contact Cathy Ace by e-mail at: ace@cathyace.com  cathy.ace.author@facebook.com


Talk soon,
Slainte,

Pam & Liz