Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Three of this year's best...



I feel privileged when asked to review an author’s book and state my opinion on a body of work they may have slaved over for a long time. It’s their baby. I admit I do have a hard time. Mainly because I usually know the author personally or we chat through social media.

I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and hate to upset anyone by giving a negative review. I know how much time and effort has gone into writing and revising, and revising again until they have the finished product. Good reviews are the life blood of a writer. She/he depends on this vehicle to spread the word that this is a book worth reading…or not. Whether I read for information, a history lesson, solving a mystery, to be transported somewhere, or scared out of my wits with loads of suspense, I still need to be entertained. If a book doesn’t have some of these elements to hold my attention, I won’t finish the book.
In the case of these three books, I read through until the end. Each book had something different to offer. They are all highly recommended.




Shroud of Roses ………. Gloria Ferris




The second Cornwall and Redfern Mystery take us on a humorous journey with Police Chief Neil Redfern and his girlfriend Bliss Moonbeam Cornwall. When a skeleton is found in an old abandoned high school in a student locker Bliss and Chief Neil are on the case. Who is this person and how long has the body been there? Prepare yourself for an enjoyable read and hearty chuckles.



 Rainy Day Women……Kay Kendall





















Sex, drugs and rock and roll. It’s the sixties and Kay Kendall has nailed this era in history with her protagonist Austin Starr. As the song goes, Times, they are a changin’. The second book in this series delves into the women’s liberation movement and Austin Starr personifies feminism. Leaving her husband at home, she travels with her baby to help a friend in need. Suspenseful and fast paced. A well-written mystery.


The Corpse with the Diamond Hand 
Cathy Ace 














The sixth book in the Cait Morgan mysteries is set in Hawaii and aboard a cruise ship. Professor Morgan has finally married her long time retired police detective Bud and they are on their honeymoon. In traditional mysteries, there are loads of interesting characters aka suspects to a murder. This will not disappoint. Great plot and clues along the way but it takes Cait with the help of her new husband to solve the crime.
Another winner in the series.


Three great books by two Canadian crime writers and one who hails from Houston (Kay Kendall) who sets her mysteries in Canada. Perfect for a lovely fall day and the winter we know is coming.

Liz and I are busy with the first edits of The Silk Shroud. We'll keep you posted.

Talk soon,
Slainte,
Pam


Friday, October 16, 2015

BOOKS,BOOKS,BOOKS


My favourite time of year, not just for the cooler nights but finding the new crime writer titles and settling down to read by the fire. Or curled up in bed and staying up late as I can't put down the latest mystery/thriller of choice.

Summer went all too fast and my reading was limited as I prepared for a trip to the Netherlands and the UK to visit family.


While at my sister's place outside Amsterdam I met an author who is her neighbour. Claudia van der Sluis

 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13404135-het-grote-boek-van-de-maan

My sister has a translating business. Dutch into English, so, Caroline, get busy as I'd like to read Claudia's book.

In London, I checked out a few bookstores looking for Canadian authors. Quite well represented. Snapped pictures of a bronze Agatha Christie and strolled by a Sherlock Holmes restaurant. Not enough time to do everything so off to Edinburgh where the International Book Festival was held in Charlotte Square.  


Be still my heart! The book tent was huge. 800 authors were represented at this festival and readers and writers were there from all over the world. After wandering about the tents with Joan Blanch and generally having a good time doing what bibliophiles do, we went for lunch and talked books over a very nice Merlot. In the evening, my nephew and his son escorted me to a reading by two crime writers. I was in my element.



Love this painting of The Writers Museum.

This place is situated in Lady Stairs Close just off the Royal Mile. It has such a sense of history as much of Edinburgh does. Tiny doors and steep and narrow steps. They were much shorter in those days.



The Writers Museum



















Lady Stairs Close

















The Writers Museum celebrates the lives of three of Scotland's finest writers.


Too many writings to quote but you may be familiar with;




                            Robert Burns 1759-1796


'Auld Lang Syne'  'A Man's a Man for a' That' 'Tae a Mouse'  'Ae fond kiss'  

                        

                              Sir Walter Scott 1771-1832




'Ivanhoe' ' Rob Roy' 'Lady of the Lake' 'The Waverley Novels'






        Robert Louis Stevenson 1850-1894

'Treasure Island'  'A Child's Garden of Verses'   'Kidnapped'  'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' 





Many of these works are still in print. 

I enjoyed my visit and if you haven't read any of these authors you will find them still very readable after 200 years and more.


My next writerly visit was the evening before I left to come home. After dinner with my brother and sister- in- law at the Spylaw Tavern, we took a walk on a path that Robert Louis Stevenson  meandered  when he visited his grandfather at the manse in Colinton. 









It was a long way down.


One of my favourite finds.



Vacation is over and it's back to work. Jamie Tremain is back in session. We've been brainstorming, plotting and planning and have made some headway with the sequel to " The Silk Shroud." Check back for some new reviews.
Talk soon,
Slainte,
Pam



Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Brons Winner

Janet Brons that it is.





In Janet Brons’ first book –"A Quiet Kill" – we are introduced to Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Hay from Scotland Yard and RCMP Inspector Liz Forsyth.   And now they’re back in “Not A Clue”,  the newest offering from Janet due for release October 13


                                                                  


This time they investigate murders on two separate continents. In Ottawa, Inspector Forsyth is handed the case of a young Chechen woman’s murder, gunned down at the gates of the Russian Embassy in Ottawa.  While on the other side of the Atlantic, Scotland Yard’s Inspector Hay works to unravel the puzzle behind the murder of a young Canadian woman who had been travelling alone.

Hay and Forsyth work their respective cases while trying to establish a long distance relationship. Not always easy with a five hour time difference.

Janet’s previous experience with the Foreign Service in Moscow has provided a good foundation for creating intriguing characters

This is a page turning read, with a definite Canadian flavour. Revisiting the destruction of ice storms was vividly described. And memorable characters and circumstances were deftly woven around the central protagonists.

Jamie Tremain is very pleased to highlight Janet Brons this month.

Welcome, Janet, to our blog.


JAMIE TREMAIN:
An obvious first question is will there be another chance for Liz Forsyth and Stephen Hay to connect in the near future – is there a new book in the works?   If so, can you tell us a little about it.
JANET:  Yes, I am currently writing a third book.  I’m very much enjoying writing this story, which I’ve notionally entitled “The Wrong Size”.  Suffice it to say that Forsyth and Hay will find themselves in the same country this time!


JAMIE TREMAIN:
Your postings with the Canadian Foreign Service took you to some truly exotic places, including Kuala Lumpur. Does any particular posting stand out more than the others and why?
JANET: They were all memorable, although in very different ways.  Malaysia was indeed, as you say, exotic; I remember lovely people, intense tropical heat and colour, and phenomenal food!  I was in Poland from 1989 to 1990, during which time extraordinary change took place in the former Eastern Bloc, with Warsaw at the forefront of events.  Moscow was very interesting, and I was there at a challenging time, as Russia struggled during the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Empire.

JAMIE TREMAIN:
Were there locations you missed out on during those years and if given a chance could go to today?
JANET:  I would probably go just about anywhere, given half a chance!  I would have loved to go to London; despite locating A Quiet Kill in the Canadian High Commission in London, and although several High Commission characters reappear in Not a Clue, I was never actually based there!  Now that you’ve asked the question, I can’t really think of anywhere I wouldn’t want to go!

JAMIE TREMAIN:
If we were to have a peek at your list of “Want to read next” what book titles would we see there?

JANET:  You might be surprised to find that the books on the list are all classics that I haven’t got to yet!  I haven’t yet finished reading all of Dickens – I think I have two to go and will in fact be very sorry when I’ve finished.  I still have a number of Trollope novels yet to read and, despite having read all of them at least twice, I can’t get enough of Austen.

JAMIE TREMAIN:
How active do you feel an author needs to be on social media such as Facebook or Twitter?

JANET:  Oh boy, that’s a tricky one.  I know that a lot of people are all over social media like a rash.  To the dismay of my publisher, I am very uneasy with Facebook and other social media, although of course I recognize their immense value as advertising tools.  I may yet be compelled to take to social media, but for the moment the most I can offer is a website!

JAMIE TREMAIN:
Jamie Tremain is a collaborative writing partnership – is this anything you’ve ever considered?
JANET:  Until I spoke with you two, I never even thought about such a partnership!  It sounds wonderful, but I’m sure that within a week I wouldn’t even be speaking to my writing partner, let alone producing a book.  I’m sure that it works wonderfully well for some people, but fear that I am not one of them!


Jamie Tremain wishes you much success in the coming days and thanks you for being our guest today.


JANET: Thank you very much – it was a pleasure!

You can learn more about Janet at her website
Books may be ordered through Amazon  where Not a Clue will be available in paperback October 20 2015.



Jamie Tremain wishes all our Canadian friends and followers a very Happy Thanksgiving!

More interviews and book reviews coming up shortly - stay tuned.


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Trip to Remember

It has been a long time between blog posts.

I had decided to go home and for the last few months getting organized for this trip took up a load of time. Liz and I have been writing, just not as prolific as we could have been. We have started the next book in the Dorothy Dennehy PI series while we wait on the edits from Black Opal Books with our first book to be published, The Silk Shroud.

Home for me is Edinburgh, even after almost fifty years in Canada. I feel Canadian in all aspects of my life, but, I had a yearning to see all my family. A visit to the Netherlands to visit my sister Caroline and family, England to party it up with my sister Rosemary and her family, then on to Edinburgh to see my brothers Raymond and Alister and their crews. In-laws, cousins, old friends and new.

There were many highlights and one was Amsterdam.

 What a vibrant city. The canals and windmills and the sheer beauty of the buildings. Oh, and the bikes. Everywhere. My sister has lived in Holland over thirty years and hearing her speak dutch with such fluency; wonderful. A visit to the Microsoft offices with my niece who works there. Never had nap cubicles any place I've worked!! I had to visit the Van Gogh exhibit and it didn't disappoint. Loads of laughs and remember when evenings with terrific food and drink.

There is a theme going on here as I was spoiled with all the lovely meals and the few bottles of Prosecco that were consumed in my travels. It's a drink of choice for women at the moment. I'm nothing if not on trend!

Short flight to London, train to Peterborough dragging my two suitcases. Wish I could travel with a backpack. Again spent long hours reminiscing and eating, drinking, seeing the sights. Did I mention shopping! Peterborough Cathedral and walks by the river Nene. Met my two great nieces. All a whirlwind. A Spa visit courtesy of my niece Claire was just the ticket. Stayed in London two nights in my nephews apartment overlooking the Emirates soccer stadium where Arsenal play.Or should I say football. Very hot and crowded and mega expensive. We still managed a few shops on Regent and Oxford.streets.Fashion is years ahead.

Next on my itinerary was KingsCross to Waverley Station in Edinburgh. The city of my birth and a UNESCO  World heritage site. The International Festival was in full swing so the city was packed, but that is nothing new. One of the reasons I wanted to be there at this time was the International Book Festival in Charlotte Square.

My brother Raymond picked me up at the train and I was soon ensconced in his abode. More eating fine foods and a few Gin and Tonics. It is summer after all. Talked for hours until I conked out. My husbands nephew picked me up next morning to stay at his place for a few days. A visit to North berwick, golf courses, he loves golf courses, and I had to stop every ten minutes to take pictures.Birthday party for a great niece with all the Blances. Where else would it be? At the golf course clubhouse! I met a FB friend Joan Blanch and we visited the Book Festival. Wonderful and so well organized. More eating and drinking.

I saw many changes in Edinburgh. It is still one of the most beautiful cities on earth. When you have a castle set in the middle of town looming over the inhabitants it looked very special to me.

Our nephew Peter had bought tickets for the Book Festival to see two Crime writers. Yes, folks. You pay to hear authors read from their hard work and what a privilege it was to hear them.

Doug Johnstone from Scotland  and Gunner Staalesen from Scandinavia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunnar_Staalesen//   https://dougjohnstone.wordpress.com/

This event was further enhanced for me as the organizers went out of their way to make sure I could hear properly and gave me a special headset with volume control. A+ to them.
I missed Ian Rankin by a day and most venues were sold out. The book tent was enormous and I only bought two books as carrying them back to Canada well...

Talking of castles...Stirling castle and "Bloody Scotland". I would like to have been there but maybe next time. Our own Linwood Barclay is headlining this conference and I was sorry to miss it. Val Mcdermid, Denise Mina to mention just a few.  Check the website. Looks like a good time.
https://www.bloodyscotland.com/

My next venture was into the wilds of Scotland. Well, not quite the wilds but the border country between Scotland and England.


The countryside was beautiful after the hay had been harvested and the weather cooperated.My friend Glynis picked me up in Edinburgh for the w/e with her family. We have been friends since we worked together as telephonists at fifteen. We were civil servants working for her Majesty at the telephone exchange. This was in the swinging sixties!
We did what we've always done every time we meet. Have a good lunch and then hit the shops. The Edinburgh Woolen Mills outlet and that venerable shop of all good British folks, Marks & Spencers.I could have gone mad. Perhaps I can find what I'd like on-line.

We drove through Earlston where Glynis was married, Chirnside where she now lives, Berwick on Tweed, Kelso and Jedburgh. My trip to Jedburgh was special, but I'll tell you about it in another post when I can figure out how to transfer my pictures from my Ipad.

Back to Edinburgh for my last week before returning home. Busy meeting nieces and nephews, and the greats. Dinner with brother Alister and another dinner with my lovely cousins, Eleanor, Anne and Maureen with their significant others who are all called Ian!! It was explained to me that the way to distinguish them all is to call one, RARE, the next one MEDIUM and the other WELL DONE !!!.They are not all dour in Scotland, some still have a sense of humour.

My time is running out and still not spent one day on my own so decided to take the bus into town. The Mound where the National Gallery is, The Royal Mile and all its glory, The Writers Museum, St Giles Cathedral where I had lunch in a very nice restaurant underneath the church. I was starting to wilt so I took another bus to the Botanic gardens in search of The Corpse Flower for Gloria Ferris. It had just bloomed weeks before and the stinky part was gone, thank goodness, so I took a few hundred pictures of the rest of the gardens!

Another bus and visited my old high school, took pictures of the flat I used to live in and kept walking past Conan Doyle pub. I didn't go in as at that time I could have killed for a cup of tea! Walked to Princes Street and found a bus back to my brothers.


Last day was a trip to South Queensferry and a look at the bridges that cross the Firth of Forth taking you into the Kingdom of Fife.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Queensferry


Last repast was dinner at the Spylaw Tavern in Colinton with Raymond and Linda. We took a walk through the town and followed the footsteps of a walk that  Robert Louis Stephenson took as a child and inspired his novel A Child's Garden of Verses. It was a fitting end to a wonderful holiday.

I will post again with my visit to the Writers Museum and Swanson Village the birthplace of RLS. also my visit to Jedburgh and my childhood home was very special.


Are you still with me? This is a long post so you may have fallen asleep.
There were many other things that I missed seeing but the object of the trip was to reacquaint myself with my family and meet some new members.
It was wonderful to see everyone and spend laughs and reminicences with you all. 

I think I'd better let Peter know that I have invited you all to come and stay with us in Canada. Just don't all come at once!

Talk soon,
Slainte,
Pam



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Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Trilogy to Die For






                           Dorothy McIntosh with her dog Bruin.

D.J.McIntosh is the National best- selling author of The Witch of Babylon, The Book of Stolen Tales.and now the final book in this thrilling trilogy.

The third book in this Mesopotamian Trilogy, Angel of Eden,  brings an end to the adventures of protagonist John Madison. Or does it? Have we seen the last of John?

Welcome back Dorothy to Jamie Tremain’s blog.


Jamie:



In 2011, The Witch of Babylon was released to much acclaim.


















When The Book of Stolen Tales was released in 2013 they asked, "Is D.J. McIntosh the new Dan Brown?- The Globe and Mail



I've been lucky enough to read The Angel of Eden before its release on June 23rd/2015 and I'm not disappointed. John Madison takes you on a mystical, and at times harrowing and tortuous adventure.

Jamie: 

You have lived with this man,(in your head) for the last six years. How can you let such a great character go? Or is it time for you to move on to something else?


Dorothy:
John Madison and I are B.F.F.’s (when he isn’t making me clench my teeth). I could never let him go. Next up might be a prequel – we’ll have to wait and see!



Jamie:

Do you enjoy writing from the male point of view? Many writers have a preference. Do you?


Dorothy:


It’s trickier to write from a guy p.o.v. but, fortunately, my male friends set me straight if I veer off course. Feeling comfortable about writing a character has, i.m.o., more to do with their emotional core, beliefs and motivations than with their gender. 

Jamie:

So, trilogy, series or stand alone. You also write short stories. Can you give us a peek into what you will be writing next. Would you write another trilogy?


Dorothy:


The jury is still out on that. I’m tossing around a few ideas that include continuing with the John Madison series. I’m taking a much-needed break over the summer and will decide in the fall.


Jamie:

The publishing world is changing like everything else. Pam personally goes with the flow. But others fight it. Are all the changes inevitable? What is your take on this? 


Dorothy:


I don’t think we have any choice but to adapt – the publishing world is a good deal bigger than any individual writer. Rather than lamenting the changes, it makes the most sense to see where the new opportunities are and hop on for the ride.

Jamie:

John Madison's adventures would translate well to the big screen - any thoughts on who you'd like to portray him?


Dorothy:


A kinder, gentler, Christian Bale.

Jamie:

That you've done your research on the background of these books is very evident. Did you ever find yourself getting lost in the research at the expense of time spent creating the story? 

Dorothy:


At times, I did get lost in the research and it was such a pleasure! I like to say that readers enjoy historical novels because they want to learn something as well as being entertained by a great story. The same could be said about research – it’s so fascinating for me to learn about the ancient world and to weave my discoveries into a narrative. Research has also given me a lot: character’s names, plot points, descriptions.

Jamie:

During your research did you unearth any interesting facts that didn't make it into the pages of the tale?


You’ve pinpointed the downside to gathering a large volume of research – you can’t fit all of it in, and so you worry about whether you’re being respectful of your subject matter, giving a clear enough picture, skimming over important details. This is especially the case with an art work that entertains, like a novel, where any sense of ‘lecturing’ must be avoided. 

Dorothy:

Mark your calendar folks for this evening panel discussion at Indigo, Bay and Bloor, Toronto. It's sure to be an interesting evening. The Angel of Eden will be the star.







Dorothy

Thanks Dorothy for sharing your thoughts and explaining your take on the publishing world today. We wish you much success with Angel of Eden and your future writing projects.


D.J. (Dorothy) McIntosh is a Toronto-based writer of novels and  short mystery fiction. A member of the Canadian Society for Mesopotamian  Studies, she's a strong advocate for press freedom. She supports the Committee To Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders.

To Contact Dorothy:
@d mcintosh1



Check back on July 13th to be entertained by our friend and  author, Gloria Ferris. She will be talking about her new book, Shroud of Roses, the latest in the Cornwall and Redfern mystery series and much more.

Thanks for being here.
Slainte,
Jamie










Rainy Days and Writing Thoughts

I’ve said it before, for me, a rainy overcast day is my kind of day to write.  Whether its on our latest book, a blog post, or just random thoughts, the dehydrated creative juices drink in the atmosphere and become refreshed.  Outside my window there is a gentle rain falling, very soothing – although one of my neighbours who has left their car windows open might not feel the same way.

Jamie Tremain was contacted a few days ago by the head of marketing for Inkitt.com.  They are comprised of small team helping the next generation of mystery/thriller authors. Currently they have launched a free mystery/thriller writing contest called Fated Paradox to help authors gain more exposure. The contest runs until July 4 2015. Jamie Tremain is pleased to help spread the word about them and their contest.  This contest might be just for you!




I love to read a few pages of fiction before turning in for the night and a friend of mine recently passed on this nugget - If reading is part of your nightly routine, consider sticking to paper books rather than digital.  In a study, people produced 55% more melatonin, spent 11% more time in deep sleep, and felt more energized the day after reading a printed book before bed, compared with when they read on a tablet.  Study author Anne-Marie Chang, Ph.D., says exposure to blue light emitted by e-readers within an hour of bedtime can disrupt circadian rhythms that govern sleep

Just another reason that I prefer to read the “old fashioned” way, although I do appreciate the convenience of an e-reader, but I believe there is room for both in a dedicated reader’s world.

We're still waiting to receive the first edit of “The Silk Shroud” from our editors and are anxious to begin this next step.  We were advised it might be 12 – 14 weeks before we heard back, so as that time frame is nearly spent we are hoping to hear very soon!  In the meantime, both Pam and I are finding it difficult to focus on other aspects of writing.

So one way to pass the time is to be more social. To that end Pam and I recently enjoyed a visit with my sister at her home in London, Ontario. Although I was fighting the worst cold ever I did appreciate the lovely meal and great company.  You can read more about it on my sister's blog - Cooking with Dartha - especially if you enjoy new recipes and a good narrative to accompany them.
   
Jamie Tremain now has a web site to call their own – check it out jamietremain.ca

A few weeks ago, I finally had an excuse to visit the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada – having two grandsons for the weekend was just the ticket. What a great experience and the boys seemed to have enjoyed it as well. A hands-on experience let them do some grooming and get up close and personal with these fascinating creatures. I see them in a much different light now – the donkeys that is.









So if you happen to be in the area don’t wait for an excuse like I did, but spend an hour or two on a Sunday afternoon and do something a little different.

Pam is gearing up for a trip home to Scotland later this summer and I’m anticipating a family get together in Virginia Beach in September. My twisted logic says that if I have something to look forward to it might slow down summer’s passing!  I can’t believe how fast time flies anymore and past experience says that when you are anxious for something pleasant and enjoyable to happen time does slow down. So I’ll have to see how that works out for me.


Next up on Jamie Tremain’s interview list will be D.J. McIntosh, to coincide with the release of her latest book The Angel of Eden.  Be sure to read more about it right here!

And that's all she wrote - for now.  Cheers!
Liz

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Guernsey Girl


Award-winning author Jill Downie has written non-fiction and plays over the course of many years. Since 2011, she has concentrated on fiction with the Moretti and Falla series set in Guernsey.  



             
If you’re not familiar with this beautiful location, Guernsey is one of the Channel Islands between France and England.


London has Holmes and Watson, Sweden Blomkvist and Salander, and Yorkshire Dalziel and Pascoe.  And now Guernsey has its very own literary detective duo, Moretti and Falla.


Shaun Shackleton.  The Guernsey Press.

Jamie:

Welcome, to Jamie Tremain’s blog. You have a fascinating location in Guernsey for your detective series. Tell us about your memories of the time you lived there.

Jill:

Thank you, Jamie Tremain, for the invitation!  Living in Guernsey was the happiest period of an unsettled childhood, so the memories are vivid and precious.  I found myself on a beautiful island with a gorgeous coastline, and a relaxed pace of life – we never had to lock our doors.  I was born in the tropics, so the mild climate was a particular pleasure.  There were spectacular winter storms, but there were palm trees, and flowers bloomed all year round.  I made lasting friendships with girls with their wonderful island names – Bisson, Le Couteur, Falla.  Although I was an outsider, I was given a sense of belonging.  And yet there was also in that picture-book setting the dark backdrop of the war years when the Channel Islands were occupied.  The remnants of that terrible time were still very much present, from the wired-off sections of the cliffs where the mines had not yet been cleared, to the barred entrance of the vast underground hospital, built by the Nazis for their wounded troops returning from France and the planned invasion of Britain.  An island of striking contrasts.       


Jamie:
Pam admits to reading your latest novel in this series, Blood Will Out (released Sept 2014), before reading the first two. Is that a problem or are the stories stand alone?

Jill:
That is no problem at all, and I am so glad you asked.  Although this is my first mystery series, I have always been a lover of mysteries, and I know from my reading experience that it is great to be able to dip into a discovery in the genre and pick up the essentials.  Then, if I liked the book, I will go on and read the earlier ones.


Jamie:
Detective Inspector Moretti and Detective Sergeant Falla are equally strong characters yet they work well together.  Along with their job, they also share a love of music. Shall we see them sailing off into the sunset in a future book?

Jill:
Jamie, I smiled when I read this question!  I have been asked this so many times, by both men and women readers.  It is a question that delights me because I think it means that the reader has believed in both the characters and felt them as living, breathing, human beings.  And – you know what?  I cannot answer it.  I have it in my mind, but I’ll hold on to the suspense a bit longer!

Jamie:
Your published works over the years include both non-fiction and plays - what do you feel is the reason for your success as a crime/mystery writer?

Jill:
I think that any success I have had is because I know the genre so well.  I look back at the books I read as a child, and I realise that many of the classic children’s books  involve mystery and suspense, even though they are not, strictly speaking, in the crime/mystery genre.  So, perhaps subconsciously, I was always absorbing the elements that make up a good and gripping mystery.
Jamie:
What is your take on the publishing world today? Looking into your crystal ball do you predict the demise of paper books or a resurgence of readers interested in all things written?
Jill:
I do so hope I am right but, peering through the mist into my crystal ball, I believe that paper books will be with us for quite a while.  When the internet first got underway, I used to wonder what it would do to reading.  Now I think the so-called smartphone is a greater threat to the love of reading actual fully-formed words, complete sentences, and entire paragraphs.

Jamie: 
Just for fun, if you could – which current fictional detective would you bring to Guernsey to assist your intrepid investigators on a case?

Jill:
Thinking about the answer to this question was really entertaining.  There are so many great current fictional detectives, so I tried to imagine the dynamics between Moretti and Falla, and my choice. Can I choose two?  Ian Hamilton’s Ava Lee would get on really well with Liz Falla, I think.  Ava is gay, cosmopolitan and tough; Liz is straight, an island-girl, and tough.   Ava would probably baffle Ed Moretti, which would be fun to watch – and write about.  And I’d love to parachute Barbara Fradkin’s Inspector Michael Green on to the island to work with Moretti on a case. They are different in many ways, which would cause sparks, but both men are dedicated to the pursuit of justice, and both often have difficulty toeing the official line.     

Jamie:
All the books in this series hit on interesting topics. For a small island, Guernsey has plenty to write about.

The Nazi Occupation of Guernsey is the subject in
Daggers and Men's Smiles.

















A Grave Waiting deals with Guernsey's role as an offshore tax haven.  

Our question is this - for an island of sixty-five thousand inhabitants, will you have enough stories and mysteries for Moretti and Falla to investigate?

Jill:


Yes, it is a small island, but it encompasses so many story possibilities.  The financial aspect of the island brings in a wide variety of people who live there for extended periods of time, and who are both outsiders and yet very much part of the island life.  Guernsey’s proximity to Europe is something I hope to explore in future books, and also the links to the United Kingdom.  I touched on the UK/Guernsey link in A Grave Waiting, and the link with Italy was crucial to the plot of Daggers and Men’s Smiles.

Jamie:
We met at two different functions last month. One a panel discussion at the library and the other the Arthur Ellis short list event at the Indigo Store in downtown Toronto. May 2nd you were busy schmoozing with customers at two local Independent Bookstores. How do you feel about the amount of promotion and marketing an author has to do today?

Jill:
As you know from your own experience, Jamie, promotion and marketing are necessary for writers today – and it is time-consuming!   But it is the reality of our world, and there are, for me, two aspects I enjoy, both of which you bring up in your question.  I get away from my desk and get to meet fellow writers, like yourself, and also make contact with our readers – and, hopefully, potential readers.  There is no alternative to that part of our writing life, so I’ll take from it the pleasure it gives and deal with the rest.  

Jamie:
Is it true, an author’s work is never done? If you have a work in progress can you tell us about it?

Jill:
Perfectly true, we are always planning and writing, aren’t we.  Yes, I have the fourth in the series underway, and it involves what has been left behind after those dark war years, the tunnels and underground structures built by slave labour when Hitler was turning Guernsey into his island fortress.  There have always been rumours about what could be hidden in that labyrinth of tunnels, including the possibility of looted Nazi gold.  One of the pleasures of writing fiction is that you are free to take a rumour and turn it into reality!  

Thanks Jill for making the time out of your busy schedule and speaking with us today. We wish you continued success with this exciting series. We look forward to the next book featuring Moretti and Falla.


To contact ,Jill check out her website
http://www.jilldownie.com/
Her Twitter handle is @Jillauthor, and she is on LinkedIn.
Jill Downie was born in Guyana, lived in England, on the Channel Island of Guernsey, studied in Paris, before settling in Canada.  She is the author of plays, short stories, historical fiction, biographies, and currently writes the Guernsey-based mystery series starring Detective Inspector Ed Moretti and his partner, Detective Sergeant Liz Falla.  The third in the series, Blood Will Out, was published in September, 2014.  She lives in Ancaster, with her actor husband, Ian.