The Lighthouse Library series, of which By Book or By Crook is the first, is a work-for-hire. Which means that the concept, the rough character outline and beginnings of the first plot were given to me by the publishers, via my agent. From that point on, writing the series is like any other, and my contract is exactly the same in terms of royalties and advances as any other, except that I don’t own the characters. So, because I don’t own the characters the publisher can, theoretically, hire someone else to continue the series after my contract ends. Thus the pen name, so that other theoretical person can take over.
The Outer Banks is the setting I was given. I’d never even been there. But, because I believe in “Write what you want to know” not “write what you know” I said, “sure!” and set about learning about it. I have been down twice now and really enjoyed getting to know it. The Bodie Island Lighthouse is a real place, except that it is not a library and it’s not big enough to house one, but it is an important part of the book, an example of setting-as-character. I’ve lived in lots of place in my life, but never on the ocean, but I’ve now fallen in love with lighthouses. They are very special things.
An assistant! Ha! I am organized. I have to be organized and disciplined because (here comes my dirty secret) I don’t actually like writing all that much, at least not on first draft when things are not going well. So if I wasn’t disciplined, nothing would get done.
I am lucky that I inherited the Presidency from the very capable hands of Robin Harlick so there haven’t been all that many problems arising. I am also lucky to have highly efficient staffers in Melodie Campbell and Alison Bruce, to make the day-to-day run smoothly. About the only insight I’ve gotten to the publishing world is the absolute disgrace in the way that Canadian crime novels are ignored by not only the literary establishment but also the Canadian media. Hard to imagine that a major newspaper can feature articles or reviews of crime novels and scarcely mention a Canadian book or author, but there you are. Happens all the time. So it’s not a surprise that publishers aren’t interested in Canadian settings, if even Canadian media aren’t. In my time as president I’m going to try to bring attention to the way we’re received, as much as I can.
We love libraries. And not only because libraries buy books and we get PLR payments if our books are in those libraries. Libraries are important to everyone (or they should be) because they are the centre of the community. I’ve tried to show that in the Lighthouse Library books. In my real life I spoke to the town council against an attempt to close several of our rural county libraries. I am now jokingly called the Margaret Atwood of Prince Edward County, in reference to the time Margaret Atwood spoke up against the infamous Ford brothers declaration that Toronto didn’t need libraries.
The audience is different, but not because these books are set in the US verses Canada, but because they are true cozies. There will be no tragedy or human angst in these books. They are meant to be light and fun. No deep messages or ruminations on the meaning of life. Just entertainment.
As I am fond of central heating, antibiotics, pain killers, human rights, and 911 if needed, I wouldn’t want to live at any other time. And, really, although sometimes it might be nice to live in Tahiti, I don’t think you can beat Canada in the 21st century.
You can get your hands on the book just about anywhere books are sold, online or in bookstores. As much as I enjoy partying with Jamie Tremain I’m not doing much in the GTA this time around. I’ll be launching the book at the Picton Public Library on Feb 10th, and all are invited although that might be too far away for people in the GTA. I have a big US book tour to Arizona, North Carolina and Florida in February. Then to Oregon, Pennsylvania and Michigan in March. As I am sure Jamie Tremain has readers far and wide, all the details of times and places and who I’ll be appearing with are at www.vickidelany.blogspot.com
The second Lighthouse Library book is titled Booked for Trouble and will be out in September. Under my own name, Vicki Delany, I am writing the Christmas Town series for Berkley Prime Crime. The first in that series, Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen, will be out in November, just in time for Christmas. AND, I have Rapid Reads book scheduled for the fall: Haitian Graves.
Check back in February for hi-jinks with Guelph author Alison Bruce. Romance and cowboys are usually on her mind but now she has turned her sights to 'men in uniform'. Yes, I thought that might get your attention.