author

Category: author

Cullen and Cobb Blog Post

Cullen and Cobb and Me

Posted on October 24 by David A. Poulsen in Mystery

I’m sure the question that mystery writers are most often asked is:  How much like you is your main character? I’m betting Gail Bowen has heard it dozens, maybe hundreds of times about her wonderful Joanne Kilbourne, that Ian Rankin gets it all the time with respect to Rebus, and that Bill Deverell is often asked how similar he is to the brilliantly created Arthur Beauchamp; in fact, it was one of the questions I posed to him during a recent interview.

Swimming with Horses Blog

How did you research your book?

They say that you should write what you know, and I think that this is either good advice or bad, depending on the circumstances. If writers wrote only what they knew, we’d have no Lord of the Rings, no Chronicles of Narnia, and precious little science fiction. (We might not even have the Bible.)

On the other hand, the things you know best are apt to contain the most powerful forces in your life. Why not harness them?

No, this isn’t a real-estate blog, but the familiar mantra is just as relevant to fiction, where the setting can be as central to a novel as one of the characters. As a reader, I love books that transport me to foreign settings, whether they conjure up memories of places I’ve been before or introduce me to somewhere new. And I’m far from alone. There’s a reason writers like Jo Nesbo, Ann Cleeves, and Mark Billingham are so popular with North American readers, just as Michael Connolly and Louise Penny are beloved in Europe.

The Magic of a Backstory

Posted on September 11 by Steve Burrows in Mystery

The spotlight shines on the magician’s stage. In the box lies a lady, her torso sliced in two by a shiny, razor-sharp blade. In the audience, breathing stops. Beads of sweat trickle down temples, palm are damp. Can she have survived her ordeal? Is she still alive? Suddenly, the magician speaks: “Ladies and gentlemen, I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait a while before you find out what happened.”

As a proud Canadian citizen would like to express my sincere thanks to Canada after 66 years of coping with adversity and surviving with dignity. I was sent to join my mother in 1947 in Montreal, Quebec, as a thirteen-year-old boy. I was put out to work on the day after my arrival in Canada. My new stepfather was a Second World War veteran who wanted me to contribute to his family home. Since that time I never stopped working, or was ever unemployed in Canada. Also I have not had to use any government benefits that Canada has for its people.

Writing a non-fiction book, for me, begins with developing a clear focus on the subject and creating an outline that describes in detail the progression of the argument. But that is just the beginning. Once I finish the research and begin to write, the book takes on a life of its own. The months of immersion in a project helps to bring it alive, deepen my understanding of the subject, and breathe life into the book.

Every crime novel begins with a disquieting event, whether in the news or observed, that ferments in the author’s imagination, sometimes, for years before appearing on the pages. The germ of the idea for Shallow End, fourth in the Stonechild and Rouleau police procedural series, came from my earlier years working as a special education teacher.

Pages