This weekend, I had the pleasure of being “interviewed” by two authors—both of them called Mel. Like myself, they are celebrating the release of second novels in their series. It was fun—and energizing—to join forces to promote our new books.
The first round was on Friday afternoon when I joined forces with Mel Bradshaw for a joint presentation at Toronto’s Pape/Danforth Library. Mel’s Fire on the Runway, the second novel in his Detective Paul Shenstone mystery series, was recently published by Dundurn. Diehard journalist that I am, I’d suggested that we use the interview format. I asked him why he decided to return to the 1920s and the detective he introduced in Quarrel with the Foe eight years ago. I also wanted to know about the research that goes into his books that are set decades before he was born. And I wondered whether Shenstone is based on a person or a composite of people Mel knows.
In turn, he asked me what impact my career as a journalist has had on my fiction writing. I had to tell him that it taught me to write clean, concise copy, which I aim for in my stories. And that years of interviewing people for articles has helped me write dialogue. And because I’ve spent years approaching people for interviews, I don’t hesitate to question police and other experts for background for my fiction.
Today I did the official Black Water sale/signing with fellow Imajin author Melodie Campbell—known as Mel to her friends—at Q Space, an arts venue in Toronto’s Little Italy neighbourhood. This Mel is executive director of Crime Writers of Canada, and she has written numerous crime short stories, and two crime novels. She’s also a fantasy writer, and today she promoted her new time-travel adventure, Rowena and the Dark Lord.
We called our event Cool Crime Meets Hot Fantasy, and did more interviews. I wanted to know what got Mel interested in time-travel. In Rowena Through the Wall, the first book in her Land’s End series, her heroine falls through a wall and finds herself in an archaic land filled with swashbuckling warriors. Mel shared a touching story about what pushed her into exploring parallel universes.
And I told her why I write crime fiction. I’ve related this story countless times, but it always bears repeating. I started out writing mainstream fiction and I wanted to learn more about plotting. So I began reading some of the crime fiction greats—P.D. James, Ruth Rendell and our wonderful Canadian crime fiction writers—and I fell in love with the genre. There’s so much to choose from: police procedurals, psychological thrillers, spy thrillers, historicals and cozies, to name just a few sub-genres.
Our joint launch was great fun. Many of our friends turned out to see us and buy our books. And it was a good opportunity to introduce our works to new people.
It’s so productive when authors work with other authors!