Monday, August 04, 2014

Blog Hop


Off the top I want to say thanks to Dietrich Kalteis for tagging me in this Blog Hop.

Each week a writer answers four questions and posts them to his or her blog, then introduces two more writers to take part for the following week. And they in turn invite two new writers each to take part, and so on; As ER Brown says, ‘it’s kind of a chain letter for writers.’

At the end of this I’ll give you links to the two writers I’ve tagged, Dana King and Steve Weddle who will be posting answers to these questions on August 11th.

So, here we go:

What am I working on?

A couple of weeks ago I handed in the manuscript of the second Eddie Dougherty novel, this one called A Little More Free, and set in Montreal in 1972 and then I started pretty much right away on the next one which will be set in 1976 and cover the Brinks truck robbery (at the time the biggest robbery in North America), the summer Olympics and the first election of the Parti Québécois.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My first four novels were multi-pov crime novels that aspired to fit into the Elmore Leonard school of writing and didn’t differ much from others in the same genre. They were set in and around Toronto and may have had a little more Canadian feel to them but otherwise they were character-driven and loosely plotted stories of cops and criminals going about their business.

My most recent novel, Black Rock, is more of a traditional whodunit, told from the pov of a young constable who is thrust into the middle of a homicide investigation. It’s set in 1970 in Montreal against a backdrop of real-life events.

Why do I write what I do?

I’m trying to find answers to questions I have. Francis Ford Coppola said, “The idea is the question and you make the movie to find the answer.” That’s how I feel about the novels I write, I start with a question – usually a pretty basic question – and then try to answer it. My first novel, Dirty Sweet, started with the question, Why Do People Move to Toronto? (no spoilers, but the answer is for the opportunities.)

For Black Rock the question was, Is One Life More Valuable Than Another? Of course, we will all say the answer is no, but the reality is different. In Montreal in 1970 two politicians were kidnapped and one was murdered and the whole country stopped what it was doing. Task forces were assembled, the army was called out, civil rights were suspended and new laws were passed. At the same time a man murdered three women and the police knew from the second victim that it was the same murderer. And it barely made the news. No task forces were assembled, no additional cops were assigned to the case and no laws were changed.

How does my writing process work?

For these historical novels the process starts with the research. I use a lot of real-life events so I start by making a timeline. Then I fit the fictional aspects of the story into it and start writing.

And now the two writers I’ve tagged:

I met Dana King online when he posted insights and funny comments to various blogs and discussion groups and then we met in person at Bouchercon in Baltimore. The first book of Dana’s I read was, Wild Bill, a terrific story of FBI agents and mafiosos in the era of terrorism taking up all the attention and resources. It was funny in a mature, not-laugh-out-loud way and had plenty of action and insight. Since then his private eye novel, Small Sacrifice has been nominated for a Shamus Award and that private eye, Nick Forte, shows up as a secondary character in the novel, Grind Joint, which takes place in the small town of Penns River, a place that got left behind when the steel mills closed. Check out Dana King here.

“Steve Weddle’s writing is downright dazzling.” – the New York Times. Not really much I can add to that. So go check out what he’s working on here.