Why Vancouver is the perfect place to set a mystery

I’m guest blogging today on Killer Crafts and Crafty Killers on why I set Murder is Uncooperative in Vancouver. Thanks to Lois Winston, author of the Anastasia Pollock crafting mysteries, for the opportunity to talk to her readers.

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A slightly creepy short story

My short story, The Mercy Killer, will be going up on the Mysteryrats Maze podcast on October 16.  Here’s my interview with editor Lorie Lewis Ham from Kings River Life magazine.
KRL: When did you first write “Mercy Killer” and where did you get the idea?
Merrilee: I got the idea for this story after spending a few days in Lyon (which is an amazing place to visit – great food, a historic district with Renaissance buildings, and a museum next to a Roman theatre still in use.) I saw a street musician dragging what looked like a heavy sound system around and thought it looked like a difficult life. Then I thought, what if my first impressions were completely wrong?
 KRL: Has it been published?
Merrilee: This is a new story making its first public appearance.
 KRL: Have you written and published many short stories?
Merrilee: Yes, I had a number of short stories published when I was in my 20s. Then for a long time I primarily wrote non-fiction. I started writing fiction again a few years ago and I’m very glad to be back at it. I have several short stories, all crime fiction, coming out over the next few months.
KRL: I understand you also write mystery novels, what is easier writing short stories or books?
Merrilee: I would never have said this when I was writing my first novel, but in many ways, writing short stories is more difficult. You have to develop characters and plot in a very few words. But that also makes short stories kind of exiting. You can explore an idea and tell a tale without the huge time commitment a novel requires. On the other hand, a novel gives you the opportunity to explore a more complex plot and involve more characters, which can be very satisfying. I like to think of a short story as like an amuse bouche at the start of the meal, something small and intriguing, whereas a novel is more like the main course, more filling.

What I love about writers’ associations

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Crime Writers of Canada table at Word Vancouver on September 30, 2018, with (left to right) Kathy Matak, Tymo Lin, Seamus Heffernan, Merrilee Robson. AJ Devlin, Cathy Ace.

A year and half ago I was honoured to be elected to the board of directors of Crime Writers of Canada as the regional representative for British Columbia/Yukon/Northwest Territories. CWC is the national professional association for mystery and crime writers in Canada.  Our mission is to promote Canadian crime writing and to raise the profile of Canadian crime writers with readers, reviewers, librarians, booksellers, and the media.

Whenever we organize an event, such as the panel presentation and display table we set up at Word Vancouver at the Vancouver Public Library on September 30, I usually present it as an opportunity to sell books and connect with readers.

But, inevitably, the thing that members comment on is how much they enjoyed spending time with other members. And new writers say how surprised they are at how supportive other members are.

As well as CWC, I belong to Sisters in Crime, which promotes the ongoing advancement, recognition and professional development of women crime writers, and our local chapter, Sisters in Crime – Canada West. I also belong to a number of online discussion groups.

For people involved in an occupation as solitary as writing, it’s a pleasure to connect and share information with other writers.

I always encourage other writers or aspiring writers to join a professional association. You’ll be glad you did.

 

 

 

 

Women of Mystery

What do a burned-out WWII spy seeking peace and quiet in the wilds of BC, a single parent desperate for affordable housing in Vancouver and a female hit person have in common? They are all women on the case and creations of Vancouver mystery authors. On Thursday, September 13, I’ll be joining Iona Whishaw and Linda L. Richards to talk about writing and read from our latest works at the 2nd Annual General Meeting of the Left Coast Crime Convention Association

Date: Thursday, September 13, 2018

Time: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Location: Atrium, Richmond Library and Cultural Centre
7700 Minoru Gate, Richmond

For more information about Left Coast Crime 2019, go to the website: www.leftcoastcrime.org/2019/

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Crime fiction from tears to laughter

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This afternoon I moderated a  session at the Firehall branch of the Vancouver Public Library which gave a sampling of the depth and range of crime fiction in this part of Canada. Carys Cragg read from Dead Reckoning, her heartbreaking and uplifting memoir about meeting the man who killed her father. AJ Devlin had us laughing out loud with his brand-new debut novel, Cobra Clutch. And Robert W, Mackay thrilled us with his story of wartime bravery, Soldier of the Horse. Thanks to the Vancouver Public Library for hosting this author reading event, part of a series of events celebrating Crime Writers of Canada’s 35th anniversary.

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Crime Writers of Canada members (left to right) Robert W. Mackay, Carys Cragg, AJ Devlin and me at the VPL.