It's Closing Time

It's Closing Time

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Closing Time is the seventh and final instalment in the Stonechild and Rouleau police procedural series, and the feeling is akin to sending my last child off to university. Naturally, I’m asked how it feels to finish writing about Officer Kala Stonechild, Staff Sergeant Jacques Rouleau and the rest of the gang, and I always respond, “bittersweet”.

I’ve lived in their fictional world since 2012, averaging a book a year since the Cold Mourning was released in 2014. Each book has included a separate crime/mystery with a distinct cast of suspects and a completely new storyline, yet the lives and development of my main characters have served as anchors for each book, and the series as a whole.

New characters have emerged to become important in the storyline: reporter Marci Stokes, a fifty-something reporter demoted from her star position with the New York Times; Dawn Cook, a teenager whose parents are in prison and whom Kala fosters; Zack Woodhouse, the sullen, somewhat devious cop whom readers have come to love to hate; Henri Rouleau, Jacque Rouleau’s gentle and aging father — each has immeasurably enriched the series.

Initially, I had meant for Kala Stonechild and Jacques Rouleau to be equal players in the stories, but it didn’t take long for Kala to take over as the most central character. While her relationship with Rouleau is integral to each story, her personal struggles arising from her childhood in foster homes and a traumatic incident as a ten-year-old witness to murder have become a sustained focus. She’s an intriguing woman. Closed-off, a loner, but also compassionate, highly intelligent and spiritual. Readers have come to cheer for her and to love her as I have. I’m sorry to see her story end and like to think of her and the rest of the characters living out their lives off the page.

The books have tackled some difficult issues. Most recently, Turning Secrets has dealt with the exploitation of vulnerable young women. I believe that this genre is a natural vehicle for raising societal issues by making them personal. Caring for the characters going through conflict and tragedy heightens the pathos while putting these difficult subjects front and centre in a way that media headlines often do not. I’m also aware that our society, particularly our Canadian society, is multicultural, and I’ve worked to reflect the true make up of our country in these characters and stories.

I’m excited for readers to read Closing Time, and to receive your feedback. I’ve already heard from readers who’ve begun rereading the series in anticipation — most gratifying and humbling. Finishing the series allows me now to try my hand at new storylines and to start afresh with new characters and plotlines. I’m still excited by the challenge of a fresh page and have been working on a new project, one that I hope to capture your imaginations with in the very near future.