writing

Category: writing

Purple Palette for Murder is the eighth book in the Meg Harris Mystery series, which began with the publication of the first mystery, Death’s Golden Whisper. When I started out on this journey with Meg, I had no idea where she would take me. I wasn’t even certain if it was going to be a series. But by the time I finished writing Death’s Golden Whisper, I knew I wanted to continue with Meg and see where life led her.

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.”

It’s funny how one or two statements uttered in a casual conversation can lead to the genesis of an entire book project. I suppose that’s both the curse and joy of those who continually court the writing muse. Everything is fruit for a story or writing project. In fact, I find that there are days where I might often toss out as many as a half dozen ideas.

“Where do you get your ideas?” is a question I am often asked.

I’ve always found it challenging to answer that, because, for me, the answer is simple.

Everywhere.

2017 marks not only Canada's 150th year as a country but Dundurn's 45th year as a publisher. In honour of this, we asked our authors to describe how the Canadian identity or history influenced their work. Some went into great detail, some kept it simple. Here's what they said.

Unless you’ve spent the past few weeks living in an internet-free cave in Afghanistan, you are probably aware of the “cultural appropriation prize” fiasco. In short, attempting to explain the expansive creativity of contemporary indigenous writers, Write magazine editor Hal Niedzviecki suggested a learned ability to appropriate. “Buffeted by history and circumstance,” he wrote, indigenous writers must borrow and engage with cultures not their own, and “so often must write from what they don’t know.” As a joke, he suggested a “cultural appropriation prize.”

Bringing the Funny

Posted on May 30 by Mark Sampson in Fiction

Being an author almost always means being a reader first. Before I set out on any new writing project — whether it’s the lengthy drudge of a novel, or the more abbreviated jaunt into a short story or poem — I become very cognizant of, and even go back and reread, major works written in a similar vein that came before.

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.

For some time now, I’ve been learning to juggle. I’ve pretty much mastered the principle of throwing objects up in the air at different times; it’s just catching them on the way down I’m still having trouble with. Regardless of how high I throw things, they always seem to come back to me at the same time. The same is true of writing a series. I have written one Birder Murder Mystery per year for the last four years and sent them out into the public arena. This is the equivalent of throwing them in the air.

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