Friday, April 8, 2011



Who was it said that producing a book is a process that makes childbirth look easy? Not a woman, certainly, and most certainly not an actual mother. But writing a book, from the first empty page – or blank computer screen – to the finished manuscript, and then having it shepherded through to a finished product between covers is a sometimes wrenching process; and when not actually wrenching, really difficult and wearying. Well, for this writer, anyway. In just over ten years I have produced three novels; and a half-dozen unfinished works – many hundreds of pages, hard copy and electronic copy both. Stillbirths, I suppose one could call them, if one were being graphically crude – or just criminally evocative. Which, come to think on it, is what I do.

I have friends and fellow writers (most of them female, though) who produce a novel a year; and one notable friend, the uniquely talented Mary Jane Maffini, who produces more than one book per annum, and juggles three different series.

How does she do it? I have no idea. I think the output would be even greater if she could type more quickly, but thus far that’s only a rumour.

Anyway, my third book is about to appear. Yesterday, I picked up five copies of the advance reading copy of Death Of A Lesser Man from my publicist, Taryn Manias. She had been busy all of that day preparing press kits for mailing out to some 60 reviewers in Canada and the US. We will hope for a good outcome. The release date is a month from now, May 15th. The Ottawa launch will happen a few days later. A launch in St. John’s – scene of all three Inspector Stride novels – is a possibility for later in the summer.

On the last weekend in May, as part of the book-promotion process – I will be in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for a luncheon event with the Canadian Library Association as part of their annual meeting. I will be traveling to and from Ottawa with Barbara Fradkin – she of the very successful Inspector Green series – and the aforementioned amazing Mary Jane.

It seems that I will be the lone male writer on the menu for the luncheon, surrounded by homicidal females. And not for the first time in my writing career. It’s been my – and others’ – observation that the crime-writing milieu is almost dominated by the ladies. There is even an organization known as “Sisters In Crime”, and a local Ottawa branch called “The Ladies’ Killing Circle”. (Imagine, if you will, the hubbub that might erupt if there were organizations known as “The Gentlemen’s Killing Circle”, or “Brothers In Crime”.) There is probably some very good explanation for all this. Perhaps MJ and Barbara will enlighten me on the flight to Halifax.

The week after my return from Halifax, I will be winging my way to Victoria, British Columbia, for the annual gore-fest of the Crime Writers of Canada, Bloody Words 2011, June 3-5. The last time I attended that gathering it was held in Ottawa in 2009. On that occasion I chaired a panel on historical mysteries. At the Vancouver conference, I will sit on a panel on “Cold Cases” (perhaps because I come from an island in the North Atlantic where most cases are chilly?); I will also introduce and moderate a session with Barbara Fradkin and Garry Ryan, “Inspired To Murder”. That should be an interesting session, and this time – for once – the males have the female outnumbered, two to one – although Barbara would probably see that only as evening the odds.

Thomas Rendell Curran was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland. His novels are set in the post-war, pre-Confederation Newfoundland of the late 1940’s. His protagonist is Inspector Eric Stride of the Newfoundland Constabulary. (The designation Royal was added to the Constabulary’s title in 1979.) The first, Undertow, was short-listed for an Arthur Ellis Best First Novel Award from Crime Writers of Canada. The second is Rossiter. And the third Eric Stride novel is on its way.

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