Writing what you know.
The sage advice to all new writers is, write what you know. Everyone's heard that one. So the writer goes about researching a topic, if it's an unknown. And usually says that the book is not based on any particular person, especially not him or herself.
On Monday night I had the privilege of attending a dinner, part of the Ottawa Regional Booksellers Association spring book fair. I used to go to them on a regular basis when I owned Prime Crime. Now, I'm invited as a Bookseller Emeritus. I like to think it's not because of my age. It's fun to schmooze again with former colleagues -- booksellers and sales reps from around the region. And, equally enjoyable are the authors who are invited to speak about their new books that appear on the upcoming season's list.
What a stellar group of authors on Monday! Only one was a mystery writer, Tom Henighan, author of Nightshade. With this new book he's gone back to his roots -- both as a young adult writer and personally. The Boy From Left Field has a mystery to it, but is mainly about baseball, a sport he's passionate about.
He was followed by well-known CTV political reporter Craig Oliver, whose autobiography, Oliver's Twist is also on the fall list. He delighted us with stories from his many years on the Hill, a taste of what we'll find between these covers.
Alan Cumyn, an award-winning author of many books for children and adults, spoke about his newest, Tilt, the story of a 16-year-old boy, basketball, and a girl. Here again, a sport of his teen years.
The final author was also an award winner and a member of the Order of Canada, Frances Itani. Her new novel, Requiem, deals with the Japanese internment camps of World War II in B.C. There is a personal connection for Itani and to hear her talk about the research involved brought another dimension to this novel which will be published in Sept. 2011.
All four authors were writing about what they knew. They had actually experienced or had a connection to their stories. After hearing them speak and knowing about these connections, it will be very interesting reading their books when they are released.
Which also gives a plug to author readings. They can add so much to the reader's enjoyment of a book. There's no mystery about that!
Linda Wiken/Erika Chase
A Killer Read coming in April 2012
from Berkley Prime Crime