Monday, July 16, 2012


Reading and writing....

For the past week-and-a-half I've been volunteering at one of our many summer music festivals, this one for chamber music entitled Music & Beyond. I've loved the experience of meeting new people, supporting this organization, and getting to hear some amazing music.

It hasn't been without it's downside though. Like the oppressive heat and humidity we're experiencing in Ottawa. Although two of the venues had AC, there was still the time spent walking through the long lines of patrons waiting outside on the sidewalk for the doors to open, after the musicians had finished rehearsing. We'd sell tickets, programme books and raffle tickets, and also offer water, which was always gratefully appreciated.

Another part of the 'adventure' was taking the bus. Not knowing if I'd easily find downtown parking and also dreading the rush-hour traffic, even with AC in the car (I hate using it though, preferring to keep my windows open and a breeze fanning through the car), I decided to opt for OC Transpo. Which meant the second day of transit, after getting a close look at the route and seeing stores and buildings I'd never noticed when driving, I took to reading for the often half-hour drive.

It's a great way to visit some mass market authors I'd never tried before. And, since my publisher, Berkley Prime Crime is American, I chose to spend my time reading other cosy writers from their line. I know, this is a blog about Canadian writing, so I'll focus on how these books have influenced my writing.

I've written the three books in my series with the idea of entertaining my readers...and myself. I've used traditional themes for murder -- revenge and greed being the main ones -- but haven't given over many inches to exploring those themes in depth. There are several examples of crime novels written by Canadians where moral issues are a driving force -- locally, Barbara Fradkin and R.J. Harlick's series come to mind. But I'd never thought to delve deeper with my cosies.

Since I'm spending the summer starting book #4, in case the series is continued, and also fleshing out a brand new series, this has given me something else to ponder. I always enjoy the beginning months of a new book. Anything's possible and new ideas can be tried then used or discarded. And, I'm delighted to have something else to add to that mix. I think it's a time to grow as a writer.

What about you? What has influenced your writing most recently?

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase

Berkley Prime Crime, now available
READ & BURIED, coming Dec., 2012

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