Friday, July 18, 2014
SCHMOOZING WITH SUZANNE KINGSMILL
1. Who has influenced you the most in your writing career?
My mother made sure I was never without a good book, when, from an early age, she started giving me some of the classics. I was a voracious reader but she always had a book for me. If I didn’t like a book she would invoke the 50 page rule: I had to read at least the first 50 pages and if I still didn’t like the book I could abandon it. I remember when I abandoned Dr. Zhivago at page 50 and she looked at me and said, “Ah, but Dr. Zhivago is worth 100 pages.” She was right. She gave me a love of reading and the English language that laid the groundwork for my writing career.
2. What are you working on now?
I am working on a fourth Cordi O’Callaghan mystery and playing around with a thriller and a novel about the relationship between a 17 year old mentally challenged boy and a famous octogenarian who befriends him.
3. In what ways is your main protagonist like you? If at all?
Cordi has the same moral values as I do and we are both zoologists, although I’m a lapsed one. Other than that, she is fictional and I am real!
4. Are you character driven or plot driven?
Depends on the book. My Cordi books are predominantly plot driven but I like to think that my main characters stand out.
5. Are you a pantser or a plotter?
I do not write to a plot. I have a basic idea of whom the killer is and how the murder will take place and the motive, but after that it’s just sitting down to write and letting my characters lead the way. However, for it all to work, the main plot has to be good enough to really grip my attention, and the attention of my characters, right to the very last polished word.
6. What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
A sense of having been transported to another place, at least for a while.
7. Where do you see yourself as a writer in 10 years?
Still writing! More mysteries. A thriller. At least two non-mystery novels. Maybe another non-fiction book. Editing some fiction and non-fiction books, because that is such a challenge and really keeps you on your toes as a writer.
8. What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
The scene in Dying for Murder, where Cordi gets cut off from land by a shark, actually happened to me. That and the fact that I make furniture for a hobby. I know that’s two things, but….
9. What do you like to read for pleasure?
Thrillers, literary fiction. I just finished reading The Bear by Claire Cameron and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Both about young girls and both powerful, haunting and disturbing. I also enjoy reading murder mysteries, but there is definitely an involuntary work element to it, so it is not entirely carefree reading.
10. Give us a summary of your latest book in a Tweet:
In Suzanne Kingsmill’s Dying for Murder, Zoologist Cordi O’Callaghan, solves a murder at a biology station on a remote U.S. barrier Island during a hurricane.
Suzanne Kingsmill has a B.A. in English literature from the University of Toronto, a B.Sc. in biology from McGill University and a M.Sc. in zoology from the University of Toronto. She has written three Cordi O’Callaghan murder mysteries, Forever Dead, Innocent Murderer and the latest, published in May, Dying for Murder. Search Suzanne Kingsmill on Youtube for an 80 second book trailer on Dying for Murder. Kingsmill has also written four non-fiction books, including The Family Squeeze: Surviving the Sandwich Generation and Beyond the Call of Duty – a biography of a war vet who won the V.C. She has written for numerous Canadian and international magazines on eclectic topics and is the Managing Editor of the peer-reviewed Canadian Journal of Rural Medicine. She has two sons and now lives in Toronto, after spending 25 years in rural Quebec.