Friday, January 30, 2015


1.Who has influenced you the most in your writing career?

My many friends in the Canadian writing community. It’s one thing to write a book, it’s quite another to perfect it (as near as possible), to get it published, and then to market and publicize it. You can write a book on your own, but you need help and advice to do all that other stuff, and I have found the Canadian mystery community, and now the cozy community, to be very close-knit and friendly. It is all about networking

2. What are you working on now?

The third Lighthouse Library mystery, Reading up a Storm.

3. In what ways is your main protagonist like you, if at all?

Lucy Richardson is her name and she is not like me in the least! She’s young (and I am not), inquisitive, brave, impulsive. She is intensely loyal to her friends, however, and I do hope that if ever I was in her shoes, I could also be counted on to do the right thing by my friends.

4. Are you character driver or plot driven?

Character. I have all these wonderful, eccentric Outer Banks people and I just love tossing them into the mix and seeing what they’ll do next.

5. Are you a pantser or a plotter?

Total plotter. I began my career as a pantser, and now that I am with Penguin, they require a solid outline as part of the contract. And I have found that I love writing from an outline. All the hard work is done ahead of time and I can enjoy weaving it all together. Which isn’t to say that I won’t deviate from the outline if I have a good reason to, but an outline provides the structure in which I can write. I love it.

6. What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?

Fun. Nothing but a few hours of laughter and entertainment. If you’ve had a hard day at work or your family is giving you grief, there is absolutely nothing better than to settle down with a good cozy novel and be taken away on a fun ride to an interesting place.

7. Where do you see yourself as a writer in 10 years?

Under my real name of Vicki Delany, I have sixteen published books, of different sub-genres. But now, I’ve found my niche and I will be very happy if in ten years I’m still writing cozies. I will mention, if I may, that Vicki Delany is writing the Christmas Town mysteries for Berkely Prime Crime of which the first, Rest Ye Murdered Gentleman, will be out November 2015. Just in time for Christmas.

8. What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?

That I have sixteen published books?

9. What do you like to read for pleasure?

I read crime novels almost exclusively, with the occasional non-fiction thrown in. I am particularly enjoying the modern gothic format these days by writers like Kate Morton, Carol Goodman, or Simone St. James. My favourite book of 2014 was The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters, followed closely by The Secret Place by Tana French.

10. Tell us about your book in a Tweet:

When a priceless first edition Jane Austen is stolen from the Lighthouse Library, Lucy finds herself ensnared in a real-life mystery—and she’s not so sure there’s going to be a happy ending....

Eva Gates is the author of the Lighthouse Library cozy series from Penguin Obsidian, set in a historic lighthouse on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, featuring Boston-transplant librarian, and highly reluctant sleuth, Lucy Richardson. The first in the series, By Book or By Crook, will be released in February 2015. Eva is the pen name of bestselling author Vicki Delany, one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers. Eva can be found at and Vicki at

Friday, January 23, 2015


It's question time again and here's what our three mystery authors are answering today: Are female victims over-represented in fiction and if so, why?


I haven't done the math on this! However, I think it's possible because I think we may be more outraged by violence against women than men. Kids and animals are verboten. But a bigger concern is the graphic description of torture or sexual violence, quite aptly called 'torture porn'. It ratchets up our outrage. but is it serving another purpose and one which should make us think twice.


My own feeling is that they are not over-represented. I think the fiction is mirroring what we read about and view in the media every day. Females are, generally speaking, more vulnerable in society. They therefore are prime candidates for the role of victim in fiction, as in life. I agree with MJ about the taboos surrounding children and animals, even though not all authors adhere to these. So, next in line are women. Members of minority groups are also on that continuum but are not as frequently portrayed as the victims in fiction.


I can’t say I have ever noticed if too many victims are women. I might even suspect that more men get killed in crime novels, because they are the ones more likely be involved in violent situations.

Normally I don’t pay attention to gender distribution. But not long ago I found myself having to read a lot of mysteries, more so than usual. As I’m reading one book after another, it suddenly struck me that in many of them there was a much higher proportion of men in positions of authority or power than women. Most of the female characters were in supporting roles as wives, girlfriends, sidekicks, etc., with few taking on any significant role in the stories. Even the bad guys were more likely to be male than female. Now I did notice that this tendency seemed to be more apparent in books written by men than by women, but still many of the female writers were just as guilty.

So I asked myself why this would be the case and I’m afraid the only answer I could come up with was that the stories being written are essentially reflecting the real world. It also explains my inattention to gender distribution. I am just reading what I see happening around me on a day-to-day basis.

So my fellow writers maybe it is time we did something about it and add a little more gender equality into our writing. But you know what, even as I write this I am realizing that the majority of characters in my current book are male. Sheesh, you can’t win.

Friday, January 9, 2015


By Jill Downie

This is the third in the Moretti and Falla mystery series and by far, the most intricate. There are so many layers, each adding texture to the plot, that a variety of readers will be entertained. That the series is set in Guernsey, is a large part of the charm.

For the thespians in the crowd, the plot revolves around a new play put on by the Island Players. The playwright, Hugo Shawcross, claims to be a vampire and that’s what his play is about, much to the initial chagrin of some of the influential members of the group. But the play must go on, and as rehearsals begin, so do the murders.

For the mystery lovers, it’s a solid one starting with the death of a recluse and ending with a murderer consumed with greed and jealousy, determined to erase long-hidden secrets and anyone trying to expose them.

We’re also introduced to a new police officer from London, Aliosio Brown, whose Met training will be invaluable, or so the Chief Officer hopes.

We see a gentler side to Inspector Ed Moretti and a personal growth in his partner, Detective Sergeant Liz Falla. It’s her aunt, Elodie, who reveals much about the detective, about the actors and the play, and who adds a possible love interest for Moretti.

From reading this, you know that Downie has an insider’s knowledge of the theatre and a love of it. But, equally obvious is her command of the mystery genre and the ability to infuse the discipline and routines of police work with an emotional layer. And don’t forget her passion for Guernsey. It has all the ingredients wanted by an armchair traveler.

Eagerly awaiting my next trip to that magical isle!