Monday, May 9, 2011

Vicki Delany

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most popular crime writers. The fifth book in her critically acclaimed Constable Molly Smith series set in the mountains of British Columbia is Among the Departed from Poisoned Pen Press.

Having taken early retirement from her job as a systems analyst in the high-pressure financial world, Delany is settling down to the rural life in bucolic, Prince Edward County, Ontario where she grows vegetables, eats tomatoes, shovels snow, and rarely wears a watch.
A lot of writers say that they don’t read while they are writing, or at least not the same type of book. But as I write every single day and start another book the day I finish one, I wouldn’t ever be able to read the sort of books I like to read. Which are the type of books I write.

I get a lot of inspiration from the books I read and I think it’s extremely important that writers do read, and read a lot. At the moment I’m taking a break from the Constable Molly Smith series to write a standalone for Poisoned Pen Press. This will be a book in the British Gothic tradition, although set in Canada. Similar in tone to one of my earlier books, Burden of Memory. Therefore, at the moment, I’m heavily into reading gothics. To my delight I have just found out (after I started my own new book) that the gothic is back and is the new big trend. S.J. Bolton and Kate Morton are two of the new masters at that tradition.

Right now, I’m reading Blood Harvest by S.J. Bolton. I’m about a quarter through it and it’s just great. Tension is building slowly and steadily, the way I like it. The setting is perfect for this sort of story – a village in England high on the moors and the site of two grand old churches, and the protagonist is a very modern Vicar. There is a hint of the supernatural, but still only a hint so we are left wondering what is really going on out on the moors.

In the similar vein, but a very different story, I’ve just finished The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. All about family secrets from 1910 that a contemporary woman wants to uncover. Morton did a great job of managing many different points of view and moving back and forth through time without ever letting the reader get confused as to who was doing what when. I enjoyed this one very much, although I will confess that I found the ending highly predictable. Nevertheless, I bought Morton’s newest book, The Distant Hours.

Next on my stack, however, is something a bit different and that’s Crying Blood by Donis Casey. I was at Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale AZ a couple of weeks ago for the launch of Among the Departed, the fifth book in my Constable Molly Smith Series, and I picked up Crying Blood because I’ve read Casey’s other books in the Alafair Tucker series and really enjoyed them. It’s a great historical series set in Oklahoma in the beginning of the 1900s.

When I read fiction, I read one book all the way through before beginning another, but I will intersperse fiction with non-fiction. At the moment it’s On the Farm by Stevie Cameron, an investigation of the Robert Pickton serial-killer case in Vancouver. Truly chilling.

I don’t often read non-fiction crime but I have a reason for reading On the Farm and that’s that I will be giving a workshop in August at the Wolfe Island Scene of the Crime festival on The Criminal Mind: Writing the Villain. Although I write fiction, I do aim for veracity in my books and I’m hoping to teach that in the workshop. My friend Barbara Fradkin a psychologist by profession and the author of the dark, edgy Inspector Green series (it’s a small world: I see that Barbara has just been featured on your My Book, The Movie blog), has lent me Serial Killers: the Method and Madness of Monsters by Peter Vronsky. No doubt that one’s going to be a pretty chilling read also.

To lighten the mood a bit, I am saving Mary Jane Maffini’s The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder. How can you resist a book with that title? Maffini’s books are cozy and I don’t normally read cozies, but she tackles important subjects with a light touch that always provides a good read. Just what I’ll need after my venture into the dark side.
Visit Vicki Delany's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: Among the Departed.

My Book, The Movie: Among the Departed.

--Marshal Zeringue