Monday, July 13, 2015

Cathy Ace

Cathy Ace is the BC Bestselling and Bony Blithe Award-winning author of the Cait Morgan Mysteries, and the brand new WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries.

Her fifth Cait Morgan Mystery, The Corpse with the Sapphire Eyes, was published in May 2015, her sixth, The Corpse with the Diamond Hand, will be published in October 2015.On July 1st 2015 her first WISE Enquiries Agency Mystery, The Case of the Dotty Dowager, was published and the second, The Case of the Missing Morris Dancer, will be published in the UK in October 2015, and in the USA and Canada in February 2016.

Recently I asked Ace about what she was reading. Her reply:
I have a reading problem – I can’t read mysteries when I am writing, and mysteries are my favorite type of book to read! At the moment I am writing Cait Morgan Mystery #8, The Corpse with the Ruby Lips (due out in the fall of 2016), so am reading the following:

Newspapers: I read online rather than in paper format. I like to keep up with local and national news, as well as broader Arts news. I also try keep in touch with my roots back in Wales, too. On an intermittent basis (but usually at least weekly) I read the local newspapers here in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, the Canada-wide Globe and Mail, NY Times, and the South Wales Evening Post. I also think of the BBC News website as a “newspaper” and like to keep an eye on international events there.

Non-fiction: I can happily read non-fiction when I am writing and am finally finishing a book I’ve had for many years. Rich: The Life of Richard Burton by Melyvn Bragg was published back in 1988, though I only got my copy in the 1990s. It’s horrifying to me that this book has been on my “To be finished” pile for so long! Needless to say, upon choosing it as my summer read I had to go back to the beginning of the book and start again. Why this book? First of all, I’m Welsh – Richard Burton was a Welsh man who, as Melvyn Bragg says in his Foreword “…led many lives. In his one span he soared and fell, triumphed, failed and fought on…” and I am always transfixed by his presence on the screen. His hedonistic ways and multiple marriages aside, he had a great talent, and I find his voice to be almost mesmerizing, especially when he reads the work of Dylan Thomas, the poet from my home-city, Swansea in South Wales, whose words roll off his tongue with a magic that can only be felt when the accent is just right. I’m also enjoying (re-)reading it because my new series of books, The WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries, are set in Wales, and I’ll be off to visit my mum and sister there next month. I miss them, and it, terribly, so this is a good way to “stay connected”. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were the glamour-couple during the 1970s when I was growing up, and his achievements showed this Welsh-girl that no dream was beyond her grasp. I’m also doing my best to record and dig out DVDs of as many of his movies as I can: Under Milk Wood, Cleopatra, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, Where Eagles Dare, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Night of the Iguana, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Becket, and even The Last Days of Dolwyn are waiting to go…but, first, there’s the garden to be seen to!

Gardening: I am a keen gardener, and that means working on the garden at all times of year. It just so happens we’re in the middle of a big project which involves clearing a good amount of land and planting trees. My preference is to plant for color, with the eye of an impressionist – so we plant different colors of trees and shrubs close to each other so the colors mingle as the years pass. I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it works for me! However, you still have to be aware of the plant’s preferences, and you can’t rely on a tiny label for that sort of information so I’m constantly referring to two volumes to check on habits, soil/sun/water preferences etc. The Ward Lock Encyclopedia of Gardening by Anita Pereire (with a Foreword by the delightful Alan Titchmarsh, who expresses views about gardening with which I agree) and splendid photography by A. Descat is full of little Post-It notes so I can find things easily, and its layout is truly useful. The other book is The Firefly Encyclopedia of Trees edited by Steve Cafferty. We moved to this house with five acres of land about a dozen years ago – we now actively garden about three of those five acres, so these books have been put to good use.

Cooking: I love to eat, which means I also love to cook (my Welsh Canadian professor of criminology character, Cait Morgan is a “gourmand rather than a gourmet” and I am much the same!). Where we live, in a rural area, the Four H movement is active; youngsters raise and show animals through the year, then sell them either just before, or in an auction at, the annual Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) held each August. This means we can buy meat we know has been raised without the use of hormones, steroids or anti-biotics, often in organic conditions, and certainly with the full, loving attention of a young person who can use the money to put towards their future in some way (one girl we bought pigs from for several years took her “earnings” and underwent training to become a scuba-diving instructor, which is now her profession as she travels the world). This is the way we buy our pork, lamb, and beef. Pig: A Passion for Pork by Johnnie Mountain is a super book (clearly not geared toward vegetarians!) which serves as a source of inspiration throughout the year. Grilling on the back deck through the summer means it’s easy to get stuck in a bit of a rut as far as meat-dishes are concerned, so I seem to use the book more now than in the winter. I haven’t developed the expertise to make my own sausages yet, but maybe next year…
Visit Cathy Ace's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

--Marshal Zeringue