Our guest this week is author Vicki Delany!
Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers, author of the Constable Molly Smith police procedural series, standalone Gothic thrillers, and the Klondike Gold Rush books, as well as Rapid Read novellas including Juba Good, currently a finalist for the Ontario Library Association’s Golden Oak award. Under the pen name Eva Gates she is writing the Lighthouse Library cozy mystery series from Penguin Random House, set in a historic lighthouse on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The second in the series, Booked for Trouble was released in September 2015.
Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen, the first book in the Year Round Christmas series is Vicki’s 20th published book.
A former computer programmer and systems analyst, Vicki lives and writes in bucolic Prince Edward County Ontario. She is the current President of Crime Writers of Canada.
- Tell us a little about your background
My career was as a computer programmer and systems analyst. I left that seven years ago and am now a full time writer, author of 20 published books (so far). My three daughters are all grown up, and I live a quiet life in a little house in the countryside in Southern Ontario.
- Tell us a bit about your latest book, REST YE MURDERED GENTLEMEN. Where did that idea for a Christmas cozy come from?
The bones of the idea was from my agent, Kim Lionetti of Bookends. She suggested a Christmas themed store, and I took that further and created a Christmas themed town.
- Tell us about other books you’ve written.
I have three standalone novels of psychological suspense from Poisoned Pen Press, the Constable Molly Smith series, also from Poisoned Pen, of which the eighth, Unreasonable Doubt, will be released in February, four books in the Klondike Gold Rush Series. And under the pen name of Eva Gates, I write the Lighthouse Library cozy series for Penguin Random House
- How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
I used to be a true pantser, but now that I am writing for Penguin Random House, they require an outline, and I find I really like writing that way. The outline’s the hard part. Get that out of the way, and writing the book’s the easy bit.
- Which do you consider more important, plot or character?
Character determines plot. People act in certainly ways because of their character. So, saying that, I think character comes first.
- Do you have an “How I got my agent” story you want to share?
I got my agent, Kim Lionetti, because my good friend Mary Jane Maffini recommended me to her. Kim didn’t want the work I was proposing, but when she heard of something I might be able to do she contacted me. The moral of that story, I believe, is the importance of networking. Of making friends in the writing community.
- What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
I am currently writing the third in the Year Round Christmas series, Hark the Herald Angels Slay. The third Lighthouse Library book, Reading Up A Storm, will be out in April. I hope to continue writing both those series, as well as the Constable Molly Smith books.
- What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?
I am a total creature of routine.
I get up every morning, seven days a week. I go to my main computer in my office, and read e-mails, read the papers online, spend a bit of time on Facebook or Twitter.
Then it’s time to start to write. I walk into the dining room and stand at my Netbook computer which is on the half-wall between the kitchen and the dining room and boot it up. (In the summer I might sit outside on the deck) As I pass through the kitchen, I put one egg on to boil.
I always write, standing up, on the Netbook. I read over everything I did the previous day, doing a light edit as I go. I then take my egg into the study and eat it while checking email.
Then back to the small computer for several writing hours, usually finishing around one.
And that’s pretty much it. I can’t write in small chunks. I can’t write as the spirit moves me.
Three to four hours a day, every day of the week, every day of the year when I am home, unless I have company.
- If you could take only three books with your for a year-long writing retreat in a gorgeous setting with no library, which three would you take?
I’d probably go for length, if they have to last me a year. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy would be one. (Is that cheating?). An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears, because it’s long but also because it’s one of my favorite books of all time. And something that would require a lot of concentration: How about the collected works of William Shakespeare, or a history of the world perhaps.
- What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?
My advice is always the same. Read, and read a lot. Only by reading extensively is a writer able to know what works, and perhaps more importantly, what doesn’t.
- What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
I drove across North America, and up and down (Ontario to the Pacific; Alaska to San Diego) alone when I first retired. Had a marvelous time. I wouldn’t say that’s anything crazy though, because it’s what I like to do.
- What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?
That I’m an extreme introvert. But remember, introvert doesn’t mean shy. Because I’m not that.
- What question do you wish interviewers would ask? (And what’s the answer?)
Q: Tell us about the Crime Writers of Canada.
A: I’d be happy to. I am the current president of the CWC, which is the Canadian equivalent of the MWA in the US or the CWA in the UK. We are an organization representing professional Canadian writers of mystery, suspense and true crime. Information about our members and our books can be found at www.crimewriterscanada.com
- Where can we learn more about you and your books?
My web page is www.vickidelany.com. Eva Gates has her own page at www.lighthouselibrarymysteries.com. I’m on Facebook at evagatesauthor and twitter @vickidelany
Just for Fun:
Night or Day?
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)
No contest. Dog. Unless it’s Charles the library cat in the Lighthouse Library series.
Beach or Pool?
Steak or salad?
A nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc
An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears
Favorite TV Series?
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. (I don’t go to movies much either)
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada?
Pina Colada, thanks.
Hawaii or Alaska?
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be Napoleon
If I had just one wish, it would be_
World peace?_If it had to be personal, it would be health and happiness for my children.
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be I’d rather just stay me, if that’s okay.
Find out more about Vicki at:
www.vickidelany.com, www.lighthouselibrarymysteries.com Twitter: @vickidelany Facebook: evagatesauthor