This is my last book review of 2022, which is apt as it is centered around book people, just like us!
REVIEW: This is one of those novels that grips you from the first chapter. It is a joy for readers and writers alike as you follow Liv on her journey from cleaner to ghost writer. Getting inside a writer’s mind is as difficult for a reader as it is for one writer to another. A spellbinding story, I absolutely loved.
I managed to finish my Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2022 as well, and will look forward to another year of great stories in 2023. This is my TBR pile for this coming year.
How does yours look?
What book are you most excited about reading this year? Will it be a new novel by a favourite author, or a new genre?
After the frantic word count goal of November, for those of us who participated in National Novel Writing Month, December is a strangely quiet month. No longer are we racing home after work to write those elusive 1667 words for the day’s total, and hoping to exceed them. We miss the rush, the excitement, even the panic. Initially, we feel relief, then goalless and at odds with ourselves. Now, we are floating in an undisciplined mode, unable to feel comfortable – that impetuous has gone.
We all know a goal is a good thing to have. It aids our making a deadline for publisher demands, editing and revising or any self imposed goal, whether for our writing or something else. So, what is the answer? Well, we have options:
1. Continue with our NaNo project and complete the novel.
2. Leave the project to ‘rest’ or percolate until the ending, plot arc, story line etc. solidifies in your mind (if it hasn’t already.)
3. Edit and revise what you have written. We all know it will need this at some point.
4. Begin another project, or return to another unfinished one.
5. Take a break from writing. Delve into the season’s festivities.
No matter which course you take, do what is best for you. Struggling to complete a writing project, when the holidays are approaching and you have other commitments, is not the way to go. Your project will be there waiting for you.
On Friday I discovered another free library. This one is dedicated to a school principal, which is a wonderful idea. Unfortunately, there was no protective door, even though there are hinges for one, so I’m hoping the books are taken inside soon. I gifted copies of Life in Slake Patch and The Rython Kingdom for it’s readers.
Four author friends and I went to Daisy Chain Book Co in Edmonton on Saturday night. Our gracious host and bookstore owner, Brandi, was very accommodating and had set out display tables and chairs. As you can imagine having access to a whole bookstore was too tempting. We may write books, but we are also voracious readers! Purchases were made.
I am continuing with the November writing challenge and as of November 12th my total was 22,531words. The third book in the crime series is, of course, the culmination of the trilogy series. It is exciting to create the investigation, the missteps and ultimately the resolution.
We have all heard and seen the ramifications of derogatory comments in today’s world. Classic movies and novels have been targets for their portrayal of marginalized and discriminated groups and word usage – many have been ‘edited’ or simply removed from public consumption. There is a fine balance as we create our stories, when including what are seen to be stereotypes, and cultural constraints. We must bring light, empathy and well researched content in order to highlight the struggles of minorities and the marginalized within our narrative.
In essence political correctness is the avoidance of terms that are deemed negative, derogatory, racial slurs, or other verbiage that is exclusive in some way. When writing about the struggles of minorities and the marginalized, an author must be aware of the intent behind the politically incorrect verbiage used in their work and avoid gratuitous content and references. These include using unwarranted, uncalled for, and/or lacking good reason verbiage. And, if it is without merit, purpose or substance, should be revised or even omitted.
By writing about the differences between cultures, people, races, the sexes, we can create a compelling, interesting and wonderful story. We may not please all the people all the time as we are all very different, whether politically correct or not, we all have have prejudices, biases, and faults. Great stories use these differences to create conflict, then resolve that conflict in interesting ways. At all times we need to be sensitive to how someone may view our narrative. It may help to employ a sensitivity reader, who can advise on such diverse subjects as race, culture, religion, gender, sexuality, illness and disability.
If you are unsure of using any content then it is best to seek assistance to ensure you are not causing harm to a minority or culture.
As always enjoy your writing and telling your stories.
I have always loved to read which inevitably led me to tell my own stories. I still have poems and stories I wrote when I was 10 or 12! As for the why, I simply love to tell a good story. Living in a small town, I learned to entertain myself by writing and creating my own worlds.
What drew you to the mystery genre in particular?
I love puzzles – both word puzzles and picture puzzles. I guess it’s only natural that I was drawn to the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew as a kid. Funny how I never thought about writing them until I entered a Murder in Ink contest sponsored by a small Ontario publisher for the fun of it. That was how my first book, a novella, was published.
Do you feel a book series suits this genre best and if so why?
With cozy mysteries in particular, book series are a great way to go. Readers become immersed in the main character’s town, business, lives and love to watch them grow as the series goes on. Sometimes while writing in a temporary character, I’ve ended up with a whole new sidekick that sticks around for several more books.
Over time, with each new novel, have you found it is easier to write about your main protagonists?
By book two or three, my main protagonists become old friends and I like to get them in lots of trouble! It’s fun to put obstacles in their paths and see how they handle new situations. In Gilda’s case in my Gilda Wright Mysteries, she’s grown from someone who started working in a karate school to gain some confidence to a woman getting ready to grade for her black belt. She’s the main character who has had the most growth arc so far.
Can you give us some details of your latest book, The Conned Lady?
My two main characters in The Conned Lady are Katie Mullins and Danny Walker.
Readers met them back in The Bookstore Lady when Katie escaped from her bosses who wanted her dead because she knew too much.
Danny, who was investigating the organization, was supposed to keep her safe and lost her. Only to find her again in his hometown.
Together, they faced the bad guys and made sure they were behind bars and developed a romantic relationship through the series.
When the bad guys are suddenly free, Katie needs to confront her past and deal with it – with the help of Danny and their friends.
During it all, they both face insecurities and have doubts until… You’ll have to read The Conned Lady to find out!
What is your writing process?
I don’t have a daily schedule for my writing since I have a full-time job as well. Thankfully, during lock down I ended up working with a couple different writing groups and have blocks of time to write Sunday morning and Monday evening. Aside from that, I take time before work, during lunch, and some evenings when things are quiet. After learning to write around the chaos of work and three kids, I’ve learned to grab the free time when I can get it!
Do you list ideas for each series/protagonist specifically?
I really don’t list ideas for my protagonists. They grow as the story grows.
As for my series, I tend to come up with a main idea for the series then break it down in to 3-5 books that I write blurbs for. Sometimes I stick with them, other times the overall series story line takes a twist and I either juggle around the book blurbs or create new ones.
What do you see for the future of your many series?
My Wild Blue Mystery series has now come to an end – with an ending that will allow me to return to it in the future if I choose to do so.
Right now I’m waffling with ending my Gilda Wright Mysteries with the next novel or write two more.
I originally wrote three book blurbs for my Glitter Bay series, then I created a new character named Quinn who seems very eager to stir up some excitement around Glitter Bay!
As for my Sugarwood Mysteries, Book 2 is in the process with at least one more to follow.
Do you have a specific writing area?
I have a beautiful office space I painted Caribbean blue, but usually end up on the couch with my elderly cat, at the kitchen table in the sunshine, or outside if the weather is good. I don’t like to limit myself as to where and when I write, but find I can pick up a pen and paper any time anywhere.
Diane Bator is a mom of three, a book coach, and the author of over a dozen mystery novels and many works-in-progress. She has also hosted the Escape With a Writer blog to promote fellow authors and is a member of Sisters in Crime Toronto, the Writers Union of Canada, and a board member of Crime Writers of Canada. When she’s not writing and coaching authors, she works for a professional theatre. No surprise she’s written her first play, which may lead to more.