Saturday, November 6, 2010

Vicki Delany on the computer biz

A question for Vicki from from Meredith on Saturday

I've noticed that quite a few mystery authors worked in computers before turning to crime. Do you feel your job as a systems analyst affected your writing?

Good question, Meredith. I do think that it affected my writing in terms of the way I work. I was a computer programmer for many years and then a systems analyst for a major bank. As a systems analyst you have to know what you want to achieve before you begin. You have to know if you’re designing a system for the customer to credit or debit their account. You can’t just begin and then see what you end up with. I tend to be a bit more seat-of-the-pants now, but my earlier books were outlined quite well. At least to the extent that I knew where I was going i.e. who did what and why.

The major exception was Winter of Secrets. I was in Nelson for Christmas, and they had a big snowstorm. The snow in the mountains falls straight down, they have very little wind. I thought if this was Ontario it would be a real mess. And then I had the idea for the beginning of the book. I wrote that book straight through without knowing what was going on. I felt sort of like a real detective, sifting through clues and questioning suspects. I was getting towards the end before I figured it out. Won’t do that again.

I’m sometimes asked if I plan to ever set a book in the computer or financial world. The answer is absolutely not. Dreadfully boring stuff.

1 comment:

Meredith Cole said...

Thanks, Vicki. I love hearing about how other writers get their books done (especially when I'm knee deep in a new one!). That's so interesting that you wrote only one without an outline. I've certainly tried, but I usually make a big mess and have to step back and look at the big picture.