Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How did I come to write crime?

By Vicki Delany

That is somewhat of a no-brainer.  I read crime novels mostly, so when I decided to put my hand to attempting to write, first a couple of short stories, and then a novel, crime it was.

My first novel was called Whiteout.  Never heard of it?  Fear not, few people have.  It is exactly the sort of book I wanted to write: a woman alone in a cabin in northern Ontario, something moving in the dark, a dead body under the canoe. A snowstorm, shifting lanterns.  A ghost-story combined with a mystery novel.

In my humble opinion, it was just great.

And I blew it.

I had taken several courses at community college in creative writing, so I had the craft down okay. But I wasn’t yet involved in a writing community of any sort, nor did I have any writer friends. (To be fair I had three children still at home and a full time job).

So when I decided the book was ready for the world, I sent it out. I was, I know realize, too hasty, and I accepted the first offer I got which was from a small electronic publishing company. No editing, no promotion, no publicity. No sales.

Somewhere I had heard that to get in with a big publishing company you had to prove you could write and publish a book.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Certainly not back in 2000, and not even now.

So, here’s a piece of advice from me: your first book is your first book. There will never be another. Even if you change your name, that first book is still your first book.  I am talking about publishing it, here, not writing it. Plenty of writers have lots of early attempts in their bottom drawer.

I was lucky and I was able to recover from that mistake when Poisoned Pen Press kindly picked up Scare the Light Away.   

In the way of nothing is ever wasted, after Whiteout tanked and I couldn’t get anywhere with my next crime novel, I tried my hand a writing a romance novel. 

Total garbage, if I do say so myself.  Off hand I can’t even remember the title of it, but it had a ghost in it, I remember that.

I have been invited to be a guest author at this year’s NorthWords Festival in Yellowknife, NorthWest Territories (travelling with my good friend and fellow author, Barbara Fradkin).  What do they have on the Friday night but a chance for authors to read their raciest stories in their erotic open mike event?

And I have something absolutely perfect down in the bottom of my drawer.

 If you happen to be in Canada’s Far North this spring, here’s the link:  http://northwordsnwt.ca/http://northwordsnwt.ca/ The Festival is May 30 – June 2nd.




Anonymous said...

Yay, Vicki! Wish I was going to be in the far north to hear your open mike. I'm sure it will be fantastic and it would be so much fun to see you read it.
Hmm. Maybe an idea for Bloody Words 2015...sex scenes from crime novels? Open mike scenes of murder, with DP Lyle commenting on likelihood of success? Ooh! ;-)
Suggestions? Send 'em to the Bloody Words 2015 Stormy Weather Facebook page...

Vicki Delany said...

Dorothy Ann, great idea! I will make some suggestions...