Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Sinatra, Bowie, Curry, Joel & Joplin...by Cathy Ace



If your writing process/life could be summarized as the title of a song – what song would it be? And why?

Okay, I admit it – there’ve been some challenging questions to respond to on this blog since I joined, but this particular one has had me scratching my head in an entirely different way. The reason? Most of the “songs” I know only really apply insofar as one tiny part of the lyrics apply to one part of my writing life, so here goes….

My writing process/life is a mixture of extremely organized (outlining, research etc.) and chaotic (I rebel against any sort of routine). So there’s always a tension there. Also, the longer I write, and the more books I write, so my overall feelings about my writing life shift.

I honestly believe that the first book an author writes is probably the closest to their heart; when I wrote “The Corpse with the Silver Tongue” (my first Cait Morgan Mystery) it had been rattling around inside my head for years, so it was the close to “the book you are desperate to write”. As I was writing that book, and throughout the time when it was my only book in the marketplace, I suppose the song that best described my emotions about my writing life would be “My Way”. 

Then I learned more about editing with a publisher, the business of publishing, the way in which the marketplace demanded “labels” for an author’s work and my perspective shifted. By book #3, The Corpse with the Emerald Thumb, I felt that Bowie’s “Rebel, Rebel” was more appropriate, as I felt I had to fight to write a book that was traditional, rather than “Cozy” with a capital “C”, and thus I included a mysterious serial killer in the background story, as well as introducing the specter of Mexican drug smuggling. By book #4, the Corpse with the Platinum Hair, I was back to Sinatra again, having gained acceptance for a setting in Las Vegas, with which I won Canada's national prize for best light mystery, the Bony Blithe Award - it seemed as though "Luck Be a Lady" was working out for me.
 
Finally, I set a book in Wales, The Corpse with the Sapphire Eyes, insert sound track of “Going Home” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show here. I liked that feeling, so sought out a way to write a series set there. 

Next, I had to build a relationship with a new publisher at my Canadian publishing house, as well as with a new agent and a totally new publisher in the UK for that proposed second series of books – the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries.  It was a busy, challenging year where I felt I was “Running on Ice” a la Billy Joel. 

By 2016, I hoped I’d found my feet again, but it was now far from “My Way” and much more like Joplin's wailing “Piece of My Heart” as I finally came to terms with the schedule required to write three books a year, launch three books a year, and be an active (hopefully effective) Chair of Crime Writers of Canada.

Now, in 2017? It’s early days yet: I just sent a manuscript to my agent and it will be with my publisher by the end of February – this will be the fourth in the Wise Enquiries Agency series, and I have eight Cait Morgan books in the market. I’m looking forward to re-editing my originally self-published first two volumes of short stories and novella later this year…so am I about to channel Ol’ Blue Eyes again? I don’t know…but even if I do, I've learned enough over the past five years to know it won’t be “My Way” but much more likely to be “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” than anything else! Wish me luck, folks, and here’s hoping I’ll be waving not drowning. 

Cathy's next book, THE CASE OF THE CURIOUS COOK (book #3 in the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries) will be published in Canada and the USA on March 1st: the ladies of the WISE Enquiries Agency are called in to investigate some strange shenanigans at a bookshop in Hay-on-Wye. As the WISE women try to unravel this puzzle from their base at stately Chellingworth Hall, they then get embroiled in another when they come across a valuable book of miniatures which seems to be the work of a local famous artist, murdered by her own brother. Are the cases linked and why do both mysteries lead to a nearby old folks’ home? The WISE women are on the case – and nothing will get in their way . . . Or will it? https://www.amazon.com/Case-Curious-Cook-Publishers-Enquiries/dp/0727886681/

“Like” Cathy Ace – Author on Facebook and sign up for Cathy’s newsletter before March 1st to stand a chance of entering for a special offer on this book. https://www.facebook.com/Cathy-Ace-Author-318388861616661/
 

5 comments:

Paul D. Marks said...

I like the way you integrated and used the songs, Cathy. Fun stuff.

RM Greenaway said...

A playlist as lively as your career :)

Cathy Ace said...

Thanks Paul and Rachel....this one was a real head-scratcher! :-)

Susan C Shea said...

Thanks. Janis's wonderful, crazy voice and "take another little piece of my heart ba-bA" is instantly my ear worm for the day! Good list and like the rest of us, your writing life can't be summed up in a single song.

Cathy Ace said...

That's a good ear worm to have ;-)