Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Of inspiration, and grief...by Cathy Ace



Why did you decide to become a writer and in particular a writer of crime fiction?



Sometimes I think I know the answer to this one, and I tell of how I always wrote such long essays in school that my English teacher would say “I didn’t ask for a book!”, and of how my reading of Agatha Christie – literally at my mother’s knee – meant I probably had no choice but to decide that if I was going to follow one passion (to write) that I should also follow another (to write crime fiction) at the same time. 

To be honest, that’s the simple way to look at my decisions, but the more complicated response would be “because of the inspiration I got from my mother's life, and father's death.”

Mum with my first traditionally published novel - at her library in Wales

I’ve been lucky – I’ve enjoyed a business and professional life within which I have always “written for a living”…be it advertising copy, public relations plans and editorials, or brochures, online training courses, face-to-face training courses or textbooks. When I turned my back on my business life in marketing communications and decided to try my hand at crime fiction writing I was grieving my father’s death. He’d almost exploded with pride when a short story I had written in 1988 was first published in 1989, republished in 1990, and then broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2007. 

So excited to be included with these authors!

 

2007 was one of those horribly bitter-sweet years…I had the first work of crime fiction I’d ever written broadcast to the world, and Dad died. So, obviously much more bitter than sweet. I think it’s natural for all of us to grapple with our own sense of mortality when a loved one dies. I did. And I decided that writing would be something I would do to try to fulfill a part of my potential I didn’t feel was fully tapped. And Dad was always about new experiences, pushing oneself, and facing the unknown.


First two self published anthologies

I'd had one short story published, why not try my hand at some more? Since that first-published story began “January 1st…today is the first day of the year when I kill George...” I thought I’d try to write an accompanying eleven more stories, making each one revolve around one month of the year. So I did. 

It was those short stories, where I created Cait Morgan and the WISE women - brought to life during a flurry of writing during 2007, when I was missing my father and thinking about death in a new and worrying way – that I self-published as MURDER: MONTH BY MONTH. I have recently re-written, re-edited and re-published them as the basis for MURDER KEEPS NO CALENDAR (some stories have been swapped out for more recent/new ones). 

Click here for link to amazon and "Look Inside" where you can read "Dear George" in full


Ten years. Twelve traditionally published novels. Now I've come full circle; re-self-publishing has been a real eye-opener. In a good way.A new challenge. I think Dad would have been proud. I know Mum is.
Dad, on a visit to my home in Canada in 2002


I’m writing this before I leave to visit my mother in Wales (I'll be there when the piece is published) – she needs some extra help these days and my sister (who lives just 15 minutes away from her) carries the load. I’m going to visit so she can have a bit of a break. 

With Mum at our local library in 2017


See? Like I said, I’ve been lucky: Dad’s gone, but inspired me to write; Mum’s still with us, and I still have the chance to thank her, face-to-face, for sharing her love of crime fiction with me. 

That’s why the answer to the question is “because of the inspiration I got from my mother's life, and my father's death.”



Cathy Ace is the Bony Blithe Award-winning author of The Cait Morgan Mysteries and The WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries.  You can find out more about Cathy, her work and her characters at her website, where you can also sign up for her newsletter with news, updates and special offers: http://cathyace.com/




6 comments:

RJ Harlick said...

Lovely.

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Thanks for sharing your story, Cathy. I hope you have a great time with your mom in Wales.

Cheryl Webber said...

Hope you have a great visit with your Mum and hope the weather isn't too bad we had bad weather last Jan when we were there .

Kathy Reel said...

Thanks for sharing your story so full of love, Cathy. You have indeed done your parents proud. Hope you're enjoying visiting your mum and being in Wales.

Susan C Shea said...

What a wonderful story - actually several stories, all good. I was gobsmacked (I stole the word from Catriona and will never give it back) to realize you've only been writing crime fiction since 2007. And 12 books out already! Wow, you are prolific, which shouldn't surprise me because you're a dynamo - energy, focus, good cheer. Enjoy your time with your mother...

RM Greenaway said...

That's inspiring, Cathy. Sadly my parents both died before they got a chance to drink a toast with me, but I know they would have been so pleased. I've said it before, you're a dynamo. Hope you have a good time in Wales with your family.