Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Over the Moon

What do you remember about the first time you read your crime fiction work in progress or finished novel/short story to an audience?

by Dietrich

Before my first novel Ride the Lightning came out, I was over the moon. I signed a three-book deal with ECW Press and I got a chance to go to my first Bouchercon in September 2013, traveling by car from Toronto to Albany with one of my favorite Canadian authors, John McFetridge. And I met so many great authors while I was there, like 7 Criminal Minds’ own Cathy Ace and Robin Spano. 

E.R Brown, Linda L. Richards, me,
Robin Spano, Owen Laukkanen
(missing: Sam Wiebe)
at Vancouver's first Noir at the Bar, 2014.
Before the release of my book, scheduled for the following April, I went to a reading event in West Vancouver featuring E.R. Brown. I wanted to see how it was done, and I listened as Eric read excerpts from his rocking novel Almost Legal and spoke to the packed room about the writing process. He set the bar pretty high and I learned a lot. 

A couple weeks later I went to another authors’ event at the Vancouver Public Library, listening to Andrew Piper, Deryn Collier and Sean Slater read from recent works, and I came away with more ideas on how it was done. 

So, I felt more or less ready; now all I needed was an event where I could read. I had met Peter Rozovsky at Bouchercon, and he had talked about Noir at the Bar and that sounded perfect for the kind of stories I was writing. 

Vancouver hadn’t had a Noir at the Bar event before, and although I’d never read my work to an audience, I thought why not organize one. So, I called on fellow Vancouverite Robin Spano, along with Eric Brown and I had my first two authors. Robin suggested Owen Laukkanen and Linda L. Richards. And Eric had introduced me to Sam Wiebe at the Arthur Ellis Announcement event that year. And just like that, Vancouver had its first Noir at the Bar line-up.

The amazing Shebeen Whisky House in Gastown hosted us, as they have ever since. And we have been very fortunate to have the support of White Dwarf Books/DeadWrite Books who have come out and taken care of book sales every time since that first event. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to Jill and Walter. Vancouver is truly blessed to be home to this wonderful bookstore. 

So, along with organizing the event, I rehearsed the chapter I would read until I felt I wasn’t going to stumble all over it. I didn’t want to get in my own way and ruin the rhythm of the words. And sure, the nerves were there, but nothing a pint of Guinness wouldn’t cure. Plus, the place was pretty dark, and when I stepped to the mic, I had a book to hide behind. 

That evening drew a good crowd, and when it was over I just wanted to do it again. 

This marks the start of the sixth year of Noir at the Bar events in Vancouver. So, if you’re in the area for our first one on May 1st, please come and check it out, and if you’re an author with a new mystery or crime novel coming out and would like to take part in a future event, please drop me a line at my website.

And if you’re planning to attend Left Coast Crime in Vancouver, make plans for the special Noir at the Bar on Thursday, March 28th at 7:30 PM. 


Paul D. Marks said...

Dieter, I don't mind talking and can do that pretty much endlessly. But reading: I always get nervous. I don't know why...

Dietrich Kalteis said...

I don't mind talking about writing either, Paul, and my biggest peeve with reading is the rooms are often dark, that, or my eyesight's not what it used to be.

RJ Harlick said...

I'm very envious of your Vancouver Noir in the Bar. We in Ottawa have never been able to summon up the energy to put one on. I do believe you are the energy behind them, so good for you.

Susan C Shea said...

Great story and smart advice for newbies: look carefully at the successful readings of other authors. Wish I could sign up for the LCC-timed Noir in Vancouver, but I'm included in a new anthology, Fault Lines, that will be published that week and some of the authors are hosting something at the hotel bar. See you in Vancouver!

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Thanks Robin. I've been to Ottawa for Prose in the Park, and you sure have the writing talent and energy out there to put on a heck of a Noir at the Bar event.

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Thanks, Susan. Looking forward to seeing you again at LCC.