Monday, January 20, 2020

Why Crime Fiction? by Brenda Chapman

What made you decide to write crime & mystery fiction? And if you hadn’t been an author, what would you have been doing?

The simple answer is that I’m writing what I love to read. The first book series that I devoured as a kid were Enid Blytons The Famous Five and The Secret Seven. I wanted nothing more than to be a member in a clubhouse that needed a secret password to enter with our time spent solving mysteries during our ‘hols in exotic locations with a  parrot named Kiki and a case of ginger beer. (Those who've read the books will understand.)

I went on to study English literature in university and remember rewarding myself with a good mystery after completing assignments. The fact I wanted to read a novel for fun after reading literature all day means I really, really like mysteries.

The first time I decided to try my hand at writing a book, I naturally gravitated toward the mystery genre. I was teaching at the time and helping a girl with her reading. She was reading aloud to me from a mystery she'd brought, and I remember thinking that I could write something better. Around the same time, I was shopping for books for my daughters who were in grade school, and lamenting that I couldn't find some straight-up good mysteries for their age groups. So my first attempt at writing a novel was Running Scared, a middle grade mystery. This led to my first series of four novels.

I also wrote some adult mystery short stories around this time and eventually switched to writing only for the adult market. All of the books I've written have been mysteries with the exception of one coming of age young adult book, which still contains mystery elements. I set out to write a non-murder mystery once, but a dead body showed up in the second chapter and that was that.

As for what I would do if I hadn't become an author, it seems that I've had many careers. I was a special education teacher for about fifteen years. Then I worked in the federal government in a number of positions at a few different departments, but mainly in communications. It has only been the past four years that I've written full-time. Looking back, however, is there a career I wish I'd had?

Writing workshop with some kids at a public library so still getting in some teaching:-) 

I've always been quite taken with radio and would have liked to have an on-air program - but this probably pays less than writing books! A career in journalism would also have been good and I dabbled with the idea at one point, even going so far as to be accepted into a journalism course before deciding on a more general arts degree.

A guest on 1310 News Radio - living out the dream!

All in all, I've had an interesting and varied working life with enough experiences to bring to my writing. I like to take the view that I'm meant where I'm meant to be in life and don't regret any of the choices that have taken me here.


Twitter: brendaAchapman

Facebook: BrendaChapmanAuthor


Dietrich Kalteis said...

A good answer, Brenda – writing what you love to read.

Frank Zafiro said...'ll be on my podcast eventually, so one sliver of the radio dream, right? ;-)

Brenda Chapman said...

Thanks Dietrich - pretty certain that goes for all writers!
Frank - yes, more of the radio dream being on your podcast :-)