Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Me, Myself, and...Why? by Cathy Ace

CRAFT: We are living in interesting times. How have social unrest, and societal perception shifts, changed your work?

To be honest, because of what I’m writing at this time, I don’t think it’s made much difference at all. I hope/believe that’s not because I’m insensitive to the turmoil and tragedy that’s being experienced on both the personal and societal level around the globe, but, rather, it’s due to the fact that what I write truly exists independently of current events in the real world. Also, not every story is mine to tell; I have a tough enough time trying to get the voice of a working class Welsh woman who’s migrated to Canada heard (and, yes, you’re right, I could be talking about either Cait Morgan or Cathy Ace with that statement) let alone speak on behalf of others whose stories are equally less listened to/accepted.

At the moment I’m focused on the tenth Cait Morgan Mystery which will be published on June 3rd. No, “focused” is the wrong word…I’m currently completely immersed in the book, as I should be, because it’s a big deal for me. The Cait Morgan Mysteries are traditional, closed circle, puzzle plot mysteries, with a contemporary setting. There’s no gore, sex, or foul language on the page – so already you know I’m not dealing with the real world. There’s also a denouement at the end of each book which allows our professor of criminal psychology/foodie/sleuth to unmask the killer/s with a flourish, allowing us to all settle down to sleep knowing justice has been served, and there will be comeuppances. Again – if there were any doubt in your mind, this should confirm that I write fiction.

My Kindle reader - full of books that are about un-reality

I know the real world doesn’t operate this way, but the worlds I create in my Cait Morgan Mysteries do. That’s not to say I believe my readers don’t understand, or have knowledge about, the way the world really is – no, I believe my readers are intelligent, well-informed people, who gather their insights about the global political and societal issues of the day by methods of their choice; they will each have their own views about what they are experiencing (which will differ enormously, depending on where in the world they live) and what they see happening in the rest of the world.

All of that being said, I will mention one specific topic: the pandemic. Yes, I dared to type that word. A year ago, there was a flurry of commentary/discussion about just how authors would “cope with” the pandemic…not in terms of how we’d manage to survive it with bookstores and libraries closing their doors (though there was a fair amount of terror in that regard) but in terms of how we’d include it in our work, if at all.

My exact view when the pandemic was confirmed

I was sitting on a cruise ship in the Caribbean (yes, I know…lucky me) when the world went into lockdown, and the book I had published in June 2020 reflected that fact only within the Acknowledgements section. Cait Morgan Mystery #10, The Corpse with the Iron Will, has been written since the pandemic was recognized. It doesn’t mention the pandemic, nor will any of the Cait books. But…for the first time ever…Cait Morgan has a murder to solve that’s almost literally on her doorstep, because I wanted to write a book that – while not being a “pandemic” book in any way – allowed me the opportunity to consider the meaning of “home”, “security”, and “community” through the eyes of my characters. I’ve been much more fortunate than most in my experience of the period of March 2020-May 2021, but I know I’m not alone in realizing that the concepts of “home, security, and community” have a different tonal quality in 2021 than in early 2020 – and I think that shift in perception will persist for many, for a long time. So that’s what I’ve tackled in this book, but from the perspective of a Welsh Canadian professor of criminal psychology facing a puzzling death next door, rather than from the perspective of a Welsh Canadian author facing a global pandemic.

You can pre-order THE CORPSE WITH THE IRON WILL now: click here to link to        

And you still have a month left to catch up on any of the first nine books you might have missed: click here


Susan C Shea said...

What a smart observation and theme to have taken during these difficult times, Cathy.

Cathy Ace said...

Thanks Susan - we each take the path we feel best suits us, and our circumstances :-)

Josh Stallings said...

“ realizing that the concepts of “home, security, and community” have a different tonal quality in 2021 than in early 2020.” So true and tackling a wold shifting event in the micro is why I love reading fiction. Big events as back drop or not don’t pull me in, it’s subtle ways we deal with and how they change us the keeps me turning the page.