10 Questions with Janet Brons
1. Ms. Brons, thank you for this opportunity to be interviewed for my blog. A QUIET KILL, comes out on April 8. Tell us a bit more about this book.
Thank you for the opportunity! I actually wrote A QUIET KILL some fifteen years ago, shortly after resigning from the Foreign Service and beginning my consulting career. At that time, I made one half-hearted attempt to have it published by a big publishing firm, (which I don’t even think actually publishes crime fiction), then stuck it in a drawer. A couple of years ago I decided to try again, and here we are.
2. Who are Stephen Hay and inspector Liz Forsyth, and where did you find the inspiration for these characters?
Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Hay and RCMP Inspector Liz Forsyth are my protagonists, who are brought together to investigate the murder of Natalie Guévin, Head of Trade for the Canadian High Commission in London, England. As with all of the characters in this book, these two are complete figments of my imagination. I always loved the English detectives, including Morse, Frost, Barnaby and Lewis, but Hay is modelled on none of these. Liz is also a product of my imagination, although of course all the characters one writes doubtless have bits and chunks and mannerisms that the writer has come across somewhere or another, and married together.
3. Why do you write?
I have always enjoyed writing, although it was usually in a work context. I am a great admirer of the richness of the English language, of good words and phrases. I enjoy writing for the same reasons I enjoy reading I guess.
4. What are your writing habits? Outlines or not?
I haven’t developed any particular habits yet! A QUIET KILL came to me in a blast of inspiration and I largely wrote it in three weeks, writing from morning until night. I’m not sure that sort of thing happens more than once in a lifetime. Working on the second book has been much more difficult, but I try to lock myself into my office for at least an hour a day to write. I’m not big on outlines – I think it’s much more fun to write my characters and then see what they get up to!
5. A word of advice for new writers?
I’m a new writer myself, so it seems a bit presumptuous to be offering advice! I do think, however, that if you actually enjoy the process of writing you will probably turn out a pretty good product. I suppose the other thing would be to read, read, read all the best literature you can get your hands on. The classics can be sources of tremendous inspiration.
6. What are your thoughts on the latest publishing industry developments, mainly the rise of the self-publishing?
This is probably something I haven’t given enough thought to. I suspect it is a confusing time for both publishers and authors, as we try to feel our way forward in a very different world. This, combined with the statistics that show we are reading less as a society, makes it a challenging time. Perhaps, though, the reader is the real winner in all of this, now having more options and formats to choose from.
7. What was it like working for the Canadian foreign service in Moscow?
Fascinating. I worked at the Embassy in Moscow from 1994 to 1996, and as you know, that was during a time of great change in Russia and the Former Soviet Union. It was also exhausting: as if often the case in the Foreign Service we were understaffed at a time when there was a great deal of interest in what was happening there.
8. What have you learned during the process of crafting a novel?
Probably way more than I can write here! One thing is that if you think you’ve finished the perfect manuscript, you have to expect that your editors will doubtless have other ideas!
9. How hard is it for Canadians to sell thrillers in Canada and abroad?
It will be easier to answer that in about six months or so, at which time I would love to be able tell you that, “it’s easy! Everybody wants to read Canadian thrillers and they just fly off the shelves”! So watch this space!
10. What is your next book going to be about?
This will also be crime fiction, and will feature Forsyth and Hay. This time, she has gone back to Ottawa while he has remained in London. They are each investigating homicides, but attempting, somewhat clumsily, to get together again.