Authors, teachers, business-women, and so much more…
Our own Joan O’Callaghan presents a series of interviews with each of our Mesdames.
Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most varied and prolific crime writers. Her popular Constable Molly Smith series (including In the Shadow of the Glacier and A Cold White Sun) from Poisoned Pen Press has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal.
Joan O’Callaghan interviews author Vicki Delany:
Joan: What have you written?
Vicki: A lot! I have sixteen published novels (so far). I write the Constable Molly Smith series, of which the seventh, UNDER COLD STONE, has just been released, standalone novels of psychological suspense, the Klondike Gold Rush series, and novellas for Rapid Reads — an adult literacy line.
Joan: When did you start writing?
Vicki: About fifteen years ago. I was still working full time and had children at home, but I wanted to write so I took a few courses in creative writing at Sheridan College.
Joan: Why write mysteries?
Vicki: Because I read them! I write what I want to read.
Joan: Why do you think people like to read mysteries?
Vicki: Crime novels, it has been said, show the human psyche under pressure.
Crime novels take (usually) normal people and put them through a heck of a lot. Some survive, some do not. Physically as well as mentally or morally.
Crime novels allow the reader to ask him or herself: what would I do in this situation? What would I do if this happened to me? How far would I go to save my child/defeat my enemy/get revenge/save myself? What would I do for money/for love?
Would I do the right thing, or would I fail?
I believe people want to read about ordinary people living ordinary lives, facing extra-ordinary conflicts and tragedies.
It’s through the lens of the crime novel that we can explore people under extreme pressure. The use of a crime or a mystery allows the author to up the stakes for the characters, but the essential humanity and the complex range of human emotions are what’s all-important.
Joan: Is there a favourite place you like to write or ritual you go through when writing?
Vicki: I get up every morning, seven days a week. I go to my main computer in my office, and read e-mails, read the papers online, spend a bit of time on Facebook or Twitter.
Then it’s time to start to write. I walk into the dining room and stand at my Netbook computer which is on the half-wall between the kitchen and the dining room and boot it up. As I pass through the kitchen, I put one egg on to boil.
I always write, standing up, on the Netbook. I read over everything I did the previous day, doing a light edit as I go. I then take my egg into the study and eat it while checking email.
Then back to the small computer for several writing hours.
Joan: How do you balance writing with the demands of a day job and/or family?
Vicki: I am lucky enough to now be a full-time writer. In the early days, when I was working full time and had children living at home, I just took it slowly. I read and I wrote when I got the chance and continued taking courses in creative writing.
Joan: What awards or other forms of recognition have you received for your writing?
Vicki: My books have received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Library Journal. They have been praised by writers such as Louise Penny, Julia Spencer-Fleming, and Susanna Kearsley, among others. A Winter Kill was short-listed for an Arthur Ellis award for best novella, and Gold Web was short-listed for a Bony Blythe for best light mystery.
Joan: What are you working on now?
Vicki: Something brand new. I have a three book contract with Penguin Obsidian for a cozy series set in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The first book is titled BY BOOK OR BY CROOK, and is written under my pen name of Eva Gates. It will be out in February.
Joan: As a writer, what is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Vicki: Read. To be a writer, says Stephen King, you have to read and you have to write. Read, and read a lot. It’s the only way you are going to learn the craft of writing.
Joan: What do you like about being one of the Mesdames ?
Vicki: The friendship and camaraderie.
Joan: Is there anything you’d like to add?
Vicki Delany is the author of the popular Constable Molly Smith series (including In the Shadow of the Glacier and A Cold White Sun) from Poisoned Pen Press, as well as the Klondike Gold Rush mysteries from Dundurn, and standalone novels of Gothic Suspense also from Poisoned Pen Press.
Joan O’Callaghan is the author of educational books and short stories, including Sugar ‘N’ Spice in the anthology THIRTEEN (Carrick Publishing, 2013). Her short story George is available for e-readers everywhere, including Amazon Kindle.