Authors, teachers, business-women, and so much more…
Our own Joan O’Callaghan presents a series of interviews with each of our Mesdames.
D.J. (Dorothy) McIntosh left her professional job to carve out a career as an author. It took almost ten years to research and write her novel, The Witch of Babylon but it’s now been released in North America and has sold in twenty countries around the world.
The novel was chosen by Amazon.ca as one of the best books of the year and by CNN International as one of six enduring historical thrillers along with notable writers like Agatha Christie, Umberto Eco and Dan Brown.
JO: What have you written?
DM: Two novels: The Witch of Babylon and The Book of Stolen Tales, in addition to several short stories.
JO: When did you start writing?
DM: I discovered in elementary school how much I loved writing but it wasn’t until I left my profession after twenty years as a city planner, that I went back to my old love. I began with a short story in 1997.
JO: Why write mysteries?
DM: Crime novels provide a great platform for a very wide range of themes and so they enable me to explore ideas and history in my own writing but within the context of a strong, narrative driven work. The endless variety of the many sub genres of crime writing within a highly entertaining format has always attracted me in both my reading and my own writing.
JO: Why do you think people like to read mysteries?
DM: I think readers like engrossing page turners and worlds they can easily escape into.
JO: Is there a favourite place you like to write or ritual you go through when writing?
DM: My favourite place to write is on the back deck of my cottage. No distractions (other than the blue jays and chippies), easier to concentrate and peaceful.
JO: How do you balance writing with the demands of a day job and/or family?
DM: My daughter is all grown up and I no longer have a 9-5 office job, so I’m in the fortunate position of being able to devote myself to my full time job as an author.
JO: What awards or other forms of recognition have you received for your writing?
DM: The Witch of Babylon was a Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger finalist and it won the Arthur Ellis Award for best unpublished novel.
JO: What are you working on now?
DM: The third book in the Mesopotamian series of antiquity thrillers featuring New York art dealer John Madison. In the new book John discovers his true birth story.
JO: As a writer, what is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
DM: I’ve received much good advice over the years and it’s hard to pick out one particular statement as being better than another. What I would say is that the review process of input from my editor, Adrienne Kerr, has been invaluable and helped me to hone my craft.
JO: What do you like about being one of the Mesdames?
DM: My thirteen colleagues of course! Many of whom I’ve known for years and are very good friends.
JO: Is there anything you’d like to add?
DM: A thank you to Mesdames for tirelessly promoting our work.
In 2011, D.J. McIntosh took the book world by storm with her debut novel, The Witch of Babylon. Praised for its “stellar research” and “superb writing”, it introduced readers to John Madison, a rakish New York art dealer with a past, who uncovered a fabulous treasure trove of antiquities in the hills outside of Baghdad and the truth behind a famous story long believed to by a myth.
In the highly anticipated sequel, The Book of Stolen Tales, New York art dealer John Madison travels to London to purchase at auction a rare seventeenth-century Italian book of fairy tales for an anonymous client. Before he can deliver it to the buyer, he is robbed by a mysterious man claiming to be the book’s author.
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.
Joan’s story Runaway was a runner-up for the 2014 Bony Pete Story Awards. It will appear in the anthology World Enough And Crime, to be released Fall, 2014 (Carrick Publishing).