Today, I’m pleased to host Alison Bruce who is one of those skilled writers who can effortlessly cross genres. She is here to talk about her latest novel, DEADLY LEGACY (Imajin Books), a detective mystery/science fiction suspense set in the near future, as well as writing in general. Alison is also the author of Under A Texas Star, a western/mystery/romance, and she has several other stories almost ready to go.
a. Kate Garrett: Single female seeks mystery-loving male. Race, religion, nationality not an issue. If an issue with him, he's the wrong guy. Must love theatre, but no actors please.
b. Jake Carmedy: Single white, traditional male seeks a pleasant companion for possible romance. Must be understanding about odd hours and long absences.
- Deadly Legacy is a mystery of the PI variety, am I right? What kind of research about private investigators did you do for your book?
Carmedy and Garrett bridge police and private investigation as consulting detectives as well as doing the more usual things that PI's do. My mother loved PI mysteries but she also loved debunking them. She worked with private investigators and knew they neither looked nor acted like the kind you generally see on TV or read in books.
My research into private investigators and police combined web searches and interviews – with the interviews including informal questioning of people I just happened to meet. For instance, my apartment was once used for a stakeout into an insurance case. I wasn't naive enough to think the PI would tell me about the case he was on, but I got plenty of information on the work in general. Another time I met retired PI at a reading. I picked his brain for as long as I could get away with, then recruited him into Crime Writers of Canada.
- How much time do you spend on social media per day, i.e. Twitter, Facebook, your THREE blogs?
I spend about two hours a day on social media – half of that is at least partly for my own amusement or research. Social media is like any kind of networking. You meet people, say hi, see if you have anything in common, then move on if you don't. You try to be friendly with everyone you meet because you never know where it might lead – but also because life is better when you play nice.
The blog I do with twelve other western romance authors, http://cowboykisses.blogspot.ca, is a fine example of how one thing leads to another. I “met” these women on an Amazon discussion group.
“Have laptop will travel” (http://alisonebruce.blogspot.ca/) is my home blog. I also have a blog called Nighthawk Talks (http://nighthawktalk.blogspot.ca/) where my raptor host interviews characters for an imaginary radio show. Oh, and I manage the National Crime Writing Blog for Crime Writers of Canada (http://nationalcrimewritingmonth.blogspot.ca/).
How do you balance your roles of writer, mother, freelance
editing/writing, Assistant Manager of CWC and Arthur Ellis Awards
Really, it's rather like being a centipede. If you think about it too much, your feet get tangled.
- I hear you, Alison! Now that Deadly Legacy is launched, what will be your next project – a sequel to Under A Texas Star, sequel to Deadly Legacy, or something totally different?
I'm working on the next Carmedy and Garrett mystery, and I have the next western plotted out. I also have two completed stand-alone novels waiting in the wings. They need fine tuning, but are complete. Then there's my paranormal suspense series and urban gothic series... Spirits and demons and vampires, oh my!
I have rather eclectic tastes in reading and writing.
- I’ll say! What writer(s) have influenced your choice of genres?
All of these authors have had an influence on me. Louis L'Amour and Georgette Heyer especially influenced Under A Texas Star. Deadly Legacy owes a debt to Sherlock Holmes, the first consulting detective, and Hercule Poirot, his spiritual offspring. When the story came to me, I asked myself, what would consulting detectives be like if they didn't treat the police like idiots? What if their relationship was collaborative?
- Tell us about your writing process. Do you write a structured outline first, or just jump in and let the characters take you along for the ride?
Usually the characters come to me first. Then I start looking for plots to involve them in. I seesaw between characterization and plot building as the story develops. Everything gets put into a story bible to keep things straight.
- What advice would you give to a writer who has finished, edited and polished a first book. What’s the next step?
Then expect to edit and polish it at least twice more when you have a publisher. As to how to get that publisher... NETWORK. It isn't just what you know, but who you know that counts, so get to know people in the business. Create a presence on the internet via Twitter, Facebook etc., and get yourself either a website or blog. Visit other peoples' blogs and “like” their pages and books. Be supportive and people will often reciprocate. If nothing else, you'll be all set up to promote your own books.
- Ask yourself one more question, any question, and answer it!
Yes! I'm one of those people who would write regardless of whether or not I got published – that's why I have so many stories waiting in the wings. But let's face it, we write to be read. It's nice sharing my stories with friends and family. It is a blast knowing that hundreds of people have bought and read my books – and some, at least, have gone back and reread them. Knowing that makes it all worthwhile.
Thanks, Alison, and best of luck with Deadly Legacy and your new works! As well as the blog sites listed above, you can find out more about Alison on her website or on Twitter: