About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Questions and Answers with Caroline Woodward

Earlier this week I posted a review of Showdown at Border Town by Caroline Woodward, a teenage Ottawa author. On Tuesday I put up a post setting out how she won a contest from Fireside Publishing to write the book. After reading the book I wrote to Caroline and put forward some questions that she kindly answered. I am impressed by her writing, her email reply and her answers to my questions. I am putting up her entire reply and inserting in bold the questions I asked her. She has a bright future before her.
Hi again,

Here are my answers. Thank you so much for profiling me on your blog. It's much appreciated!

1) Many writers have multiple personal and writing commitments. What responsibilities do you have to balance?

Mainly, I've had to balance being a high school student and writing a book. At my school, I'm involved in the environmental club and the debate club. I'm also enrolled in a specialized Literary Arts Program, where we do a whole variety of creative writing. This meant that while writing the book, I always had other writing assignments on the go too.

2) Writers write in different places at different times. Where and when did you write Showdown?

I wrote the majority of Showdown during the summer of 2011, working up in my room, at the dining room and often times on the back deck (I ended up with a pretty good tan as a result!)

3) Was there an event or a time in your life that you can identify that said you were going to be a writer?

I don't think I ever formally decided I wanted to write. But I do remember working on one of my very first short stories in Grade 8 and realizing "hey, I like to write."

4) Most authors have to look back decades in their lives to recall the voices of teenage characters. It was only a handful of years since you were 13 but the teenage characters of your book live 63 years ago. Their voices sounded authentic to me. Did you do any research on how teenagers in 1950 were speaking?

It was a lot of fun to learn about 1950 and about what kids would have been like at that time. Wanting to make it authentic, I watched movies from the 50s, read up on the trends and talked with people who were kids during that time. My grandparents told me a lot of details about the 1950s, like about clothing styles, meals and slang.

5) When my sons were teenagers in the late 1990’s most of their friends had little interest in Canadian history. What drew you to writing a historical adventure of a teenage future Prime Minister?

I'm very interested in both Canadian history and Canadian politics, so this seemed like a good match. I think it's really important to understand our country's past. Of course, the credit for the really cool concept -- of combining Prime Ministers and mystery -- goes to Fireside Publishing House. My book is the third in a series which features former prime ministers as kids detectives.

6) Did former Prime Minister, Paul Martin, provide you with information that helped you understand him as a 13 year old? If so, I would interested in any particulars you can share.

Yes, Paul Martin has been really helpful. I talked with him early on in my research and he told me all about his summers at the cottage in Colchester. He told me about the park where he played with his friends, about his love of baseball and about travelling with his father to numerous constituency gatherings. He also connected me with his sister who still lived at the cottage in Colchester. I was fortunate enough to visit her there and hear stories from the perspective of a younger sibling. She talked about their friends at the cottage, specifically mentioning a time where she tossed stones at her brother (I put this scene into the book).

7) Do you like mysteries? If you do, who are your favourite authors and why are they your favourites?

I definitely like mysteries. When I was younger, I adored Nancy Drew Novels -- and was inspired by them for my own book. Currently, I'm enjoying the stories of Sherlock Homes. They're such fun reads because they're griping and have so many unexpected twists.




  1. Bill - Thank you for sharing such an interesting interview! Caroline is indeed a talented writer with quite a bright future. I respect the way she researched as she wrote; that lends authenticity to a story. And anyone who grew up loving Nancy Drew has started off well as far as I'm concerned ;-)

  2. Bill, just a short note to say thank you for your outstanding three-part blog series on our third book in the Leaders & Legacies series. It's through forums likes this and through good word of mouth that we can make this series a success in homes and schools across Canada. Thanks again,

    Roderick Benns
    Fireside Publishing House

  3. Margot: Thank you for the comment. My sister equally loved Nancy Drew when she was a girl. I also appreciate you mentioning this blog and the series in a post on Young Adult crime fiction. It can be found on your blog, Confessions of a Mystery Novelist, at http://margotkinberg.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/im-young-now-im-wild-now-and-im-free/

  4. Roderick: Thanks for the kind words. Leaders & Legacies is a concept I admire and consider important for our nation.