I am in the process of reading and reviewing the shortlist for the 2016 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel.
After reading The Storm Murders and Hungry Ghosts I was struck that both involved cross-border mysteries.
That led me to reflect on the number of Canadian authors who have cross-border stories.
Both your Russell Quant and Adam Saint series see the heroes in each book partly in Saskatchewan and partly in other parts of the world.
Other authors such as Ian Hamilton (the Ava Lee books) and Howard Shrier (Jonah Geller) also set their books in both Canada and other places.
You have previously indicated to me it is more difficult to have a published series set in a location such as Saskatchewan.
I would appreciate any comments, personally or generally, on whether the use of cross-border stories are simply inspiration by Canadian writers or whether they are "encouraged" by publishers to have settings in and out of Canada in their books.
I am looking forward to the publication of your new book.
Bill,Although I have certainly had numerous colleagues tell me of being heavily encouraged to change their settings (specifically from Canada to the U.S.) to appeal to a broader market, I can only publicly comment on my own experience. With both the Quant and Saint books, the multiple settings simply reflect my personal choice and desire to join together my love of writing with my love for both Saskatchewan and travel.
Writing about Saskatchewan is both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is in attracting readers unfamiliar with Saskatchewan and even Canada in general. Readers like to read about the familiar and characters and places they can relate to.
People love to see themselves in the books they read. My view and hope has always been that such challenges may be overcome through aggressive marketing and simply writing a good story.
Paradoxically, the opportunity comes from the same source: writing about a place so few people know about. Many readers love to read about the unknown, to learn, to experience something new through reading. In a way, my Saskatchewan settings are what set my two series apart, which can be a very good thing if you take advantage of it.
My new book, Set Free, will not have a Saskatchewan setting, with most of the action taking place in Boston and Morocco. This will be my first published work without an obvious Saskatchewan tie.
This choice was, again, my own. At this point in my career, fifteen plus years in, I am seeking creative challenge and change, and this is one of them. For Set Free, a stand-alone, the settings I chose 'felt right' for the story I wanted to tell. I've still incorporated some of my travel experiences, having travelled to Morocco, but I'm investigating writing main characters who do not have the prairie background which I am so familiar with.
That being said, I never say never, and may be back to writing a Saskatchewan set story next time around.