After a nice day of workshop and panels, the guests of the Wild Writer Literary Festival were invited in a local pub for a night of mystery. Between a great panel of suspense writers (Andrew Piper, Mary Jackman, Brad Smith) animated by David Worsley of Words Worth Books and the live jazz of the Joni NehRita Quartet, the evening was promising.
David Worsley: Were you a crime writer early on?
Mary Jackman: I am Liz Walker, my main character. The novel is about my restaurant and the people I would like to kill. So I started writing what I know. I work with great people, they're a treasure of true characters.
DW: Is Virgil Cain always in trouble? Is he unlucky?
Brad Smith: I know a guy like Cain. He likes to say "I don't know if trouble finds me or if I find me." In the case of Cain, I think it finds him. The cocaine story of the second novel was inspired by a true story.
DW: Is Demonologist related to Milton and his image of Satan?
Andrew Piper: Demonologist is a thriller. I had been wanting to write a scary story for a long time but I wanted to write about something better than escape. I read a lot of possession and ghost stories. Hauntings come in times of emotional downs. Emotions are the reason they can happen. In Demonologist, the demon also haunts for emotions; it isn't arbitrary, it's emotionally motivated. The characters on both sides are plagued by depression, which creates a bridge between demons and humans.
Editorially, people liked the idea, but my different publishers say different things: US= more Milton, UK= less Milton, Canada = meh.
DW: Is Liz's story a series in the making?
MJ: I'm having a hard time with the third book. I want to keep the character alive but I can't answer for now. Daniel is a combination of many chefs I've employed over the years, but they're all nuts. They're all artists so you have to worship them. The main character, Liz, doesn't like to cook.
DW: Not many restaurant owners write books, so the perspective is different.
MJ: Most restaurant owners don't write books; most go home to cry. Seriously, if you like to write, you'll find time. I write books peppered with elements from reality.
DW: Demonologist is not a crime novel. Where do bookstores put the book?
AP: On the best-seller table! I don't care where it gets put, categories are not ground for disqualification; readers see through genres now. I'd like to move past a genre define literature. We use categories when we don't even know what they mean.
DW: Could you have written this novel ten years back?
The book is about a missing daughter. When you have kids, you care less about yourself, so that's the worst thing possible for a parent. If you want to want to write a scary story, scare yourself.
DW: Name a writer you like that nobody knows about.
MJ: I don't really have an answer. However, right now, I'm reading LeCarré's Smiley's People.
AP: Come Closer, by Sarah Grant.
BS: Peter Temple, The Broken Shore. He's Australian.