Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Vicki Delany and Crime Writers of Canada

Friend and author, Vicki Delany, is the President of Crime Writers of Canada. I'm sure most of you don't know as much about that organization as you do about Mystery Writers of America. So, Vicki agreed to an interview so we could discuss the organization. Thank you, Vicki!

Lesa - Vicki, Even though you and I have known each other for over six years, would you re-introduce yourself to my readers?

Vicki - Thanks, Lesa. As Vicki Delany, I have (to date) 16 published books. I write the Constable Molly Smith series, a police procedural set in small-town British Columbia; standalone novels of psychological suspense; the Klondike Gold Rush books; and novellas for reluctant readers, including Juba Good, shortlisted for a 2015 Arthur Ellis award. As Eva Gates, I have a new focus as a cozy writer, author of the Lighthouse Library Series from NAL/Penguin, the first of which is By Book or By Crook.  Even as Vicki I have gone over to the light side, and am writing the Year-Round Christmas mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen will be out in November.  Molly Smith #8 will be out in February, with the title Unreasonable Doubt.

Lesa - I recently interviewed Donna Andrews about Mystery Writers of America. You're currently president of the CWC, Crime Writers of Canada (www.crimewriterscanada.com). What does the CWC do?

Vicki - CWC is the Canadian association for professional crime writers. Our mandate is:

…to promote Canadian crime writing and to raise the profile of Canadian crime writers with readers, reviewers, librarians, booksellers, and media. 

We do much the same as the MWA does, promote our members and the genre of crime writing, but we have the added challenge of trying to make Canadian readers, booksellers, and media acknowledge the importance, not to mention the quality, of Canadian crime books. Yes, here in our own country we struggle to get recognition and credit. It has been known more than once for a major media outlet to discuss what’s happening in the world of mysteries or devote space to reviews, without mentioning a single Canadian writer or a book set in Canada.  So we try hard to get them to first notice us, 
second read us.  Librarians, I have to add, have always been keen supporters of Canadian mystery and crime writing.

Lesa - I love your Cool Canadian Crime catalogue, http://www.crimewriterscanada.com/images/stories/PDF-docs/ccc-annual.pdf.Tell us about it, please.

Vicki - Cool Canadian crime fits perfectly into our mandate. It is an up-to-date catalogue of our members' books.  It comes out quarterly, listing all the new books by our members for the current quarter, and annually (in March) with all the year’s books that we are aware of.  The annual is also updated throughout the year as more information comes in.  We’ve found CCC to be hugely popular with readers, libraries, and many bookstores. Anyone can access it from our web page, and those who are so inclined can subscribe to receive the current issue directly into their email inbox when it is ready.

Lesa - Why do you think it's so hard to promote Canadian crime writing?

Vicki - First, let’s distinguish Canadian writing from Canadian-set books.  There are several bestselling Canadian mystery authors who set their books in other countries, and do very well. They seem to have no problem at all achieving success in the local and international market.

But books set in Canada is another story.  Readers of Lesa’s Book Critiques are very well informed I know, but I’d guess that most British or American mystery readers can’t name a Canadian mystery by anyone other than Louise Penny.  It’s been speculated that Canada is considered too boring to have interesting crime (sadly, in real life that’s not true) or that Canada is not considered exotic enough for the reader who likes to travel in their books.  I can’t help but think that the fact that we can’t even get recognition or respect from our own media (see my point above) or our own ‘literary’ community, doesn’t inspire others to respect us either!


Lesa - Many of my readers may know about the Edgar or Agatha awards. Tell us about the Arthur Ellis awards.

Vicki - The Arthurs are our award for excellence in crime writing, given every year by the CWC.  
They are named for Arthur Ellis, which was the nom-de-travaille of Canada’s official hangman. (Back when we had one).  Thus the award is a hanging figure made of wood.  The award is open to Canadian citizens, regardless of where they live, or permanent residents of Canada.  The categories are: Best Crime Novel; Best First Crime Novel; Best Novella; Best Short Story; Best Non-fiction Book, Best French Book, and Best Juvenile Crime Book.  We also award the Unhanged Arthur for best unpublished manuscript. These are juried awards, meaning entries have to be submitted by the publisher or the authors, and three judges in each category select the winners. The awards are presented at our gala dinner at the end of May.  This year, on May 28th in Toronto.  The gala is open to the public and anyone who is interested is more than welcome to attend. To find out more, contact info@crimewriterscanada.com. The current short-list is available on our web page at www.crimewriterscanada.com.

Lesa - Is there a role for readers with the CWC?

Vicki - We love readers! We have a membership category of Associate Members, for industry professionals such as editors, booksellers, libraries, as well as readers. We don’t have programmes for readers apart from what we offer the general public (readings, author events, etc.) but we very much appreciate their support as well as their membership fees. We do things such as place ads in mystery magazines, or have events at conferences in the US to spread the word about all the CWC and its members have to offer. Everything costs money. It costs us even more money right now as the Canadian dollar is quite low.  

The most important role readers have, is to read us! And tell their friends!


CWC Board members, left to right - Vicki Delany, Linda Wiken, and Cathy Ace

18 comments:

Kay said...

Oh, I enjoyed this interview Lesa! I love Vicki's books and am so happy to know about Molly #8. I could name more than Louise as a Canadian mystery writer, but I know that my mind is the repository of lots of mystery facts. Happily. Thanks for telling us more about the Canadian writers association and pointing us to the catalogue. I'll go and sign up for it. And Stop You're Killing Me has put all those awards on my radar, including the Arthur Ellis award. It's a great place to start, right? I'd love to visit Canada one day and see all these places that I've been reading about. :-)

Vicki Delany said...

You're more than welcome to visit, Kay. We'd love to have you. Mention my name and you'll get a good table. :)

Kevin Philip Thornton said...

Lesa, can I copy this to my blog, with the appropriate links?

Melodie Campbell said...

Wonderful interview, and as the ED of Crime Writers of Canada, I'm delighted you enjoy our catalogue Cool Canadian Crime, Lesa! We also have a newsletter with Author Events each month, that goes out to several thousand members of the public. It's easy to sign up for these on our website: www.crimewriterscanada.com
Many thanks to you and Vicki, for this post.

Libby Dodd said...

Thanks you for extending our education of all things Canada. We sorely need it! Sadly

Pat said...

A very informative interview, thank you. I may not can name many Canadian authors but I have read all of Vicky's Molly Smith series and have her Eva Gates book on my night stand now. Years ago I also read most of Eric Wright's Insp. Charlie Salter series. I am not sure that he is still writing however, and yes, I too have read all of Louise Penny's books. :-)

Now I will look forward to looking at the catalogue you told us about. Thanks.

Lesa said...

Kevin,

Please do run it on your blog. I checked it out - Canadian by choice. I'm sure Vicki and the CWC would be delighted with additional publicity in Canada.

Lesa said...

Loved the catalogue, Melodie! It's so informative. (And, I do read some Canadian authors besides Louise Penny.)

Lesa said...

We do, Libby. The catalogue goes a long way towards that education, though.

Lesa said...

I can't name a lot of them, either, Pat. But, the catalogue helps!

Judy Penz Sheluk, author said...

Thanks Vicki for continuing to promote Canadian Crime Fiction and Thanks Lesa for giving Vicki the opportunity! Great post.

Lesa said...

Judy, I'm glad Vicki asked about it. I thought it was interesting, and, as I said, love the catalogue!

Hilary MacLeod said...

Vicki's an incredibly prolific writer in a variety of styles of murder mystery...and still finds time to be a great promoter for the genre and fellow Canadian writers. Now, if we were only all like her...

Lesa said...

Wouldn't it be great, Hilary, if everyone not only promoted their own books, but fellow writers' as well? Many of you in the crime fiction area do, though. Overall, it's a generous group of people.

Vicki Delany said...

Thanks again, Lesa. And thanks for commenting, people. I have to point one thing out and that is that we represent non-fiction writers and books also. We have several members who write non-fiction and their books can be found in CCC

Lesa said...

Thank you, Vicki. This post has drawn the most traffic of one post in quite a while. It must have caught everyone's attention. Thank you.

Donna Fletcher Crow said...

Vicki, I'm so glad to learn more about CWC. Since our daughter in Calgary is about to give birth to our 5th Canadian grandchild I think you should maker me an honorary member. I did set one book in Canada, but, sadly, it wasn't a mystery.

Lesa said...

Maybe they should make you an honorary member, Donna. Congratulations on that 5th Canadian grandchild!