Monday, 13 June 2011

Dancing With Myself: BRENDA CHAPMAN interviews BRENDA CHAPMAN

There's brilliant news for us all over at the evergreen Do Some Damage today. 

I'm particularly proud to have been included in Snubnose's first epublication, Speedloader, but there's much more than that to celebrate.

That cover's amazing, isn't it (expect anything less from the amazing Spinetingler team?)?

There's also news of a couple of future releases and, I must say, they really have gone for gold.

I can't wait.

Pulp Ink news is that the first proof read has taken place - there are a couple of more in the pipeline yet, but we're still heading for an August release date.  That, too, is something to get very excited about.

And they still haven't sold enough of the fund-raising collection, Shaken - Stories For Japan, so perhaps you'll think about checking them out.

Today's dance is with a lady who spans writing for younger audiences as well as adults.  I'm intrigued about the mix, so let's hear from Brenda Chapman:

1. In the last seven years, you've written four books in a mystery series for children, a full-length adult murder mystery, an adult murder mystery for reluctant readers, a novel for young adults set in the Vietnam era and numerous short stories – have you ever thought about settling down?

I've lived in the same house for twenty-seven years, been married to the same man for equally as long, and taken the same bus to work every morning for the last fourteen years. I think that's as much settling down as one woman can take.

2. What did you want to be when you grew up?

My first dream was to become a waitress in a truck stop. My daughter dreamed even bigger as she wanted to become a school crossing guard , but only because they got to wear fluorescent yellow vests. Come to think of it, my other daughter wanted to become a Shriner, wearing a red-tasselled hat who rides around in a little car in parades. You might say that aspiring to greatness runs in my family.

3. What jobs made you to the writer you've become?

Let's see. I spent a summer dressed in red hot pants serving pizza to drunks when the bars closed. I picked this after a week of tree planting in the mosquito-infested bush next to a busload of convicts who were released from jail for work duty. Then, there's also the two summers I spent signing out and re-tipping pool cues in an all-male construction camp. These are not directly tied to writing, but continue to give me fodder.

3. Most of your stories and books concern murder. Any particular reason?

Funny, my husband asks me this same question. However, he's a little more concerned with the number of divorced couples I have sprinkled throughout the books. (I tell him it's all make believe. Nothing at all to worry about.)

In any event, I've always liked the puzzle of a murder, the rising suspense and the interactions when characters are in a time of crisis.

4. If you could spend a week on a desert island with four other authors, who would they be?

My first thought is Johnny Depp. I'm pretty sure he's written something. I would also like to have along Denise Mina, Michael Connelly, Ian Rankin, Stuart Pawson and Harlan Coben . . . oh wait, that's six. I'm hoping this desert island has a pub.

5. The Second Wife is a Rapid Reads novel for reluctant readers. What does this mean?

It’s more of a novelette – 15,000 words with short sentences, simpler vocabulary but adult comprehension. It’s for adults with literacy issues as well as people looking for a quick, entertaining read. My protagonist Gwen Lake is a forty-five year old desk cop who sets out to prove her ex-husband didn’t murder his new wife.

6. And In Winter’s Grip . . . ?

Is a full length murder mystery set in Minnesota in the dead of winter. Maja Cleary must return to her home town of Duved Cove to save her brother from being charged with their father’s murder.

7. What's the best thing a reviewer has written about one of your books?

Mystery Scene Magazine said that my adult murder mystery In Winter's Grip is "not just to be read but to be savored". The Hamilton Spectator also wrote that the dialogue is a treat . . . you feel like a third person at a table for two”.

8. How much stock do you put in reviews?

In this case, a lot.

9. What is next on the horizon?

I have a young adult novel entitled Second Chances being released in spring 2012. It’s more of a coming of age story than a mystery – set in 1971, it’s the story of a fifteen year old girl whose 17 year old cousin comes for the summer. The cousin is in exile from the city for smoking dope, failing grade 13 and dating a much older member of a rock band.

10. Are we circling back to the fodder of your youth?

They say to write about what you know, but I’d add that you should also write about what you can imagine. Every experience and every person you meet is fair game although it’s a good idea to blur the edges if you want to prevent friends from hiding behind trees and throwing rocks when they see you coming. 


  1. Well, we now know that the Tasmanian Devil didn't retire from the movies after all. She (Yes,she. The lady was playing in a drag role all these years)just turned to writing books instead of chasing that damned rabbit around the countryside. My inner and outer child is now screaming I WANT a fez and a tiny car! Thanks a lot for that, Mz. Brenda. Thanks for a smashing interview also.

  2. Oh great interview. My husband has the same concerns about the content of my writing. :)