Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Bridgeman by Catherine Astolfo: Interview: Orangeberry Book Tours



Welcome Catherine.  I’m so pleased with this opportunity to find out a little about you and your work. Thanks so much for stopping by as I have several questions for you.  J  What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? This question surprised me. Or rather, my answer was a shock. I discovered that I am quite a proud person! Aside from personal milestones like my children, I am most proud of winning the Arthur Ellis Best Crime Short Story in Canada and the Derrick Murdoch Award 2012 from Crime Writers of Canada. I’m also proud of writing four books and having them published. I’m proud of the fifth one coming up. I’m proud of…never mind.

What is your favorite food? Pasta! It’s also my downfall. Bread smothered in butter, pasta in any kind of sauce piled high on the plate – they make me swoon. And swell.

What’s your favorite place in the entire world? My favorite place in the entire world is anywhere with my husband, family, friends and my cats near by. I love to travel, adore Manzanillo, Mexico, but I do love coming home.

What inspires you to write and why? The nugget of a story inspires me. For instance, a friend of mine told me about a newspaper article from his small town. A native woman committed suicide after running around a tree in concentric circles. I was fascinated. What was her motivation? Did she think something was chasing her? Was it a demon or a legend-come-to-life? Out of that nugget came my second book, Victim. For me, it’s always the germ of an idea, a piece of a plot that gets me started. I build my characters and plot all around that.

What genre are you most comfortable writing? I consider myself a mystery writer, though my books are not classic mystery or crime. They don’t follow the rules of the genre, but they do have a puzzle to solve. I really deviate from mystery in the fifth book to which I just gave birth. (It’s not out in the world yet.) I’d say it’s bordering on general fiction, since it has elements of romance, psychological thriller, historical fiction and mystery. I just go where the story takes me.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing? My family was—and still is—interesting, raucous, loving and fun. My mother was a huge influence on me. She loved writing, reading and telling stories. I grew up in a small town in Canada that had lots of warts and growing pains as it transformed into a city. At a very young age I became a teacher and that career provided lots of fodder for my imagination.

What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general? I think perseverance is my biggest challenge. It’s similar to a love relationship. In the beginning you’re all excited and the interaction is easy. Then come the more difficult times, in turns boring and frustrating. You get bogged down by detail. If you stick with it, you’ll come out the other side and enjoy your affair once more.

How did you come up with the title? The Bridgeman is named after the lockmaster who first inspired the story. I was fascinated by the anonymity of a worker that most people passed every day but wouldn’t notice. I imagined he was an evil monster who committed atrocities right under our very noses.

Can you tell us about your main character? Emily Taylor is an elementary school principal. She’s an energetic, passionate person who likes people. She’s very much in love with her husband. Unfortunately her life was touched by tragedy in the past. She has to live with a secret that eats at her and distances her from friends. It also propels her to get involved with the first mystery to protect her privacy.

How did you develop your plot and characters? I make plot graphs. Endlessly. Once I have the germ of an idea, I start with the classic opening conflict-rising conflict-crisis-resolution model and map out my story. They’re always evolving, so the graph is a work-in-progress usually until the last chapter. I plug my characters into the plot points, making up catalysts as needed. Next I develop the characters’ background stories, especially their motivations. For The Bridgeman, I began with the story of the lockmaster, an inherently evil man who commits unspeakable acts. I contrast his skewed thinking with my main character, a woman who is inherently good.

Connect with Catherine Astolfo on Facebook & Twitter

Catherine Astolfo retired in 2002 after a very successful 34 years in education. She can recall writing fantasy stories for her classmates in Grade Three, so she started finishing her books the day after her retirement became official. Her short stories and poems have been published in a number of Canadian literary presses. Her story, "What Kelly Did", won the prestigious Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Crime Story in 2012.

In the fall of 2011, she was thrilled to be awarded a four-book contract by Imajin Books for her Emily Taylor Mystery series (previously self-published), and has never been happier with this burgeoning second career!

Catherine's books are gritty, yet portray gorgeous surroundings; they deal with sensitive social issues, but always include love and hope. They're not thrillers, but rather literary mysteries with loads of character and setting.

Winner, Arthur Ellis Best Crime Short Story Award, 2012
Winner, Derrick Murdoch Award, 2012
Winner, Bony Pete Short Story Award, First Prize, 2010
Winner, Bony Pete Short Story Award, Second Prize, 2009
Winner, Brampton Arts Acclaim Award, 2005
Winner, Dufferin-Peel Catholic Elementary Principal of the Year, 2002, the Catholic Principals Council of Ontario.
Winner, Elementary Dufferin-Peel OECTA Award for Outstanding Service, 1998



Buy Now @ Amazon

Genre – Mystery

Rating – 18+

Some secrets can come back to haunt you…

Principal Emily Taylor feels safe in the friendly little town of Burchill—until she finds a body in her school. The murder of caretaker Nathaniel Ryeburn brings back memories she’d rather forget and plunges Emily into a mystery that involves a secret diary, an illegal puppy mill and a murderer innocently disguised as an ordinary citizen.

As fear rips through the traumatized town, Emily’s investigation inadvertently leads the police to her door, and to her husband Langford, who is hiding a secret of his own. It becomes clear to Emily that many of Burchill’s residents are merely wearing masks. And it’s time for those masks to be ripped away…and for a killer’s identity to be revealed.

“A story rich in detail with unexpected twists and turns.” —Meredith Henderson, actress, film producer, poet

“Love and depravity, rebirth and rot, veneer and the real wood underneath—Astolfo brings these opposing forces into play.” —Garry Ryan, author of the Detective Lane Mysteries

“Master storyteller Cathy Astolfo pulls out all the stops as old secrets come back to kill…in this chilling story of twisted desires.” —Lou Allin, author of She Felt No Pain



No comments: