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As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was a child, the thing I most wanted to be when I grew up was a grown up. It’s a natural desire. From a child’s point of view, an adult can do whatever they like. Then you become and adult and learn the world doesn’t work that way.
What I didn’t dream of becoming was a writer. I’ve been one since was eleven or twelve. That’s when I discovered real control over life, death and everything in between. I didn’t think of writing as a career, mind you. Writing was just something I was going to do while travelling and saving the world. I was going to save children younger than myself from deadly danger. I was going to be sent into an alternate universe where Kirk, Spock and especially McCoy were real. I was going to travel back in time and give women’s lib a leg up in the old west. I never dreamed of being rescued by Prince Charming. I was the one doing the rescuing.
Simply put, what I really wanted to be when I grew up was a hero.
What group did you hang out with in high school?
By the time I got to high school, it was obvious that I was not destined to be the usual type of hero. I wasn’t a jock, a brain or a member of the self-styled elite that belonged to the sorority or fraternity. I was popular only in a small set of students who also didn’t fit into any of the cool groups. We were the Odd Bunch. We didn’t even have much in common with each other besides being outsiders.
How did you start your writing career?
As I mentioned, I didn’t think of writing as a potential career when I was a kid. It wasn’t until I was in the midst of my first original (not shared world) novel that I seriously thought I might get paid for writing. Unfortunately, I lost that first novel in the women’s washroom at college. After that, I thought I’d try short fiction. That way, if I lost a manuscript, it wouldn’t be so heartbreaking.
One novella and three rejections later, I concluded that I wasn’t good enough to do more than amuse my friends and confound my family with my stories. Then, when I switch to a BA program at University of Guelph, I fell into my first writing job. I was part of a team of three women hired to write a handbook for women’s centres. The team leader was a former Pan Am athlete who organized our time and tasks, including getting us out to the Athletics Centre to work out every day. I did most of the writing and rewriting with our third partner doing the editing.
I learned a lot during the editing process. One of the things I learned was to never use the phrase “a lot” in nonfiction writing.
After a brief career as a comic book store manager, following an even briefer career as an optical technician, I was asked the most important question in my career.
“What do you write?”
“What do you want written?” I said.
Those few words were my turning point. It was the real start of my writing career.
What was the scariest moment of your life?
All kinds of things scare me and I am remarkably good at scaring other people. I think the two go hand-in-hand. Once the threat (real or imagined) passes, it goes from being scary to grist for the writing mill. My scariest moments are the ones that haven’t happened yet.
Here’s one of my past moments.
When I was twenty-two, I decided to hitchhike across Canada. I took a bus to Sudbury and started hitchhiking from there. On my first night, I camped in a field. It was a mostly sleepless night. It was much colder than I was used to spring being, having grown up in Southern Ontario. I worried I’d freeze to death overnight. If that didn’t happen, the biker gang I could hear circling my tent would kill me in my sleep.
In the morning, I discovered that I had set my tent up in a vacant lot in the midst of a new housing development. My bikers, judging be the track in snow, were made by three-wheeled sports vehicle probably driven by teen who then headed over to the nearby MacDonald’s.
I wasn’t much of a hero that night, but I was every bit the storyteller. The next day I parlayed that tale and others into a lunch, dinner and a hotel room for the night.
What books have most influenced your life?
I have always been an avid reader. This should almost go without saying because you can’t write if you don’t read.
In my science fiction phase, Robert A. Heinlein used to drive me crazy. I’d come up with a great idea for a story only to find he’d done it long before me.
On the other hand, Louis L’Amour inspired me, not so much by his stories (though I loved to read them) but by his writing about writing. L’Amour wrote to entertain. There might be historical or moral lessons to be gleaned, but he saw himself as a storyteller first and foremost.
Yes, I know. I haven’t mentioned a specific book yet.
Long before I discovered Heinlein and L’Amour, I was reading Georgette Heyer’s historical novels. She got me interested in history—especially social history. Her books were well-researched but, with a few exceptions, all that research was used to immerse you in the world she was writing about, not to teach. My favourite novel, and the one that had the biggest impact on my writing, is The Grand Sophy.
Sophy leaves the military and government circles of Waterloo to enter the haute ton of Regency London. Her father has foisted her on her aunt’s family while goes to Brazil, saying that Sophy is a sweet little thing and won’t cause the family any trouble. Sophy turns out to be far from little and she causes a great deal of trouble while getting her younger cousins out of trouble and her older cousin out of an engagement that will make the family, if not him, miserable.
This is the kind of heroine I want to read and write about. She is smart, talented and courageous, but not perfect. Her independent streak gets her in trouble, but also out of it. While those around her fall into fits of angst when love goes wrong, she has a sense of humour and practical streak about matters of the heart.
What book are you reading now?
Currently I’m in the process of catching up with the new releases of author friends of mine. I’m also reading nonfiction, partly for pleasure and partly for research. (Loving research is a handy thing for an author.) However, all this talk of the Grand Sophy makes me want to read it again. Now just to choose between the hardcover edition or the paperback.
ABOUT THE BOOK
by Alison Bruce
Kate recently inherited half her father’s private investigation company and a partner who is as irritating as he is attractive. Kate has been avoiding Jake Carmedy for years, but now her life might depend on him.
Kate and Jake are on the hunt for a serial cat killer who has mysterious connections to her father’s last police case. Kate’s father had been forced to retire when he was shot investigating a domestic disturbance. Is the shooter back for revenge? And is Kate or Jake next?
“Have you been up all night going through Joe’s stuff? You should get some help with that so you don’t dwell on it so much.”
I wanted to snap at him. It was my job. I was his daughter and executor of his estate. Magnus would round up a posse when it was time to move things, but it was my job to sort through the remains of my father’s life.
Before I started to rant, I did a mental check and decided that it wasn’t an appropriate response. Some of my feelings must have shown judging by the expression on Carmedy’s face.
He shook his head.
“I’d order you back to bed if I thought it would work.”
I forced my tired eyebrows to rise.
“I am the senior partner. And you’re the one who put my name above yours on the door.”
I looked at the mistletoe. Peace. It would be a lot easier to maintain if we collaborated instead of butting heads.
I took my coffee to the couch. This was where my father seated clients when he wanted to make them feel comfortable. I curled up at one end of the three-seater. Carmedy sat at the other end.
“I was going through one of Dad’s case files. I knew that his last police case involved domestic violence. I remember reading the papers at the time. There were conflicting reports of the incident depending, I suppose, on who provided the information to which reporter. I tried to sort it out while we waited for my father to come out of surgery. I figured I’d come up with a theory and Dad would tell me if I was right or not.”
“Assuming he knew. Trauma often causes the victim to block out events immediately before, during and after the event.”
Sometimes I forgot that Carmedy was a combat veteran and had been through his own medical and emotional trauma.
“You’re right. Like my father said after the surgery, we constantly train for the moment we hope will never come, when we need to act without thinking about it. And a good job too.”
“He said all that after surgery?”
“I didn’t say how long after surgery.”
Carmedy smiled back. I wondered if I could get the florist to source me fresh mistletoe year round.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Alison Bruce has had many careers and writing has always been one of them. Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison has also been a comic store manager, small press publisher, webmaster and arithmetically challenged bookkeeper. She is the author of mystery, romantic suspense and historical western romance novels. Three of her novels have been finalists for genre awards.
http://www.alisonbruce.ca (author and business website)
https://www.facebook.com/alisonbruce.books (author page)
http://alisonebruce.blogspot.ca (author blog)
Alison Bruce is also a regular contributor to:
Pop Culture Divas: http://www.thepopculturedivas.com
Cowboy Kisses: http://cowboykisses.blogspot.com
Alison Bruce will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway