Crime fiction makes money. It may be harder for writers to get published, but crime is doing better than most of what we like to call CanLit. It's elementary, plot-driven, character-rich story-telling at its best.
These days, my subjects are murder and mayhem and other terrible things that happen to people - things that are even worse than cutting yourself shaving. And these are not the sorts of things you feel the need to experience before you write about them.
Al Gore, the former vice-president of the United States, lives in a mansion that uses more electricity than the average family's bungalow! David Suzuki rides on a bus that uses more fuel than a Smart car to get across Canada! Oh my God! And this is just the tip of the vanishing iceberg!
I was born in Darien, Connecticut, but in 1959, when I was four, my parents moved to the suburbs of Toronto. Then, in the late 1960s, they bought a cottage in a resort/trailer park in the Kawarthas region of Ontario, and we moved up there. I wrote a book about it in 2000 called 'Last Resort: Coming of Age in Cottage Country.
Once I have a hook I think has potential - enough to spin out more than a hundred thousand words, then I start turning my attention to characters. Who are these people? Why did this thing happen to them? But the hook always comes first.
It's one thing, holding open the door for someone at a grocery store, or the library, or just about anyplace else. But the doughnut shop is a different thing altogether. This is a get-in-and-out-as-fast-as-you-can operation. There's no room for courtesy or chivalry here.
Switching over to a hybrid car is one of those right things, but, unfairly or not, it still has a reputation among car enthusiasts as something you have to pedal really fast when you're on the ramp merging into traffic on the 401.
Once you come up with a premise, you have to work out how it all happened. It's a bit like coming up with a spectacular roof design first. Before you can get it up there, you need to build a solid foundation and supporting structure.