Authors are often faced with whether to set their novel in their own backyard so to speak, do a fictionalized place loosely based on their city or town, or create an entirely fictional town or city.
I tend to do a little of both. I have lived most of my life in Toronto, Ontario Canada. In fact I grew up here. So I know a little about some of Toronto’s past. I’m back in Toronto now – for the past 20 years – but I lived just north of Toronto in Aurora, Ontario for 23 years.
Two of my Beyond mystery books have settings in Toronto. Most of the short stories in Beyond the Tripping Point are set in Toronto – from 1965 to present day – not exactly historical, but still Toronto. In the two Beyond novels, Beyond Blood and Beyond Faith, my two main characters, fraternal twins Dana Bowman and Bast Overture set their private investigator agency just north of Toronto – in the fictitious Thurston and Cooks Region – loosely based on Aurora and Newmarket and York Region – so far around the time I lived in Aurora. But Beyond Faith has several scenes with both PIs in Toronto as it was in 1999. And the next book, Beyond Truth (still being researched and written) will have much of it set in Toronto.
What is interesting to me is how and why writers, particularly mystery writers,set their novels in Toronto. (Okay, I am partial to Toronto). And the research they do. Five of us Crime Writers of Canada authors are going to discuss this on a panel April 18. Here are the details and there should be links to their – make that “our” (disclaimer here – yes, I’m on this panel and honoured to be with the other four).
Hogtown Homicides: Setting it in Toronto
Frequently Canadian authors have been told to set their stories in some generic or easily recognizable city in the US, to guarantee sales. Well, this panel has successfully defied those voices and set their works in a very recognizable Toronto. Presented by Sisters in Crime Toronto in conjunction with their friends at Crime Writers of Canada, Here is the powerhouse panel who loves Toronto.
- Desmond P. Ryan (Police Procedurals) — Moderator
- Maureen Jennings (Historical Mystery)
- Lisa de Nikolits (Neo-Noir)
- Sharon A. Crawford (Thrillers)
- Mary Lou Dickinson (Traditional Mystery)
They will discuss their choices, their research, and the subsequent marketing landscape.
Thursday, April 18, 2019, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Location: Northern District Library, 40 Orchard View Blvd., Room 200, Toronto
Sisters in Crime members get in free. Non-members $5.00 at the door.
Check it all out. And if you live in Toronto or nearby (yes, including York Region), why not come to this presentation and get an earful. We will also have copies of our books to see and sell.