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Category Archives: Writing Conferences

The Link Between Mystery and Memoir

Time to get moving with my Beyond mystery novels and my memoir.  At least that is what PI Dana Bowman keeps telling me.  I, not Dana, will be doing just that May 26 at the Maple Leaf Mystery Conference on Zoom, where I am one of four panellists on the Cozy Corner panel. The other panellists are: Diane Bator, Ginger Bolton, and Winona Kent and our moderator is Lynn McPherson.

Of course Dana thinks she co-authored  Beyond Faith. You should just hear her rant at the beginning of one of our Crime Beat Confidential shows on That Channel. She even managed to get Beyond Faith on her bag as shown just below. All II can say is she is a persistent PI and keeps pushing. In other words, she is a pain in the neck.

However, Dana and I do share one thing with my books. Both of us were terrorized by a nun in grade school. I didn’t have the opportunity as an adult to reconnect with my bully nun. Dana did.

In Beyond Faith Dana and her business partner, PI Bast Overture (also her fraternal twin) get stuck with Dana’s nun – Sister Olsen, as a client. The “good’ nun is suspected of killing her brother by pushing him into traffic.  My nun left the convent, got married, had kids, and died. Or so I heard from an old school friend. She is trustworthy so I believe her.

My nun plays a large part in my memoir, The Enemies Within Us. She humiliated me in front of my Grade two class, including whacking me on the nose with a pencil.  She turned apologetic and tried to make up for it by feeding me with cookies after class.

That scene (yes “lifted ” from my life and placed in Beyond Faith)when Dana finally realizes why Sister Olsen looks and sounds familiar even though back in her school days, nuns were still Mother St. Whoever. Same for me, although I’m just over a decade ahead of Dana, something Dana likes to remind me about.

So, this nun is in my memoir but except for my parents, my beloved grandfather and myself, I use pseudonyms – to protect the innocent and the guilty.

And there we have a connection between my mystery novel and my memoir. There are others in The Enemies Within Us that show how murder, mayhem, and mystery converged early in my life. Just imagine a couple of 10-year-olds – myself and a friend – trying to insert themselves into an ongoing local homicide, albeit briefly.

There are more;, but you will have to read the book to find out. A caveat here – my memoir covers a lot of other stuff, including as a child and teen dealing with my dad dying from cancer. This is something I have never been able to fictionalize.. But both Mom and Dad loved to read fiction. And I learned that fiction is a good place to slide into, to jump into, when the pain of life is too harsh – even when people are being murdered.  There It’s not your life.

Or is it? Remember Sister Olsen.

And remember that Maple Leaf Mystery Conference I mentioned earlier? . It is much more than just one panel. There are several more.: And some big name mystery novelists like Maureen Jennings and Ian Rankin making guest appearances. This is a conference for both mystery writers and mystery readers. And they supplied us with a wonderful tote bag.

In a few future posts I will be writing more about this conference – what else it has to offer. For now you can check out  their website

 

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