Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Gail Bowen

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Ten Questions with Gail Bowen

Gail Bowen’s Joanne Kilbourn mysteries have made her one of Canada’s most popular crime writers. Bowen has also written five plays that have been produced across Canada, and several of her mysteries have been made into TV movies starring Wendy Crewson as Joanne. The launch for her latest Joanne Kilbourn mystery, The Brutal Heart (McClelland & Stewart), is on Thursday, September 4 at Sleuth of Baker Street. See our events page for details.

OB:

Tell us about your latest book, The Brutal Heart.

GB:

Early in the novel, Joanne Kilbourn’s husband asks, “Who was it that said that it’s the loose ends of our lives that hang us?” The Brutal Heart explores an intricate tangle of threads involving call girls, politics and betrayal that ends some lives and threatens others.

OB:

How did you research your book?

GB:

The political part was easy. I’ve been involved in electoral politics throughout my adult life, so I knew about how campaigns work and how political operatives think. Research into the life of calls girls was more complex. I was lucky to find some useful and instructive websites and to meet some complex and interesting women who were willing to talk about their lives as professional escorts

OB:

Tell us about your protagonist, Joanne Kilbourn.

GB:

There is nothing extraordinary about Joanne and I think that may explain why so many readers have been drawn to her. She’s intelligent and passionate; her family, friends and career are important to her. She celebrates the pleasures of everyday life and compassionate in her assessment of others. In short, Joanne Kilbourn is as flawed and as decent as most of us.

OB:

What was your first publication?

GB:

1919: The Love Letters of George and Adelaide, co-written with Ron Marken.

OB:

If you had to choose three books as a “Welcome to Canada” gift, what would those books be?

GB:

Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson and Barney’s Version by Mordecai Richler

OB:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

GB:

Any place I can look out a window and see life going on around me.

OB:

What are you reading right now?

GB:

Genius by Harold Bloom

OB:

Describe the most memorable response you’ve received from a reader.

GB:

Many times readers will tell me that the Joanne Kilbourn series helped them through a bad patch in their lives. That’s a great reward.

OB:

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a writer?

GB:

Ernest Hemingway’s maxim: never leave your writing at a bad spot – it makes it tough to come back to your typewriter.

OB:

What is your next project?

GB:

I’m working on the 12th (!!!!) Joanne Kilbourn novel. I find this amazing. I’m also working on a screenplay about the bears of Churchill and a kids' play about the last of the Galapagos tortoises.

The Brutal Heart Read more about The Brutal Heart by Gail Bowen at the McClelland & Stewart website.

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