Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ten Questions with Maureen Jennings

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Ten Questions with Maureen Jennings

Maureen Jennings is the author of the Murdoch Mysteries. A new series, The Murdoch Mysteries, based on these novels began airing on CITY TV across the country in January and a series based on her Christine Morris Mystery series is currently being developed by Shaftesbury Films. The launch for Maureen’s latest Christine Morris mystery, The K Handshape (Dundurn), is at the Sleuth of Baker Street on March 20 at 6:30 p.m.

OB:

Tell us about your latest book, The K Handshape.

MJ:

It is the second in the Christine Morris forensic profiler series and is set in Orillia Ontario. Christine is part of the forensic team at the OPP Behavioral Institute. When the deaf daughter of the forensic psychiatrist is found murdered, she becomes an integral part of the investigation which spreads further than they would have dreamed.

OB:

How did you research your book?

MJ:

I enrolled in a course in American Sign Language and read everything I could get my hands on about serial killers. I also had the opportunity to pay a couple of visits to the OPP Centre and see the forensic team in action.

OB:

Did you have a specific readership in mind when you wrote The K Handshape?

MJ:

Not really. Crime fiction lovers mostly and I also hope the Deaf culture will find the book interesting.

OB:

Describe your ideal writing environment.

MJ:

I work on the third floor of our house. I play classical music, the dogs lie around, the cats complain. It’s wonderful. Quiet and peaceful. I try to ignore the phone which isn’t always possible, (no discipline). So the super ideal environment is to be away at a cottage by the lake where there is no phone but for day to day, my writing den is great.

OB:

What was your first publication?

MJ:

Except the Dying (St Martin’s Press) in 1997.

OB:

Is there one book you think everyone should read?

MJ:

There are so many amazing books, this is a hard question but perhaps I’d say, Black Beauty. It is proof of how books can change the world. But can I add some more later?

OB:

What are you reading right now?

MJ:

Escape from Catastrophe. A book about Dunkirk for my next book.

OB:

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

MJ:

A woman wrote to me and said she was walking in the park with her two dogs and a man approached her and asked if they were Manchester Terriers. She said they were and was surprised as they are not a breed that is usually recognized. He said he knew what kind of dog it was because he had just finished my book, Let Loose the Dogs, which features Manchesters. I don’t know who the man was but as such a large part of my psychic world is taken up with dogs, I was thrilled that I was decimating information in this way. I am also very touched by the people who have said my book transported them from a difficult situation. Books have often had that function for me and I’m glad to add even a little to that world.

OB:

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

MJ:

I think it was given to me by a friend who said, ‘get your first chapter absolutely right before you do much else.’ This really works for me.

OB:

What is your next project?

MJ:

I am deeply immersed in a new book set in England in the summer of 1940. It is a crime novel with the back drop of World War 11 at a time when England was teetering on the brink of disaster. I can’t believe how much I’m learning and in some ways it is the most exciting thing I have done.

Related item from our archives

JF Robitaille: Minor Dedications

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