Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Igloos and dogsleds aside


If this is Wednesday, I must be Barbara. Late as usual, but picking up Vicki Delany’s Monday blog about Left Coast Crime. This is a mid-sized mystery conference that manages to combine a friendly intimacy with a broad range of authors, readers and mystery people. There is something for everyone at Left Coast Crime, whether you like your detectives hard-bitten and serial killers graphic, whether you like the moody atmosphere of historicals or whether you prefer the uplifting laughter of cosies. And the conferences are always in such wonderful places, at least from this Eastern Canadian’s perspective. I’ve been to LCCs in Monterey, California, in Bristol, UK and in El Paso, Texas smack on the border opposite Juarez, where in an historic, death-defying journey, a group of us Crazy Canuck women including yours truly walked across the Rio Grande border to have dinner.

This year the conference is in Santa Fe. As soon as I heard that, I signed up. Last week I blogged about my panel on police procedurals across time and space. Today I want to talk some more about the Crazy Canucks. Santa Fe is safely tucked into the high desert of New Mexico, so there’s less chance for us to go astray and get into trouble, although we may try. But it’s interesting how preconceptions and ignorance work. I thought ‘Santa Fe in March? South, desert, hot sun… sandals and sunhats, right?’

Wrong, came the chorus of voices from down south. Sometimes it SNOWS in March, and certainly you will need jackets and layers for the cold evenings. Layers? The very word chilled my already chilled Canadian heart, sick of snow and winter and layers. But reluctantly I opened up my mind to reality. I will be packing layers.

After all, Canadians know all about weather and preconceptions. My first book, Do or Die, was set in the middle of a June heat wave in Ottawa. A reviewer from Florida commented that she didn’t find the weather believable, because it didn’t get shirt-stickingly hot in Canada.

Canada has all kinds of geography and weather, perhaps more varied than anywhere else on earth. We have four very distinct seasons. We have prairies, harsh northern tundras, crisp mountain peaks, humid sticky cities and windswept coasts. And we have mystery novels set in all those locales. So Thursday afternoon, three of us Crazy Canuck women, RJ Harlick, Vicki Delany and I, will be giving a cuentos talk on the criminal hot spots in Canada, from Three Pines to “Canada’s Caribbean”, and from the far north to sticky Ottawa. We will be reading choice snippets and bringing along quintessentially Canadian treats, funny costumes, and a map to serve as a guide. All to show that taking a trip to Canada between the pages of a book can be an unexpected and enriching pleasure. You will not freeze.

You don’t even have to bring layers.

1 comment:

Donis Casey said...

The thing about Santa Fe is that it is at a high altitude- 7200 feet. A gorgeous crystal clear sky and high desert of eye-popping color. The sun can burn you like crazy because of the thin air, but the temperature doesn't usually get that hot, esp. in March. If you're not used to the altitude, you'll get out of breath with exercise.