Saturday, July 29, 2017


This weekend I'm pleased to welcome my good friend Janet Kellough as our special Type M guest.  Janet is the author of The Thaddeus Lewis Mystery Series. The fifth book in the series, Wishful Seeing was short-listed for the Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Best Novel Award. The sixth “Thaddeus” book, The Heart Balm Tort was released in July. To learn more about her books, check out her website.

She's a native-born daughter of Prince Edward County, Ontario, where the Thaddeus Lewis books are set, and she's here now to tell us about an exciting new venture she and Vicki Delany are spearheading. 

If you’re a female writer, you’ve probably read the articles and participated in the discussions – about how women’s books aren’t taken as seriously or reviewed as often as male-authored books; about how women are more often published in paperback than in hardcover, which impacts their incomes; about how less frequently they are featured at literary festivals; and how so many female authors have tried to get around the barriers by disguising their pennames that now any author who uses initials is automatically assumed to be female.

I’m a female writer. I get as ticked off by this stuff as anybody else. But anyone who knows me knows that I’m always looking for solutions. What if, I thought, we just go ahead and do our own thing? What if we start a festival that showcases Canadian women crime writers? There’s a niche available – both the Bloody Words Conference and the Scene of the Crime Festival have disappeared, leaving a void that is felt by all crime writers. I could do this. After all, I have a background in small concert production, and writers have got to be easier to herd than fiddlers, don’t they? (We’ll see.) I could do it on my home turf – Prince Edward County Ontario., the country’s newest tourist mecca.

Wisely or not, fellow author Vicki Delany agreed with me, as did the owner of The County’s independent bookstore Books & Co., graphic designer Christine Renaud and foodie Theresa Durning. Macaulay Heritage Park and Picton Library offered their cooperation. And two local wineries, The Grange and Black Prince came aboard as sponsors. The Women Killing It Crime Writers’ Festival was experiencing a remarkably easy birth.

And the writers we contacted were unbelievably enthusiastic and supportive. New York Times bestseller Susanna Kearsley said yes. So did Maureen Jennings of Murdoch Mystery fame. Canadian bestselling authors Barbara Fradkin and R.J. Harlick are coming. Bony Blithe winner Elizabeth J. Duncan will be on hand, as will Melodie Campbell and Nazneen Sheikh. Local author Robin Timmerman is featured. And Mary Jane Maffini, aka Victoria Abbott, agreed not only to participate, but to hold a Saturday morning (Sept. 2) workshop at the library.

And this won’t be some stodgy old literary festival. We’re talking women here. There will be refreshments – of both the sticky and liquid variety. And fun, starting with Friday night (Sept. 1) at The Mysterious Affair “table-hopping” event, where each author has five minutes to tell a table of readers all about her book; Saturday afternoon’s Murder at the Vicarage, an elegant Victorian tea in an historic home featuring the writers of lighter fare (hats and gloves optional); and Saturday evening’s Appointment with Death (and Dessert) with the authors of grittier stories, who will discuss life and death and sex and other fun stuff. We aim to raise the roof.

Will the festival be successful? I’m pretty confident that it will. Will male readers come? Because we need their support too. I hope so. Will it turn into an annual event? Chances are good. Because we’re women. And we know how to kill it.

The Women Killing It Crime Writers’ Festival in Prince Edward County runs September 1st & 2nd in Picton, Ontario. For schedule and ticket info visit our Facebook page or go straight to the WKI page at


Donna S said...

What a wonderful idea! You go, girls!!!! Wish you all the luck in the world and have fun. Wish I could be there.

Sybil Johnson said...

Sounds like so much fun. I've always wanted to visit that area. I hope it is successful and you continue to have the festival in years to come.

Donis Casey said...

A great idea. What we need to do is take the reins into our own hands, and that's just what you have done. I'm sure the festival will be a tremendous success.