Monday, August 12, 2013

GREETINGS FROM ST. JOHN'S

Just now back in St. John's after a 300 km - 180 mile - drive from Eastport, site of the 2013 "Winterset In Summer Literary Festival" where I had the pleasure - and honour - of being an invited speaker and panelist. The Panel, consisting of yours very truly, and Gail Bowen and Giles Blunt, was titled Mysterious Voices. Which I hope we were. We were a popular trio, as it happens, guided through the tricky shoals of paneldom by Patricia Parsons, who not coincidentally loves mystery novels. As per the established format for these affairs, we all did readings from our work, and then answered questions. Gail and Giles read from their most recent novels; I read the prologue from my work-in-progress, Birthright. That's the fourth Inspector Stride novel that I have been working on for what seems like the last twenty-seven years - to pick a number at random.

After that, again following the established routine, we signed books for people. I lost count of the number I signed, but it was somewhere north of twenty, I think. That is always gratifying.

My publisher, Gavin Will from Boulder Publications, was there also, with his wife Amanda. That was gratifying. I took the opportunity to commit myself to finishing Birthright in a year. And I believe I will do it. The dreaded writer's block has receded of late. Words are starting to flow again.

Over the past week Suzanne and I have done a bit of low-level hiking. There are so many great hiking trails in this province that it would be near-criminal not to hike, at least a little. And so we did. I will add that in addition to stunning scenery and vistas, one has the opportunity to feast on wild blueberries along the way.

And here I will make the second and last reference to things mysterious. In the community of Salvage - pronounced, by the way, as "Sal-Vayge" - we hiked to the oldest cemetery in the area, a picturesque spot now lushly overgrown with a great variety of shrubs and wildflowers. Among the foliage were large numbers of wild blueberry plants, with the lushest and largest berries we encountered on our trip. And given my bent towards things mysterious and criminous, I could not help reflecting on the fact that the plants were nourished by the remains of the departed. A title leapt to mind; Eaters Of The Dead is what it was, echoing Michael Crichton's novel. Or to put it another way: what goes around inevitably comes around.

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