Saturday, June 06, 2020

Garden Interview with Vanessa Westermann

Hello Vanessa

Tell us about you and your books

Do you plot or let the story unfold as you write?

I work with an outline, but I find that the story nevertheless develops more naturally when I “listen” to my characters. I’ve learned that, if I’m having trouble with a scene, I’m trying to make a character do something that doesn’t suit their personality.

When did you decide to become an author?

I’ve always loved writing and reading, especially mysteries. Even before I could spell, I would fill in the words I couldn’t sound out with pictures. When I was eleven, I told my mom as we were browsing a bookstore together that one day, my book would be on the shelves. That was the moment I knew I wanted to become an author.

Who is the biggest influence on your writing?

Crime writers like Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham and Ngaio Marsh have had the biggest influence on my writing, especially the way I write dialogue. I love the wit and banter that can be found in Golden Age detective fiction.

What tips would you give a new writer?

Be the writer who keeps writing, no matter what.

When I was eighteen and sending out queries for the first time, a literary agent shared advice with me. She recommended that I read as many books in the genre as possible and to consider which plot elements are fresh and leave the reader wanting more. She told me, “It's rarely the first novel a writer crafts that sells. 90% of writers will never write book #2. 95% will never write a book #3. You'll get better with each book, so be the writer who keeps on writing no matter what.“ Don’t give up!

Would you like to be friends with the main character? Follow up question - What is something you can picture the two of you doing together?

I would love to be friends with Kate Rowan from An Excuse For Murder. She has a passion for crime fiction and, as a bookstore owner, the means to indulge it. She’s not afraid to ask questions and she never backs down. Kate has impressive skills in self-defense and can fight off villains as easily as she deals in first editions. I was thrilled when Canadian crime writer Barbara Fradkin described Kate as “the perfect heroine for our times”. I could picture myself having tea with Kate in The Old Firehall Café, before browsing Fortune’s Cove Books and discussing the clues to her latest mystery.

and for a little fun

Who do you see as a hero/heroine in your life?

My mom is definitely a heroine in my life. When my brother and I were in university, my mom re-educated herself as a bespoke milliner. She trained with Rose Cory, the late Queen Mother’s milliner, and has since been featured in newspapers and created hats that have been worn at events all over the world. Sometimes, I get to raid her collection and take on the role of hat model for her Lookbook. She’s an inspiration.

Photo credit: Robin Westermann Bespoke Millinery]

What is your favorite drink?

I love tea. Kate and I have that in common. And the caffeine fuels my writing.

Do you laugh at your own jokes?

If I don’t, who will?

What is your favorite comfort food?

Grilled cheese sandwiches. Or scones.

What is your favorite time of year and why?

Fall in Canada is magical. The leaves blaze in shades of red and orange, the sunshine turns to
gold. There’s fresh apple cider and the scent of woodsmoke on the air.

Where can we find you online?


Download An Excuse For Murder on Amazon and other online retailers


D. V. Stone said...

It's so nice getting to know you. I love hats. When I got married I didn't wear a veil but a hat. Best of luck with your writing. D. V. 🦉

GiniRifkin said...

Hi Vanessa: So nice learning more about you and your writing. Great advice, and so true. LOVE hats, hardly ever go out without one. Wishing you success in your writing and in life.

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

Enjoyed your interview.
How cool about your mom creating hats!
I love tea and scones, too. Earl Grey tea and maple pecan scone are my favorites.

I wish you the best of luck with your books.