Madeleine Callway, Catherine Astolfo, Janet Costello, Helen Nelson, Jill Downie, Susan Daly
This past Saturday, I hopped on Highway 24 in Guelph and drove to Brantford for a lively panel discussion with six dynamic mystery authors. All are members of the Toronto Branch of Sisters in Crime, and two of them—Madeleine Callway and Catherine Astolfo—also belong to Mesdames of Mayhem.
The topic, “Women as Crime Writers,” was a timely one. The hour-long discussion flew by as the authors shared opinions and advice on everything from powerful openings to strong female protagonists to chick noir.
Thanks to Programs and Outreach Coordinator Robin Harding for organizing this event, one of seven in the Mystery Month series at the Brantford Public Library.
I was excited about meeting the visiting author, but worried about his reaction to the 25 pages I’d submitted. Would he like my work or would he gently hint about shelving the novel? After some preliminary small talk, he got right down to business.
Visiting Author: You’ve got an interesting premise here. And I like how you’ve what you’ve done with the female characters, but…
Me: Go on. I can take it.
Visiting Author: Almost everyone is over 50. You need more youngins.
Me: What do you mean by youngins?
Visiting Author: Characters in their twenties and early thirties. That’s what’s selling now.
I thanked him for his time, but decided not to follow his advice.