Reposted – Luck, and The Beggar’s Opera

In light of this morning’s interview with CBC Radio, I thought I’d repost this blog from December. (Tough act, following a sasquatch on air.) The good news: CBC has invited me back once the book is out! Meanwhile, for those of you following my journey, here it is again!


Well, gang, for those of you who have been following my travels (and travails) of getting published, it’s looking very good. I can’t give you details yet, but I’m pretty excited by my most recent discussions with my Canadian agent. 

So much of what has happened around The Beggar’s Opera (and the second in the series, as well) involves sheer luck. And timing.

I’ve never lost sight of the fact that I wouldn’t have representation, that I wouldn’t be about to be published, if I hadn’t been standing in the bar on the last night of the CWA conference in Harrogate (having lost the Debut Dagger) at the very moment that Ian Rankin walked by. 

The bar was almost deserted. Everyone else was in a session. I was having a last glass of wine before I went back to the hotel room to pack for my trip home.  Unusually, I asked him if I could take his picture, which I almost never do — if I see a celebrity, I leave them alone. But I’d promised the Crime Writers of Canada that I’d take pictures.

He was kind enough to say yes. He asked me where I was from. I said Ottawa. It turned out he had just returned from Ottawa’s Bluefest the week before,  where he’d been with his son. Now how weird is that?

If we hadn’t had that five minute chat about the crazy 40 degree heat that week in Ottawa and how great the Bluesfest was despite it, I doubt he would have asked me why I was in Harrogate, or if I had an agent or a publisher.  But he did. And then he offered to let me use his name to contact them. And with his reference, I found my UK agent, and through him my Canadian agent, both of whom I adore.  

‘I worked so hard that I got lucky,’ is the phrase that comes to mind. But some things about this book (and this series) seem to be tied much less to hard work than to a very benevolent Lady Luck indeed.

Sometimes I think  there is something mystical at play in this creative process. 

I’ll update with more details when I’m able. But right now, I’m feeling blessed.

So many wonderful friends have stepped up to the plate to read this book (sometimes several times) and offer advice. Thelma Farmer takes the absolute record: I think she read the manuscript at least a dozen times. Then there’s Bill Schaper, Lou Allin, Debbie Hantusch, Mike Hutton, Mark Perrin, Brian French, Beth McColl, Mark Bourrie, Kaye Fulton, Paul Olioff and of course, my daughter, Jade. Thanks to all of you for helping make this happen. I really am extraordinarily lucky to have all of you in my life.

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