Why the First Novel in a Series is THAT Much Harder to Write

From October 20—22, 2017, the Stratford Writers Festival will take over Stratford, Ontario, as some of Canada’s top literary and creative talents come together for this unique three-day festival. With the festival rapidly approaching, we caught up with attending author Shane Peacock to ask him a few questions about his latest projects, and why literary festivals are important to the Canadian artistic community.

To hear more from Shane, click here to purchase tickets to his upcoming Stratford Writers Festival panel entitled A Means to an End: Keeping a Series Alive with Richard Scrimger and Eric Walters

Why do you feel it’s important to meet readers at events such as the Stratford Writers Festival?  

There are several reasons. I like to read my work aloud to an audience because it gives me a different perspective on my work. It is a real test. It is also just wonderful to interact with readers, get their sense of how they feel about some of my work. They are often a great help!

What is your favourite part about attending writers festivals or literary events?

I enjoy interacting with other authors. We do something that is unusual for a living. We have shared concerns, and similar highs and lows. Festivals are kind of like gatherings of a large family, all of us a little anxious but intrigued. Hearing other authors read is fascinating. I also like to perform, to read my work, so being on stage at festivals, where audience members are often big readers, is truly enjoyable.

The next book in the “Dark Missions of Edgar Brim” series entitled Monster is due out in early 2018. What makes this book unique from the first book in the series?

The second book in a series is often very different from the first and usually easier to write. The first one has to introduce the big story, the characters and other things, while the second one can simply hit the ground running, right into the action. Monster is like that, a frightening tale that deals with a very different sort of human aberration (or monster) than the first book, a shocking and frightening creature readers will recognize and yet not recognize at all.

As a crime fiction writer, what do you find are the best sources of inspiration?

I can find inspiration anywhere, but most of it comes from inside my head. I try to come up with totally unsolvable murders or crimes, ones that absolutely no one could possibly figure out … and then solve them. A mystery or crime story is really a puzzle, in fact a story of any sort is almost always, in the end, a problem. In life, we have all sorts of problem and puzzles we have to deal with and often we never solve them. In a crime novel, you get to a solution! It is very satisfying. Although, having said that, the best crime stories leave lingering concerns.

Are you working on any projects right now?

I have too many! I am writing my second picture book for children (the first came out last year, The Artist and Me, which tells the tale of Vincent van Gogh being bullied by a child), I’m nearly done the third novel in the “Edgar Brim” horror series (possibly entitled Devil), and I am working on another YA novel … and a literary thriller for adults.

To hear more, don’t miss Shane’s panel entitled A Means to an End: Keeping a Series Alive on Friday October 20, 2017 at 6:00 pm at the Stratford Writers Festival. See you there!

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