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Giles Blunt Photo
photo credit: Janna Eggebeen

Nothing bad could ever happen on Madonna Road. It curls around the western shore of a small lake just outside Algonquin Bay, Ontario, providing a pine-scented refuge for affluent families with young children, yuppies fond of canoes and kayaks, and an artful population of chipmunks chased by galumphing dogs. It’s the kind of spot–tranquil, shady and secluded – that promises an exemption from tragedy and sorrow.

-From the opening of By the Time You Read This by Giles Blunt

   
  1. What do you love about being a writer?
    The occasional sense that my books have actually touched people. I get emails from readers who are moved by Catherine Cardinal’s plight, or by Cardinal’s loyalty, or who feel I’ve described some aspect of their reality with accuracy and compassion. That’s a great feeling.


  2. What is your biggest challenge as a writer?
    Getting the first draft down on paper.


  3. If you were not a writer, what other profession would you want to pursue?
    If I had my life to live over I would study the sciences and be a physician or a researcher in a field where one could make a measurable improvement in people’s lives. More realistically, I would probably go into social work or psychology—I was a social worker for a few years way back when I first finished college.


  4. In your opinion, what is the most influential crime novel of the last 100 years?
    I’m not much of a crime fiction scholar, but I would imagine The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. More recently The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris. The whole serial-killer genre is because of that book, not to mention the current craze for forensic novels and TV shows.


  5. Which fictional hero do you admire or despise the most?
    I admire Hannibal Lecter and Columbo as literary creations. Columbo was television (although originally intended for the stage), but he’s a brilliant creation. Those two have become cultural icons.


  6. After writing, how do you spend the rest of your time?
    Playing guitar and singing (mostly Beatles songs), watching movies, going to pubs—and lately I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time traveling to promote the books.


  7. What city or location has the most impact on your writing?
    Well, North Bay, Ontario, for the John Cardinal novels--my Algonquin Bay is very much based on that city. But personally I feel more like a New Yorker.


  8. Do your books have a message?
    Yes: the walrus was really Paul.


  9. What are you currently reading?
    Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens, The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, and Northrope Frye on Shakespeare. Just finished a brilliant book by Brian Morton called A Window Across the River.


  10. If you could meet any person (living or dead), who would that be?
    Graham Greene.


  11. What is your greatest vice?
    Wasting time.


  12. What is your greatest extravagance?
    I have a rather glorious television.


  13. What is your idea of misery?
    Hopelessness.


  14. What is your idea of happiness?
    Desiring what you already have.

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