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"Living in New York gave me enough distance from northern Ontario to see it through a very long lens. I now visit North Bay and it seems exotic. It is exotic. It's ridiculous that anybody should live there, really, in the land of ice and snow. I mean, what kind of person comes to a hunk of rock surrounded by ice and pine trees and figures it's a good bet to settle down there? Okay, fur traders. But as soon as they have enough money, fur traders head for Florida just like everyone else."

--Author Giles Blunt

Photo credit: Janna Eggebeen

Giles Blunt came to crime fiction because of one particular story: "I wanted to write a book about a detective who is himself being investigated for a crime. I thought it would give the character an unusual take on criminals and victims." And thus Detective John Cardinal made his first appearance. Blunt has continued writing stories about Cardinal, the most recent being Blackfly Season.

One of Blackfly Season's notable and tragic characters is Kevin, the junkie. Blunt based Kevin on his brief experience with addicts when he worked with Toronto's Children's Aid Society. "I think addictions - whether to gambling, alcohol, food, or what have you - probably look pretty much the same from the inside. An addict spends most of his time not in thinking about how he's going to get his next fix, but fantasizing about how he's going to quit. Come Monday, come New Year, I'll just have this one more and then it's over. So that's what I kept in mind in writing Kevin."

When it comes to advice for aspiring writers, Blunt suggests: "Find a job that's relatively congenial, that you can enjoy, that will pay the rent and keep you in writing supplies. Don't expect the writing to pay, because it rarely does, and if you depend on it, you will add enormous stress to your life that is in no way productive."

Watch for No Such Creature, Blunt’s sixth novel, to be published by Random House Canada in the fall of 2008. It tells the story of Max and Owen, a father-and-son team who every year take a road trip across the United States in a huge Winnebago. They see the sights like anybody else--but they also pull robberies along the way. Unfortunately, Max is really old and starting to make a lot of mistakes that put them in ever increasing danger, not just from the law but from a legendary--and extremely violent--gang called The Subtractors. "The Subtractors?" Max says. "No such creature."  But in this, as in so many things, he will prove to be disastrously wrong.

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