Mystery writers converge with locals

Two of Sooke’s mystery writers will be on hand at a national crime writers’ conference, Bloody Words 2011,  from June 3 to 5 in Victoria. Authors  Lou Allin and Shirley Skidmore are on the steering committee, with Lou Allin, She Felt No Pain, On the Surface Die as co-chairperson for the event, and  Shirley Skidmore, Murder on the Galloping Goose and Murder in the Sooke Potholes, as the manuscript chairperson.

Over 200 mystery writers from across Canada, the Yukon and the U.S.A. will be attending the event at the Hotel Grand Pacific.

“This is the first time the event has been held in Victoria.  It is usually held in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver,” says Skidmore who has never been to a crime writers’ convention before.

What’s a convention without mystery, skulduggery and exploring a murderer’s mind?

“There are panels and workshops going on all the time,” said Skidmore. “It could be fun even if you don’t write.”

Those with a penchant for the macabre can walk with William Deverell through a Victoria graveyard at midnight or meet the ghosts that haunt the Empress Hotel.

Workshops include, Inside a Murderer’s Mind, Political Thrillers (Skuld                                                                                                                                           uggery in  high places),                                                               Villians, Sidekicks & Spear Carriers (developing your cast of characters), and CSI Victoria (an interactive introduction to crime scene investigation). This is just a small list of all of the workshops and panel discussions taking place.

Guests of honour include; Michael Slade is the pen name of Jay Clarke, a lawyer who has participated in more than 100 criminal cases and who specializes in criminal insanity. Clarke’s writing stems from his experience as a practicing lawyer, as well as his extensive world travel. Slade’s novel Ghoul is on the Horror Writers Association’s recommended reading list.

Tess Gerritsen took an unusual route to a writing career. A graduate of Stanford University, Tess went on to medical school at the University of California. Tess’s first medical thriller, Harvest, was released in hardcover in 1996, and it marked her debut on the New York Times bestseller list.

William Deverell won the $50,000 Seal Prize in l979 and the Book of the Year Award in l981. Trial of Passion launched his first crime series, featuring the classically trained, self-doubting Arthur Beauchamp, a legend of the criminal bar. The book won the 1997 Arthur Ellis prize for best Canadian crime novel, and the Dashiell Hammett award for literary excellence in crime writing in North America.

Bloody Words is Canada’s oldest and largest gathering of mystery readers and authors. Founded in 1999, the conference has become the June event to look forward to for people who enjoy genre conventions.

Whether you’re into humourous mysteries or the darkest of psychological noir, you’ll always have lots to see and do at Canada’s biggest annual mystery event.

Skidmore, as manuscipt chairperson, was responsible for passing along unpublished authors’ manuscripts to readers who access the writing. The writers then get to meet up with those who read their work to talk about the manuscript. The writers come from everywhere.

Skidmore said, “Some of the readers thanked me for the opportunity to do it. They said there are some amazing writers coming up.”

Not satisfied with her role in the conference, Skidmore has been busy promoting Sooke through ads in the program guide and placing maps in the goodie bags of the delegates. She wants those attending to spend time in Sooke after the convention.

For more information on the Bloody Words conference go to: www.bloodywords@2011.com.