This is the second book in the March and Walker Crime Novel series and the sequel to Sorrow Lake, which was shortlisted for the 2015 Hammett Award for best North American crime novel.
The latest in a series of barn fires in Leeds County turns ugly when a body is discovered inside the burned-out husk of an old hay barn near the village of Elgin.
When the victim turns out to be Independent Senator Darius Lane, a renowned artist and social activist recently appointed to the upper chamber by the prime minister, Detective Inspector Ellie March of the Ontario Provincial Police finds herself coping with an RCMP national security team which must first assess whether the senator’s involvement in sensitive government business led to his brutal murder by forces hostile to Canada.
While Detective Constable Kevin Walker works the case files of the previous barn fires looking for a serial arsonist within Leeds County who may have killed for the first time, Ellie discovers that the intervention of RCMP Assistant Commissioner Danny Merrick, unexpectedly polite and charming, will place her directly in the cross-hairs of a homicide investigation with national repercussions!
Release Date: March 17, 2017
The Writing Life Interview with Author Michael McCann
When you first begin writing a new book, is your main focus on the characters or the plot?
Before I begin writing, I develop a detailed sketch of each character in order to have a clear picture in my head of their background and motivation. They have to become “real” to me before I can make them real for my readers. I also develop an extensive outline of the novel so I know from the beginning where the action/plot is going. So while the characters are of utmost importance to me, I also spend considerable time developing the plot of each novel.
How much research goes into your fiction writing? What is your approach?
I do an extensive amount of research for my novels to make them as realistic as possible. This includes the use of online resources and interviews, as well as subject matter experts. For example, for Burn Country, I researched fire investigation techniques and also consulted with a retired OPP manager for guidance on police procedures and liaison protocol with the RCMP. I prefer to do my research upfront to assist with the writing of the novel.
Describe your writing environment.
Originally I was writing my novels at home, but I have two dogs and four cats, and I discovered they like to “help” me move along with the writing. My cats often walked on my keyboard, either reconfiguring it or deleting some of my work, and my border collie Cody liked to bounce chew toys off my ankle to remind me that he needed some play time.
For the past two years, I’ve been able to rent an office that is usually quiet. I have a relatively neat work area, and when I look around, I’m surrounded by books and plants. I also have a huge chalkboard that helps me organize my ideas.
What do you find the easiest to write; the beginning, middle or end? Why?
I think the beginning and end are the hardest to write. You want to connect with the reader immediately, and you also want to end the novel in a manner that satisfies readers and has them looking forward to the next novel in the series. Because I do an extensive outline beforehand, the middle is usually easier for me to develop.
Do you write a book sequentially, from beginning to end? Or do you sometimes write scenes out of order?
Because of the fact that I do outlining beforehand, I prefer to write sequentially from beginning to end. Although, I must admit, I sometimes get stuck on a particular chapter/episode and need to put it aside for a while and do other work or more research before I move on.
About the Author
He is the author of Sorrow Lake, the first March and Walker Crime Novel, which was shortlisted for the 2015 Hammett Award for best crime novel in North America.
He is also the author of the Donaghue and Stainer Crime Novel Series, including Blood Passage, Marcie’s Murder, and The Fregoli Delusion. The Rainy Day Killer, the most recent in the series, was longlisted for the 2014 Arthur Ellis Award for best crime novel in Canada.
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