Meet ‘n’ greet with Angela Misri

Toron­to author Angela Mis­ri came to town on the TD Book Tour. She writes Sher­lock Holmes pas­tich­es, star­ring young detec­tive Por­tia Adams.

I was invit­ed by fel­low Bran­don author Craig Rus­sell to a meet ‘n’ greet with Angela, and so, with about ten oth­er local authors and artists, I heard about grow­ing up a writer in a fam­i­ly that expect­ed you to become a doc­tor or an engi­neer. (“Here is the plan. You will become a doc­tor, and you will write med­ical text­books.”)

Some of the wis­dom I picked up:

  • For every rejec­tion let­ter, send out two new queries. Turn a neg­a­tive into a pos­i­tive.
  • Get an agent.
  • Do your research.
  • Bet­ter still, have oth­er peo­ple do your research.

She has a very good tech­nique for get­ting peo­ple to help with her research: If a fan informs her that she’s let an error slip through (e.g., “Por­tia wouldn’t wear trousers in the 1930s”), she’ll send that fan advance copies of the next nov­el, and ask that they tell her where she may have gone wrong. As she says, these peo­ple are the ones you want to keep hap­py.

Also, I now have a signed first edi­tion of Jew­el of the Thames, first of the Por­tia Adams mys­ter­ies.

Here in Cana­da, the Por­tia Adams nov­els are mar­ket­ed as Young Adult fic­tion, but in the USA they are appar­ent­ly on the grown-up shelves. I found this to be an echo of advice I received years ago from anoth­er Man­i­to­ba author/editor, Ani­ta Daher: “Write your sto­ry. Let the mar­ket­ing peo­ple wor­ry about where to shelve it.”