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.”