He lives in Calgary, Alberta with his lovely wife, a young padawan, and the twin cats Romulus and Remus.
Remus teaches part-time at the University of Calgary Veterinary School as a professional cat.
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Tell us a bit about the Chandler Affairs, where did the idea come from?
How long have you been working on it?
The Chandler Affairs is a series covering the stories of Canadian
private investigator Veronica Chandler. When people ask what genre the
books belong to, I usually say "mystery," but the overall story is much
more complex than that. There are mysteries to be solved, but the cases
also reveal pieces of a bigger puzzle. A MUCH bigger puzzle.
The original idea came from meeting author Anthony Bidulka a few years
ago. His books about a Saskatchewsan private investigator made me toy
with the idea of writing my own Canadian mysteries. Why Canadian?
Because New York, Chicago, London, and Los Angeles have been done to
death. I also wanted my PI to be a woman, because there aren't enough of
In Alberta you can get your PI's license just by taking the
investigator's course and writing the provincial licensing exam at the
minimum age of 18. That opened the field to an believable young PI. Not
an amateur like the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew, but an actual licensed
investigator. For inspiration I used one of my aikido students, whom I
constantly interrogated about being a teenage girl.
At first I wrote the cases as short stories, but it didn't take long to
realize that Veronica's universe is much bigger than that. It became a
twelve novel story arc.
Book one *The Stable Vices Affair* introduces us to Veronica Chandler,
tell us a bit about her, what are some of your favorite aspects about here
as a character/ What makes me different?
Veronica has two aspects that are my favourites. The first is that she's
a normal Canadian girl, which means that when the going gets weird she
doesn't pull out her wizard powers, an ancient amulet, or call some
superhero team. She just has to learn how to cope.
The other is her balance. She learned Krav Maga from a former member of
the Israeli special forces, and tactical baton from her mother, but she
isn't another Black Widow clone. Not everything can be solved by hitting
it. She has some real vulnerabilities. She's a voracious reader, which
gives her more information than you might expect from someone her age,
but that information doesn't necessarily translate directly into real life.
She has help, of course. Her best friend is a Wiccan Romantigoth (think
Morticia Addams) who tries to advise her on occult matters. Her mother
is a homicide detective, which isn't as handy as you'd think because the
usual "hey Fred, can you run this plate for me?" stuff on TV is illegal
in real life.
Her father is a chef and taught her to cook. He wants her to take over
his restaurant when he retires, but Veronica wants to be a PI so she can
help the people who aren't the victims of a crime. She expects that
she'll be finding runaways, taking pictures of cheating spouses -- the
usual PI stuff. That doesn't work out quite the way she hoped.
What does Veronica tackle in *The Stable Vices Affair*?
A woman thinks her husband might be cheating on her. A man thinks his
boyfriend might be cheating on him. All she has to do is follow them,
find the truth, and get paid.
What she finds will haunt her for a long time. Both subjects lead her to
the same house. There's a Hobbit-sized person (or persons) who might be
male or female -- or both. It's confusing. Then there's vanishing
furniture, ridiculously impossible coins, a worldwide secret
organization, and a kink club pony show.
She eventually gets answers of a sort, but the rabbit hole goes a lot
deeper before she find out the complete truth.
Tell us about her world. How does it differ from our own and make things
interesting? Could you live there?
Hmm, that's a bit tricky. Think of her world as being something like the
Norse cosmology, but completely different. I know, that's really helpful.
Both of us live in Calgary, Alberta, and physically the two worlds are
very similar. I occasionally lie about things like people's addresses,
but apart from that the landmarks are all there. In her world something
has taken place that leads to Odd Things Happening. As far as I know my
Calgary isn't like that. Mostly.
Could I live there? Certainly. But then I know a whole bunch of spoilers
that I can't share yet.
How would you classify the series? Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Bizarro?
This has been an ongoing problem, because it doesn't fit into neat
bookstore shelf categories.
For convenience, I call it mystery. But she's also a chef, and there
will eventually be a cookbook of her recipes.
One word I do like is paranormal, in the strict sense of "beyond
normal." Anything that people assumed beyond that may or may not be
accurate. What I do guarantee is that it will all make sense in the end.
Okay, call it "paranormal mystery."
What other projects can we expect to see form you in the future?
That depends on how long I live.
After I've finished The Chandler Affairs I'll probably do the Lovecraft
steampunk novel because it'll be completely different.
There's also a bunch of novels involving Dr. Trinity MacMillan, who has
her own life as well as being Veronica's psychologist.
I also have a feature film script that needs a home, and a hard SF novel
that's already outlined.