Books·Magic 8 Q&A

Murdoch Mysteries author Maureen Jennings on her favourite authors and why her dogs help her write

The author of Let Darkness Bury the Dead takes the CBC Books Magic 8 Q&A and answers eight questions from eight fellow writers.
Maureen Jennings is the author of the Detective Murdoch series. Her latest novel is Let Darkness Bury the Dead. (Iden Ford)

Maureen Jennings is best known as the author of the Detective Murdoch series — a collection of novels that follow Toronto detective William Murdoch, as he attempts to solve the city's most gruesome crimes. Murdoch Mysteries, the television drama, is based on Jennings's characters and continues to air on CBC-TV. The latest instalment in the series, Let Darkness Bury the Dead, traces what happens when the detective's son returns home from war injured and carrying dangerous secrets. 

Below, Jennings takes the CBC Books Magic 8 Q&A and answers eight questions from eight of her fellow authors.

1. Melanie Mah asks, "Who are some of your favourite writers?"

So many, but I have a deep affection for John le Carré. And I really do reread Conan Doyle when I need a delicious sip of good writing. 

2. Grace O'Connell asks, "Did you celebrate your first big writing success, and if so, what was the success and how did you celebrate?"

We had a big party to celebrate the publication of my first novel, Except the Dying

3. Lawrence Hill asks, "What do you do to steady your mind (if your mind is capable of being steadied), so that you can shut out the world and write?"

I cannot start my day without the daily walk with my two dogs. We go up to the ravine, lots of greenery. Dogs put things in perspective. When we return, I'm usually ready to get writing. 

4. Durga Chew-Bose asks, "What is one of your own, real-life experiences of a plot twist?"

They seem to happen to other people, not me. "Hey, I'm not your real father..." — that sort of thing.

5. Nick Mount asks, "What interview question are you most tired of hearing?"

I honestly don't have one. Nobody ever asks me how much money I make. That might get tiresome.

6. Ivan Coyote asks, "What is one story that is rattling ghosts around in your head, but for whatever reason, you haven't tackled it yet?"

I wouldn't mind a few more ghosts coming for a visit. They've been most helpful in the past. 

7. Yann Martel asks, "What's the favourite sentence (or scene) that you've written?"

I'm just starting a new book and for some reason, this is my favourite sentence which I use as an epigraph. "There is a place called The Paradise Café​, where they know your name and all you have to say is, 'I'll have the same as usual.'"

I have a café like that. It makes me feel as if I'm living in a village not a megacity.

8. Lesley Choyce asks, "What do you think the role of the writer will be 100 years from now?"

Hopefully, same role, different utensils.


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