Ottawa author featured among top 10 audiobooks borrowed from U.K. library system

Canadian mystery novelist Brenda Chapman was shocked to discover, only thanks to a Google Alert, two of her books were among the top 10 audiobooks borrowed from the U.K. library system in 2021.

2 of Brenda Chapman's audio books sit among the most-borrowed list overseas

Ottawa author Brenda Chapman has two audio books among the top 10 most borrowed in the U.K. library system. (Submitted by Brenda Chapman)

Brenda Chapman is in some esteemed company when it comes to the popularity of her audio books in the United Kingdom's library system.

The Ottawa mystery author has two audio books among the top 10 when it comes to how often people borrow them. Chapman found out about her success across the pond through a Google alert.

"I was just looking at my emails and there it was," she said.

"And a couple of days later I got an email from a reporter at The Guardian in England asking for an interview, so it was quite startling."

'Holy smokes'

Cold Mourning sits in second place behind J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and ahead of other well-known mystery author Ian Rankin and former first lady Michelle Obama.

Her other book in the top-10, Butterfly Kills, sits eighth.

"It was just crazy," she said. "I turned to my husband and said, 'Holy smokes, I think this is something, you know? To be on this list.'"

Cold Mourning is a mystery set in Ottawa over the holidays. (Dundurn Press)

Both are part of her Stonechild and Rouleau series, of which there are seven books.

Chapman said her titular detective Kala Stonechild comes from her time at the federal justice department and is based on a mix of people from files she worked on with Indigenous Affairs dealing with issues like residential schools and missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

"I wanted to create a lead cop who was intelligent, smart, you know, kind of damaged from her past — her parents went to residential school — and Kala just came out of that," she said.

"As you write, the character just shows [themselves] and she did, like over the books."

Chapman said her next project is called Blind Date and is set for release on March 1.

With files from Ottawa Morning


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