1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
One day I sat down on the top step of our front porch and started thinking about what a bitch it would be if the world were to end on such a beautiful afternoon. I wrote my first short story about the end of the world and knew that I'd found something I loved doing – writing. I was twelve at the time. I've often added careers to my life, but I never gave up on that first ambition.
2. How did you pick the genre you write in?
One genre? I can't limit myself to one genre! I write Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, Romantic Suspense, Western, Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance... sometime more than one at the same time. The only thing I haven't is what you could describe as General Fiction.
The reason my first book published was a western was because that was the ms I was happy enough with to give to my publisher at short notice. Under A Texas Star was also a finalist in the TextNovel competition.
Deadly Legacy, coming out in April (knock on wood – have I mentioned I'm a tad superstitious?) is a mystery set in the near future. I love a mystery – you'll find one in Under a Texas Star too – and I love the world building that fantasy and science fiction allow.
3. What drew you to the subject of Deadly Legacy?
Jake Carmedy and Kate Garrett came to me many years ago in a dream.
Their world developed out of an interview I had with police chief about the future of policing. I extrapolated from that and the trend in business and services to downsize senior personnel and then rehire them as consultants. It was a bit like that day sitting on the porch – I started throwing what-ifs around.
Coming up with a mystery for my detectives to solve was the hardest part. I needed something that would bring private and police detectives together. My mother was the inspiration for that. She dealt with both as an insurance examiner.
4. Did you encounter any obstacles in researching it?
I'm not a police officer or private detective and there is only so much you can learn from secondary sources. One of the biggest obstacles I had to overcome was finding subjects to interview. I tried contacting departments without much luck. The best result I had was an email from a Toronto homicide detective who pointed me to Practical Homicide Investigation by Vernon Geberth.
Then I was in a car accident. Strapped to a backboard, I gave my statement to an OPP officer. When we were done, he wanted to know if I had any questions. I asked if he knew anyone I could interview for research. He looked at me as if I was crazy, but he gave me a great contact.
5. Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book?
That was another kind of accident. I approached Imajin Books because they were looking for editors. It just happened to be when the publisher, Cheryl Tardif, was about to put out a call for manuscripts. I sent her my resume and ms at the same time. A week or so later, she let me know that she wouldn't be looking at my resume because she was more interested in my book.
6. If you have a day job, what is it?
Like genres, I've got more than one. I am the Assistant Manager of Crime Writers of Canada and the Administrative Manager of the Arthur Ellis Awards. I'm also a freelance writer and editor and sometimes provide technical support for people who hate technology and have to deal with it anyway.
7. Who is your greatest cheerleader?
I'm bless with some great cheerleaders. I have friends who have been critically reading my stuff for years. If our books are our babies, they are the godparents. My biggest cheerleaders are my kids, Kate and Sam. Not many ten year old boys will offer to carry around a western romance to show off to his teachers – my Sam did.
8. What would you like to learn to do that you haven’t?
I learned how to assemble, disassemble, clean and shoot a semi-automatic rifle, and I've handled a Colt 45, which helped writing Under A Texas Star. Now I really want to be checked out on Sig Sauer (standard police issue in these parts) and maybe an assault rifle.
10. What was your favorite scene to write?
The hardest scene to write in Deadly Legacy was also one of my favourites. I can't tell you much about it because it comes at the end of the book. One of the legacies referred to in the title is the spirit of Joe Garrett, who's larger than life shoes are left to be filled by his daughter Kate. She makes a good start in that scene.
Now I think of it, the hardest scene in Under A Texas Star was also at the end – for different and steamier reasons.
Alison Bruce has an honours degree in history and philosophy, which has nothing to do with any regular job she's held since. A liberal arts education did prepare her to be a writer, however. She penned her first novel during lectures while pretending to take notes.
Alison Bruce lives in Guelph Ontario and writes mysteries, westerns and fantasy – not to be confused with the Alison Bruce who live in Cambridge England and writes mysteries, or the librarian in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Deadly Legacy, Imajin Books, 2012 (coming soon)
2018: When Joe dies unexpectedly, he leaves his daughter Kate half interest in Garrett Investigations, his last case that ties to three murders, and partner she can't stand.
Jake Carmedy has lost a partner, mentor and friend, but grief will come later. First, he has a case to solve, one that has detoured from a simple insurance case to a murder investigation. If that isn't enough, Joe's daughter seems to want to take her father's place as his boss.
No matter how hard they try, Carmedy and Garrett can't avoid each other and they might be next on a killer's list.
Under A Texas Star, Imajin Books, 2011
Disguised as a boy, Marly joins a handsome Texas Ranger in the hunt for a con man and they must bring the fugitive to justice before giving up the masquerade and giving in to their passion. Inspired in equal parts by Louis L'Amour and Georgette Heyer, Under A Texas Star is a western mystery/romance, with a touch of humour and loads of adventure.