Acclaimed Canadian author Elizabeth J Duncan, a two-time winner of the Bloody Words (Bony Blithe) Award for Canada’s best light mystery, held a magnifying glass up to her writing process at a recent meeting of Llandudno Rotary.
On Tuesday 17th November 2020, 15 Members of Llandudno Rotary, plus six guests from other Rotary Clubs, and others, were delighted to hear an exposition from Elizabeth (on video-conference from Toronto) as to how the eleven books in the Penny Brannigan mystery series set in North Wales evolved, from The Cold Light of Mourning, published in 2009, right through to On Deadly Tides, published earlier this month.
Over time, Elizabeth explained, the characters asserted themselves, demanding their own dialogue and actions, this being complicated by the demands of fans writing to “advise” Elizabeth on how a particular character might develop. Add to this mix, a blurring of fact and fiction by the introduction of real people, and the mix becomes heady. Gwrych Castle, currently very much in the news, and its heritage conservationist Dr. Mark Baker appear in Murder Is for Keeps in their real-life roles. Mark was a willing accomplice in this particular piece of literary osmosis, giving Elizabeth permission to use his name.
Elizabeth lives in Toronto but normally spends five months of the year in Llandudno, which accounts for her uncannily accurate portrayal of the scenes and characters of the area. She says she will be on the next plane out again to North Wales, once COVID restrictions bite the dust.
Elizabeth J Duncan